Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered if you have a giraffe-like neck? Don’t worry; you are not alone. Most of us have tried grabbing our necks in our hands.
Your neck size can affect your overall physique aesthetics. That said, the neck is one of the most overlooked muscles in the body. Consider bodybuilding for a second. Bodybuilders spend countless hours working on their pecs, biceps, quads, and even calves, but they neglect training their necks. Bodybuilding programs rarely feature neck exercises.
Your neck supports your head, protects your spinal cord, and allows you to move your head in all directions.
Combat sports fare better in the neck training department. Boxing and MMA athletes focus on training their necks as it allows them to take punches without getting knocked out. It also reduces the risk of concussions, neck strains, and other traumatic injuries.
Although most people don’t pay much attention to their neck size, it says a lot about them. A thick neck can signal dominance and strength, which can help you stand out in a crowd. Conversely, a small neck is often associated with weakness and vulnerability.
In this article, we go over the average neck size for males and females, factors affecting your neck size, how to measure your neck size correctly, and health risks associated with your neck size.
Furthermore, this article will help you determine whether you are a big burly bison or a delicate swan. Okay, enough with the animal analogies; here is everything you need to know about the average neck size for males and females.
Why You Should Know the Average Neck Size
You could determine your neck size by wrapping a measuring tape around your neck. Doing so will help you find a fitting collared shirt and ensure you don’t suffocate in your new wardrobe. Furthermore, knowing your neck size can help you assess your fitness level as it is linked with your body weight, BMI, waist size, and waist-to-hip ratio. 
Besides affecting your physique aesthetics, your neck size also says a lot about your health and fitness. A 2016 study found that your neck size may be a better alternative to waist circumference and other anthropometric measures as a metabolic risk marker for prediabetes. The study concludes that neck circumference can be considered for routine assessment in primary care clinics when using expensive and sophisticated machines is neither easy nor justifiable. Neck circumference measurements can be instrumental among populations such as pregnant women, where taking traditional measures may be challenging or not meaningful. A different study found that men with big necks may be at higher risk of heart disease. 
What is average neck size for men and women?
The average neck size for men is 15.2 inches (38.7 cm), while for women it is 13.1 inches (33.3 cm), as found in a 2020 study. It’s crucial to note that neck circumference is closely associated with factors such as body weight and BMI, so individual measurements may vary. To accurately measure your neck size, wrap a flexible measuring tape around the base of your neck, just above the collarbone. Knowing your neck size is essential for selecting well-fitting garments like shirts, as well as for monitoring changes in body composition or weight distribution.
Average Neck Size For Males
Your body mass index (BMI) is generally used to see if your neck is average size. BMI is based on your height and weight; it is derived by dividing your weight (in pounds) by the square of your height (in feet). You could use our convenient online calculator to determine your BMI.
Based on your BMI score, you will be categorized accordingly.
- Underweight = <18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5 – 24.9
- Overweight = 25 – 29.9
- Obesity = 30 – 34.9
- Extreme Obesity = BMI of 35 or greater
Here is the average male neck size according to the BMI:
|20||14.1 in (35.7 cm)|
|22.5||14.6 in (37.2 cm)|
|25||15.2 in (38.7 cm)|
|27.5||15.7 in (40 cm)|
|30||16.2 in (41.2 cm)|
|32.5||16.6 in (42.2 cm)|
|35||17 in (43.2 cm)|
|37.5||17.4 in (44.2 cm)|
|40||17.8 in (45.3 cm)|
The average neck size for men is 15.2 inches (38.7 cm). This data also shows that there is a steady rise in neck circumference as an individual’s BMI increases. Interestingly, fit people typically have smaller necks than the general population. It is mainly because active people have less adipose tissue stored in their necks.
Now that you know the average male neck circumference, let’s break them down into an easy-to-understand size chart. Here is an overall men’s neck size chart:
|Small||14″ to 14-¾”|
|Medium||14-¾” to 15-¼”|
|Large||15-¼” to 16″|
Men with a neck smaller than 14 inches can be considered to have “very small” necks. On the other hand, males with a 14-inch to 14.75-inch neck fall in the “small” category, 14.75 to 15.25 inches is the “medium” size bracket, 15.25 to 16 inches is the “large” group, and folks with a neck bigger than 16 inches can be considered to have a “very large” neck.
Average Neck Size For Females
Below is the average neck size for females:
|20||12.3 in (31.2 cm)|
|22.5||12.7 in (32.2 cm)|
|25||13.1 in (33.3 cm)|
|27.5||13.5 in (34.2 cm)|
|30||13.8 in (35.1 cm)|
|32.5||14.1 in (35.9 cm)|
|35||14.4 in (36.7 cm)|
|37.5||14.7 in (37.4 cm)|
|40||15 in (38.2 cm)|
The average neck size for women is 13.1 inches (33.3 cm). Interestingly, the average neck size for men and women falls in the overweight BMI category. Like in the case of men, the average neck size increases with an increase in BMI. On average, women have a neck size 2.1 inches smaller than men.
Here is an overall women’s neck size chart:
|Small||11¾″ to 12-¼”|
|Medium||12-¼” to 12-½”|
|Large||12-½” to 13-¼″|
Women with a neck smaller than 11.75 inches fall in the “very small” category. Ladies in the 11.75 to 12.25 inches bracket are in the “small” category. In contrast, women in the 12.25 inches to the 12.50-inch range are in the “medium” category. The “large” category includes women with a 12.5-inch to 13.75-inch neck, and ladies with a neck bigger than 13.25 inches are in the “very large” group.
How To Measure Neck Size
You will need a measuring tape and someone’s help to determine your neck size. This is how to measure your neck size accurately:
- Stand upright with your shoulder relaxed and your head straight.
- Ask your partner to wrap the tape around the thickest part of your neck. The tape should be parallel to the floor. A skewed tape will give you an incorrect reading.
- The tape should be snug around your neck. However, it should not dig into your skin.
- Alternatively, you could take this measurement yourself while standing in front of a mirror, but seeking someone’s help ensures the measurement is accurate.
- Note the number where the tape overlaps.
- Repeat this process 2-3 times for an accurate reading.
- Use your neck size to track your weight loss progress. A waist circumference reduction typically precedes a neck size reduction.
- Stand in front of a mirror while taking your neck size measurement to ensure the tape is parallel to the floor.
- Relax your throat during your neck circumference measurement. Tensing up your neck will skew the results.
- Wrap the tape just below your Adam’s apple or at the base of your neck.
How To Measure Your Neck Size Without a Measuring Tape
Don’t fret if you don’t have a tape measure; you can measure your neck with a simple thread. Wrap the thread around your neck just like you would with a measuring tape. Mark the overlapping ends of the thread with a pen or a marker. Lay the thread on a flat surface. Measure the distance between the marked ends using a scale.
Factors Affecting Neck Size
The following factors can affect your neck size:
Males generally have thicker necks than their female counterparts. A man’s neck, on average, is two inches bigger than a female’s.
Aging can affect your neck size. Your neck muscles can atrophy and weaken, leading to a loss of neck size. Furthermore, although not desirable, loose skin around your neck can create an illusion of a larger neck. 
Weight and Height
The neck thickness for males and females is directly proportional to their BMI. Your BMI is derived by dividing your weight by the square of your height. Although your height remains constant after a certain age, your body weight can determine your neck thickness.
Body Fat and Muscle Mass
Heavier folks generally have thicker necks. It is because of a higher fat deposit around their neck. On the other hand, you can lose the excess fat around your neck by losing weight and building muscle.
Poor posture, lack of physical activity, and smoking can contribute to a weaker and smaller neck. On the flip side, regular exercise and eating a balanced diet can help build a thicker and stronger neck.
Certain Health Conditions
A few health conditions can also lead to a change in your neck size. People with thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, may have a larger or smaller neck because of changes in hormone levels.
Neck Size and Health Risks
As per a study, the average neck circumference for a guy was about 15 inches. Each 1-inch increase in the neck circumference leads to 32 percent more likelihood of having insulin resistance, 24 percent more chances of having raised blood pressure, 50 percent higher chances of having high triglycerides, and 22 percent more probability of developing low HDL. 
Furthermore, fat buildup around your neck can lead to plaque buildup in the carotid arteries in your neck, which hampers your heart health. Notably, men with thick necks because of strong, developed trap muscles don’t face the same risk.
The Ideal Neck Size
Your neck size depends on multiple factors. If you want to improve your aesthetics, you’ll have to grow your neck size proportionally with other muscle groups.
Eugen Sandow, also known as the “Father of Modern Bodybuilding,” spent countless hours visiting museums and measuring Greek statue proportions to devise his ideal physique blueprint. He called the final product the Grecian Ideal.
The Grecian ideal approximates ideal muscle proportions based on your wrist circumference. According to the Grecian ideal calculator, a person with 6.85-inch wrists should have a 17-inch neck. 
Bodybuilding legends like Steve Reeves, Reg Park, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, Lee Labrada, and Serge Nubret used the Grecian Ideal calculator to build their iconic physiques; there is no reason why you shouldn’t use it too.
What is considered a small neck?
For males, a neck smaller than 14.75 inches can be considered “small.” On the other hand, ladies with a neck smaller than 12.25 inches fall in the same category.
Where to measure your neck for body fat?
Whatever your goal, you must always measure the thickest part of your neck using a tape measure. Wrap the tape just below your Adam’s apple or at the base of your neck.
What is the average neck size by age?
The average neck size increases until middle age, after which it slowly starts tapering. The average neck size of males is 15.2 inches, whereas it is 13.6 inches for teenagers.
Also Check Out:
- Average Wrist Size for Males and Females
- Average Forearm Size For Men and Women
- Average Biceps Size: How Do You Measure Up?
- Average Thigh Circumference in Males and Females
- Average Calf Size for Men and Women
- Average Ankle Size For Men and Women
- Average Waist Size For Women and Men
- Average Chest Size For Men & How to Measure Your Chest
- Average Butt Size For Women and Men
Your neck size reveals a lot about your health, personality, and even your combat sports performance. Learning about the average male and female neck sizes can give you valuable insights into your physical well-being.
Use the tables in this article to assess how you stack up against your peers in the neck width department. Your neck size is a delicate subject; you must consult a qualified healthcare provider before embarking on any new exercise or training program for increasing or decreasing your neck size.
- Ben-Noun, L., Sohar, E. and Laor, A. (2001), Neck Circumference as a Simple Screening Measure for Identifying Overweight and Obese Patients. Obesity Research, 9: 470-477. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2001.61
- Joshipura K, Muñoz-Torres F, Vergara J, Palacios C, Pérez CM. Neck Circumference May Be a Better Alternative to Standard Anthropometric Measures. J Diabetes Res. 2016;2016:6058916. doi: 10.1155/2016/6058916. Epub 2016 Feb 11. PMID: 26981543; PMCID: PMC4766356.
- Yang GR, Dye TD, Zand MS, Fogg TT, Yuan SY, Yang JK, Li D. Association Between Neck Circumference and Coronary Heart Disease: A Meta-analysis. Asian Pac Isl Nurs J. 2019;4(1):34-46. doi: 10.31372/20190401.1031. PMID: 31037271; PMCID: PMC6484201.
- Satoshi Tanaka, Kei Ando, Kazuyoshi Kobayashi, Taisuke Seki, Takashi Hamada, Masaaki Machino, Kyotaro Ota, Masayoshi Morozumi, Shunsuke Kanbara, Sadayuki Ito, Naoki Ishiguro, Yukiharu Hasegawa, Shiro Imagama, Declining neck circumference is an anthropometric marker related to frailty in middle-aged and elderly women, Modern Rheumatology, Volume 30, Issue 3, 3 May 2020, Pages 598–603, https://doi.org/10.1080/14397595.2019.1627023
- National Library of Medicine (US). (2022). MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [Image]. Cervical vertebrae. Retrieved April 10, 2023, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/17182.htm
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