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Have you ever wondered how names change over time with different social environments? Many joke or hypothesis that popular names are generated from pop-culture by famous characters in movies or books. Additionally, some families trace their names back generations in history to a subtly famous or important relative. Here at Rasgo we started wondering when certain names historically became popular and if they maintained their popularity into today.
To start we went to our trusted friend, the internet. If you search for information about Baby Name Popularity, there are no shortages of articles about the subject. But have you ever looked at the real data? For example, most articles in 2021 claim Gary, Dale, Hadrian, Melvin, and Stuart to be the least popular boy names. Is that true?
Secondly, as business teams do, we wanted to see which one of our coworkers' names was dying out the fastest!
We decided to take a look at the data. To start we had to find the data, it just so happens that the United States Social Security Administration holds a public database of different baby names online. We tasked one of our data scientists to run some different models in Rasgo against the least popular names in 2021 claimed by that article. Below is his description of the process:
So, I put the 6+M rows in Snowflake with Rasgo and took a look for myself.
As you can see from the chart below, those names are indeed unpopular. But they have also been unpopular for many years now. So why the article? This 2021 article could have been written 20 years ago and remained equally as true. The strategy is obvious – these sites take the top 100 least popular and then write a new article every year naming just a few of them, so they can write another article next year, and milk the data for more clicks with each passing year.
Not that we blame them – it is not easy to take this much data and analyze something like Which Baby Names are Decreasing in Popularity? If they had known about Rasgo, this would be easy!
With a few clicks (and not knowing how to write any of this in SQL!) We started by adding a moving_average, a lag, and created a new variable that we call, RATE_OF_CHANGE. We then filtered out some of the super rare baby names and came up with a new list! Below you can see the steps that we used to find this different information.
As it turns out, Rasgo even has a single transform called sliding_slope, which does basically the same thing. It calculates the growth over a sliding window in a single step!
From our study we found the following results:
Most decreasing: Aiden, Ethan, Jacob, Joshua, Hunter, Ryan, Matthew
Most increasing: Asher, Ezra, Leo, Liam, Maverick, Legend, Miles, Oliver
Matthew isn’t a surprise – it peaked in 1957 and has been declining since the 1970’s.
Aiden on the other hand, was almost unheard of prior to the 90’s, and peaked only 11 years ago! Now it is on one of the fastest declines. So what happened to Aiden? What about your name? Is your name dying out?
Feel free to log in and check to see if your name, and the names of your coworkers, is dying out.
This data set along with Rasgo are both free cloud products and can be used by anyone to load and transform data directly in your data warehouse. In this case the data set lives in the Rasgo app for use by anyone!
We will continue to add more interesting data for you to play and find insights in. Please feel free to send us anything special that you’ve found!