Names with Biggest Increase in Popularity

So, it’s been forever since I posted. Got busier at work, the weather has been nice and I’ve gone on several trips- typical excuses. But I hope to get back to some more regular posts!

The 2014 baby names were released and I hope to load them into my database soon. In the meantime, here’s a fun list of names that saw dramatic increases in the last several years and to what or whom that can be attributed.  I compiled the list by calculating which names saw the largest percentage increase in a two year timespan, filtering out very rare names, alternate spellings and only looking at the last 10 years. Here are the top 10…

Name Year Count 2 Years Prior* % Increase Reason
Cataleya F 2012 636 < 5 31,700% Female assassin in movie Columbiana
Jaslene F 2008 872 5 17,000% Winner of America’s Next Top Model Season 8
Kanye M 2004 507 5 10,040% Rapper Kanye West
Rihanna F 2006 571 6 9,400% Singer Rihanna***
Allisson F 2008 767 12 6,300% Mexican TV star Allisson Lozz
Talan M 2006 1058 20 5,200% Reality star on MTV’s Laguna Beach
Audrina F 2007 412 8 5,000% Reality star on MTV’s The Hills
Akeelah F 2006 403 8 5,000% Movie Akeelah and the Bee
Marely F 2008 1004 21 4,700% ?
Miley F 2007 1232 26 4,600% Actress/singer Miley Cyrus from Disney’s Hannah Montana****

*If the name did not appear in the database two years prior, I assigned it a value of 2. It’s hard to say whether it had zero names or up to four names, so it was a compromise. Plus assigning it at 0 made the percentages seem ridiculously high**- it would have been 63,000%  for Cataleya, for example.
**Because 31,700% isn’t ridiculously high at all. 🙂
***Her real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty
****Her real name is Destiny Hope Cyrus

Average Age of Marriage

I just turned 29 and that got me thinking about how I’m probably now older than the average age of marriage in the US for women (I turned out to be right- it’s 27). So I went googling around and came across this Wikipedia page listing the average age of marriage around the world in many countries. I was pretty surprised at how high the age is for countries like Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark. Men are nearly 36 for their first marriage in Sweden! That’s crazy to me. For women, it’s 33, which is beyond the age of easily being able to have children (many doctors consider pregnant women beyond 35 to have geriatric pregnancies or be in “advanced maternal age”). I have visions in my head of tons of young, single Swedes living up their 20s partying and doing whatever and not settling down.  On the flip side, none of the countries had a very low average. Iran, India and Indonesia were all about 22. China’s average age has been going up and they have to deal with a country full of a disproportionate amount of young men. I found this article about “leftover women”, so despite what you’d think, not all women are easily snatched up. As countries industrialize and women obtain college degrees and enter the workforce, the age has gone up. Are there consequences to this? According to this New York Times article, in general, women who delay marriage have higher incomes, but it’s the opposite for men.  Marrying later leads to stresses from fertility issues, unhealthy babies, and not getting the family that you wanted. Plus by the time you become parents, your parents are really getting up there in years and not as available to help.

I came across this interesting blog post that examines the myth about whether people really did get married very young in the old days.

Check out this map showing the average ages per country. There are lots of other nifty maps to check out as well, like where in the world you can find the most plastic surgeons (spoiler alert: it’s the United States, duh). Not so sure of the accuracy of these maps because when I clicked on World Religions, the map showed Christianity as the majority religion in North Korea, which I kind of doubt.

Shaniqua

Shaniqua
Contrary to popular belief, Shaniqua is not a common name for black women. Often used as a stereotype to represent unique names used in the African-American community, it barely reached over 1000 names a year twice in the early 1990s before nearly disappearing. For perspective, if you were named Shaniqua, there is a good chance you were the only one in your entire school or town with that name. Shaniqua (and its spelling varieties) don’t even make the cut in the names database beyond 2010. According to comments on behindthename.com, the name rose to popularity from the 1990 hip hop song “Shaniqua” by Oran “Juice” Jones. Sadly, the name doesn’t have a good reputation these days, prompting one commenter on babynamewizard.com to say, “My name is Shenequia and when I tell people my name , they say ‘well you don’t act like a Shenequia'”. So what exactly is someone named Shaniqua supposed to act like anyway?

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Public School Data By State

Check out the data here

I created a a Google Sheet to show public school racial and economic statistics on a state level. You can sort and play around with the data as you’d like.

Looking at the results was a good reminder of how the makeup of each state can be really different. I also had no idea how high the African-American percentage was in Washington D.C. and how low it was in some states, like Idaho, Montana, and even Oregon.

There is a column showing the percentage of students receiving or qualifying (not sure which it is, actually) for free or reduced lunch. There is a federal program that specifies income levels a family must have in order to qualify. There are two states that stand out in this list as being really low- California and Maine. It is possible for schools, especially charter schools I’d imagine, to forgo the federal lunch program and do their own thing, so that can account for some of this. I also wonder if the higher than average cost of living in California results in higher salaries and therefore less people qualify, assuming the program doesn’t higher the income levels for California. But as far as Maine goes, I was not aware of them being a wealthy state, so I’m not sure why only 4.8% are on the lunch program. Maybe something to do with their smaller than average school size? Maine has many schools with only a handful of students, so they probably aren’t going to have a full-fledged cafeteria, but I’m not sure if that matters. Just speculating.