Are you related to someone named Michael or Mary?

So are many of District residents.  Michael and Mary happen to be two of the most popular names for men and women in the District of Columbia. In fact over 3,000 Michaels and 1,700 Marys submitted income tax filings in 2014, over 6,000 Michaels and 3,600 Marys are registered to vote, and over 29,000 Michaels and 23,000 Marys have been born in D.C. since 1910.

After reading an article about first names in the Washington Post and after speculating about what our two colleagues would name their now one-month-old babies, we decided to take a closer look at the frequency and characteristics of first names in D.C.

In order to conduct this analysis, we used three separate databases:

  • 2013 income tax filings (first names of single and joint filers);
  • Voter Registration Data (first names, party affiliation, ward, and zip code of home address); and,
  • Social Security Records (first names of individuals born in D.C. with a Social Security card since 1910).

We then filtered and ranked the data and limited our analysis to top 500 most popular names. Check out the interactive table below to see if your name made the top 500.

(click to interact)

Name Frequency Among District Residents

 Name frequency since 1910

In addition to ranking names by popularity, we used Social Security data to plot the frequency of names in every birth year since 1910. As you scroll through each year you can see how a name’s popularity changes over time for all births in the District. A note of caution – data in early years is likely not as accurate as the most recent. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see how naming fads come and go with time.

(click to interact)

First Name by Birth Year (all names)

The interactive graph below visualizes how specific names change in popularity over time. For example, we again chose Michael and Mary. If you are related to a Michael born in the District, there is a good chance that he was born before the 1990s; and if you are related to a Mary born in the District, she was likely born before the 1970s. Both names were wildly popular over the past century but both have declined in frequency – Michael peaked in 1958 and Mary in 1946.

(click to interact)

First Name by Birth Year (individual name)

First Name Voter Registration Data

To analyze the relationship political party affiliation has with first names, we calculated the frequency of first names among active registered voters and their political parties. The interactive map below shows party affiliation by name and zip code.

(click to interact)

Voter Registration by First Name

The sortable list below can be used to compare the top 500 most frequent names among registered voters and the political parties they most frequently register with.

(click to interact)Voter Registration by First Name Sortable List

Here are the most and least common names by political party affiliation.

Party Highest Lowest
Democrats Lilly Brendan
Libertarian Jared Barbara
Independent Jose Laverne
Other Gabriel Laverne
Republican Tyler Beatrice
Statehood Green Jon Laura

We also created a tool to analyze political party affiliation by name and Ward.

(click to interact)

Voter Registration by First Name and Ward

Enjoy playing around with the interactive tables and graphs and let us know if you have any interesting observations.





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