The Popularity of first names over the last century

And by way of Steven Levitt:

Namevoyager_3 “The Baby Name Wizard’s NameVoyager is an interactive portrait of America’s name choices. Start with a ‘sea’ of nearly 5000 names. Type a letter, and you’ll zoom in to focus on how that initial has been used over the past century. Then type a few more letters, or a name. Each stripe is a timeline of one name, its width reflecting the name’s changing popularity. If a name intrigues you, click on its stripe for a closer look.”

And there you’ll also find some interesting pieces on name-onomics.

“Levitt’s primary thesis is that fashions which originate with the upper classes gradually trickle down the economic ladder. This, naturally, is no revelation — in fashion-based industries like apparel, it’s an explicit, institutionalized process.  .  . Levitt uses data about California parents’ economic status and name choices to propose a list of names that, ‘unlikely as it seems,’ are candidates to become ‘mainstream names’ ten years from now. . .

In fact, of his 24 predictions for ‘unlikely’ names that could possibly hit the mainstream in a decade, 7 were already top-100 names, including 2 of the top 15 (Emma and Grace). Looking boldly out into the future, he predicted the present. Oops. So much for revelations.”