"Kevin Is Not a Name — It's a Diagnosis!"

We’ve written extensively about the consequences of baby naming. The name you choose for your children can affect his “Google-ability” or even get you in trouble with the law. A new survey of 2,000 elementary school teachers in Germany finds that your children’s names may also affect how teachers perceive them (translation available here). An overwhelming majority of the teachers surveyed associate “traditional” names with positive character traits and non-traditional names with weak performance and bad behavior. The name Kevin has particularly negative connotations; as one teacher wrote, “Kevin is not a name — it’s a diagnosis!” Astrid Kaiser, who conducted the study, said, “The names with positive connotations are all traditional German ones. What this shows is that children from a working class or immigrant background are clearly being discriminated against.” (HT: Herbert Engels) [%comments]


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  1. Morley says:

    Well, can you really trust a study from a person named Astrid?

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  2. Brian says:

    I begged my wife to name our first born Ladainian, but we settled on Rory.

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  3. Tzipporah says:

    Do you really want to get into the issue of Germans and “tradition”? This is the same country that requires a handwriting sample so they can psychoanalyze you before a job interview…

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  4. Kevin says:

    Wow… looks like I wont be studying in Germany any time soon…

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  5. brazzy says:

    I don’t think that most of the names with positive connotations are “traditional German” names as much as they’re names derived from classical education (i.e. Greek, Latin or Hebrew origins), whereas the names with negative connotations are derived from Hollywood movies and football players (apparently, “Kevin” had waves of popularity correlating strongly with the release of “Home Alone”, a stint of football player Kevin Keegan plaing in Germany, and Kevin Costner’s big movie hits).

    That’s the image teachers have in mind when they discriminate against such names: parents who name their kids after movie stars, and who are probably just as careless about raising them.

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    • Kevin P. W. says:

      are you saying that my parents are careless? [different kevin then any others posted on here]
      You can’t assume were all, and you can’t even assume that HALF of us are named after movie stars. Kevin is a commonly Celtic Name, and im Irish. My mother had never even heard of people such as Kevin Costner, or Kevin Bacon, until later on when I ironically introduced them to HER. so if your saying that more than 10% of this worlds kevins were named after movie stars, then you are most certainly and undeniably wrong.

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    • Kevin P. W. says:

      also, to comment on another thing you said. this name is “Derived” from holywood movies and football players? you are certainly WRONG. walk into ANY irish office, pub, or other common public place, and you’ll find at least 1 random guy named kevin who will also in fact, be irish. Kevin is a good name, forget any useless actors or football players, because it means Strong, and Manly. it is not the football players who make the name, its that the name fits them. I dont believe in all of this superstitious naming crap, but if you think that we have all been named after ators when obviously this article mentions nothing about actors, you sir, are wrong.

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      • Owl says:

        I do wonder though: do most Kevins talk in such intonations as “you sir, are wrong,” and is that a result of their being oppressed on some subtle level? Actually, most Kevins I know are pretty cool, albeit they live “unconventional” lives in some way.

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      • brazzy says:

        Calm down – this article and my comment are talking about the situation IN GERMANY where Kevin is a “foreign” name.

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  6. Charlotte says:

    I love that my name is the first example of a traditional name. Most people I come across in the US can’t even spell Charlotte.

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  7. kip says:

    “What this shows is that children from a working class or immigrant background are clearly being discriminated against.”

    Or… that kids from working class or immigrant backgrounds have a lower socioeconomic status, which decreases their likelihood of success in schooling.

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  8. Greg says:


    That’s because it is almost impossible to fire someone in Germany.

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