This study was conducted to determine the optimal space allowance for maximizing the growth performance of pigs at each of the following five growth stages (based on BW ranges): stage 1, 11 to 25 kg BW; stage 2, 25 to 45 kg BW; stage 3, 45 to 65 kg BW; stage 4, 65 to 85 kg BW; and stage 5, 85 to 110 kg BW. A total of 1590 crossbred (Landrace×Yorkshire×Duroc) pigs were assigned to one of four treatments at each growth stage, with three replicates each. Pen areas at each growth stage were 6, 11, 16, 19.5 and 20 m2 for stages 1 to 5, respectively. Space allowances for the four treatments at each growth stage were modified by varying the number of pigs per pen (22, 25, 28 and 31 pigs in T1, T2, T3 and T4, respectively). Blood samples were collected on the final day of each growth stage. The average daily gain (ADG) decreased significantly with decreased space allowances at all growth stages, except at stage 2. Average daily feed intake (ADFI) was not significantly affected by space allowances at stages 1 to 4; however, at stage 5, there was a linear effect of space allowance on ADFI. Thus, the feed conversion ratio showed results similar to those for ADG. Serum cortisol concentrations, indicating the level of stress response, increased as space allowances decreased. The highest serum cortisol concentrations were observed in T3 at stages 2 to 5. Serum tumor necrosis factor-α levels were significantly higher in association with a small space allowance than with at large space allowance at stages 2, 4 and 5. Serum interleukin-1β levels also increased in a significant linear manner at every growth stage in pigs reared at a low space allowance, except at stage 4 (P=0.068). This study found that limited space allowance decreases the growth performance of pigs and induces stress and inflammatory responses. We confirmed that no significant effect of space allowance on growth performance and serum cortisol concentrations are observed between T1 and T2 across all growth stages. We suggest that the optimal space allowances for pigs according to their BW are as follows: 0.24, 0.44, 0.64, 0.78 and 0.80 m2/pig for BWs of 11 to 25, 25 to 45, 45 to 65, 65 to 85 and 85 to 115 kg, respectively.