Steven and Stephen
June 6, 2010 1 Comment
So, Kim and I have been talking baby names a lot, as you might expect. Current leading contender, Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate. The Social Security Administration has an awesome baby name website, and for a data geek like me, it’s too much fun. Anyway, we got to discussing my own name, which I really like, but I’m not into juniors (or any more name confusion than we already have in the Greene household). Anyway, I was really intrigued to see the way “Steven” took off in popularity during the Great Depression. Then I realized, that “Stephen” was probably already a much popular name. Indeed it was. Anyway, I got the data from the SSA website and made this chart below (which, does the trick, but did not quite translate into wordpress quite as well as I would like). Anyway, it’s cool to see Steven take the lead in 1950, after being dramatically less popular in the first half of the century. After a nice run near the top, both names have, sadly, dropped out of the top 100.
Anyway, this has all led to a lot of questions. What caused Steven to catapult past Stephen? Why did Kimberly come from nowhere to be an incredibly popular name in the 2nd half of the 20th century? Why has Sarah been a remarkably steady name for 100 years? There’s clearly, some serious Sociology at work here. I certainly noted Dawson coming from nowhere to join the top 500 on the popularity of the TV Show “Dawson’s Creek.” I seem to recallFreakonomics having a chapter on baby names, which I loved, but I really think there’s a whole book in here somewhere.