Solonor has stumbled across a rather interesting website that will tell you how common your name is in the United States using data from the U.S. Census. The site is called Name Statistics and you can look up your name and see how it ranks.
For example, “Jenkins” is rarely a first name for males or females, but it’s ranked #83 for last names in the U.S. accounting for 0.095% of last names, almost a full percent of the population. Meanwhile “Les” is ranked at #895 for male names (approx. 7,350 men with this name) and doesn’t rank among females at all, but if I use my full name of “Lesley” the ranking for male name drops to #1172 (approx. 4,900 males with this name) whereas for females it rises to #612 (approx. 24,225 with this name).
My wife’s name, Anne, is ranked #85 for females (290,700 people) and doesn’t rank at all for men, but is ranked #53,097 for last name which surprised the hell out of me. My daughter Courtney is ranked #245 for female name (109,650 people) and #488 for male name (23,275). So there’s your interesting trivia for the day.
Solonor talks a little about how they tried to give their kids relatively common names to cut down on the teasing whereas I’m of the opposite mind in that regard. I’d rather my kids have more unique names to encourage the individuality. The only reason Courtney has a relatively common name is because I didn’t have any hand in the naming process in part because she was supposed to be a boy. All the names I and her mother had agreed on prior to her birth had been boy’s names because the doctors said the ultrasounds showed we should be expecting a boy.
You can imagine our surprise when “he” arrived and was missing a key component of “his” anatomy that required a sudden change in the naming department. I wasn’t present for the birth because it was done as an emergency C-section (a whole story unto itself) and by the time I got to the hospital Courtney’s mother, fearing that I’d want to make use of a name I had mentioned previously to her that she was horrified with, had already decided upon Courtney and had it listed on the birth certificate. She tried to appease my sensibilities by making Courtney’s middle name “Alyssa,” though I have no idea how that was supposed to make me feel better. Perhaps she thought it was suitably funky-sounding that I’d be happy.
Anyway, Anne and I don’t currently have any plans to add any kids to our family, but if we did I’d definitely be spending time at Name Statistics looking for names that are suitably unique. My own full name with its non-traditional spelling came with its fair share of bumps and ribbings and I still get mail addressed to “Ms. Lesley Jenkins” all the time, but it’s also unusual enough that it stands out on resumes and makes people remember me which can be a benefit in its own right.