So……Social Security released its annual list of top baby names for 2011. Isn’t that exciting?
Jacob tops the list of boys’ names for, reportedly, the 13th year in a row. Sophia ousted Isabella from the top spot for girls. Yawn.
I’m sorry. Maybe some other blogger will give this news more play because what I really want to talk about is this NPR blog post that boldly insinuates there is a link between baby names and the political persuasion of that baby’s parents.
More specifically, there is a distinct pattern when it comes to naming babies in blue states or red states. Can you guess what that pattern is?
Once there was a baby named Left, and a baby named Right. No, really. According to the post, the more traditional, classic names come out of the blue states and the more imaginative, less-traditional names come out of the red states. The names used as examples in the post were Abigail, Rachel, Evan, Elizabeth and John for the liberal town– Burlington, Vermont, and Paislee, Liberty, Rykan, and Scottlyn, for the conservative town– North Platte, Nebraska.
It’s not what I would have expected. The article quotes Baby Name Wizard guru Laura Wattenberg, who verifies there is a noticeable political divide when it comes to baby names:
” More progressive communities, Wattenberg says, tend to favor more old-fashioned names. Parents in more conservative areas come up with names that are more creative or androgynous.”
For what it’s worth, Wattenberg also thinks the pattern may have more to do with the age of the parents who name them than with their political ideologies.
On a thread about this topic in the BabyCenter Community, member, Daag 911, had this to say:
“Interesting correllation, but I suspect political beliefs are just a small piece of the puzzle like others said. Age of the parents, education, religious beliefs, and cultural context are also involved in name choices parents make.”
Alas, this may be the sober truth, but it is still quite fun to explore the potential links between political persuasion and baby names, be they real or imagined.
For the record, I’m from Vermont and I listen to NPR pretty much all day long. Do I need to tell you which way I lean? But my favorite radio station, and the car I drive, probably says far more about my political leanings than does the names of my children.
I’ve got two daughters, Esther and Isla. Esther is about as traditionally old fashioned as they come. Straight out of the bible. But Isla, while traditional in Scotland, is weirder and more creative sounding. Does this make me a swing voter?
For more baby naming fun check out BabyCenter’s 100 most popular names of 2011 list, which is compiled from the baby names submitted by BabyCenter moms.
Do you find any truth to this political divide/baby names theory? How do your baby names measure up when you consider where you live or your political leanings?
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