The Washington Post

Men drown at three times the rate of women: Alcohol, cockiness likely to blame.

If you're headed out for your last splash of summer watersports, and you're a guy, you're more likely to drown than your female compatriots, the Centers for Disease Control reported on Friday.

Like, a lot more likely:

(Source: Centers for Disease Control, National Vital Statistics System. Mortality public use data files, 1999–2010.)

What's the deal with dudes and death by submersion? This isn't a new phenomenon, and the best research available to explain it comes from the National Institutes of Health in 1996--but the disparity has only gotten worse since then, and it's unlikely that the underlying causes have changed much.

Namely: Guys are not only significantly more likely to drink while engaging in aquatic activities. They're also more likely to drink alone, at night, and without a life jacket while engaging in aquatic activities. In addition, more men than women consider themselves excellent swimmers, even though on average they've taken fewer lessons.

The study's authors note that men are socialized towards risk differently than women, which would naturally lead to higher accident rates. It's surprising, though, to see them this much higher.

Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on labor, business, and housing. She previously worked at The New Republic and the Washington City Paper. She's from Seattle.



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Brad Plumer · August 30, 2013

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