Young Pioneer Tours

Average height of Koreans

North Koreans of different heights walking in the streets

What is the average height of Koreans? And in particular the average height North Koreans? We are happy to answer these questions.

The age old question of height! Science says that being taller means being more confident, a better bread winner, and also stronger, and thus more likely to protect your mate against predators. Yep, it means the taller you are, there more chance you have of getting laid! I say: ”boohoo” ( I am 5”4).

Koreans in general and North Koreans in particular have a reputation for not being so tall, but how does that stack up (see what I did there)? Are North Koreans shorter than South Koreans? And how tall are North Koreans? We have all that and more in our guide to the average height of Koreans.

So, are there any tall North Koreans?

It is hard to provide exact data for average North Korean height, but as someone who has been traveling to the country for 14 years, I can at least provide some anecdotal evidence! Both men and women that I have met over the years seem to have been getting taller, and I personally know a few 6 foot plus fellas in North Korea (although no women).

It should also be remembered that the world’s tallest basketball player is also from North Korea! Alas he was never to play in the NBA due to the pesky sanctions. He was though spotted at the funeral of Generalissimo Kim Jong Il, which of course caused much rumour and speculation.

Is height important to North Koreans?

Yes, and no. The country has of course had shorter leaders, and it is certainly not the obsession it is in other countries, but again with that being said it is rare to see a shorter man married to a taller woman.

Plaques commemorating the donations of different socialist or juche groups on the Juche Tower
A guest stands next to a local North Korean guide in front of plates commemorating the donations of international Juche study groups and other donators.

Women as is the norm tend to prefer taller men, while men prefer their ladies to be shorter than them.

What is the average height of North Koreans?

Although there is no official study on the average height in North Korea, some studies have suggested that the average North Korean height for men is 165.6 cm (5 ft 5 in), whilst the average height for North Korean women is 154.9 cm (5 ft 1 in). This makes the average height of North Koreans at a similar level to other countries in the region.

This is also makes them far from the shortest people on earth, with that honour going to the people of Timor-Leste, another place that we run great tours to.

To read about the shortest people in the world click here.

So, are South Koreans taller than North Koreans?

The average height for South Korean men is 170.7 cm (5 ft 7 in), whilst for women it is 157.4 cm (5 ft 2 in). On average, South Korean men are 5 inches or so taller than North Korean men, whilst there is but a mere inch in it when you compare the height of North Korean women with their southern cousins.

Reasons for this are hotly debated, but the problems related to the Arduous March probably play some factor. Taller though does not always mean tougher though.

What is the average Korean height?

Using my very rudimentary math that would have the average height of a combined Korean man at 5 foot 6 inches and Korean women being just under 5 foot 2! If we were ever to see a combined Korea that would make Koreans a bit taller than their Chinese neighbors!

But who cares how tall a Korean is! Some of the best things – me included – come in small packages…

You can check out our North Korean tours here.

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