There’s a lot to like about being a left handed person, we have our own day, we are supposedly faster typists and we are unique in that the ratio of left to right handed people in the world is massively skewed in right handed peoples favour. I know I for one have been asked too many times to count by delivery drives, teachers, colleagues and anyone who has seen me use a pen the classic line… “Oh, you’re a lefty are you?”
You might be wondering however, just how unique are we and how many people on the planet (on average) are left handed?
Well, that is a pretty loaded question as it is asking for a very generalised answer, you can’t, of course, ask everyone in the world if they are left or right handed. However, you can take averages in countries and areas to get a decently round figure for what percentage of the world is left handed.
How many people in the world are left handed?
Taking a look at APA PscyNet (experts on stuff like this), we can see they have some really interesting data regarding left handedness in comparison to right handedness.
Apparently, with the strictest tests on left handedness they came up with 9.3% of the world being left handed, and with the most lenient (basically, if you aren’t right handed) they got 18.1% with the average median between these being 10.6% estimate.
However, they do acknowledge this data can be considered skewed as there are plenty of cultures and teachings where left handedness is viewed in a grim light and is actively discouraged, leading to left handers claiming or becoming accustomed to right handed tendencies.
It’s interesting as despite the fact that only about 1 in every 10 people is left handed, we aren’t even the smallest group, that would go to ambilevous people, which are the direct polar opposite of ambidextrous people. Ambilevous people find both hands very awkward to use and make up way lower than 1% of the world population with ambidextrous people only making up <1% as well.
- Right handed people make up roughly 89% of the world population
- Left handed people make up roughly 10.6% of the world population
- Ambidextrous people make up <1% of the world population
- Ambilevous people make up <1% of the world population
The left handed population is growing
Well, technically not but you’ll see what I mean.
Due to the stigma over the years about being left handed, there are a lot of countries which outright do not allow you to be left handed, in western countries it tends to be more accepted with places like America and the United Kingdom no longer forcing lefties to fit in with right handed culture.
However, a study in Endeavor shows that less than 1% of China identifies as left-handed, statistically, this doesn’t seem to match up, and the reason lies within its conservative views towards being left handed. In fact, nearly two thirds of the worlds population still face discrimination for being left handed, this number is potentially why a lot of the data we receive about being left handed is skewed towards us being the minority to right handers.
Whilst there may be some truth in the notion, the fact remains that until the whole world comes to accept left handedness, all of the data we receive about how many people truly are left handed will be skewed.
With that being said, as time goes on, people are becoming more and more tolerant of these facts and so looking at the graphs you can clearly see over time the left handed population is “growing”, (more people are identifying with being left handed).
The discrimination against left handed people goes very deep in Muslim parts of the world as well as parts of Africa, with the left hand being seen as the “dirty hand” and is considered offensive in most contexts, even extending the hand in an offer of help.
Other left handed facts
- According to a 2008 study of the differences in sex when it comes to left handedness, it was shown that left handed people are 23% more likely to be male than female
- Two left handed parents are twice as likely to produce twins
- There is a place in America called “Left Hand, West Virginia” where everyone is technically a left hander!
- According to the US National Bureau of Economic Research, left handed people, on average make 15% more money than their counterparts
- The last 5 US presidents (Except George Bush) were all left handers!