Just about every time a study is done, chances are the data will at some point be sorted by gender.
There are times this makes sense — like when comparing the pay of supposedly equal men and women — and, of course, times when it doesn’t.
See, gender-sorted studies often lead to the same kinds of stereotypes that are holding women back today. For example, studies that claim women are more conservative investors or successful leaders may have data to support the face-value claim, but also imply that gender is the determining factor for success in the first place.
Because of such studies — which lead to oversimplified soundbites, often repeated with little or no context — I tend to roll my eyes at gender statistics.
Still, I can’t deny interesting data when I see it. Lately, a few gender statistics — about love, lightning and leaving home — have been making the rounds. And while we still have to be careful about what we make of these findings, I found all three quite intriguing.
Take a look:
According to a recent blog post from Freaknomics, married couples who have a first-born son are less likely to get divorced than those who have first-born daughters. This is fascinating — although I’m not a fan of the resulting blog post and podcast title “Do Baby Girls Cause Divorce?” and would argue that, if anything, a son (to some extent) appears to prevent it more than a female causes it.
A few other notable tidbits the post pointed to: “Couples who conceive a child out of wedlock and find out that it will be a boy are more likely to marry before the birth of their baby,” while “fathers are significantly less likely to be living with their children if they have daughters versus sons.”
Next up, lightning. Overall, death from lightning strikes remains rare and has been steadily dropping for decades. Still, men are around six times more likely to be killed by lightning than women.
For perspective: The number of males deaths dropped 78.6% from 1968 to 2008, while the number of females deaths slipped 70.6% over that time period. Still, the number of male deaths in 2008 was higher than the number of female deaths in 1968.
While it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that men are reckless and/or stupid in the wake of that statistic, a more straight-forward and supported reasoning is that men just participate in more outdoor activities. A more recent study reported that two-thirds of lightning deaths occurred while the victims were participating in an outdoor leisure activities, while fishing leads the way as the death-causing activity of choice.
Finally, we have to turn the focus to the ever-scrutinized Generation Y. Anyone calling this up-and-coming generation lazy or entitled should especially reserve those judgement for men, if a recent study is any indication.
A Pew Research Center analysis released last week showed that the oft-criticized boomerang kids — young adults aged 18 to 31 living at home — are more likely to be male than female. Two suggested explanations from MarketWatch: Men tend to marry later than women, while sons are expected to do less housework when staying with mom and dad.
Alyssa Oursler is as Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace. Follow her on Twitter @alyssaoursler.