Chances are you know somebody who’s left-handed. But do you really know them? Left-handedness might not be a defining characteristic, but lefties do have struggles that righties don’t. If you do know a lefty, you’ve seen the smudges on their hands from writing in pen, and you’ve heard the grunts and groans of them trying to open a can of soup. However, lefties have more going on than anybody realizes. It’s a fascinating quirk of human evolution that we’ve developed a preference for one hand over the other, but more than that, it has all kinds of unexpected effects on us. Who knew?

  • Left-handed people make up between five and 10 percent of the population.
  • That means that about 30 million Americans are left-handed.
  • Left-handers are three times more likely to become alcoholics than right-handers.
  • Lefties tend to reach puberty 4-5 months later than righties.
  • Lefties tend to use the right side of their brains more.
  • Although it’s more of a left-brain function, left-handed people tend to be better at math, while righties tend to be better at language tasks.
  • With that emphasis on math, it’s no surprise that, among college graduates, lefties tend to make 26% more money than righties.
  • Ever the high-achievers (in spite of their propensity for alcoholism), lefties make up four out of the past seven presidents.
  • And one quarter of the Apollo astronauts were left-handed, including Jim Lovell, Mike Collins, and Wally Schirra.
  • Lefties make great tennis players, baseball players, swimmers, and boxers. Almost 40% of pro tennis players are left-handed.
  • And Queen Elizabeth II is left-handed, as are a few other royals, including Prince Charles and Prince William.
  • Although about 90% of humans are right-handed, cats, rats, and mice are about equally right- and left-handed.
  • Being left-handed used to be a sign of evil. The word “sinister” comes from the Latin for “left, on the left side.” But being left-handed is also associated with creativity and musical abilities.
  • The English word “left” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for “broken or weak.”
  • Women over 40 are 128% more likely to give birth to a left-hander than women in their 20s.
  • Lefties are more likely to suffer from allergies and asthma.
  • Left-handed people have an easier time adjusting to use their right hands than righties have adjusting to use their left.
  • The longest word that can be typed using only the left hand? Stewardesses.
  • Lefties are more likely to suffer from insomnia.
  • And left-handed people see underwater better than righties.