How Many People Have Curly Hair? World Percentage

The question “how many people have curly hair?” is an intriguing one. Curly hair is defined as hair that has curls or waves rather than being straight. It can range from loose waves to very tight coils. Determining the percentage of the global population with curly hair is challenging, but estimates can be made based on research studies.

As of 2022, it’s estimated that around 45% of the world’s population has curly hair. However, the percentage varies significantly depending on factors like race and ethnicity. Those of Sub-Saharan African, Indigenous American, Asian, and mixed descent are more likely to have textured, coiled, and curly hair types. Environmental factors like humidity also impact curl pattern.

How Many People Have Curly Hair

In this article, we’ll break down research on global rates of curly hair and the estimated percentage of people who have textured locks.

Percentage of Population With Curly Hair by Continent

Research has found varying rates of curly hair amongst populations around the world. Here is an overview:

Africa: Up to 90% or more of Sub-Saharan populations have coiled and curly hair. This includes tight coils and loose curls.

Europe: Estimates range widely from 15% to 80% amongst Western European populations. This may include wavy hair types rather than coils.

Asia: 30% to 60% depending on region and ethnicity. This includes East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Western/Central Asian peoples which all have varying rates of curl.

North America: Estimated that 45% of the general population has somewhat wavy to coiled hair. Rates are higher among those with African and Indigenous American ancestry.

South America: 45% to 75% depending on region and ethnic backgrounds like those with Native South American, European, or African ancestry.

Australia/Oceania: Varies widely amongst Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other Oceanic peoples compared to those with European ancestry. Up to 80% may have waves to curls.

As you can see, ethnicity and geographical ancestry play a major role in hair texture and curl variation around the world.

Percentage of Population With Curly Hair by Ethnic Group

Looking closer at percentages based on ethnic and racial groups, reported rates of curly hair include:

  • Sub-Saharan Africans and Indigenous African Diasporas: Up to 90 to 95% may have tightly coiled to loosely curly afro-textured hair.
  • Indigenous Americans, Pacific Islanders and Aboriginal Australians: Typically 80 to 90% have waves to coils though less research data exists for these populations.
  • Non-Jewish Western Asians and Northern Africans: Up to 80% may have loosely curly to coiled hair.
  • Southern Indians, Filipinos, Insular/Coastal Southeast Asians and Negritos: Between 40 to 60% with variations amongst ethnic sub-groups.
  • Eastern Asians: 30 to 40% will have waves to curls depending on subgroup. Up to 80 to 90% when counting loosely wavy hair.
  • Northern, Western, and Eastern Europeans: Ranges from 15% to 80% having somewhat wavy to loosely curled hair with tighter coils less common.
  • Jews: 80 to 90% will have curly and wavy hair depending on sub-ethnicity with higher rates amongst more Middle Eastern Jews.
  • Central Asians: Up to 60% with waves and curls more common in certain ethnic subgroups like Uzbeks.
  • Mixed Race Persons: Varies widely based on specific mix with multi-racial people tending to have intermediate rates.

As shown above, curl variation differs significantly across human subgroups making it difficult to pin down one global percentage. But generally speaking, non-straight locked hair textures encompass close to 50% of humanity when counting loose waves.

Other Factors That Influence Hair Texture

While genetics and ancestry play the biggest role, other factors also influence curl pattern including:

  • Age: Curly hair often straightens out to some degree with age, primarily after 60 years old.
  • Gender: Research indicates more females may have curly hair across ethnic groups, for reasons not fully understood.
  • Environment: Humid, hot environments can accentuate curl whereas cold, dry climates may diminish wave patterns.
  • Health/Medical Conditions: Illnesses, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal changes can alter curl formation.
  • Chemical Processing: Perms, straightening and damage from coloring leads hair to lose texture.
  • Styling and Maintenance: Heat styling, rough handling, how often its cut and products used impact appearance of curls over time.

So while genetics underpin curl patterning, other influences can modify it greatly. This helps account for some intra-ethnic diversity in hair shape and curl tightness.


In summary, an estimated 45% of the global population has naturally wavy, curly or coily hair. Rates range from 15% to 95% amongst populations across continents and ethnicities. Due to genetic variability and other factors,finding precise worldwide percentages is challenging. But broadly, non-Europeans, Sub-Saharan Africans, Australians and Indigenous Americans demonstrate the highest levels of textured, curled hair varieties globally. With greater research and ethnic representation, statistics on this trait can continue to develop over time. Nevertheless, nearly half of humanity does not have stick-straight hair—instead sporting gorgeous waves, ringlets or coils as part of their genetic and cultural heritage.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about curly hair percentages worldwide:

How many people have curly hair? World percentage?

An estimated 45% of the global population has naturally curly or wavy hair to some degree. This amounts to over 3.5 billion people worldwide with curls rather than stick-straight hair based on 2022 world population estimates.

What percent of African Americans have curly hair?

Studies indicate that between 80 to 90% of African Americans have curly afro-textured hair ranging from loose spirals to tight coils. 10 to 15% will have either straight hair or looser waves.

What ethnicity has the most curly hair?

Continental Africans, African diasporans, Pacific Islanders, Indigenous Americans and Aboriginal Australians generally have some of the highest rates of tightly coiled and curly hair globally. Certain Asian, European and Jewish ethnic subgroups also commonly have curly hair.

What country has the most curly hair?

Countries in West and Central Africa have populations with up to 95 percent curly afro-textured hair. This includes nations like Nigeria, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and more. Australia also has high rates of curly hair among Aboriginals/Torres Strait Islanders.

What is the rarest hair type?

Tightly coiled 4C hair is often considered one of the rarest hair types globally. However, among Africans and African descendant populations, type 4 hair is frequently occurring. Straight, fine blond hair among groups like Scandinavians, could also be regarded as a rarer hair type.

As you can see from the FAQs, ethnicity and ancestry strongly correspond with curly locked hair rates worldwide. But many influencing factors make it hard to determine precise statistics.


While pinning down exact percentages is tricky, researchers estimate up to 45% of the world’s population has naturally curly or wavy hair. Prevalence differs drastically amongst continents, countries and ethnicities though. Hair typing systems also capture some of the variation in texture and curl patterns globally. And other factors like age, environment and genetics impact how tightly coiled one’s hair may be. Regardless, curly locked hair is beautifully common amongst humanity—making up half or more of all human hair varieties.

Its prevalence speaks to the genetic diversity of our species in terms of physical appearance and aesthetics. So whether having bouncing ringlets or tight springs, people can celebrate curly hair as part of the wondrous spectrum of human traits, shaping personal identity and collective culture across civilizations.