January 25, 2008

In Georgia, At Least, The 1990's Were Not The Dawning Of The Age Of Shaquarious

In fact between 1990 and 2007, just two girls in all of Georgia were named Shaquarious.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution compiled almost seventeen years of birth records from the Georgia Department of Human Resources into a single, searchable list. There are 215,059 names on the list. Like the Baby Name Wizard, the searchable list filters as you type a name in.

Since it's based on public records, it'd be nice if the data were actually made available in raw form, to allow independent analysis, but for now, we'll take we can get.

The AJC has pulled together some classic categories already: trademark names {Vuarnet: 1, Courvoisier: 10, Prada: 1, Wachovia: 13]; multi-hyphenates; foods; seasons; royalty.

But a couple of things:

  • Names turn out to be like fashion; there are fewer options for boys, and boys are more likely to have the same thing. It starts to flatten out, but 9 of the top 10 and 20 of the top 30 names overall are boys names. When you break them by gender, the top 30 names account for 330,332 boys, but only 218,452 girls. Girls names also outnumber boys names overall: 126,894 vs. 88,165. I'm not saying this homogeneity is automatically a bad thing; if you live in a cookie cutter suburb, the consequences of naming your kid Milo and dressing him funny are just as foreseeable as naming him William and buying him nothing but rugby shirts.

  • Unique names are really popular. In fact, most of the names are extremely unique, like once-in-17-years unique. One-and-only names start at #58,193 and run to the end, 156,000+ of them. And there are 35,959 names with only two occurrences.

  • Black people live in Georgia. There may only be two girls named Shaquarious, but there are 8 girls and 6 boys named Shaquarius, and 3 girls named Shaquaria. Also one Sha'quavious. There are between 500 and 800 names that start with Ja', Da', Sha', and La'. Which is even cooler when you realize whitey white Utah has about the same ratio. [cf. "The Utah-Africa Connection" article at Utah Baby Namer.] There is also one girl named Mammy. And two boys named Cletus. Hillbillies live in Georgia, too, apparently.

  • There's one Vanilla, but two Ice. There are two kids named Daddy. And one named Daddykool, which I now officially declare to be the awesomest name of the last 17 years.

    Georgia Names [projects.ajc.com via dt reader jj daddy-o]


    Too much fun:

    SCOTTLAND (6!)
    SCOTTI (10)
    SCOTTH (pronunciation guide for this one?)

    Shockingly, our daughter's name (which is a little unusual, but somewhat common in England, used on one popular English TV show, and by one B list actress) was only issued 4 times, and handily beaten by variants of Scottavius and misspellings of Scotland.

    And Greg, please setup a poll, for we are voting you a new name:

    4. GREGIZE
    5. GREGLY
    6. GREG' (That is an apostrophe, but I think you pronounce it like the Khoisan "click" sound)

    [the "Just add '-avious'" trend is easily as big as "Just add 'La'/Ja/Da'", but it's under the radar because it's an unsearchable suffix. -ed.]

    Not to mention :
    Babyruth (G)
    Bootsie (G)
    Boogrady (B)
    Boomer (B)
    Killashandra (G)
    Lefonza (B)
    Kentavious (B)


    Sherman !! in Georgia! 89 of them!
    But that's balanced out by Shermiracle! TWO OF THEM!

    And oh, yes, 5000+ Emmas.

    This is why Baby Momma and I used to have a great time reading the birth announcements in the Saturday paper, but they stopped publishing baby names in Savannah as some kind of security measure a couple of years ago

    Yeesh: five boys named Wilkes, and two named Booth. OK, back to work.

    OK, a few more: Bronco, Bang (girl), Badger, Bronx, Butcher, Button, Sucessful (not if you spell like that), Devious, Meann, Nicer, Superior, Goodness, Aaba, Xxavier, Zzream.

    Talk about setting a kid up for failure in the South:

    YANKEE (Boy, 1)

    Sorry about all these posts. Maybe you should merge them. OMG, have you tried numbers and symbols yet?

    2059EL (Girl (duh), 1)
    7 (Girl, 1)
    72VEN (Boy, 1)
    99D (Girl, 1)
    0520010100026 (Boy, 1)
    08112002 (Girl, 1) (let me guess, that's the birth date?)
    0PENCER (Boy, 1)

    'ZOZA (Does this kid go at the head of the alphabet, or the end?)
    .ANDREW (master of his own domain)


    Last post I promise.

    Born to fight: Soldier, Major, Corporal, Captain, Commander, General.

    Born to dictate: Idi, Adolf, Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Saddam (last used in 1990 I hope)

    Teacher's pets: Smart, Clever, Canny, Bright, Witty, Einstein

    Notify the paparazzi: Celebrity, Celeberty, Starlet, Famous, Illustrious, Star, Notorious, Fame, Luminous

    If all these kids go to high school together, they've got a mock UN dream team: Iceland, France, England, America, USA, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Germany, Colombia, Latvia, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Andorra, Canada, Russia, Japan, Indonesia, Algeria, Egypt, Fiji, Vietnam, Thailand, Bosnia.

    How could Greg miss this?

    20 kids named IKEA!

    [and most were born in the early 90's. And Ikea didn't open in Atlanta until 2005. I didn't miss it ;) -ed.]

    Freakonomics has a big section looking at a similar body of data in California, and correlating it with the average income of the zip code of the name, stretching across multiple generations. Not a big fan of the book, but it was a fascinating section.

    Country and Western music is clearly fickle...Reba (57) and Clint (157) both peaked in the mid 1990s, and Garth (16) hasn't been popular since 1992.

    Trace (135) is big now, though, and Waylon (134) has never been hotter. Martina (93) has held steady. Shania (490!) peaked in the late 1990s, but still hangs in there. Merle (5) has never been big; Conway (2) barely makes a showing. Loretta (34) has had a bit of resurgence, but I find it criminal that she beats out Dolly (11) and Emmylou (2). And 61 Leeanns? Peaking THIS YEAR? No way she'll have the staying power of Alisson (16), who's still on the rise.

    Tanya (200) escapes the genre.

    The biggest upset is the 38 Montgomerys (holding steady) vs. 16 Tobeys. Ha!

    Elvis (115) is of course, timeless.

    ...In addition to the two Cletuses, there's one sad little Clitis.

    [I bow to your country western expertise. And I'll add 112 Bransons, no doubt named after where they were conceived. -ed.]

    Wow. I think I have found the epicenter of the "name your kids after cars" phenomenon
    Porsche and variations (but not Portia) 307
    Mercedes - 536
    Benz - 1
    Ford - 24
    Lexus - 167
    Bentley - 53

    And yet, not a single Volvo.

    My daughters have a similar situation to Scott's, right down to the b-list actresses and surprising popularity in England. They appear only 6 times and 12 times.

    Wow. There is a "Princess Diamond" and a "PRINCESS EMERELD" Do you think they are sisters? And yes, that is how they spelled emerald.

    How can I say this delicately...
    And as someone who grew up in the South...

    It's GEORGIA, people.

    I mean, that's where the Devil goes
    when he wants to steal souls.

    Now you know why.

    [what you don't know is how hard I tried to work that song into the headline of the post somehow. -ed.]

    The kids I feel the most sorry for...

    Butcher, Sow, Swastika, and Roacharch. Poor things.

    [while I was trying to find the end of the list, I kept hoping I wouldn't find a kid named Zyklon. (I didn't)-ed.]

    This is easily the funniest post I've read in a long time - I almost peed reading these names. Keep up the good work!

    I am stealing 7ERRIANA as a middle name if we have another daughter - how cool is 7 as a middle initial?

    [looks suspiciously like a typo or a mis-scan... -ed.]

    wait, two BOYS were named Laura?


    I soooo wish my kid's middle name could be Daddykool. Daddykool!!! Best name EVER!

    There are 735 girls named Britney on that list.

    And one boy.

    Whom we can only hope grows up to be the next Johnny Cash.

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