A lot of things go into choosing the perfect name for your baby — tradition, a special meaning, the way it sounds or how it’s written and, of course, your political affiliation. If that last one has you doing a double take, you’re not alone. But it turns out that parents living in left- or right-leaning states may just name their children in a way that gives away their political ideals, even if it isn’t a conscious decision.
The Social Security Administration’s annual list of baby names offers up a whole bunch of data and metrics for name nerds — factors we aren’t even aware of, like education level and family size influence us in all kinds of ways when we’re picking out kids’ names — and it turns out there are tons of info ripe for the picking when it comes to the political arena as well.
The bluest names
Blue names were more likely to be ethnically diverse for both boys and girls, and overall, those names are pretty conventional ones. You won’t see a lot of names that follow the Palin family school of naming on this list. Blue names typically stick to traditional gendered-naming conventions, and parents also appeared to shy away from that surname-as-first-name trend we’ve been seeing everywhere.
These names offer some surprising information, especially when you consider that earlier data dumps have suggested that parents who leaned liberal were more likely to choose unique names or invent them altogether. This newer information suggests that parents might be choosing less-popular names but going with classics that are unique because they’re antiques, not because they’ve been made-up or respelled.
The reddest names
Names on the red roll, by contrast, veer away from classic and chic and start heading into bold and brash territory. Parents who vote conservatively definitely don’t name that way, if this list is to be believed. There are lots of unique spellings, gender-bending and surname-flipping happening over here in Republican territory.
One thing that’s remained consistent with past studies on politically examined naming choices is the way that names sound. Liberals tend to stick to soft sibilants and “A” or “L” sounds (Guiliana, Maximilian), while conservative parents give their kids names that come out swinging with hard plosives and “T,” “D” and “K” sounds (Kennedi, Rhett). Another little interesting tidbit? Boys’ names ending with an “N” sound were massively popular among the conservative set — a variation of Kason made it into the top 10 three times and the top 25 four times.
So what does it all mean? Well, it depends on how you look at it. Humans are creatures of habit, after all, and more than that, they’re communal. Red and Blue states also tend to be collected into little regional pockets — the South, the Pacific Northwest and so on. So maybe these are indicative of politically minded name choices, or maybe they’re just a reflection of local favorites.
Either way, there’s no hard-and-fast rule to naming your child, so if you love a name on the list, don’t think too hard about what it means. Just pick what you love! Maybe that means voting the ticket, or maybe you’ve got more bipartisan tastes — they’re all lovely names.