Are We Failing Our Boys?

We are making admirable strides toward redressing millennia of gender inequities, toward FINALLY not shutting women out of government, business, universities, the arts, and so on. Of course, we’re far from there yet, as a glance at the sea of white males attending a U.S. State of the Disunion Address will make quite clear. A lot remains to be done. But we are making some progress.

But it also seems to be true that a lot is going wrong for men and boys. A lot of them seem pretty messed up. (All figures, below, are for the United States.)

58.7 percent of high-school dropouts are boys (2016, Census Bureau).

Only 37.9 percent of people graduating with Associates Degrees are men (2017, Dept of Education).

Only 42.9 percent of people graduating with Bachelor’s Degrees are men (2017, Dept of Education).

Only 41.7 percent of people graduating with Master’s Degrees are men (2017, Dept of Education).

Only 47.8 percent of people graduating with Doctoral Degrees are men (2017, Dept of Education).

93.2 percent of federal prison inmates are men (2017, Federal Bureau of Prisons).

90.6 percent of US prison and jail inmates are men (2017, Bureau of Justice Statistics).

79 percent of suicides are men (2018, Centers for Disease Control).

75 to 85 percent of homeless persons are male, and a quarter of all homeless are children (2015, Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress).

59.45 percent of persons killed in motor vehicle crashes are men (2017, Department of Transportation).

93 percent of people killed on the job are men (2013, Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

Percentage of deaths that were of males in various conflicts: Korean War, 99.9; Vietnam War, 99.9; Gulf War, 95; Operation Enduring Freedom, 98; Operation Iraqi Freedom, 98 (Department of Defense).

Adult men are 6 percent more likely to be “officially” unemployed (that is, on the unemployment rolls) than adult women are; since 1948, labor force participation rates for women have increased by about 20 percent, while participation by men has declined by about 19 percent (2018, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Millennial men are 20 percent more likely to be living at home (with their parents) than are millennial women. (2013, Pew Research).

89.5 percent of homicides are committed by men (2010, Department of Justice).

77.8 percent of homicide victims are male (2013, UN Office on Drugs and Crime).

98.9 percent of rapes are committed by men (2010, Department of Justice).

87.9 percent of robberies are committed by men (2010, Department of Justice).

Males score at 0.23 standard deviations below females on standardized tests in English Language Arts, or about 3 quarters of a grade level below females (2015, Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis).

100 percent of persons required to register for Selective Service are men.

Average male sperm count declined 52.4% between 1973 and 2011. (

Life expectancy for men is 5.0 years less than for women (2016, National Center for Health Statistics).


About Bob Shepherd

interests: curriculum design, educational technology, learning, linguistics, hermeneutics, rhetoric, philosophy (Continental philosophy, Existentialism, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, ethics), classical and jazz guitar, poetry, the short story, archaeology and cultural anthropology, history of religion, prehistory, veganism, sustainability, Anglo-Saxon literature and language, systems for emergent quality control, heuristics for innovation
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2 Responses to Are We Failing Our Boys?

  1. I am also concerned about the number of boys with learning disabilities. I don’t know if there are any statistics compared to years long past, particularly since diagnoses have undoubtedly changed compared to several decades ago, but one reads articles about an increasing number of boy babies born with undescended testicles, lowered sperm counts, etc., and one wonders if we are poisoning kids with endocrine disrupters, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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