John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Jason is a "firefighter," Hanna a "journalist," Casey a "plumber," and on down the line.
The notion is almost certainly rubbish, but that didn't stop some people from making a fun, ridiculous visualization about it. "Profession Vs. Names" is a dizzying web of associations created by InfoCaptor, a data-design company in Pittsburgh. Point at a name and it will paint trails to its related occupations: Jason goes with "firefighter," for instance, while Hanna links with "journalist," Casey with "plumber," and Lori with "hair stylist." Or select a profession and it will list its paired monikers: Petes, Clays, and Travises might be irritated to learn they're yoked to "car salesman."
The visualization is based on baby app-maker Verdant Labs' analysis of public records, which encompassed 2.5 million people and their listed jobs. It's important to note the data are showing names "common in that profession relative to [their] overall frequency" in the sample set, writes Verdant's Mark Edmond:
Take Elvis, for example. There aren't all that many Elvises out there, but a particularly high percentage of them are musicians. As a result, Elvis ranks high among musician names. Elvis isn't the most common name among musicians—that's likely to be John or some other very popular name. What's interesting is that it's way more common among musicians than you might expect, given how rare it is.
Is having a daughter who'll turn out to be a judge as easy as calling her Louise? Probably not, says Edmond, citing a hunch it's more "social, geographic, economic, and other factors" that mold career paths. Still, if I were naming my kid based on suspicious correlations it'd be hard not to go with Bobby—according to this experiment, he might be a pro golfer or a kick-ass race-car driver.
Here's the big, tangled yard ball of names; for the interactive version, it's best to view it in full screen.