By Mark Edmond
What do August, Hannah, and Jules have in common? It turns out that people with those names are more likely than others to be playwrights.
How about Casey, Vincent, and Roy? They’re more apt to be plumbers.
At least that’s what our research at Verdant Labs shows. While developing the Nametrix app, we analyzed public records to find the most inordinately common names in each profession.
Take Elvis, for example. There aren’t all that many Elvises out there, but a particularly high percentage of them are musicians. As a result, Elvis ranks high among musician names. Elvis isn’t the most common name among musicians — that’s likely to be John or some other very popular name. What’s interesting is that it’s way more common among musicians than you might expect, given how rare it is. In other words, it’s common in that profession relative to its overall frequency.
Fortunately, the math behind this isn’t too complicated. Here’s another example, this time with some numbers. In our sample of two and a half million people, a whopping 1.9% of Arnolds are accountants. Contrast that with just 0.55% of Shanes. Arnolds therefore appear to have a much higher tendency to be accountants than Shanes.
Let’s look at some top names for other professions.
Accountant: Maribel, Charmaine, Kurtis, Mindy, Adele
Biologist: Stuart, Suzanne, Sara, Cheryl, Janet
Car Salesman: Clay, Travis, Pete, Allen, Bob
Drummer: Joey, Mickey, Billy, Chad, Tommy
Electrical Engineer: Harvey, Eugene, Bernard, Edwin, Charles
Farmer: Duane, Marlin, Delbert, Darin, Mavis
Firefighter: Brandon, Darren, Ryan, Jason, Jeremy
Fitness Instructor: Virginia, Rebecca, Julie, Pamela, Karen
Football Coach: Rich, Mike, Bill, Dan, Jim
Football Player: Reggie, Jermaine, Darnell, Quinton, Nate
Geologist: Henry, Frederick, William, Leonard, Hugh
Golfer: Bud, Willie, Tommy, Bobby, Johnny
Graphic Designer: Vanessa, Alison, Diana, Jan, Kurt
Guitarist: Mick, Richie, Trey, Sonny, Buddy
Hair Stylist: Lori, Raymond, Patricia, Susan, Robert
Historian: Herbert, Adrienne, Henry, Emma, Theodore
Insurance Salesman: Dalton, Garrett, Patty, Brent, Clark
Interior Designer: Elise, Marjorie, Martha, Lynne, Bonnie
Journalist: Alastair, Gideon, Hanna, Jonah, Louisa
Judge: Archibald, Lise, Josiah, Clement, Louise
Lawyer: Norton, William, Sanford, Cecily, Augustus
Librarian: Nanette, Margot, Abigail, Johanna, Eleanor
Mechanic: Dave, Patrick, Randy, Fred, Jerry
Meteorologist: Joe, Bill, Scott, Mike, Jeff
Photographer: Zoe, Bruno, Hugo, Annie, Noah
Poet: Celia, Hannah, Edgar, Edmund, Dorothy
Police Officer: Louis, Kevin, Wayne, Kim, Timothy
Rabbi: Chaim, Shlomo, Judah, Meir, Yosef
Race Car Driver: Robbie, Johnny, Bobby, Sebastian, Luigi
Rancher: Boyd, Leland, Leroy, Judy, Roy
Social Worker: Jeannette, Stella, Penelope, Constance, MArsha
Soldier: Zachary, Jacob, Jeremy, Kyle, Joshua
Songwriter: Richie, Mick, Sonny, Benny, Billy
Stuntman: Eddie, Erik, Alex, Ben, Terry
Surgeon: Sherwin, Harris, Barrett, Sanford, Holly
Venture Capitalist: Joanna, Guy, Shawn, Nicholas, Alexander
Veterinarian: Wayne, Sara, Peggy, Tracy, Gene
Waiter: Joshua, Sarah, Amy, Elizabeth, Lisa
So, do our names influence where we go in life? Or do the social, geographic, economic, and other factors that might have influenced how our parents named us also direct our career paths?
Our hunch is that it’s mostly the latter, but bear in mind that the connection is subtle. Love the name Erik but don’t want your son to be a daredevil? Don‘t let the fact that Eriks have a particularly high tendency to become stuntmen stop you from picking that name.
Similarly, naming your daughter Holly doesn’t mean she’ll automatically grow up to become a world-renowned surgeon. She’ll have to go to med school first.
Mark Edmond is a Seattle-based app developer and founder of Verdant Labs. He was inspired to create the Lullaby Lyrics app when he realized his repertoire was so limited it put him to sleep rather than his daughter. Nametrix was fueled by an interest in the hard data behind names and helped with the naming of his son.
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