What Is Considered Tall in Singapore?

Did you know: The average height of Singaporean women has grown by over 5 inches (~13 cm) in the last century. So, while many Southeast Asian populations are among the world’s shortest, that’s changing a bit in Singapore.

But Singaporeans are still shorter than Americans and most western populations. So, how tall is “tall” in Singapore, today? And would you be “tall” there?

The average height in Singapore is 5’8″ (173 cm) for men and 5’3″ (161 cm) for women. An average American man at 5’9″ (175 cm) would be taller than ~76% of Singaporean men and ~99.9% of Singaporean women. Meanwhile, if you’re 6’0″ (183 cm) or above, then you’re taller than ~99% of Singaporeans.

Below, I’ll share some height comparison tables, so you can see how you compare to Singaporeans. I’ll also address why Singaporeans are growing taller, as well as Singaporean women’s views on dating guys shorter than them.

Average Height in Singapore

The average man in Singapore is 5’8″ (173 cm), and the average woman is 5’3″ (161 cm). (source)

Here are some comparisons to put that into context:

  • On average, Singaporean men are 4 cm (1.6″) shorter than men from the U.S., 5 cm (2.0″) shorter than men from Canada and the U.K., and 6 cm (2.4″) shorter than men from Australia.
  • On average, Singaporean women are 2 cm (0.8″) shorter than women from the U.S., 3 cm (1.2″) shorter than women from the U.K., and 4 cm (1.6″) shorter than women from Canada and Australia.

We’ll look at how Singapore compares to other Asian countries below. But next, we’ll take a look at the distribution of heights in Singapore.

Height Comparison Tables

Have you wondered how your height would compare to Singaporean men and women? Well, you can use the following two tables to check.

First, let’s see how your height compares to Singaporean men. (Note: These tables assume you’re comparing your height to an adult around 30 years old.)

Your HeightYou Are Taller Than ____% of Singaporean Men.
4’11” (150 cm)~0%
5’0″ (152 cm)0.1%
5’1″ (155 cm)0.4%
5’2″ (157 cm)1%
5’3″ (160 cm)3%
5’4″ (163 cm)8%
5’5″ (165 cm)16%
5’6″ (168 cm)29%
5’7″ (170 cm)45%
5’8″ (173 cm)61%
5’9″ (175 cm)76%
5’10” (178 cm)87%
5’11” (180 cm)94%
6’0″ (183 cm)98%
6’1″ (185 cm)99.2%
6’2″ (188 cm)99.8%
6’3″ (191 cm)99.9%
6’4″+ (193+ cm)~100%
How does your height compare to Singaporean men? (source)

Next up below, let’s take a look at how your height compares to Singaporean women.

I actually found a survey said only 20% of Singaporean women are open to dating a man who is shorter than them. So if you’re a man looking to date in Singapore, these numbers below may be quite relevant for you!

Your HeightYou Are Taller Than ____% of Singaporean Women.
4’8″ (142 cm)~0%
4’9″ (145 cm)0.1%
4’10” (147 cm)0.6%
4’11” (150 cm)2%
5’0″ (152 cm)6%
5’1″ (155 cm)16%
5’2″ (157 cm)31%
5’3″ (160 cm)50%
5’4″ (163 cm)70%
5’5″ (165 cm)85%
5’6″ (168 cm)94%
5’7″ (170 cm)98%
5’8″ (173 cm)99.5%
5’9″ (175 cm)99.9%
5’10” (178 cm)~100%
How does your height compare to Singaporean women? (source)

Why Are Singaporeans So Short?

Singaporeans are not actually that short anymore. They have become the tallest population in Southeast Asia. But they still lag behind many western countries. Why is that?

Well, the two biggest factors that determine height are genetics and nutrition. It is believed that genetics determine 60% to 80% of your height, while nutrition determines the other 20% to 40%. (source)

It’s been suggested in Discover Magazine that Asian populations may be shorter due to a gene called HMGA2. The “short” allele of this gene appears more common in East Asia compared to Europe and Africa.

So that may explain at least part of the genetics. I also found this Stanford article about why evolution favored shorter bones in some populations.

But nutrition and healthcare also seem to play a big role—and we can see this in how heights in Singapore are actually changing in recent years.

Are Singaporean People Getting Taller?

Over the past century, many countries have seen major increases in average height. Singapore is one of those countries. Specifically, 18-year-old Singaporean women gained about 5.2″ (13 cm) in height from 1914 to 2014.

This is not even the biggest height gain in all of Asia. South Korea has seen a stunning 8″ height increase for women and 6″ for men in a similar time frame. (source)

Really, average heights have been increasing around the world in recent decades. This is especially true in countries that have rapidly developed economically.

As populations rise out of poverty, improved maternal and child nutrition and healthcare generally leads to taller and taller heights.

Therefore, it’s not a surprise that Singaporeans have become taller than most other populations in SE Asia. It goes hand in hand with the incredible economic development they’ve experienced in the last century.

Height in Singapore vs Other Countries

Now let’s take a look at how Singapore fits in with several other Asian countries for height:

CountryFemale Avg. HeightMale Avg. Height
Cambodia5’1″ (154 cm)5’5″ (165 cm)
China5’4″ (163 cm)5’9″ (175 cm)
Indonesia5’1″ (154 cm)5’5″ (166 cm)
Japan5’2″ (158 cm)5’8″ (172 cm)
Malaysia5’2″ (157 cm)5’6″ (168 cm)
Philippines5’1″ (154 cm)5’5″ (165 cm)
Singapore5’3″ (161 cm)5’8″ (173 cm)
South Korea5’4″ (163 cm)5’9″ (175 cm)
Taiwan5’3″ (160 cm)5’8″ (173 cm)
Thailand5’3″ (159 cm)5’7″ (171 cm)
Vietnam5’2″ (158 cm)5’6″ (168 cm)
Average Heights in Asia by Country. (Source)

As you can see, the shortest countries here are Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Meanwhile, the tallest are South Korea and China.

Singapore is in the middle, but a bit closer to the taller end of the spectrum. Singapore has very similar average heights as Taiwan—and pretty similar to Japan and Thailand, as well.

In the end, “tall” is not a precise word. Realistically, there is a spectrum from “somewhat tall” to “tall” to “very tall.” And all those terms are subjective and relative.

That said, most people would acknowledge that anything above 5’11” (180 cm) is clearly tall for men in Singapore, while for women, it might be more like 5’6″ (168 cm) to really be tall in Singapore.