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Human height is determined by a combination of genetics and environmental factors making it an active area of research in both the sciences and social sciences.
Recent breakthroughs in sequencing the human genome have allowed identification of 697 genetic variants that influence the height of an individual.
Research by Deaton also finds a negative correlation exists for nutrition, risk of disease and women's education when comparing Africa to the same group of countries.
Since the height data is largely composed of soldiers, criminals, salves and servants, these groups may not be representative of the wider population.
Although genetics plays an important role in understanding variation within a given population, human growth can be limited by poor childhood nutrition and illness.
This makes height strongly correlated with living standards and hence a good proxy for them.
In a pioneering study of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii published in 1939, Harry Shapiro found there to be a significant difference between the heights of Hawaiian-born Japanese and the Japanese immigrant population.
Shapiro concluded that environmental factors, particularly diet and healthcare, play a significant role in determining height and other physical characteristics.
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When we exclude the richest countries from our sample we find that the positive correlation between income and height becomes negative.