FREAK-TV: Name Your Kid Fido If You Want

Video

The latest FREAK-TV video features Levitt discussing the ever-interesting topic of naming your kid. We have had many people write to us since the book came out to say they chose their baby’s name (or, just as often, rejected a name they were considering) based on the data in our book.

What nobody knows (until now) is that one of Levitt’s own kids was named according to these data sets. After we’d worked up the list of “high-end” girls’ names that we thought might tip into the mainstream within 10 years (p. 187 of revised edition), Levitt gave his wife Jeannette that list of names to consider for their forthcoming kid. But he didn’t tell her what the list was; he just said they were some names he liked. Sure enough, she went for one of the names on the list: Sophie.

Sophie is a beautiful name, to be sure, but the big lesson here is more important: don’t ever marry an economist.

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  1. Ollie says:

    Here’s a question I’ve been pondering? In the US, are there more first names or last names? I would argue there are more last names. It seems like almost every last name I hear or read about is new to me, but every first name I have heard before, and in many cases I already know someone with that first name.

    So… why is that the case. Wouldn’t you expect the number of last names to generally shrink, since some names may die out with lack of children, etc., but first names can grow without bound, because they are just invented by the parents? Hmm…

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  2. Ollie says:

    Here’s a question I’ve been pondering? In the US, are there more first names or last names? I would argue there are more last names. It seems like almost every last name I hear or read about is new to me, but every first name I have heard before, and in many cases I already know someone with that first name.

    So… why is that the case. Wouldn’t you expect the number of last names to generally shrink, since some names may die out with lack of children, etc., but first names can grow without bound, because they are just invented by the parents? Hmm…

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  3. Mynagirl says:

    Ha! I *was* named Fido… or just about as close as you can get for a girl: Molly. Which, btw, you list in Freakonomics as the “Whitest” girl’s name, if I recall. But it is more often given to Black Labradors than white humans, let me tell you. After meeting about the 500th dog named Molly, I couldn’t wait to slough off that name when I got old enough to switch to my middle name. When I got married it was dropped entirely in favor of my middle name and maiden name.

    It DOES matter. I hated having a dog’s name!!

    Most popular female dog names, US: http://www.bowwow.com.au/search/topsearch.asp?country=1&animal_type=2&animal_sex=Female&num_results=40&B3=Fetch

    Mynagirl
    née Molly

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  4. Mynagirl says:

    Ha! I *was* named Fido… or just about as close as you can get for a girl: Molly. Which, btw, you list in Freakonomics as the “Whitest” girl’s name, if I recall. But it is more often given to Black Labradors than white humans, let me tell you. After meeting about the 500th dog named Molly, I couldn’t wait to slough off that name when I got old enough to switch to my middle name. When I got married it was dropped entirely in favor of my middle name and maiden name.

    It DOES matter. I hated having a dog’s name!!

    Most popular female dog names, US: http://www.bowwow.com.au/search/topsearch.asp?country=1&animal_type=2&animal_sex=Female&num_results=40&B3=Fetch

    Mynagirl
    née Molly

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  5. blu-k says:

    As someone who has a ridiculously common first-name (and quite common surname) please consider these lists before naming your child.
    While it’s a relief to not be called apple or peaches, I have gone through my life hating my name as it is so common. I go to a bank or doctor and there’s invariable two or three of me already on the database – sometimes with the exact same birthdate. I’m always answering to other people as they call out to someone else with the same name as me, or recieving emails addressed to managers with similar names (which has been interesting!) and would love to change my name.

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  6. blu-k says:

    As someone who has a ridiculously common first-name (and quite common surname) please consider these lists before naming your child.
    While it’s a relief to not be called apple or peaches, I have gone through my life hating my name as it is so common. I go to a bank or doctor and there’s invariable two or three of me already on the database – sometimes with the exact same birthdate. I’m always answering to other people as they call out to someone else with the same name as me, or recieving emails addressed to managers with similar names (which has been interesting!) and would love to change my name.

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  7. Laura says:

    I have what I’ve read are fairly common names…and the various combinations are also common (those being “Laura Elizabeth” and “Laura Hall”). I’ve met a lot of other girls with those names and I’ve even been invited to a facebook group called “People with the name Laura Hall”. Our mascot is the pianist from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

    But instead of talking about my own name, I’ve actually come to share this lovely article I just read about naming conventions in Zimbabwe:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/01/africa/01names.php

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  8. Laura says:

    I have what I’ve read are fairly common names…and the various combinations are also common (those being “Laura Elizabeth” and “Laura Hall”). I’ve met a lot of other girls with those names and I’ve even been invited to a facebook group called “People with the name Laura Hall”. Our mascot is the pianist from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

    But instead of talking about my own name, I’ve actually come to share this lovely article I just read about naming conventions in Zimbabwe:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/01/africa/01names.php

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0