by Grzegorz Kotkowski

Recently I’ve encountered an interesting article about the trends of the female names in the US. It shows the impact of the famous Disney Movies on the names that are given to the newborns. As the “Frozen” movie has become very popular a lot of girls born in 2014 got names as Elsa or  Merida.

I want to consider the same dataset in order to perform the analogous analysis but for names of the US presidents. My guess is that it should well represent if a given president was popular or rather the US society didn’t want to hear the name anymore.

The considered dataset contains the names and the number of times it was given to the newborns in the US, the gender of kid and the respective year. The entities range from 1880 till 2104. Since the dataset in not updated for the last two years, the current president Donald Trump is omitted in this analysis.

Let us investigate the trend of names given to newborns starting from the beginning of the XX-th century.  The trends are analyzed only for the last 9 US presidents, i.e. the names are Barack, George (twice), Ronald, Jimmy, Gerald, Richard, Lyndon and John. The trends are presented in Fig. 1. An arrow is added to depict the year in which the given presidency started.

plot1

Above: The trends of the last presidents’ names given to newborns since the beginning of the XXth century. On the y-axis the proportion of all the names given in each year multiplied by a factor of 1000.

From Fig. 1 we could draw several conclusions. Generally, when the presidency starts the name of the new president is already unfashionable to be given to a kid. However, as the presidency keeps going, the given name becomes only less and less popular till the complete extinction. It seems that the president’s name has rather negative connotations for the population. The only counterexample is Lyndon Johnson whose name became very frequent the year after his election (perhaps due to his popular idea of creating “the Great Society” and reforms). It could be observed that president Kennedy brought some interest to the Johns, but at the end, the negative popularity trend hasn’t been stopped. As the last interesting note let consider the last president Obama who has an unusual name. He made the name Barack appear to be recognizable, however his further term of office inverted the positive trend.

There are two ways to conclude this study. Either people do not share any good emotions with the presidents or the politicians seem to be too serious so their names do not go well with children’s infantilism. Definitely, we have better associations with the Disney characters.

As there is not much more to conclude, I’d  like to play a little more with the dataset. In the analogy to the above analysis, I show the trends for the names of this blog’s authors (or rather their English equivalents). Would you find anything interesting in this plots?

plot2

Above: The trends of this blog’s authors names given to newborns since the beginning of the XXth century. On the y-axis the proportion of all the names given in each year multiplied by a factor of 1000.