Average height of Irish men is 8cm more than 100 years ago

But they lag behind their European counterparts, says the Oxford Economics Paper

Irish men are an average of 8cm or almost three and a half inches taller than they were a century ago, according to new research.

The phenomenon of each generation being taller than the last one has been confirmed in the study published in the journal Oxford Economics Paper.

The average European male born in 1980 is 11cm or four and a half inches taller than their counterparts in 1875. The increase in height has been described as "truly unprecedented" in human history by report author Prof Timothy Hatton of the University of Essex.

He said better disease control and better nutrition account for most of the increases while smaller family sizes may also be a factor.


The average Irish male is only 8cm taller than his counterpart 100 years ago, the smallest increase from the 15 countries surveyed.

Prof Hatton cautioned against reading too much into the Irish figures as he said there was very little data between 1880 and 1950.

He explained that people living in a rural environment have access to better nutrition than those brought up in the “dark Satanic mills” and most Irish people were living in a rural environment at the end of the 19th century.

The average Irish male born in 1980 is now 1.76m tall (5ft 9ins).

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times