BMI Percentile Calculator: Body Mass Indexes in the United States

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On this page is a BMI percentile calculator for adults 18 and older in the United States in 2022. (Find BMI distribution for men and women here.)

BMI is a formula based on height and weight which estimates whether a person is in a healthy range. To calculate body mass index for you or someone else, use our BMI Calculator.

BMI Percentile Calculator for the United States

Median and Average BMI in the United States

In 2022, the United States adult average BMI was 27.9. The United States adult median BMI was 27.3.

Here are the BMI breakpoints for selected percentiles:


Non-Healthy and Healthy BMIs in the United States

The CDC categorizes BMI in one of four ways for adults:

  • < 18.5 Underweight
  • 18.5 – 25 Healthy Weight
  • 25 – 30 Overweight
  • 30 and up Obese

Using these breakdowns, here's the estimated number of American adults in each category:

American Adults by BMI CategoryEstimated AmericansPercentage
Healthy Weight73,420,11631.68%
Total American Adults with Data231,736,956100.00%

American BMI Distributions

First: nothing on this site – including calculated BMI and category – is medical advice!

BMI comes from a simple equation feeding a complex topic. BMI is an element of the communication between you and a professional such as a doctor, nutritionist, or trainer. Always consult a professional on medical topics.

BMI Percentile can fail to convey nuance, like athleticism.
BMI ranges can be incorrect, especially for athletes.

Remember, BMI is not a measure of body fat, nor is it strictly a measure of "Health". Even though there are guidelines presented by government agencies, it's an equation based solely on weight and total mass.

Of important note: BMI ignores body composition. BMI misclassifications include athletes incorrectly classified as overweight as well as individuals with low muscle mass classified as underweight or healthy weight.

BMI Comparison Calculator Methodology

Data comes from 25,222 adults in the CDC's 2022 NHIS survey. Further, we used the IPUMS harmonization of the survey data.

Heights and weights are self-volunteered as part of an in-person or phone interview. The 2015-2016 version of the male and female BMI comparison tool used the CDC NHANES survey, which has a superior methodology (it's based on third party mobile examinations). When NHANES releases sufficient data again, we'll switch our source back.


Lynn A. Blewett, Julia A. Rivera Drew, Miriam L. King, Kari C.W. Williams, Annie Chen, Stephanie Richards and Michael Westberry. IPUMS Health Surveys: National Health Interview Survey, Version 7.3 [dataset]. Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS, 2023.

Survey vs. Measured Data

Unfortunately, updated NHANES data wasn't available due to delays and precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This post's data is therefore not directly comparable to the 2016 BMI distribution tool because NHANES is measured while NHIS data is surveyed. (Read more about the differences in the surveys, here.)

The gold standard for anthropomorphic data will always come from an unbiased third party with a strict measurement methodology.

Is BMI a Useful Health Indicator?

BMI, while useful for many individuals (and the start of a health conversation), is very useful for population summaries like this one. While there are huge individual variations in body composition, it's easier to generalize compositions for a large population. Even better is a measure like body fat percentage - you can see our body fat estimates for the US, here.



PK started DQYDJ in 2009 to research and discuss finance and investing and help answer financial questions. He's expanded DQYDJ to build visualizations, calculators, and interactive tools.

PK lives in New Hampshire with his wife, kids, and dog.

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