Continuing yesterday’s post about my new baby names toy, it’s interesting to see to what extent names are distributed on religious or ethnic lines. For example, Muhammad only became frequent enough to show up in the last decade or so, and it has a definite regional preference:
This probably represents the influx of Muslim immigrants to the northeast and Great Lakes area, but may also represent some people converting to Islam. Here’s another example:
The circles almost certainly represent an indication of the relative density of Mormons in the state population since the name is a very uncommon one among the general population, but is the name of Brigham Young, an important figure in the history of the Latter Day Saints, especially those founding Salt Lake City and other communities in Utah.
I thought Jewish names would show a strong preference for the northeast, especially New York and New Jersey, and a few do, but it turns out that many of the most popular names among Jews are Old Testament names, and of course, Christians and to some extent Muslims share that history. As a result those names tend to be quite common and evenly distributed all over the country. For example, Sarah:
Remember, colors are randomly assigned and irrelevant. The size of the circle matters. For Spanish names, those do cluster rather strongly in states with large Latino populations, but the distribution is more even today than it was a few decades ago. I tried to find Chinese names that showed up since there has been a huge increase in the number of Chinese residents in California in recent years, but I was not successful. I suspect the reason is that most Chinese parents who give birth here give the child a western name as the first name and if they give a Chinese name, it is usually the middle name.