How common is your name?

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.

21 thoughts on “How common is your name?

  1. Les was named Lesley Troy for two reasons. The first being that I loved Troy as a male name. Second because I had named his older brother Wesley Roy after both grandfathers.  If there had been a third boy he would have been Jessie Foya.  However this is not a wise way to name your children because when they were little a phone call from one of their friends was hard to complete.  It went something like this:

    Is Es there?
    I’m sorry who do you want?
    Es!
    Is that Wes or Les?
    Huh?
    Olde-brown hair or younger-yellow hair?
    Yellow hair!
    Oh you want Lesley.
    Yeah Es!

    Every time the phone rang it was 20 question! You don’t want to go there!

  2. My first name is top 10.  My last name is .001%, about 2500 in the US.  But I can google up SEVERAL people with the same first and last name I have.

  3. First name - Michael - 4th most popular male first name

    Middle name - Robert - 3rd most popular male first name

    Last name - Moore - 9th most popular last name

    Well don’t I feel special and unique!

  4. Last name:
    Lenehan is the #62440 most common last name.
    0.0005% of last names in the US are Lenehan.
    Around 1250 US last names are Lenehan!

    Frank.
    PS. Hello to any of my around 1250 American cousins.

  5. [Pop Tarts real name] is a very rare male name.
    Very few men in the US are named [Pop Tarts real name].
    Be proud of your unique name!

    hehe, I have a unique name. One problem googling my actual name can actually give people quite a bit info about me. I guess that is something one have to think about.

  6. Opps, press the button too soon. Anywho, just realised that they are three separate categories. All equally unique whether I am a gal or a girl, a given or a surname.

    By the way I would assume that Courtney would have been named Alyssa if you had a choice. So have you asked her which name she prefers?

  7. Here are some surprising stuff, at least for me:

    John is the #819 most common female name.
    0.012% of females in the US are named John.
    Around 15300 US females are named John!

    Mary is the #699 most common male name.
    0.009% of men in the US are named Mary.
    Around 11025 US men are named Mary

  8. Sorry for flooding the page. But I keep discovering stuff. If only there is an edit button. Made some typos up there too.

    Brain is the #602 most common male name.
    0.013% of men in the US are named Brain.
    Around 15925 US men are named Brain!

    Did you think the parents wanted to name these people Brian instead of Brain?

  9. Don’t sweat the flood as long as you’ve got something to say. I do it too.

    There is a feature request in at pMachine for the option to have user’s able to edit their comments for a limited period of time after posting them. With any luck they’ll consider adding that in.

  10. Some fruit for thought??

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,121025,00.html

    At least one person in Britain isn’t happy movie star Gwyneth Paltrow (search) and her rock-star husband, Coldplay’s Chris Martin (search), decided to name their newborn daughter “Apple.”

    Peaches Geldof (search), daughter of a rock star herself, lamented the practice of goofy celebrity-offspring names in the Daily Telegraph of London Wednesday.

    “I am named, as you may have noticed, after a fruit,” wrote the 14-year-old daughter of Boomtown Rats singer Bob “Live Aid” Geldof (search). “I’m not Jane or Sarah or Samantha: I am Peaches. This doesn’t make sense to me at all.”

    Young Geldof said Apple Martin has a lot of teasing to look forward to thanks to her name, and she has plenty of first-hand experience.

    “I’ve never announced my name to anyone without being asked to repeat it at least twice,” she wrote. “I also get a lot of lascivious comments: ‘Ooh, you’re a juicy piece of fruit, aren’t you, young lady?’ ‘I’d like to take a bite out of that peach …’ ‘Look at those peaches.’”

    While Geldof says life hasn’t always been “peaches and cream” for her, she does see an upside to an untraditional moniker, according to the Daily Telegraph. “It’s unusual, it’s exotic, it’s not boring. It also gives me [or so I like to think] an air of mystery.”

    And she lists some other unusual children-of-celebrity names that make her feel Peaches isn’t the worst thing one could be branded, such as David Bowie’s son Zowie and Prince Jackson, son or the Gloved One.

    Her own sisters make the list: Fifi Trixibelle, Little Pixie and Heavenly Hiraani Tigerlily. And despite the teasing she’s endured, Geldof writes that she plans to continue the tradition when she has kids.

    “I’ll probably end up calling it Grape.”

  11. And who can possibly forget Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa?

    But if I see one more deliberately misspelled name I’m gonna scream.  (There’s gonna be a LOT of screaming coming out of Texas for quite some time.)

    For your collective amusement:
    Baby’s Named a Bad, Bad Thing

  12. I know I’m a bit late on this, but I was busy with this on my own blog (Thanks Les). Anyway, I knew my name was going to be low on the list. Imagine when you put them together how much more rare it is.

    Brooks is the #829 most common male name.
    Around 8575 US men are named Brooks!

    Ayola is the #58669 most common last name.
    Around 1250 US last names are Ayola! (mostly relatives since the name is made up).

    When you Google “Brooks Ayola”, you just get stuff about me. Which is nice, just in case an old friend is looking for me.

  13. i just wanted to ask how mayn people out there have the name Siobhan?? it’s mine and i really like, i guess.

  14. Never heard of Siobhan before, where does that come from? Is the ‘h’ silent?

    My mom’s name was Ozetta. I’ve never met anyone else with her name.

  15. Siobhan - I’ve only heard that name once before and it belonged to an incredibly lovely lady in Norway. *sigh*  I believe the name is Celtic in origin and quite beautiful.  Siobhan conjures up something of a Norwegian Tek in my mind. *double sigh*

  16. There are tons of women named Siobhan (pronounced “she-VON”) in the UK, as it is indeed a Gaelic name.

  17. I like the fact that my first name is unusual, it suits my personality perfeckly (I know it’s misspelt) and I never get tired of people comparing me to the 70’s singer.

  18. While I’m on the topic of unusual names, I know a man whose real (birth certificate) name is Jumbo and he is a VERY interesting character - example how many people do you know that own their own working order vintage Fire Truck?
    Donovan

  19. Trell is a very rare male name.
    Very few men in the US are named Trell.
    Be proud of your unique name!

    Welcome i say pop tarts.. we may have to create a unique name club.

    and yes that is my real name.

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