When you think about the ultimate body shape for men, what’s the first thing that comes into your mind? I’m sure that it’s not your average-looking joe with a beer belly, but rather, a fit guy with an aesthetic-looking six-pack that would impress all the ladies. Achieving that body shape is probably the end goal for most men that decide to kickstart their fitness transformation journey, at least that was the case for me. In addition to that, not everybody has the dedication and work ethic to reach this goal, that’s why one of the most common questions that I get asked a lot is about the percentage of men that have abs.
As a rough estimate, only 2% of the United States male population and less than 1% of the male world population have visible abs. This makes having abs one of the rarest features of the male body.
In this article, we’ll talk about the percentage of men that have abs in the U.S and in the world, and if abs are really rare.
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What Percentage of Men Have Abs in the U.S?
Although these types of questions are difficult to answer, we can still give a rough estimate based on some very specific stats.
First of all, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute which conducted a survey about gym memberships in the United States, it estimated that only 15% of Americans have active gym memberships. Surprisingly enough, only half of that 15% actually use them.
If we assume that the average male population in the U.S is 138 million, we can do some basic math calculations to come up with a rough estimate of men that are actively using their gym memberships to train in the U.S.
15% of 138 million is approximately 20 million, and half of that is 10 million. This means that 10 million Americans are actively training which translates to 7% of the population.
And even those who are actively training, not all of them will have visible six-packs since that’s not the goal in everybody’s mind. A large percentage of them are likely to be training for health and wellbeing purposes and to practice other forms of exercises that don’t necessarily target the abs.
Let’s take a look at this graph that shows the average body fat percentage of the U.S population based on gender.
I want you to focus on the black pillars that represent the percentage of U.S male adults. According to much research, the ideal body fat percentage that men need to have in order to see visible abs is approximately 6 to 13%. According to the graph, less than 3% of U.S adults have a body fat percentage that is lower than 13% which is extremely low. Based on this stat and the fact that only 7% of American males actively train, we can give a rough estimate that approximately 2% of the U.S male population have visible abs.
What Percentage of Men Have Abs in the World?
This is an even harder question to answer since it largely depends on hundreds of factors that vary according to each country, but nonetheless, we can still give a rough estimate.
Just like I did with the U.S population, let’s take a look at this chart from Statista that shows the number of members in health and fitness clubs worldwide from 2009 to 2019.
I want you to focus on the last pillar that represents the total members in health and fitness clubs in 2019. As you can see it’s approximately 184 million but since not everyone in the world has access to gyms and fitness clubs and there are some that prefer other methods of training that don’t necessarily require a gym, let’s just round it up to 250 million that will represent the total amount of people in the world that are actively training.
The total world population in 2019 was 7.2 billion, and 50.4% of that represents males which makes the total number of men during that year 3.6 billion. If we take away kids who are under the age of 15 that probably don’t have developed abs yet, we can round that number to 3 billion.
And again, with some simple math calculations, we can conclude that the percentage of men that are actively training in the world is 8%.
According to an international team of scientists from New Zealand and Australia, only a mere 5% of the entire world population has a body fat percentage of less than 13%, and 76% are considered overweight.
If we add up the percentage of people that are actively training in the world (who probably don’t all have visible abs) with the fact that only 5% of the world population has a body fat percentage of less than 13% which is when abs start to become visible, we can conclude that 1% of the world population (or even less) has visible abs.
Are Six Packs Rare?
Based on the fact that approximately only 2% of the entire U.S male population and only 1% of the male world population have visible abs, it’s safe to say that six-packs are in fact rare.
The main reason behind that is the fact that it takes extreme hard work and dedication to achieve a low body fat percentage that will give you the ability to see your abs, something that not everyone has.
In order to have abs, you need to maintain a healthy diet, live an organized lifestyle that allows you to fit workouts during your day, and have enough patience to wait for decent results that may take a lot of time to achieve. All these attributes combined are what give you the ability to see your abs and why most people don’t have them.
As you can see, having abs is not something that is easily achieved and it’s the main reason why approximately only 1% of the entire world population has them. And even if they do, not everyone can maintain them during the whole year. If you’re reading this while having abs, consider yourself one of the luckiest few and use this information as a way to get even more motivated to work and maintain them.