I have to admit, I was one of those people who assumed that everybody's head is the same size. I mean, I'd actually heard that head size varies very little after the age of 6. So when I used to try a hat on in the store and it didn't fit, I always put it back with a disgusted, "What were they thinking? This won't fit anybody!" It was only later, when I realized how big my head is in comparison to most people's, that I understood.
I suspect what was meant by "varies very little" was "in comparison to height" (or something of the sort). Normal adults can have head circumferences from 21" - 27" (53.5 - 68.5 cm) while normal heights range from around 4'8" - 6'3" (1.4 - 1.9 m). (These figures were culled from multiple websites and were surprisingly difficult to locate. Average height is a much more common statistic.) That means head circumference has a 6" (15cm) variance compared to 19" (~.5 m) for height.
That's a much smaller difference, but it's not exactly nothing. Knitting is stretchy, but 6" (or even 3 or 4") is a lot to ask. Those of us with above-average head size know better than to try to knit a 20" (51 cm) hat for ourselves, even taking negative ease into account. (Most hats should have about 2", or 3 cm, negative ease.)
I recently read an article that said head size is increasing (albeit incrementally). Adding multiple sizes to a hat pattern doesn't usually require a huge amount of thought or space. (Of course, there are always exceptions. Still, a pattern or book that acknowledges the big-headed minority just may entice us into a purchase.
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