Destined to be together

Here’s another meaningless pop analysis of famous couples. I surfed the U.S. Census baby names data base for male/female names that shared a similar history. More specifically, I checked by decade starting with the 1880s and looked at the popularity rank of the 200 most popular boys’ names and 200 most popular girls’ names in each decade and measured how far apart the boy’s name and girl’s name were in the ranking in each of the thirteen decades. The closer they were in rank over the decades, the theory goes, the more they were destined to be together. I tried it on several famous or infamous couples. This list is in order of “most compatible” to least under this theory.

  • Robert and Elizabeth (e.g., Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
    John and Mary (actually just entered as a control)
    George and Martha (Washington)
    Franklin and Eleanor (Roosevelt)
    Albert and Victoria (Prince/Queen)
    Clyde and Bonnie (Barrow)
    Johnnie and June (Cash)
    Juan and Eva (Peron)
    John and Jacqueline (Kennedy)
    Charles and Diana (Prince/Princess)
    Robin and Marian (Hood)
    Bradley and Angelina (Brangelina)
    Paul and Joanne (Newman/Woodward)
    Frank and Ava (Sinatra/Gardner)
    John and Priscilla (Alden)

Many couples could not be tested because one or both of of them never made it to the top 200 names for any decade. Examples include John and Yoko, William (or Bill) and Hillary, Martin and Coretta, Mark and Cleopatra, Adam and Eve, Sean and Madonna, Sonny and Cher, Romeo and Juliet, Rhett and Scarlett, Tarzan and Jane, Clark and Carole, Humphrey and Lauren. As long as both names make it to the top 200 in at least one decade, the couple can get a score, but the scores don’t mean much. If one or both didn’t make it for many decades, then the score is skewed against them, even though they may have been right together in 225th place. I just didn’t have any way to measure it.

My wife and I placed just under Brangelina. If you leave the names of you and your significant other (or some other couple) in the comments, I’ll run it through my program and tell you how you place compared to these famous couples in the list.

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