The Ultra-Rare Left-Handed Female

Cristen Conger

Left-handed Prince William to wed right-hander. (WPA Pool/Getty Images)

I'm left-handed. So is Prince William. As a young girl with tween dreams of becoming Kate Middleton with an American accent, I thought it was a special bond between us. And statistically speaking, it is a rather uncommon commonality.

Only 10 percent of the human species is left-handed. Moreover, the New York Times recently reported that the size of the southpaw population has held constant ever since hunter-gatherer days (ancient handedness data come from studies of cave paintings and spears). This relative rarity of being left-handed has mystified scientists and led to a series of specious assumptions about us southpaws, such as linkages to schizophrenia, criminality and dyslexia. At the same time, reports on left-handedness also mention that a majority of recent U.S. presidents -- including Obama -- are left-handed.

However, as I read that NYT article sprinkled with names of notable male lefties, I kept wondering about the whereabouts of my fellow southpaw ladies. Left-handedness runs in families and is influenced by brain symmetry, but does gender have anything to do with it? Anecdotally, I've met more left-handed guys than girls (when you're left-handed, it can be kind of a big deal to shake left hands with a comrade) and I have a left-handed brother.

Turns out, left-handed females are a much rarer breed than left-handed males. A meta analysis of 144 studies including more than 1.7 million total participants found a "significant and robust" gender correlation with handedness. According to the 2008 study, men have 1.23 times the odds of being left-handed, compared to women's chances. Therefore, that would make the odds of being left-handed lady who marries a left-handed prince on the other side of the Atlantic pretty much mathematically impossible.

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