Occupational Baby Names: A journalist named Jonah? An accountant named Adele?
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.
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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on December 29th, 2014 at 10:52 pm
I’d be curious to know what the top names re in the acting profession, considering so many use stage names… Just a thought.
on December 30th, 2014 at 5:37 am
I don’t think they do have that much of an influence. Every profession is going to have a range of different names, some more popular then others; there would obviously be a build up.
Can Your Name Determine Your Career? Said
on August 9th, 2015 at 6:05 pm
[…] Explaining the concept, developer Mark Edmond wrote: […]
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