What are the odds your name is Jennifer? The short head of names

In 2011 28 baby girls were named Cataleya. In 2012 there were 636!

In 2011 28 baby girls were named Cataleya. In 2012 there were 636!

“The Cataleya orchid. It comes from one place on Earth. Our place.  My mother, your grandmother, used to grow them. Every morning I would wake up to the sight of them. The smell of them. That’s why I named you after them. It reminds us of who we are.”

From the movie “COLOMBIANA”. Written by Robert Mark Kamen & Luc Besson.

 

In 2011 28 baby girls were named Cataleya.

In 2012 there were 636!

An increase of more than 2000%.

The movie Colombiana, whose main character was Cataleya, might have had something to do with it.

Names and trends in names have always been affected by famous actors and characters. Cataleya is just a recent example.

The U.S. Social Security Administration provides a list of new born baby’s names every year since 1885. They offer the data for researchers who look for trends in names or for people who are just bored in general.

We took the opportunity to check if girl name trends endorse the short head theory.

This is what we have found…

the short head of names 2012 - source: The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration

the short head of names 2012 – source: The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration

  • The 10 most popular girl names (out of at least 19,380 different names that were given that year) in 2012 were given to almost 10% of the new born girls.
  • The 100 most popular names (0.5% of all the names on the list) were given to almost 35% of the girls.
  • The 250 most popular names (1.275% of all the different names) were given to 50% of the girls.
  • The 1,000 most popular names (5.16% of all the different names) were given to almost 75% of the girls.
  • The 2,000 most popular names (10.3% of all the names) were given to 82.6% of the girls.
  • The 4,000 most popular names (~20% of all the names) were given to ~90% of the girls.

That is a nice short head!

But what we also see is the tail is getting longer throughout the years and that the head is getting … shorter. In other words, “The Short Head” theory does apply here but it used to apply even more in the past.

For example – the most popular girl name in 2012 was Sophia. It was given to 22,156 baby girls (1.3% of the girls that were born in 2012). In 1982 the popular name was Jennifer. It was given to 57,102 girls! Almost 3.4% of the girls that were born that year were named Jennifer. In 1885 the most popular girls name was Mary, and it was given to almost 7% of the girls that year.

There were only 1197 different names on the list of the year 1885 (of girl names that were given to at least 5 different girls). Not much compared to the 12,300 names in 1985 and almost 20,000 names in 2012.

So we still see in 2012 a short head behavior but we also see that the tail grew longer and that the “hits” got shorter.

Why is that?

Well, it is about time you started contributing to this blog as well 🙂 Lets hear what you think.

 

 

 

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