Boys Named Sue

I came across a graph I made last summer while at Microsoft Research, and thought I would share it on the blog. The data comes from the very cool baby name database provided by the US Social Security administration. In the past year a lot of people have picked up on this dataset for various fun purposes. I have repeatedly used it as a simple source to assign probable genders based on given names (e.g. in my ongoing Gender in Astro Talks study).

Some fun facts about the dataset:

  • For every year the dataset includes the # of males and females born with every given (first) name. 
  • Only names with at least 5 people of a given gender are included to help preserve anonymity. 
  • There are 1758730 entries, spanning back to 1880, with 91320 unique names
  • There are 28074 male-only names
  • There are 53305 female-only names

I love me some Johnny Cash (and Shel Silverstein) and thought it would be interesting to see how frequently people named "Sue" happen to be boys. The total answer is 0.4% of all Sue's are male. Here is the chart showing number of boys named sue over time:

As a reddit user pointed out, there are many more boys named Susan than Sue. But if Shel had written the song using that name, it would have taken on a different meaning...
"My name's Susan, how YOU doin?"

1 comment:

  1. Their parents should have groomed them to become lawyers!


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