Boys with Unusual Names More Likely to Commit Crime

Researchers David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee have again published a study linking unusual first names to criminal behavior (specifically, juvenile delinquency).

The study, published in Social Science Quarterly, is described over at Live Science (Boys With Unpopular Names More Likely to Break Law). Here’s an excerpt:

While the names are likely not the cause of crime, the researchers argue that “they are connected to factors that increase the tendency to commit crime, such as a disadvantaged home environment, residence in a county with low socioeconomic status, and households run by one parent.”

I haven’t read the study, so I can’t comment on its legitimacy…but I was surprised that the authors would claim their findings could help “identify individuals at high risk of committing or recommitting crime, leading to more effective and targeted intervention programs.”

…Using unpopular names to pick out the “bad” kids? Seems discriminatory to me. I think the correlation between names and crime would need to be extremely strong to justify a practice like that.

What are your thoughts?

3 thoughts on “Boys with Unusual Names More Likely to Commit Crime

  1. what kinds of crimes? are we talking serial murders name Ezekiel or Clarendon or gang related misdemeanors and felonies named D’amron and LaShay?

    Or is it just a blanket study?

  2. I read the study on line. It is a very legitimate scientific study. The way they assigned a point value to each name was based on the popularity, ex: Michael had 100 points for being the number one name during the time period they used to research. Then, another name, say Ivan, had a score of 2 points based on how many times less likely it was used compared to Michael. The research paper is lengthy, but interesting.

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