— Kay Hymowitz (@KayHymowitz) November 19, 2016
Though this tweet is recent, the article is from two years ago so some of the numbers may be slightly off. Still, the story reveals the trends of popular names through the years.
FiveThirtyEight reporters Nate Silver and Allison McCann took the data collected by the Social Security Administration on names of American babies dating back to 1880 and combined it with the SSA’s estimations of how many Americans born each year are still alive. In doing so, they were able to determine the numbers and ages of living people with each name.
With this information, they could analyze many trends such as the 25 most popular male and female names ranked by median age, youngest and oldest female and male names, and names with the widest spreads of age. Though it’s fairly obvious that names like Mildred, Donald, and Ruth are more common among older Americans, more specific trends that they were able to reveal are more difficult to discern.
We know that the popularity of names is not a constant, but in looking at the data for individual names, trends such as short-term popularity of a name or cyclic popularity become clear. For example, the data shows that the name Brittany was popular just for a short time in the mid-80s to mid-90s, while the name Joseph has maintained fairly steady popularity and the name Violet was widely popular in the early 1900s and is now coming back as a popular name.
There’s a lot of information that can be taken from a name, this is just a small yet interesting sample.