This variable contains anthropometric information which can be used as an indicator for human health and welfare in 165 countries spanning the period 1810-1989, and a smaller number of countries 1500-1800


Baten, Joerg, University of Tuebingen.; Blum, Mathias, Technical University Munich (formerly University of Tuebingen)

Production date



Male height equivalent in cm


Height, Anthropometrics, Living Standard

Time period

1500 -1980. All data refer to the birth decadal average (1810 means 1810-19 etc), except those before 1800, which sometimes refer to half centuries

Geographical coverage


Methodologies used for data collection and processing

Reconstruction of heights by birth decade using a variety of different sources. See also the text below

Period of collection

See references

Data collectors

Joerg Baten, Mathias Blum, and many colleagues from around the world

As good as possible, but counter-checking and improvement welcome

General references

As almost none of the original height estimates entered the data set unchanged, the general references which should be cited is for the post-1800 period:

Baten, Joerg and Matthias Blum, “Growing Taller, but Unequal: Biological Well-Being in World Regions and Its Determinants, 1810-1989.” Economic History of Developing Regions (forthcoming 2012).

And for the pre-1800 period, the standard reference is

Koepke, Nikola and Baten, Joerg "The Biological Standard of Living in Europe During the Last Two Millennia," in European Review of Economic History 9-1 (2005), pp. 61-95.

As the underlying height data comes from a variety of sources, here is the list for the pre 1800 period:

A’Hearn, B. A. (2003), “Anthropometric Evidence on Living Standards in Northern Italy,1730-1860”, The Journal of Economic History, 63, 2

Baten, Joerg (2013), “Height trends in Peru, 18th century”, Working Paper Univ. Tuebingen.

Baten, J. and M. Blum (2012) “Growing Taller, but Unequal: Biological Well-Being in World Regions and Its Determinants, 1810-1989”, Economic History of Developing Regions 27 (2012), pp.S66-S85

Baten, Joerg (2013b) “Heights in Belgium and the Netherlands during the 18th century: New Estimations”. Working Paper Univ. Tuebingen.

Baten, Joerg and Ricardo Salvatore (1998) "A Most Difficult Case of Estimation: Argentinian Heights, 1770-1840” The Biological Standard of Living in Comparative Perspective. Stuttgart 1998, pp. 90-96

Baten, J., Stegl M. and P. van der Eng “The Biological Standard of Living and Body Height in Colonial and Post-colonial Indonesia, 1770–2000”, Journal of Bioeconomics 15 (2013): 103-122

Camara, Antonio D. (2009) “Long-Term Trends in Height in Rural Eastern Andalusia (1750-1950)”, Historia Agraria, 47, pp. 45-67

Cinnirella, F. (2008): On the Road to Industrialization: The Biological Standard of Living in Saxony, 18th and 19th Century, Cliometrica 2 (3), 229-257

Cinnirella, F. (2008) “Optimists or pessimists? A reconsideration of nutritional status in Britain, 1740–1865”, European Review of Economic History ,12, pp. 325–354

Costa, D. and Richard Steckel (1997) “Health and Welfare during Industrialization”, National Bureau of Economics Research, University of Chicago Press 1997, pp. 50-52

Eltis, David (2013), Database on African slaves http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/database/download.faces , last accessed December 16th, 2013.

Heintel, M., Sandberg, L. S. and Steckel, R. H. (1998), “Swedish Historical Heights Revisited: New Estimation Techniques and Results”, in Komlos and Baten (eds.), The Biological Standard of Living in Comparative Perspective, Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, pp. 449-458.

Komlos, J. (1985) “Stature and Nutrition in the Habsburg Monarchy: the Standard of Living and Economic”, The American Historical Review, 90, 5

Komlos, J. (2003): An anthropometric history of early- modern France, European Review of Economic History, 7, 159-189

Komlos, J. and Francesco Cinnirella (2006): European Heights in the Early 18th Century. Munich Discussion Paper No. 2005-5

Mironov, B. (2005) “The Burden of Grandeur: Physical and Economic Well-Being of the Russian Population in the Eighteenth century” in ALLEN, BENGTSSON and DRIBE (eds.), Living Standards in the Past, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 255-277

Mironov, B. (2012) “The Standard of Living and Revolutions in Imperial Russia, 1700-1917”, Routledge, Abingdon 2012, p.95 and p. 215

Neuss (2008 “Der Biologische Lebensstandard auf Mauritius während des späten 18. Und frühen 19. Jahrhundert”. Unpubilshed Diploma Thesis Univ. Tübingen.

Steffens, Philipp (2008) “Der biologische Lebensstandard afrikanischer Sklaven auf Mauritius“, Tübingen

Salvatore, Ricardo et. al (2010) "Living Standards in Latin American History, Height, Welfare and Development, 1750-2000", David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, p.38

Stolz, Yvonne, Baten, J., Reis J. and (2013) “Portuguese Living Standards 1720-1980 in European Comparison – Heights, Income and Human Capital”, Economic History Review 66-2 (2013), pp. 545-578

As the underlying height data comes from a variety of sources, here is the list for the post 1800 period:

Al-Hourani, Huda M., C. Jeya K. Henry and Helen J. Lightowler. "Prevalence of Overweight Among Adolescent Females in the United Arab Emirates." American Journal of Human Biology 15 (2003): 758-764.

Abdeen, Ziad, Christine Jildeh, Sahar Dkeideek, Radwan Qasrawi, Ibrahim Ghannam and Haleama Al Sabbah. "Overweight and Obesity among Palestinien Adults: Analyses of the Anthropometric Data from the First National Health and Nutrition Survey (FNHANS) 1999-2000." Working Paper.

A'Hearn, Brian. “The Antebellum Puzzle Revisited: A New Look at the Physical Stature of Union Army Recruits during the Civil War.” In The Biological Standard of Living in Comparative Perspective, edited by J. Komlos and J. Baten, 250-267. Stuttgart, 1998.

A'Hearn, Brian. “Anthropometric Evidence on Living Standards in Northern Italy, 1730-1860.”' Journal of Economic History 63 (2003): 351-381.

A'Hearn, Brian. Data set on Italian Conscripts, friendly provided by Brian A'Hearn, on the Background see A'Hearn 2003. (2006)

Abdushelishvili, M. G., V. v. Ginzburg, N. n. Miklashevskaia and T. a. Trofimova. “Contributions to the physical anthropology of central asia and the Caucasus.” Russian Translation Series of the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. Harvard University 3 (1968) 2.

Al-Haboubi, Muhammad H.”Discovering a Secular Trend through a Cross-Sectional Study. King Fahd Univ Petroleum Minerals.” Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering 26 (2001): 43-57.

Alter, George, Muriel Neven and Michel Oris. “Stature in Transition: A Micro-level Study from Nineteenth-Century Belgium.” Social Science History 28 (2004) 2: 231-247.

Andrews, James M. “Evolutionary Trends in body build. Data from Thailand (Siam).” In Studies in the Anthropology of Oceania and Asia, Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 20 (1943).

Ashcroft, L., Lovell and Miall. “Heights and Weights of Adults in Rural and Urban Areas of Jamaica.” British Journal of Preventive Social Medicine 20 (1966) 1: 22–26.

Aul, J. “Tartu Riikliku Olikooli Toimetised.” Antropologija estoncev (1964) Tartu.

Aul, J. “Über die Sexualdimorphismus der anthropologischen Merkmale von Schulkindern, Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen.“ Papers on Anthropology VII, University of Tartu, Centre of Physical Anthropology (1997).

Austin, Donald. “Work Capacity and Body Morphology of Bantu and Pygmid Groups of Western Zaire.” Human Biology 51 (1979) 1: 79.

Austin, Gareth, Joerg Baten and Bas van Leeuwen. „The Biological Standard of Living in Early 19th-Century West Africa: New Anthropometric Evidence.” Working Paper LSE/Utrecht/Tuebingen (2007).

Moradi, Alexander, Gareth Austin and Joerg Baten. “Institutions, Policies and Living Standards in Ghana, 1870-1970/2000 - Lessons from Spatial and Temporal Patterns in Body Stature.” Working Paper LSE/Oxford/Tuebingen (2007).

Australian Bureau of Statistics. “How Australians Measure Up.” ABS Cat 4359.0. (1998) Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra.

Backmann, Gaston. “Die Körperlänge der Letten'.“ Upsala Läkareförenings Förhandlingar (1924) Uppsala.

Bailey, D.A., Carter and Mirwald. “Somatotypes of Canadian Men and Women.” Human Biology 54 (1982) 4: 813.

Bassino, Jean-Pascal. “Data Set on Japanese Student Heights.” Obtained via John Komlos (2009).

Basu, M. “Morphology, Serology, Dermatoglyphics, and Microevolution of some village populations in Haiti, West Indies.” Human Biology 48 (1976) 2: 245.

Basu, M. “Anthropological profile of the Muslims of Calcutta.” Anthropological Survey of India, Govt. of India, Calcutta (1985).

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Baten, Joerg. „Ernährung und wirtschaftliche Entwicklung in Bayern, 1730 – 1880.“ Stuttgart, Steiner (1999).

Baten, Joerg. “Data Set on Bavarian conscripts and convicts and Arnsberg conscripts,” http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/uni/wwl/dhheight.html. (2006). On the background of Arnsberg conscripts, see Baten and Fertig 2010.

Baten, Joerg and Scott Carson. “Latin American Anthropometrics, Past and Present– an Overview.” EHB (2010).

Baten, Joerg and Georg Fertig. “Did the Railway Increase Inequality? A Micro-Regional Analysis of Heights in the Hinterland of the Booming Ruhr Area During the Late 19th Century.” Working Paper (2010).

Baten, Joerg, Debin Ma, Stephen Morgan and Qing Wang. „Evolution of living standards and human capital in China in the 18–20th centuries: Evidences from real wages, age-heaping, and anthropometrics.” Explorations in Economic History 47 (2010): 82-97.

Baten, Joerg, Ines Pelger and Linda Twrdek. “The Anthropometric History of Argentina, Brazil and Peru during the 19th and Early 20th Century.” Economics and Human Biology (2010).

Baten, Joerg, Jaime Reis and Yvonne Stolz. “Portuguese Livings Standards 1720-1980 – Heights, Income and Human Capital.” University of Tuebingen Working Paper (2010).

Baten, Joerg, Mojgan Stegl and Pierre van der Eng. “Long Term Changes in the Biological Standard of Living in Indonesia: New Anthropometric Evidence, 1770s-2000s.” University of Tuebingen Working Paper (2009).

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Brennan, L., J. MacDonald and R. Shlomowitz. “The Heights and Economic Wellbeing of North Indian under British Rule.” Social Science Histor 18 (1994a): 271-307.

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Cranfield, John and Kris Inwood. “The great transformation: A long-run perspective on physical well-being in Canada.” Economics and Human Biology 5 (2007): 204–228.

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Danubio, Maria E., Elisa Amicone and Rita Vargiu. “Height and BMI of Italian immigrants, to the USA, 1908–1970.”Economics and Human Biology 3 (2005): 33–43.

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Anguilla[No Data]

Antigua and Barbuda1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Aruba[No Data]

Bahamas1500 (5)-2013 (23)

Barbados1500 (5)-2016 (28)

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba[No Data]

British Virgin Islands[No Data]

Cayman Islands[No Data]

Cuba1500 (8)-2016 (35)

Curaçao[No Data]

Dominica1500 (5)-2016 (21)

Dominican Republic1500 (6)-2018 (38)

Grenada1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Guadeloupe[No Data]

Haiti1500 (6)-2018 (36)

Jamaica1500 (6)-2018 (35)

Martinique[No Data]

Montserrat[No Data]

In 2010, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded a subsidy to the Clio Infra project, of which Jan Luiten van Zanden was the main applicant and which is hosted by the International Institute of Social History (IISH). Clio Infra has set up a number of interconnected databases containing worldwide data on social, economic, and institutional indicators for the past five centuries, with special attention to the past 200 years. These indicators allow research into long-term development of worldwide economic growth and inequality.

Global inequality is one of the key problems of the contemporary world. Some countries have (recently) become wealthy, other countries have remained poor. New theoretical developments in economics - such as new institutional economics, new economic geography, and new growth theory - and the rise of global economic and social history require such processes to be studied on a worldwide scale. Clio Infra provides datasets for the most important indicators. Economic and social historians from around the world have been working together in thematic collaboratories, in order to collect and share their knowledge concerning the relevant indicators of economic performance and its causes. The collected data have been standardized, harmonized, and stored for future use. New indicators to study inequality have been developed. The datasets are accessible through the Clio Infra portal which also offers possibilities for visualization of the data. Clio Infra offers the opportunity to greatly enhance our understanding of the origins, causes and character of the process of global inequality.