Men Versus Women: Whom Does Lightning Strike More Often?

By By Michael Kuhne, Staff Writer
June 04, 2014, 5:45:51 PM EDT

From 2006 to 2012, 82 percent of people killed by lightning were male, according to a report written by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Lightning Safety Specialist John Jensenius.

Of the fatalities recorded, 52 percent of the female deaths occurred during daily-routine activities, while male deaths occurred during leisure activities.

“Based on the statistics for gender, the vast majority of lightning victims are male,” Jensenius said.

Some explanations for this finding are that males are unaware of all the dangers associated with lightning and more likely to be in vulnerable situations or are unwilling to be inconvenienced by the threat of lightning, according to Jensenius.


“In short, because of their behavior, males are at a higher risk of being struck and, consequently, are struck and killed by lightning more often than females,” Jensenius said.

In addition, males may also find themselves in situations that make it difficult to get to a safe place in a timely manner, don't react quickly to the lightning threat or any combination of these, he said.

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The odds of getting struck by lightning in any given year are approximately one in 1 million, but the odds of getting struck in a lifetime are one in 10,000.

Among the most common activities in which lightning resulted in death, fishing ranked the highest.


“The activities which contribute most to the lightning fatalities, like fishing, tend to be dominated by males,” Jensenius said. “Many of these activities require extra time to get to safety.”

Between 2006 and 2012, 238 people were struck and killed by lightning in the United States.

“It's important for anyone in a situation where extra time is needed, to start heading to safety early,” he said.

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