America Is Getting Shorter: Are Immigrants to Blame?
Life + Money

America Is Getting Shorter: Are Immigrants to Blame?

REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

Donald Trump likes to rail about illegal immigrants stealing American jobs, dragging drugs across the border and committing violent criminal acts.

That seems like plenty to lay on illegals – or the undocumented for the politically correct – but if he needs another negative, here’s one: The U.S. is getting shorter, and the influx of immigrants from Asia and south-of-the-border countries may have something to do with Americans on average now being lower to the ground.

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A new study of trends in human height and how they have changed over the past 100 years says that American men hit their maximum height in 1996 and women topped out in 1988. Two of the multiple authors of the report by NCD Risk Collaboration, a network of health scientists around the world, suggested that the decline might be tied to deteriorating nutrition but said they had not taken into account the effects of immigration from Central American nations with considerably shorter inhabitants, according to a story in The New York Times.

The study, published in eLife, said the shortest people measured over the past century of the 18.6 million were Guatemalan women who in 1896 averaged 4 feet, 6 inches tall.

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“The pace of growth in height has not been uniform over the past century,” the study of some 18.6 million people said. “…There were also variations…across high-income western countries, with height increase having plateaued in Northern European countries like Finland and in English-speaking countries like the UK for 2–3 decades, followed by Eastern Europe The earliest of these occurred in the USA, which was one of the tallest nations a century ago but has now fallen behind its European counterparts after having had the smallest gain in height of any high-income country.”

The tallest group of people measured over the 100 years studied were men, according to NDC-RisC, were “born in the Netherlands in the last quarter of the 20th century.” They averaged more than 6 feet tall.