The baby name Esty (a diminutive of Esther) is primarily used in the state of New York, thanks to the large Jewish community in New York City.
But the name was also featured in the Emmy-winning Netflix series Unorthodox a couple of years ago. So, last year, I checked the Esty data (both the national data and the New York data) to see if the show had influenced the name’s usage.
It may have — Esty did indeed see its highest-ever usage both nationally and in New York in 2020. Even more intriguingly, though, I noticed what seemed to be gaps in the recent NY data. Specifically, New York had no data on the name Esty for the years 2016, 2018, and 2019.
Check it out:
|Esty usage in the U.S.||Esty usage in New York|
I mean, It’s possible that the New York usage of Esty simply dropped below the 5-baby minimum during those particular years. As per the SSA:
To safeguard privacy, we exclude from our tabulated lists of names those that would indicate, or would allow the ability to determine, names with fewer than 5 occurrences in any geographic area.
If that were the case, though, you’d expect to see corresponding dips in the national usage. And we don’t see that here.
It seems more likely to me that some of the New York data is simply…missing.
So the next question is: Are there gaps in the NY data for other names as well?
To check, I grabbed all the names with heavy New York usage listed in the 2021 state-by-state post and the 2020 state-by-state post — 34 names in total — and looked the data.
The result? Exactly half had similar gaps.
Here’s what I found…
The boy name Cheskel (a form of Chatzkel, which is based on Ezekiel) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 5 years straight:
|Cheskel usage in the U.S.||Cheskel usage in New York|
The girl name Chany (a diminutive of Channah) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years straight:
|Chany usage in the U.S.||Chany usage in New York|
The boy name Naftuli (based on the Biblical name Naphtali) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years straight:
|Naftuli usage in the U.S.||Naftuli usage in New York|
The girl name Idy didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years:
|Idy usage in the U.S.||Idy usage in New York|
The boy name Shmiel (a form of Shmuel, which is based on Samuel) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years:
|Shmiel usage in the U.S.||Shmiel usage in New York|
The girl name Yides (a diminutive of Yehudit, which is a form of Judith) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years:
|Yides usage in the U.S.||Yides usage in New York|
The boy name Berl didn’t appear in the New York state data for 4 years:
|Berl usage in the U.S.||Berl usage in New York|
The girl name Frady (a diminutive of Freyde) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years straight:
|Frady usage in the U.S.||Frady usage in New York|
The girl name Pessy (a diminutive of Batya, which is a form of the Biblical name Bithiah) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:
|Pessy usage in the U.S.||Pessy usage in New York|
The boy name Lipa (a short form of Lipman, which is based on the name Liberman) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:
|Lipa usage in the U.S.||Lipa usage in New York|
The boy name Usher (a form of Asher) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:
|Usher usage in the U.S.||Usher usage in New York|
The boy name Avrum (a form of Abraham) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:
|Avrum usage in the U.S.||Avrum usage in New York|
The boy name Lazer (a form of Eliezer) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:
|Lazer usage in the U.S.||Lazer usage in New York|
The boy name Yossi (a diminutive of Yosef) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 3 years:
|Yossi usage in the U.S.||Yossi usage in New York|
The girl name Goldy (a diminutive of Golda) didn’t appear in the New York state data for 2 years:
|Goldy usage in the U.S.||Goldy usage in New York|
And, finally, the boy name Nachman didn’t appear in the New York state data for 2 years:
|Nachman usage in the U.S.||Nachman usage in New York|
If the gap years matched up more closely with one another — as with the glitch of 1989, for instance — I could chalk it up to a few incomplete batches of data.
But they don’t, so…I don’t know what to make of this.
Do you guys have any thoughts, or theories?
(If you’d like to examine the New York data for yourself, download the “State-specific data” file from the SSA website.)
Sources: Behind the Name, SSA