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The most unusually common names in 36 jobs

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Are some names more common in some professions than others?

The creators of Nametrix, a baby name app, looked at public records from the Social Security Administration and Federal Election Commission to figure out the answer. This chart shows which names are unusually common in a given profession (an uncropped version is on their website):

Name chart

(Verdant Labs)

They found that people named Duane are more likely to be farmers than the average person, that people named Noah are more likely to be photographers, and that one-syllable names (Bill, Mike, Dan, Rich) are particularly common among football coaches.

This doesn't look at the most common names in any profession, which probably wouldn't look much different than a chart of the most common given names from the past few decades. Instead, it looks at disproportionately common names. The names Alistair and Gideon might be more prevalent among journalists than in the population as a whole, but they're still pretty rare. Nor is it clear how complete the data is — the FEC database only tracks political donors, for example.

Still, it's interesting because names are also an indicator of age, gender, and social class. Looking at the names for farmers (Delbert, Martin, Duane, Elwood, Mavis, Darin) and at the names for firefighters (Ryan, Darren, Jeremy, Brandon, Jason, Matthew) gives you a good idea of the generation — and gender — that dominates each.

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