Sunday, June 01, 2014

What Your Name Says About Your Age: Part 2

One final thought on that Nate Silver baby-name post: He might have found a shortcut to picking names with "elephant charts."

An elephant chart is a term I invented to describe names that peaked 100-plus years ago and are now making a comeback. Here's the chart for Lucy, which as you can see, looks a little like an elephant's back, head and raised trunk.

If you're named Lucy (and aren't British), it probably means one of three things: You're very old, you're very young, or you're very dead.

There are few middle-aged Americans named Lucy. And that's why it's such an appealing baby name. It has a classic feel, and yet people my age haven't known many Lucys. So it seems fresh. (We now know three Lucys, including ours, in our apartment complex alone: ages 5, 2 and 1.)

Well, Nate Silver created a chart that might identify the same basic characteristics. It lists the names with the widest age spreads — in other words, ones that are shared by the very old and very young.

Almost every name on here is a home run, especially the girls' picks. (The boys' names start to fizzle a bit after Sam.)

If you're an expectant parent, you could practically throw a dart at this chart and your kid will be a perfect fit for Park Slope or Noe Valley.

My work is finished here.