Friday, September 26, 2014

When U.S. Presidents Could Make Their Names Go Viral

I wrote another Nameberry post, this one on presidential surnames that became baby names. As elucidated earlier this week, presidents like Roosevelt used to be able to persuade legions of parents to adopt their names.

That hasn't been the case for quite some time. Since Kennedy, presidents have rarely exerted much influence on baby-naming choices. (Reagan has become more popular for girls in recent years, but you could argue it's a variant of Regan. My boy Bill Shakespeare did most of the grunt work on making that one a hit.)

Interestingly, our very first president has a surprisingly out-of-favor name. Only 11 babies were named Washington last year. What gives? It seems like it would be more common.

By this measure, Washington is the least popular of the four Mount Rushmore presidents.

Here's how many kids in 2013 (girls and boys) were named after each president on Mount Rushmore:
Lincoln: 4,071
Jefferson: 411
Roosevelt: 49
Washington: 11

You'd think the father of our country (who ironically had no children) would have more allegiance.