How popular is the baby name Jeffrey in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Jeffrey and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Jeffrey.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Jeffrey

Number of Babies Named Jeffrey

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Jeffrey

Should We Name Hurricanes to Maximize Donations?

hurricaneIn 2008, psychologists Jesse Chandler, Tiffany M. Griffin, and Nicholas Sorensen published a study showing that people who shared an initial with a hurricane name were over-represented among hurricane relief donors. So, for instance, people with R-names donated significantly more than other people to Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (This is an offshoot of the name-letter effect.)

A few years later, marketing professor Adam Alter came up with an interesting idea: Why not use this knowledge to try to maximize donations to hurricane relief efforts? He explained:

In the United States, for example, more than 10% of all males have names that begin with the letter J-names like James and John (the two most common male names), Joseph and Jose, Jason, and Jeffrey. Instead of beginning just one hurricane name with the letter J each year (in 2013, that name will be Jerry), the World Meteorological Organization could introduce several J names each year. Similarly, more American female names begin with M than any other letter–most of them Marys, Marias, Margarets, Michelles, and Melissas–so the Organization could introduce several more M names to each list.

I think his idea is a good one overall. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, but could potentially benefit many hurricane victims.

I would go about choosing the names differently, though.

Repeating initials multiple times within a single hurricane season would be unwise, for instance. It would cause confusion, which would undermine the reason we started naming hurricanes in the first place (“for people easily to understand and remember” them, according to the WMO).

But optimizing the name lists using data on real-life usage? That would be smart.

I might even try optimizing based on demographics. Baby boomers are particularly generous donors, so maybe we should choose letters (or even names) with that generation in mind?

The baby boomers were born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, so here are the top initials for babies born in 1956 (60 years ago):

Top first letters of baby names, 1956, U.S.

Here are two possible lists of hurricane names using the above letters. I stuck with the WMO’s conventions: 21 names total, alternating genders, and no retired names.

Mid-century style Modern style
Janice
Danny
Rebecca
Martin
Cindy
Scott
Lori
Kenneth
Brenda
Patrick
Theresa
Gerald
Angela
Eugene
Wanda
Vincent
Nancy
Howard
Francine
Ira
Olga
Jasmine
Dominic
Rylee
Matthew
Charlotte
Sebastian
Lucy
Kingston
Bella
Preston
Trinity
Grayson
Ava
Eli
Willow
Victor
Nora
Hunter
Fiona
Isaac
Olivia

And here’s another point: we wouldn’t want to assign these names in order. While the official hurricane season lasts a full six months — June to November — most hurricane activity happens in August, September and October:

Number of Tropical Cyclones per 100 Years (NOAA)

To really optimize, we’d want to reserve the top initials/names for the stronger mid-season hurricanes, which tend to do the most damage. So we could start the season using mid-list names, then jump to the top of the list when August comes around and go in order from that point forward (skipping over any mid-list names that had already been used).

What are your thoughts on assigning hurricane names with disaster relief in mind? Do you think it could work? What strategy/formula would you use to select relief-optimized hurricane names?

Sources: In the “I” of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donations, Smart Hurricane Names: A Policy Intervention that Costs Almost Nothing but Should Attract Billions of Dollars in Aid, Tropical Cyclone Programme – WMO
Image: Tropical Cyclone Climatology – National Hurricane Center – NOAA

P.S. While J, D and R were the top initials 60 years ago, today’s top initials are A, J and M.


Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1867

providence baby names 1867The registrar of Providence, Rhode Island, published a series of documents listing all “of the names of persons deceased, born and married in the city of Providence” during years 1866, 1867 and 1868. The series may have been longer, but these are the only documents I could find online.

I’ve finally finished creating a set of rankings using one of the documents — 1867. But before we get to the rankings, here are some stats:

  • 1,547 babies were born in Providence in 1867, going by the number of babies listed in the document itself. According to the document’s introduction, though, the number is 1,625. Not sure what to make of this discrepancy.
  • 1,431 of these babies (713 girls and 718 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 116 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps they died young and never received a name.
  • 254 unique names (141 girl names and 113 boy names) were shared among these 1,431 babies.

And now, on to the names…

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:

Top Baby Girl Names Top Baby Boy Names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Ellen
4. Margaret
5. Sarah
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

Girl Names

Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.

  1. Mary, 138 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 46
  3. Ellen, 37
  4. Margaret, 34
  5. Sarah, 31
  6. Annie, 19
  7. Elizabeth, 16
  8. Alice, 15
  9. Florence, 14
  10. Ann, Emma & Ida, 12 each (3-way tie)
  11. Minnie, 11
  12. Harriet & Julia, 9 each (2-way tie)
  13. Anna, Caroline, Carrie, Jennie, Joanna & Louisa, 8 each (6-way tie)
  14. Cora & Eliza, 7 each (2-way tie)
  15. Agnes, Clara, Edith, Rosanna & Theresa, 6 each (5-way tie)
  16. Bertha, Grace, Hannah, Hattie, Jane, Lillian, Maria, Martha, Nellie & Susan, 5 each (10-way tie)
  17. Eleanor, Fannie, Gertrude, Helen, Isabella, Lucy & Rosa, 4 each (7-way tie)
  18. Anne, Bridget, Ella, Emily, Esther, Eva, Lizzie, Mabel, Matilda & Ruth, 3 each (10-way tie)
  19. Ada, Amelia, Charlotte, Dora, Eleanora, Elvira, Henrietta, Jessie, Josephine, Kate, Louise, Lydia, Maggie & Rosella, 2 each (14-way tie)
  20. Abby, Addie, Adelaide, Adelia, Almina, Almira, Amanda, Amey, Amy, Anastasia, Angelie, Annis, Antoinette, Augusta, Aurelia, Bethiah, Cecelia, Celia, Clarissa, Clementina, Corielynn, Cornelia, Drusilla, Effie, Emeline, Estella, Ethelin, Fanny, Florentina, Frances, Gelie, Genevieve, Georgiana, Georgianna, Helena, Honora, Irene, Isabel, Issie, Juliann, Julietta, Katie, Laura, Leah, Leonora, Lillie, Lillis, Lily, Lottie, Luella, Margaretta, Margery, Margret, Marietta, Maude, May, Millie, Myra, Nelly, Phebe, Robie, Rosalthe, Rose, Selina, Sophia, Susanna, Susannah, Vienna, Viola, Vira, Virginia & Winifred, 1 each (72-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. John, 87 baby boys
  2. William, 75
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 50
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 40
  7. Joseph, 30
  8. Walter, 21
  9. Edward, 16
  10. Francis & Michael, 14 each (2-way tie)
  11. Patrick, 13
  12. Arthur & Robert, 12 each (2-way tie)
  13. Frank, Frederick & Henry, 11 each (3-way tie)
  14. Albert, 9
  15. Daniel & Peter, 8 each (2-way tie)
  16. David, Eugene, Howard & Samuel, 6 each (4-way tie)
  17. Alexander, Louis & Stephen, 5 each (3-way tie)
  18. Harry, Herbert, Hugh & Martin, 4 each (4-way tie)
  19. Carl, Edgar, Everett, Jeremiah & Willie, 3 each (5-way tie)
  20. Abraham, Alfred, Clarence, Cornelius, Dennis, Ernest, Ezra, Franklin, Freddie, Jacob, Jesse, Lewis, Luke, Nicholas, Philip, Sylvester, Theodore, Timothy, 2 each (18-way tie)
  21. Abner, Adam, Adolph, Amos, Andrew, Appleton, Archibald, Ashel, August, Benjamin, Benno, Bernard, Bertram, Burt, Byron, Clifford, Davis, Dexter, Dunlap, Edmund, Edwin, Elmer*, Embert, Forrest, Freddy, Gustav, Herman, Isaac, Jeffrey, Jerome, Josiah, Lucian, Malcolm, Matthew, Maurice, Milton, Nathan, Nehemiah, Nelson, Oren, Oscar, Otto, Owen, Paul, Ralph, Reginald, Richard, Sanford, Seth, Shirley, Sullivan, Terence, Theobald, Victor, Wanton, Warren, Weston, Wheelan, Wilford, 1 each (59-way tie)

*Elmer, who had the middle initial “E.,” was likely named after Civil War casualty Elmer E. Ellsworth.

Twins & Triplets

Twenty-one sets of twins and two sets of triplets were born in Providence in 1867. (All of these names were accounted for above — I just thought it’d be fun to check out the sibsets.)

Twins (b/b) Twins (b/g) Twins (g/g) Triplets
Abraham & George
Charles & George
Charles & John
Daniel & David
Dunlap & Frank
Eugene & Timothy
George & John
George & William
James & John
John & Martin
Albert & Harriet
Ashel & Ida
George & Grace
James & Mary
Maurice & Ann
Annie & Fannie
Annie & Mary
Ann & Ellen
Jennie & Minnie
Margaret & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Carl, (blank) & (blank)
James, Alexander & Sarah

I’ll post Providence’s 1866 and 1868 rankings as soon I get them done. Until then, here are two older posts featuring uniquely named Rhode Islanders: Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812) and Idawalley (b. 1842).

Sources:

Popular Boy Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

How has the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names changed over time (if at all) among the most popular baby names in the U.S.?

This question popped into my head recently, so I thought I’d take a look at the data. We’ll do boy names today and girl names tomorrow.

First, let’s set some parameters. For these posts, “Biblical” names are personal names (belonging to either humans or archangels) mentioned in the Bible, plus all derivatives of these names, plus any other name with a specifically Biblical origin (e.g., Jordan, Sharon, Genesis). The “most popular” names are the top 20, and “over time” is the span of a century.

For boy names, the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names has basically flipped over the last 100 years. Here’s a visual — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and a borderline name (which I counted as non-Biblical) is in the orange cell:

Popular boy names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular boy names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Adam, Alexander, Andrew, Austin (via Augustus), Benjamin, Daniel, David, Elijah, Ethan, Jack (via John), Jackson (via John), Jacob, James, Jason, John, Jonathan, Joseph, Joshua, Justin (via Justus), Lucas, Mark, Matthew, Michael, Nathan, Nicholas, Noah, Paul, Stephen, Steven, Thomas, Timothy, Zachary
  • Non-Biblical names: Aiden, Albert, Anthony, Arthur, Billy, Brandon, Brian, Charles, Christopher, Dennis, Donald, Dylan, Edward, Eric, Frank, Gary, George, Harold, Harry, Henry, Jayden, Jeffrey, Kenneth, Kevin, Larry, Liam, Logan, Louis, Mason, Raymond, Richard, Robert, Ronald, Ryan, Scott, Tyler, Walter, William
  • Borderline name: Jerry (can be based on the Biblical name Jeremy/Jeremiah or on the non-Biblical names Jerome, Gerald, Gerard)
    • It felt strange putting an overtly Christian name like Christopher in the non-Biblical category, but it doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible, so…that’s where it goes.

      Here are the year-by-year tallies:

      Year Top 20 names
      given to…
      # Biblical # Non-Biblical
      1914 40% of baby boys 5 (25%) 15 (75%)
      1924 43% of baby boys 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
      1934 43% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1944 47% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1954 46% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1964 42% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1974 38% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1984 36% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      1994 27% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2004 19% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2014 14% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)

      But there’s a huge difference between sample sizes of 40% and 14%, so let’s also take a look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 42% of male births.

      By my count, last year’s top 100 boy names were half Biblical, half non-Biblical:

      Biblical names (49) Non-Biblical names (51)
      Noah, Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, James, Daniel, Elijah, Benjamin, Matthew, Jackson (via John), David, Lucas, Joseph, Andrew, Samuel, Gabriel, Joshua, John, Luke, Isaac, Caleb, Nathan, Jack (via John), Jonathan, Levi, Jaxon (via John), Julian (via Julius), Isaiah, Eli, Aaron, Thomas, Jordan, Jeremiah, Nicholas, Evan, Josiah, Austin (via Augustus), Jace (via Jason), Jason, Jose, Ian, Adam, Zachary, Jaxson (via John), Asher, Nathaniel, Justin (via Justus), Juan Liam, Mason, William, Logan, Aiden, Jayden, Anthony, Carter, Dylan, Christopher, Oliver, Henry, Sebastian, Owen, Ryan, Wyatt, Hunter, Christian, Landon, Charles, Connor, Cameron, Adrian, Gavin, Robert, Brayden, Grayson, Colton, Angel, Dominic, Kevin, Brandon, Tyler, Parker, Ayden, Chase, Hudson, Nolan, Easton, Blake, Cooper, Lincoln, Xavier, Bentley, Kayden, Carson, Brody, Ryder, Leo, Luis, Camden

      (Christian, Angel, Xavier, Dominic…all technically non-Biblical, despite having strong ties to Christianity.)

      50%-50% isn’t quite as extreme as 70%-30%, but it’s still noticeably more Biblical than 1914’s 25%-75%.

      Do any of these results surprise you?

Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity, E/W, 2013

Here’s another “biggest changes” analysis, but this one is for the England and Wales boy names. (We looked at the girl names yesterday.)

The tables below include two versions of each list. On the left are the top raw-number differences, taking all names into account. On the right are the top ranking differences, taking only the top 1,000 names (roughly) into account.

Biggest Increases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Oscar, +1,222 babies
  2. Muhammad, +338
  3. Henry, +320
  4. Joey, +288
  5. Oliver, +280
  6. Teddy, +276
  7. Arthur, +249
  8. Archie, +203
  9. Edward, +185
  10. Theodore, +167
  1. Greyson, +1388 spots
  2. Harvey-Lee, +898
  3. Salahuddin, +759
  4. Bernard, +715
  5. Camden, +686
  6. Kayson, +583
  7. Raife, +531
  8. Buster and Abubakr [tie], +517
  9. Jeffrey and Brax [tie], +499
  10. Emre, +492

I think the rise of Oscar can be attributed, at least in part, to Oscar Pistorius. Can you think of explanations for any of the other names? (I’d especially like to know what gave Buster a boost.)

Biggest Decreases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Riley, -1,703 babies
  2. Harry, -1,280
  3. Tyler, -1,104
  4. Alfie, -705
  5. Ethan, -649
  6. Charlie, -532
  7. Joshua, -471
  8. Callum, -467
  9. Ryan, -441
  10. Dylan, -407
  1. Rylan, -577 spots
  2. Ray, -339
  3. Rylie, -277
  4. Jeevan, -276
  5. Darren, -255
  6. Codey, -252
  7. Chace, -242
  8. Dorian, -239
  9. Kaelan, -231
  10. Riley-Jay, -228

A lot of Ry- and Ri- names took hits last year. Is the sound falling out of the favor? What do you think?

Top Debut Name

Gurfateh.

Fewer than 3 baby boys got the name in 2012, but 12 baby boys were named Gurfateh in 2013. (But keep in mind that I only have the full England and Wales baby name lists going back to 2007.)

Here are the U.S. boy names that changed the most in popularity in 2013, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2013 – ONS

Popular Baby Names in Quebec, 2013

Quebec’s top baby names of 2013 were announced yesterday.

According to data from the Régie des rentes du Québec (RRQ), the most popular baby names last year were Lea and William.

Here are Quebec’s top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Lea, 625 baby girls
2. Emma, 500
3. Olivia, 491
4. Florence, 455
5. Alice, 439
6. Zoe, 415
7. Rosalie, 404
8. Juliette, 366
9. Charlie, 343
10. Chloe, 339
11. Charlotte, 332
12. Sofia, 304
13. Jade, 302
14. Mia, 299
15. Eva, 289
16. Camille, 286
17. Victoria, 284
18. Anais, 274
19. Beatrice, 265
20. Laurence, 260 (tie)
21. Maeva, 260 (tie)
1. William, 823 baby boys
2. Nathan, 771
3. Samuel, 704
4. Alexis, 699
5. Olivier, 694
6. Felix, 692
7. Thomas, 692
8. Liam, 683
9. Jacob, 630
10. Gabriel, 602
11. Antoine, 516
12. Logan, 516
13. Raphael, 498
14. Noah, 463
15. Xavier, 441
16. Benjamin, 420
17. Emile, 413
18. Charles, 397
19. Adam, 389
20. Leo, 386

Charlie is new to the girls’ top 10. In 2012, it ranked 12th.

On the boys’ side, Jayden is on the rise as well — from 38th in 2012 to 35th in 2013. (In the U.S., Jayden has been falling for a few years now.)

Finally, here are some baby names that were used only once or twice in Quebec last year:

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Alaska (1), Alutchainah Winfrey (1), Cheleby-Prettey (1), Divine Jeremiah (1), Etye Tzirl (1), Fanny-Jade (1), Galaxyanne (1), Golding Merly (1), Iokennorehseriio (1), K La (1), Kellixia (1), Khaleesi (2), Khlde (1), Kinda Love (1), Kukuess (1), Libertad-Quillay (1), Luna Love (1), Luxshiny (1), Mamba Gabrielle (1), Marie-Neige (2), Milky (1), Nelricka (1), O-Feely (1), Nermine (2), Peggy Evie Maggie (2), Reness-May (1), Rougui (2), Rulx-Jeffrey (1), Schrolding Sarry (1), Shine Present (1), Skysea (1), Walter-Lynn (1), Zoolee (1) Aggaajuk (1), Best Blessing (1), Beckham (2), Charm Henri (1), Chumly (1), Clarenceford (1), D-Reck (1), Dick-Yan (1), Djeepy (1), Edwidge Lovensky (1), Ettuk (2), Fhitzjericho (1), Fox Henri (1), Frignol (1), Gayden (1), Hunter Chace (1), Indrix (1), Lafleche (2), Lucassie (2), Meyroi Deliver Midy (1), Micipsa (1), Nhel Rein (1), Noonard (1), Nyko (2), Queben (1), Rhodeelny (1), Sampo (1), Shragy (2), Syphax (2), Vwila (1), Warrior (1), Wedgy (1), Woody Tommy (1), Za-Ak (1)

Sources: Most popular baby names for 2013, Lea and William top baby names of 2013

Boy Name Needed for Brother of Catherine and Luke

A reader named Rebecca has two children named Catherine (Cate) and Luke. Both of their names are family names. She says:

We are due with our third, a boy in November and I just can’t think of anything I like that doesn’t sound out of place with those two names.

She’d appreciate some name suggestions, and she’d also like some “recommendations on how to connect with a name.”

I thought that second request was really interesting. It seems to me that most parents who don’t like a name right away usually just need some time to adjust. But there isn’t a lot of time in this case, so here are two tricks that might work:

  • Use the name as if it’s already his name (in your head, so as not to confuse others). For instance, whenever you use the word “baby” in conversation, mentally replay the statement and replace “baby” with the name. See if you can force a perspective shift this way.
  • Look for meaningful associations. Sift through your personal history–favorite friends, teachers, neighbors, authors, artists, public figures–and keep and eye out for the name you’re considering. A positive personal association might help you see the name in a new light.

I can’t wait to see what others ideas people come up with.

Now for the suggestions. Rebecca mentioned that the names Graham, Douglas and William have been disqualified for various reasons, so those three are out. Catherine and Luke are classics, so that’s what I stuck with for the most part:

Adam
Adrian
Anthony
Benjamin
Calvin
Charles
Craig
David
Duncan
Finn
Gabriel
Grant
Gregory
Jeffrey
Joseph
Jude
Kenneth
Mark
Matthew
Nicholas
Noah
Patrick
Paul
Peter
Philip
Richard
Sebastian
Seth
Steven
Theodore
Thomas
Timothy
Vincent

I almost included Nathan, but Nate rhymes with Cate. That won’t work. We want a name, not a nursery rhyme. :)

Which of the above names do you like best for the brother of Cate and Luke? What other boy names would you suggest to Rebecca?