The politics of...baby names
By Sarah Kliff,
Jacob and Sophia took the top spot for most popular baby names in 2010, according to data out Monday from the Social Security Administration. NPR’s Alan Greenblatt digs deeper into the data and finds a split between blue and red states when it comes to baby-naming, albeit a surprising one:
More progressive communities... tend to favor more old-fashioned names. Parents in more conservative areas come up with names that are more creative or androgynous.
“Sometimes people have a naive expectation that people who are politically conservative on social issues would name their kids in traditional ways, and it doesn’t always happen that way,” says Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University and author of “Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State.”
The reason for more outlandish-sounding names cropping up in conservative quarters is simple, Wattenberg says. Women in red states tend to have their first children earlier than women in blue states. A 23-year-old mom is more likely to come up with something out of the ordinary than one who is 33.
Also notable in the 2010 data: After years of languishing, Elvis has once again cracked the top 1,000 names for the first time in a decade.