Vol. 58 No. 1 (2010)
Research Article

Racial and Gender Differences in Diversity of First Names

Published 2010-03-01


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First names and the number of individuals given each name were recorded on three populations, born in Pennsylvania in 1990, 1995, and 2000. Four categories of people were “black” females, “white” females, “black” males, and “white” males. Diversity of the name choices was measured by the 50 percent rank frequency, which divides the population equally between the individuals with more frequent and less frequent names. Diversity was highest for “black” females and lowest for “white” males. For all four categories of people, diversity increased progressively from 1990 to 1995 and from 1995 to 2000. Feminine phonetic attributes also were most frequent for “black” females and least frequent for “white” males. Racial divergence in choices of names was indicated by a smaller number of names in 2000 than in 1990 that were among the fifty most frequent for both “blacks” and “whites.”


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