Did you know that your palm smells like peanut butter? Go on, lift it just an inch away from your face. Now, imagine that I smacked your hand (ha ha). Seriously, the hand is an incredible tool, but do you know the average size of a human hand?
The average size of a hand varies based on a person’s gender, age, and overall body size. In general, men tend to have larger hands than women, and hand size tends to increase with age. However, there is a wide range of variation in hand size within each group.
In this guide, I’ll speak about how amazing the human hand is, how large the average hand is, and the various factors that can affect hand size.
A Brief Look at the Human Hand
The structure of the human hand is remarkable in its adaptability. From a practical standpoint, it enables us to carry out a vast array of actions, including grasping objects, writing, typing, playing musical instruments, and many more.
Various bones, joints, muscles, and tendons come together to form the human hand. Finger bones (phalanges), palm bones (metacarpals), and wrist bones (carpals) make up the skeleton of the hand (wrist bones). There are 2 main types of joints in the hand: the interphalangeal joints (which connect the finger bones) and the metacarpophalangeal joints (which connect the metacarpals between the palm bones and finger bones).
The flexibility of the human hand is one of the marvels of the human body. The hands of a musician or factory worker who uses them all day will become more dexterous and coordinated with experience, while the hands of a construction worker will become stronger and more adept with time. The hand can also learn to use a variety of implements, such as a pen, hammer, or computer mouse.
The hand, in addition to its practical uses, can be a medium of artistic expression. The human hand is frequently depicted in works of art and literature as a means of expressing ideas and feelings. The human hand is an extremely effective nonverbal communication tool, and it can be used to convey a wide range of emotions, from love to anger to happiness and beyond.
Average Hand Size
When measuring hand size, there are 3 things to consider:
- Length—the distance from the tip of the middle finger to the wrist.
- Width—the distance between the farther points of the hand.
- Span—the distance between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the pinky when the hand is fully extended.
The following chart describes the average hand length, width, and span based on gender and age. Keep in mind that there is considerable variation in hand size across age and gender groups and that these are only rough averages.
|Age Group||Gender||Average Hand Length (in.)||Average Hand Width (in.)||Average Hand Span (in.)|
|Children (3 to 5 years)||Male||3.5 to 4.0||2.5 to 3.0||4.5 to 5.0|
|Children (3 to 5 years)||Female||3.5 to 4.0||2.5 to 3.0||4.5 to 5.0|
|Children (6 to 9 years)||Male||4.0 to 4.5||2.5 to 3.0||5.0 to 5.5|
|Children (6 to 9 years)||Female||4.0 to 4.5||2.5 to 3.0||5.0 to 5.5|
|Children (10 to 13 years)||Male||4.5 to 5.0||3.0 to 3.5||5.5 to 6.0|
|Children (10 to 13 years)||Female||4.5 to 5.0||3.0 to 3.5||5.5 to 6.0|
|Teens (14 to 17 years)||Male||5.0 to 5.5||3.5 to 4.0||6.0 to 6.5|
|Teens (14 to 17 years)||Female||5.0 to 5.5||3.5 to 4.0||6.0 to 6.5|
|Adults (18 to 29 years)||Male||6.0 to 7.0||3.5 to 4.5||7.0 to 8.0|
|Adults (18 to 29 years)||Female||5.5 to 6.5||3.0 to 4.0||6.5 to 7.5|
|Adults (30 to 49 years)||Male||6.0 to 7.0||3.5 to 4.5||7.0 to 8.0|
|Adults (30 to 49 years)||Female||5.5 to 6.5||3.0 to 4.0||6.5 to 7.5|
|Adults (50+ years)||Male||6.0 to 7.0||3.5 to 4.5||7.0 to 8.0|
|Adults (50+ years)||Female||5.5 to 6.5||3.0 to 4.0||6.5 to 7.5|
Factors that Affect Hand Size
If you’re self-conscious that your hand is larger or smaller than the figures in the table above, don’t be. There are several factors that can affect the development of your hand size, which I’ll describe below:
Men typically have bigger hands than women in all 3 measurements. This occurs for a variety of reasons, one of which is the inherent size and shape differences between the sexes in terms of bones and muscles.
However, if you were to take a look at the hand sizes of WNBA players, you’d find that their hands are much larger than the average male hand size for their age group.
The average size of a person’s hand will grow with age, though the rate of this increase varies considerably between individuals. Multiple factors contribute to this, one of which is the maturation of the skeleton and muscles of the hand over time.
Again, looking at the basketball world (the NBA this time), you’ll find young draftees with considerably larger hands than the average person several years older than them.
Overall body size
Although there is a wide range of variation within each body size group, people who are larger in stature have larger hands on average. This is because the proportions of a person’s body can be inferred from the size of their hands.
As always, there are exceptions to every rule—just ask Donald Trump.
Hand size is partly inherited, so people who have larger hands may have inherited this trait from their parents or ancestors. However, you shouldn’t mistake partly for solely since environmental factors also play a role in muscle and bone development.
There is some evidence to suggest that hand size can vary slightly among different racial and ethnic groups. However, there is supporting research for both sides of the debate. It’s also important to note that while some studies found that ethnicity played a role in hand size, the differences were almost negligible.