The Tallest Ethnic Group

As a followup to the previous post, I wanted to figure out which ethnic group is the tallest in the world. Again, we go back to the initial resource link we had used before on wiseGEEK found HERE

Of course to be able to answer that question, we have to define what is exactly an “ethnic group” and what is the difference between the words and terms ethnic group and ethnicity and race and nationality.

Let’s explain all the terms from easiest to hardest.

1. Nationality – Nationality refers to the geo-political land mass you are associated with by political and military treaties derived terms from rules and regulations. Where you hold your citizenship is what your nationality is. Usually, the country of your passport is the country of your nationality (although not always, exceptions can be expats, asylum seekers, spies ie. 007 James Bond). If you have dual citizenship, like being both Canadian and American, you have dual nationality.

This means that if you are chinese and you were born by chinese parents in China but you moved to the USA and became an american citizenship through naturalization, your nationality is American or USA.

Note: By coincidence (or maybe not so much coincidence) we had answered in our previous post HERE the question “What is the tallest nationality?”

2. Race – Race as defined by Wikipedia found HERE is “”a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by heritable phenotypic characteristics, geographic ancestry, physical appearance, ethnicity, and social status. In the early twentieth century the term was often used, in a taxonomic sense, to denote genetically differentiated human populations defined by phenotype.””

Apparently, the word “race” was originally used to refer to any nations or ethnic groups. From Wikipedia, “”In the 18th century, the differences among human groups became a focus of scientific investigation…The 1775 treatise “The Natural Varieties of Mankind,” by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach proposed five major divisions: the Caucasoid race, Mongoloid race,Ethiopian race (later termed the Negroid race), American Indian race, and Malayan race, but he did not propose any hierarchy among the races. Blumenbach also noted the graded transition in appearances from one group to adjacent groups and suggested that “one variety of mankind does so sensibly pass into the other, that you cannot mark out the limits between them”.

In addition, “”In the last two decades of the 18th century polygenism, the belief that different races had evolved separately in each continent and shared no common ancestor, was advocated in England by historian Edward Long and anatomist Charles White.””

It is without a doubt that because of the idea and creation of race, a lot of struggles and pain an suffering has resulted. Social scientists, anthropologist, and geneticist have all tried to define the term “race” as accurately as possible while most geneticists have pretty much concluded that the idea of race is very hard to find from a biology point of view at least right now. Since the science does not back up the idea of “race”, I have decided to not talk about race since it is a poorly understood or even defined word/ concept. I personally do not believe in the idea of “race” since the concept is too fuzzy and inaccurate that the very definition of the word can be left to interpretation toevery subjective person’s own biases. For me, what can not be easily defined will not be discussed too much.

3. Ethnicity  – That leaves up to only figure out what is the difference between the terms “ethnicity” and “ethnic group” . From this PDF found off the University of Deleware website HERE. the word ethnicity is defined as “”identification with and feeling a part of, an ethnic group and exclusion from certain other groups because of this affiliation. ”

That means that the term “ethnicity does not directly describes physical attributes and characteristics like height. It really is a “feeling”. When the word “identification” is used, that means that it really is talking about a belief system, not a system that implies or directly is related to physical characteristics perse. Thus, the word “ethnicity” does not really imply height generalizations or stereotypes.

For example, if you asked people in both North and South Korea what their ethnicity is, they would say that they are both Korean. However, the average height of the North Koreans is far lower than the average height of the people in South Korea.

In general, the relative group size of the terms “nationality” and “ethnicity” are usually the same. Not so for the term “asian”.

Asia is a continent of 4 billion people. Ethnicity and Nationality refers most often to one’s country of origin or the nation one’s relatives came from. Since the USA is a nation of immigrants, the USA is a big exception to the rule that the group size of “ethnicity” should be the same as for “nationality”. For most people in the world, when you ask them what is their ethnicity or nationality, they give the same answer, like Lithuanian, Polish, Thai, etc. BUt for the US, you ask them their nationality, they will say “American” but when asked about their ethnicity, they might say something like “1/2 english, 1/4th german, 1/8th french, 1/8th Cherokee”

4. Ethnic Group – An Ethnic group is defined as “”shared beliefs, values, habits, customs and norms, and a common language, religion, history, geography, kinship or “race”. The PDF make the important point that ethnic groups are “view and treated as if features are biological”. So now we see that the term “ethnic group” is far better and more accurate at describing and defining a group of people. The size of the group is also the smallest.

An example is that even though most people think that the country of India is mostly homogeneous, it is actually a conglomerate of smaller ethnic groups that combine together to give themselves one label, one word that defines them. There are at least over 40 small ethnic groups that make up the country of India. In general, the term “ethnic group” kind of gives the impression of a tribe, more than a city-state.

So this is why I am trying to use the term “ethnic group” when I ask what is the question “What is the tallest ethnic group in the world?”

Let’s FINALLY get to answering that question now.


I remember going through the over 300 comments below the question and a specific area appeared over and over again where people stated that the height of people was very large.

It was a area that included, croatia, serbia, bosnia/herzegovina, and montenegro. One area that was stated in almost mythical ways was Dalmatia. Personally, I had never even known such a place existed, except the reference to the dog breed type Dalmatians.  Apparently the whole region can combined and referred to as the dinaric alps area.

From this scientific study HERE done in 2005 of the measurement of men from the dinaric alps area, 28% of all males was over 1.90 meters in height. That is insane. If we now consider the fact that the data taken also included say older generations which are probably shorter, we could state that 1 out of every two males in the area is 6′ 3″ or taller. I have heard many stories and references about the height of men from Croatia and Serbia.

Let’s take a look at the circumstantial evidence and try to build a case for our selves.

1. I have met maybe 3 people who I was sure was Croatian. One guy I talked to who was 6′ 1′ told me that he was the shortest guy in his family of 4 brothers. The others, I never asked about their height.

2. 2008 100 meter butterfly in swimming silver medalist Michael Cavic is 6’6″.

3. Retired basketball legend and Bulls Toni Kukoc was 6′ 11″.

4. The tallest tennis player is Ivo Karlovic who stands at 6′ 10″ from Croatia. and Marin Cilic is 6’6″

5. World Cup’s tallest striker – Serbia’s 6ft 7.5 ins forward Nikola Zigic

6. Vanja Iveša – 2.05m – (6ft 8½”) - Croatian goalkeeper playing with Turkcell Super Lig club Eskişehirspor

7. Lazar Jovisić – 2.02m (6ft 7½”) -  21 year old Serbian goalkeeper transferred to CD Nacional in Portugal in 2008.

8. Vanja Ivesa – 2.05 m (6′ 9″) – Croatian goalkeeper

9. Darko Milicic – drafted 2nd in 2003 by NBA after Lebron James – 6’11-7’0″

10. Miladin Kovacevic – accused of assaulting student and tried to flee country – 6′ 10″

11. Vlade Divac – 7′ 1″ – famous NBA former player -

17. Serbia basketball players over 7 feet tall: 1. Nenad Krstic – 7′ 0″, Stephan Lukovic – 7′ 0″, Nemanja Arsic – 7′ 0″, Bogdan Radosaljevic – 7′ 0″, Dejan Musli – 7′ 0″, Nikola Milutinov, Mile Ilić – 7′ 1″, Dusan Ognjenovic – 7’1″, Dragan Tubak – 7′ 2″, Nenad Misanovic – 7′ 2″, Dusan Cantekin (Dusan Gavrilovic) – 7′ 3.4″- 7′ 4″, Boban Marjanovic – 7′ 4″, Samuel Deguara – 7′ 4″, Marko Dujkovic – 7′ 5″, Marko Marcetic – 7′ 5″, Slavko Vranes – 7′ 6.5″

Note: There are Serbian Basketball teams where the average height of the men is 6′ 10″

18. Croatia basketball players over 7 feet tall:  Miro Bilan – 7′ 0″, Mario Kasun – 7′ 0″, Jusuf Nurkic – 7′ 0″, Denis Vrsaljko – 7′ 0″, Domagoj Bubalo – 7′ 0″, Filip Kraljevic – 7’0″,     Ognjen Kuzmić – 7′ 1″, Robert Rikic – 7′ 2″, Nedžad Sinanović – 7′ 3″

15. Bosnia basketball players over 7 feet tall: Nemanja Sladoje – 7′ 0″, Nedžad Sinanovic – 7′ 3″, Dalibor micic – 7′ 4.5″

13. Montenegro basketball players over 7 feet tall: Milos Lopicic – 7′ 1″

14. Slovakia basketball players over 7 feet tall:- Martin Miklosik – 7′ 5.4″

If you look at the list, you would realize that the number of extraordinrarily tall players is incredible. I don’t know which ethnic group at this point has the highest average level height. As of right now, at this point, it is not possible to determine which Ethnic Group really has the highest average height. Even though Serbia has far more 7 footers listed in its basketball program, it could be that the Serbian basketball program is just more developed than the other Nations in the Dinaric Alps area. However, what is clearly noticeable is that there is a disproportionately high number of extremely tall people in that country.

For the populations of the countries we are viewing they are from Wikipedia,

1. Serbia – 7.1 Million from October 2011

2. Croatia – 4.3 Million from March 2011

3. Bosnia & Herzegovina – 3.8 Million from June 2011

4. Montenegro – 0.6 Million from 2011

Note: This article will be edited further later, say in 1 month because I don’t know how to finish the article and reach a conclusive answer

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