Parents agonize over what to name their child. Their baby will be unique and the name should reflect that. But it can’t be weird. And it shouldn’t suddenly become popular. Other parents should say “wow, I wish I had thought of that name” or “what a unique name” when they hear it. In practice, choosing a unique, non-weird name is almost impossible. Typically, by the time parents choose a name, it is already on the way to becoming popular, but they just don’t know it.
Thanks to the Open Data initiative in Alberta, we gained access to a unique data set: every baby name registered in the province for the last 30 years. Almost every other baby name data set suppresses single- or few-use names to protect people’s privacy. So the truly unique names are never analyzed. With the Alberta name set, we could see these names and how they’ve changed over time.
We developed an data driven narrative touring the data set and then allowing users to explore popularity and gender interactions over time. Not surprisingly, the “uniqueness” of names continues to grow. Parents are becoming more adventurous in their naming conventions.
Feel free to play with the app and contact us if you are interested in having us develop an interactive tool for your team.