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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Jin


Posts that Mention the Name Jin

Glitch Alert: “Korea” Coded as “Kansas” in SSA Data?

Korea coded as Kansas in baby name data?

I think I may have found another problem with the SSA data.

It all started with Chong, which was on my shortlist for the Mystery Monday series. When I tried one last time to figure it out, I noticed some pretty interesting stuff.

Chong debuted as a girl name in 1947. I couldn’t find a pop culture explanation. It kept making me think of the Chinese name Chong (the forename, not the surname) but virtually no one from China — or anywhere else in Asia, for that matter — was immigrating to the U.S. in the 1940s.

Here’s the gist of what happened next…

  • Looking at the other 1947 debut names, I found 3 similar to Chong: Myong, Kyong and Kyung.
  • I realized then that I was dealing with Korean names, not Chinese names. But these Korean names were truncated for some reason. (Korean names typically have two parts, e.g., Seo-yeon, Yu-jin, Tae-hyun, Min-jae.)
  • Looking at the rest of the SSA data, I found a bunch of other truncated Korean names with debut years ranging from the 1920s to the 1970s.

The most obvious explanation, immigration, could theoretically work for the debuts from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Korean immigration to the U.S. (starting with war brides and orphans) began again in the 1950s and peaked in the 1970s-1980s. But it couldn’t explain the debuts from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s.

So I checked the SSA’s state data. If these name debuts were somehow (impossibly) being caused by immigration then I would expect to see them clustered in places like Hawaii, California and New York.

But you know where they were popping up? Kansas.

Even weirder, this only lasted until the ’70s or so — after that, the names stopped appearing on the Kansas list altogether.

Here’s the SSA data (from 1920 to 1969, inclusive) for most of the Korean names I found:

NameU.S. Total
1920-1969
Kansas Total
1920-1969
Chong106 baby girls
16 baby boys
103 baby girls
unlisted
Chun22 baby girls12 baby girls
Dong32 baby boys15 baby boys
Hae19 baby girls19 baby girls
Hee5 baby girls5 baby girls
Hye29 baby girls28 baby girls
Hyun10 baby girls5 baby girls
Ji10 baby girls5 baby girls
Jin13 baby boys6 baby boys
Kyong51 baby girls50 baby girls
Kyung63 baby girls55 baby girls
Mi114 baby girls78 baby girls
Myong50 baby girls44 baby girls
Myung11 baby girls11 baby girls
Ok35 baby boys30 baby boys
Soon48 baby girls
5 baby boys
38 baby girls
unlisted
Yong114 baby girls
60 baby boys
108 baby girls
52 baby boys

I doubt these names represent Korean babies being born in Kansas.

I also doubt they represent non-Korean babies in Kansas getting Korean names. (Asian baby names were not trendy among the white farm families of mid-20th-century Kansas, as you might imagine.)

My theory is that these names actually represent Korean immigrants who came to the U.S. as adults during the second half of the 20th century, applied for social security cards, and were mistakenly assigned Kansas as a birthplace instead of Korea.

Perhaps someone used the letter “K” as shorthand for Korea for a particular batch of records, and that “K” was later interpreted as Kansas, either by a person or by a computer.

However it happened, the miscoded birthplaces would make it appear as though hundreds of Korean babies had been born in Kansas throughout the 20th century — even during decades when that would have been extremely unlikely.

(I’m still curious about the truncation. Perhaps whoever miscoded the birthplaces also mistakenly split the compound Korean names into American-style firsts and middles.)

Does this theory make sense? Do you have have other ideas/information?

Sources: A Brief History of Korean Americans – National Association of Korean Americans, Korean Immigrants in the United States – Migration Policy Institute

Baby Name Trends in South Korea

popular baby names in south korea, 2008-2013
The top baby names in S. Korea are Min-jun (boys) and Seo-yeon (girls).

In South Korea, parents are slowly moving away from traditional methods of choosing baby names.

Name decisions used to be made either by a grandfather or by a professional baby namer (who would use the Chinese zodiac to spot “weaknesses” in the baby’s fate and choose a name to help counter those weaknesses). While many parents still consult with professionals, the belief that choosing a name via astrology can affect a baby’s fate is less common than it once was.

So how are parents in Korea choosing names these days? In various ways…

  • Some are choosing names based on how easy they are to pronounce in English, avoiding tricky Korean syllables such as “Eun” and “Eo.”
  • Some are looking to pop culture (especially celebrities and reality TV) for names.
  • Some are taking a more creative route, turning Korean words into names. (One woman interviewed by Arirang News mentioned her son’s name was Ara, from the Korean word for “sea.”)
  • Some are going for a unisex sound with syllables like “ji” and “bin.”

According to Arirang News, the most popular baby names in South Korea from 2008 through most of 2013 were Seo-yeon for girls and Min-jun for boys:

Top Girl NamesTop Boy Names
1. Seo-yeon
2. Ji-won
3. Seo-young
4. Su-yeon
5. Seo-hyeon
6. Min-seo
7. Min-jeong
8. Min-ju
9. Ji-yun
10. Yu-jin
1. Min-jun
2. Ji-hun
3. Hyun-wu
4. Min-seong
5. Dong-hyeon
6. Jeong-wu
7. Do-hyeon
8. Hyeon-jun
9. Geon-wu
10. Min-jae

Sources: Baby-naming in Korea: What are the most popular names?, The Most Popular Baby Names in Korea, South Korea: parents pick names that foreigners can pronounce (h/t Onomastics.co.uk)

Baby Names Typed by the Right Hand: Better?

Years ago, I came up with a list of one-handed baby names — that is, names that are typed with either the left hand or the right hand on a QWERTY keyboard.

Turns out there may be a slight advantage to right-hand names.

According to a study published recently in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, “the QWERTY keyboard may gradually attach more positive meanings to words with more letters located on the right side of the layout (everything to the right of T, G and B).”

Why?

It has to do with fluency.

We tend to like simplicity over complexity, and the harder-to-type letter pairs are on a QWERTY keyboard’s left side — these two facts together may lead people to prefer words (and names) that are typed on the right.

Which names are typed by the right hand only? My original list:

  • Holly
  • Io
  • Jill, Jim, Jimi, Jimmy, Jin, Jo, John, Johnny, Jon, Joni, Joy, Juho, Juli, Julio, Jun, Juno
  • Kiki, Kim, Kimi, Kimiko, Kimmy, Kimo, Kip, Kiyoko, Kojo, Kollin, Kumiko, Kyou
  • Lili, Lilly, Lilou, Lily, Lin, Lino, Loni, Lonny, Lou, Lulu, Lyn, Lynn
  • Miki, Mikki, Mikko, Milly, Milo, Mimi, Min, Minh, Miyu, Molly, Momoko
  • Nik, Nikhil, Niki, Nikki, Niko, Nikol, Nikon, Nuno
  • Olli, Olujimi, Om
  • Phil, Philip, Phillip, Pio, Polly, Poppy
  • Yoko, Yuko, Yumi, Yumiko

Can you think of any others?

Source: The QWERTY Effect: How Typing May Shape the Meaning of Words (h/t Anthony Mitchell, @aem76us)

One-Syllable Girl Names: Kate, Sage, Wren, Maeve

Looking for a girl name that’s short and to-the-point? Something that might work particularly well as a middle name?

Check out this list of several hundred one-syllable girl names. (And click on any name to see its popularity graph!)

Please note that I did include names in the gray area between one syllable and two syllables. The deciding factor on these particular names will be your own interpretation/accent, so be sure to test the names out loud before making any final decisions. (“Hayle,” for instance — would you say it like Hale, or like Hailey? Or “Rise” — is it rize, or ree-sah?)

Many of these names also happen to be unisex, so they appear on the One-Syllable Boy Names list as well.

What’s your favorite one-syllable girl name?

[Latest Update: June 2021]

One-Syllable Boy Names: Colt, Wynn, Dax, Zane

Looking for a boy name that’s short and to-the-point? Something that might work particularly well as a middle name?

Check out this list of several hundred one-syllable boy names. (And click on any name to see its popularity graph!)

Please note that I did include names in the gray area between one syllable and two syllables. The deciding factor on these particular names (such as Charles, Miles, and Noel) will be your own interpretation/accent, so be sure to test the names out loud before making any final decisions.

Many of these names also happen to be unisex, so they appear on the One-Syllable Girl Names list as well.

What’s your favorite one-syllable boy name?

[Latest Update: June 2021]