According to a recent study, some names are more common than others in certain professions.
The creators of the baby naming App Nametrix researched public records from the Social Security Administration and Federal Election Commission to find out the most unusually common names in a given profession.
The study looked at 36 jobs in total and uncovered some interesting findings.
For example, people named Duane are more likely to become farmers, while people named Noah are likely to be photographers. One-syllable names such as Bill, Mike, Dan, or Rich are most often football coaches.
What makes this study interesting is that it doesn’t look at the most ‘common’ names in any one profession, but names which are disproportionately common.
Unusual names such as Gideon and Angus are common in the field of journalism, and names such as Norton and Cecily are most likely to be found in the law and order profession.
Is your name Emma? Then you are most likely to be an historian. If your name is Hannah, then it’s fair to say you’re particularly apt at poetry.
How about Casey, Vincent, or Roy? These guys are mainly plumbers.
While developing the study, the creators specifically wanted to find the most inordinately common names in each profession.
For example, while Elvis may not be a common name, a particularly high percentage of people named Elvis are musicians. In other words, it’s common in that profession relative to its overall frequency.
The math behind the study is fairly straightforward. For example, in their sample of two and a half million people, a whopping 1.9% of people named Arnold were accountants. Contrast that with only 0.55% of accountants named Shane. Arnolds therefore tend to have a much higher tendency to be accountants than Shanes.
Still, the study is interesting given the fact that names are also an indicator of gender, age, and social class. By looking at the chart, you can get a good idea of the names which are most likely to be of a certain generation and then have a look at the fields these certain people are seemingly drawn to.
The Nametrix app is a lot of fun to play around with. For example, did you know that 31% of people named Vito are associated with the ‘gangster’ profession? Or that the most popular name for girls in 1988 was Blair?
Similarly, the name Ellen is a disproportionately common name in the field of 1, psychotherapists 2, librarians and 3, activists. Ellens also tend to lean heavily toward the Democrat party and be most popular in the north-eastern parts of the US.
The idea of Nametrix was first born when developer Mark Edmond and his wife were choosing names for their baby daughter.
“I realized that there’s so much more to a name than the basic popularity info and ‘name meanings’ text that all the baby name apps and websites I found centred around,”
“Nothing out there provided much in the way of real data.”
The App has since grown from baby-naming tool to an interactive feature which derives information on demographics, name popularity, and professions from the US census in order to present collective data for people to look at and have fun with.
This latest study is an insightful look into how names can influence career paths or vice versa.
Names of course reflect a whole host of factors including parental aspirations and education and trends; so it’s not really surprising when you see that most poets, writers, and playwrights have distinguished names or names of famous artists such as Archibald, Edgar, and Sanford.
Which leads us to question – do our names influence where we go in life? Or are other factors (social, economic, geographic, etc.) influencing our career paths?
To view the full chart, click here.