Posts Tagged ‘Social Security’

The Name Game

Posted in General on May 12th, 2008 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

When it is not threatening to go bankrupt, the Social Security Administration occupies itself with compiling statistics. You probably are not interested in the date of your projected death, so here is the list of the most popular names of new-born children.

For kindergarten classes in 2012, the most monotonous monikers will be Jacob, Emily, Michael, Isabella, Ethan, Emma, Joshua, Ava, Daniel and Madison. You etymologists will note that the boys’ names are all Hebrew. For some reason, the ancient Hebrew ad agencies just were not as good at female names. Bathsheba and Abishag never caught on. Miriam did–but only after some cosmetic editing into Mary. (God presumably had the omniscience not to implant the Holy Spirit into the Virgin Zipporah; that would have undermined Christianity’s appeal.)

Furthermore, the social security’s database goes back to the 1880s.

Now you can find out how unoriginal your name was when you were born. Learn the passing fads of names.

For instance, Clarence was one of the more popular names of 1900. And no one thought of naming a daughter Madison until the 1980s. Herman was the 50th most popular boy’s name in 1908; it now is the 979th. Gee, I wonder if any historical events made the name less endearing. (No, Adolf hasn’t made the top 1000 since 1928.)

In fact, I had to wonder how the popularity of the name George has fared over the past 8 years. Nero once had been a popular Roman name, but one psychotic emperor apparently ruined its appeal. Had the worst president in American history given George a bad name? Of course, you have to be willing to believe any statistics from the Bush administration, but the name George is still surprisingly popular. In 2007, it was the 147th most common name among newborn males. Seven years of unsurpassed incompetence, correction and malevolence have only had a marginal effect on the name. In 2000, George was the 130th most popular name for infant boys.

Furthermore, Bush policies may have had an insidious influence on the names of children. Over the last eight years, there has been a surge of infant boys named Rex and King.

In any case, have fun with the website. (Type in the name Mahmud or Ahmed at your risk.)