The Relationship between Height and Great Intelligence

There are some studies that point to a weak correlation between height and intelligence.

To gain more understanding on this subject, we have performed comprehensive research online. This involved analyzing the heights of many of the most intelligent people (specifically men) in the 20th century.

Here are the results, which were quite interesting;

Tallness and High Intelligence

Based on the research, the smartest people are much more likely to be tall, which basically means having a height of 183 cm (6’) or more for men. They’re also less likely to be short.

A whopping 43% of the most clever men in the 20th century are 183 cm (6’) or taller, while that number is only 15% for the general men’s population. This indicates almost a three times more likelihood for an individual from the smartest group to be tall.

height distribution for the smartest vs all men

View Larger Image

Additionally, only 9% of the smartest men are shorter than 170 cm (5′ 7″) while that percentage is about 23% for the general population.

So, it would make sense that the average height for the smartest men is about 180 cm (5′ 11″) compared to the general average height of 175 cm (5′ 9″).

Research Method

The research involved basically analyzing the heights of 580 of the brightest men in the 20th century from a few countries in North America and Europe.

We picked men because that’s the gender for the majority of the most intelligent people we found during the online research and we had to compare only people from the same gender.

And we chose the 20th century because we needed to concentrate on a specific century due to the height difference between generations.

We noticed that the vast majority of the smart people found were from either United States or United Kingdom. So, we researched only men who are from those two countries in addition to Canada, Germany and France. Because these five countries all have almost the same average men’s height (according to Wikipedia).

The list includes famous individuals from various professions such as writers, physicists, actors, artists, politicians, inventors, musicians, singers, scientists, philosophers, doctors, rappers, engineers and comedians. Some examples of people researched are Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler, Dr. Seuss, Henry Ford, John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.

We tried to get the height numbers from only reliable sources such as Wikipedia, IMDb and trusted news outlets.

We used the data from the CDC to obtain/calculate the average men’s height, percentage of men who have a height of 183 cm (6’) or more and percentage of those who are shorter than 170 cm (5′ 7″).


High intelligence does seem to correlate with tallness. Based on the research, the smartest men are three times more likely to be tall which means having a height of 183 cm (6′) or more.

While the research was done on men, we would assume the same conclusion will apply to woman except what’s considered tall/short will be different and the probability might also be different (e.g. two times instead of three).

Keep in mind that correlation does not imply causation. The fact that there are more tall individuals among the smartest does not mean that tallness itself causes the person to be more intelligent and vice versa, there are probably other factors that come into play. You can find very smart people among all height groups.

Remember to share this information for the benefit of others.