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Most Popular Unisex Names (1980-2017) [OC]

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2.8k points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

Some of this is super surprising, always thought there was a lot more female Angels than male ones and Jamie surprised me asw TIL


1.4k points · 1 month ago

Well, angel is a pretty common male name in Latin American countries, so I'd imagine there are plenty to offset the few women.

I don't think Angel is a very common female name to begin with, I think they'd rather go with angela or something like that

Yeah, that does make more sense.

Ive never heard of a girl named Angel

There is a lady at my work named Princess Angel Chikwa (last name redacted but her lineage is Nigerian) I have such issue calling or emailing her. Its really hard for me to call her Angel or Princess. There are a few people named angel at my company and it's hard for me to use their first names, "the names a term of endearment? "mr/ms" it is."

104 points · 1 month ago

With a name like that redacting the last name is almost worthless

you'd be surprised

There was a person named Godsgift at my boyfriend’s college...that was her first name

11 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

That reminds me of an old anglo-saxon feminine name - Aelfgifu (elfgift)

I wonder if there's a matching traditional version of Godsgift

EDIT: lol duh. There may not be a traditional anglo-saxon variant, but the greek variant is a very well known name: Theodore/Theodora

6 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

In fact, the same two Greek roots gave rise to two very well known names: Theodora and Dorothea. Dorothy, in English. :)

Edit: Also, I just learned that Godgifu was in fact an Anglo-Saxon feminine name! We’d be familiar with the Latinized form, Godiva.

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That’s one way to inspire the Second Coming.

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Yeah overall common in the spanish speaking countries. I have a lot of Spanish customers and many are Angel something or something Angel (like Luis Angel or Angel Andres). My main contact there is a Jesus Angel.

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This is in the USA only, and Angel is a boy's name in Spanish.

21 points · 1 month ago

Similar with Alexis, a boy's name in Spanish and many languages, but a girl's name in the US, as well.

I was very surprised to learn that. I’ve met plenty of boy Angels but the only Alexis’ I knew were girls in middle school who had gel pens.

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In Russia, Sasha is short for Aleksandr. Yet in the US everybody thinks Sasha is a girl name.

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There's plenty of Latin-heritage kids born in the States/American citizens.

92 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

Yeah, that was my point, given the USA's large Spanish speaking population.

If it includes Puerto Rico, that would help too.

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Fun fact: angel is pronounced Ahn-hell in spanish.

My Dominican friend in college went by Angel pronounced like the spiritual beings.

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For a girl it would be Angela. Spanish is so much less ambiguous.

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63 points · 1 month ago

In Canada I’ve never met a guy named angel, a girl named Dakota, or anyone named Peyton.

Met plenty of Alex’s and Taylor’s though in either sex.

Comment deleted1 month ago(21 children)

I feel like its more common in the under 20 age group, so if you don't hang out with them you wouldn't be exposed to it. I've had both male and female customers in that age range named Dakota, but I can't think of a Dakota older than 23 (20 at the time) I've met in person.

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hey, guy named dakota right here!

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Dakota Skye

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Im surprused Alexis is on here instead of Alex. I've never met a guy named Alexis or Avery.

I feel like Alex is the short version of multiple different names, such as Alexander, Alexia, Alexis, Alexandria, etc, so it doesn't really "count" as a unisex name, just a unisex nickname

Like Chris - Christine, Christopher, Christian,

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17 points · 1 month ago


Now you have.

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In French, Alexis is a guy’s name. Most Alexis I know are boys

Interesting. I've never lived anywhere with a large French speaking community.

It still surprises me that Alex didn't make the cut. I've lived a few places in very different parts of the US and Alex seems to be a very popular name for both genders everywhere I go. I would have guessed that would be one of the most popular along with Jordan and Taylor.

20 points · 1 month ago

This little survey seems to take into account only unisex full names, not diminutives.

Most people who go by 'Alex' are actually named the more gender specific 'Alexander' and 'Alexandra'.

Alex may be short for Alexander or Alexandria in most of those you have met.

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7 points · 1 month ago

alex is usually a nickname

My son’s name is Avery. To convince my wife it was not too effeminate I showed her a picture of Avery Brooks (Captain Sisko, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) rocking a fur coat and looking badass.

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Interesting, I've met a lot of guys named Angel in my area, and my names Peyton but I am a ball hog.

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Yeah, I'm not buying the numbers on either of those names. Unless it's worldwide figures I suppose. In the UK Jamie is way more popular for boys.

97 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

I'd imagine most male Jamies are "James" on their birth certificate, whilst female Jamies tend to be born/christened as such.

EDIT: Stop telling me how it's different in the UK, I'm Scottish ffs 😂

48 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

Jamie isn't a girls name in the UK at all tbh. Alex isn't a particularly common girl's name either, its probably short for their Christian name of Alexandra if they do have it.

There aren't really any common unisex names n the UK, although Jordan is quite a popular boy name and I know some girls called Jordan.

UK too. Morgan is the only one I've seen here, and it didn't make this list. Most of those names aren't even names I've met anyone with.

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There aren't really any common unisex names n the UK, although Jordan is quite a popular boy name and I know some girls called Jordan.

I'd say Ashley and Lesley would be quite popular unisex names in the UK from my experience. I know a fair few female Alex's but as you say, short for Alexandra. Same with Sam/Samantha.

And Lindsay.

I know a fair few Lindsays, of both sexes.

Yeh i agree. Although, I've never met a Lesley so I'll take your word for it.

UK here, if someone told me their names was Jamie over text I'd assume they were male. It's just more of a boys name here.

A UK Jamie here. You are correct, I have magic torch.

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Na not in the UK. Jamie is a boy’s name in its own right.

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Yeah that could be right I suppose.

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US stats according to OP. Jamie was quite surprising!

Surprising for US? This is not surprising from my US perspective.

There are a lot of Hispanics in the US. Angel, Jaime, and Alexis are all male names in Spanish.

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10 points · 1 month ago

Jamie surprised me asw

We don't have "Jamie" as a name in my country. So my expose to that name from the top of my head is Jamie Lee Curtis and Jamie Lannister. So it's kinda 50/50 girl/boy name in my book.

What about Jamie Hyneman?

Walruses don't count this is a people poll.

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Jamie doesn’t seem that surprising because most men who go by that are actually named James. Women would have the actual name Jamie.

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398 points · 1 month ago

I read an article once about the feminization of names over time. Many common female names today were originally male names In our society we seem perfectly fine with naming a girl a more masculine name, but once enough girls are named it for us to more associate it with being a female name, we no longer name boys it anymore.

Lindsay and Ashley are huge examples of that. You’d think they would have become unisex like many of the names on this list but it’s very uncommon to meet a man with either of these names under 35.

205 points · 1 month ago

What about a male Ashley, who is exactly 35?

Pleased to meet you.

My parents are English though, so I guess it skews.

The only people I know named Ashley are girls born in the 90s and men in their 40s same goes for Lindsey and Stacy.

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I think its a great name. I was almost named Ashley myself (am 35 y.o. American) but my mother decided against it since she thought kids would call me "assley" on the playground. Got named Elton instead.

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I know a few male Ashleys, around 22-28

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13 points · 1 month ago

I had a male classmate in high school (2009-ish) who's name was Lindsay and I thought it was weird until I heard of Lindsay Buckingham, then it seemed perfectly normal...

Also apparently in the UK Ashley is still a predominately male name

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Ashley is a very common boy's name here in the UK, and definitely more associated with boys than girls. And girls it's usually spelled 'Ashleigh' instead.

Kelly is the one that stands out for me. I know three older guys named Kelly, but never met a younger guy with that name.

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27 points · 1 month ago

So do we make up new male names to replace the feminized ones or simply have a smaller pool to select from?

11 points · 1 month ago

I don’t remember. I’ll try and fine the article, but it was from a while ago. I’m going to guess we just invent new names.

16 points · 1 month ago

Think you're right. Adopt names from other cultures and resurrect older names.

Also last names as first names.

Just throw some letters in front of -ason

or -aden

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Start stealing female names for boys . Have a bunch of male Catherines and Sophie's running around.

Funny how that would be seem as wildly unacceptable irl, but calling a girl Max or James isn't so bad. Gender expectations are so messed up.

7 points · 1 month ago

Catheron? Sophio?

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Hilary and Vivian are examples. I remember being a bit surprised when I met a guy who was in his 30s and named Vivian.

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My brother's name is Leslie, yet I don't see any men younger than he is named Leslie any more.

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I have an uncle Tracey, he's in his late 50s

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It wasn't that long ago that pink was for boys and blue was for girls

The name Ashley is a perfect example of this. In the mid-1800s there were only guys named Ashley, and it was a nice name for a man. One of the characters in the famous book/movie, Gone with the Wind, is a man named Ashley. Nowadays you only see girls/women named Ashley, and any man named Ashley has to constantly explain himself why his parents gave him a “girl” name.

The only male Ashley I know is from the UK, 50+ and goes strictly by "ash"

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My name is Peyton! I’ve always hated it. Thought it sounded so weird. It doesn’t read off like a name

It almost sounds like a programming skripting language.

Hello guys and welcome to my 2nd tutorial in Peyton today I'm teaching you how to make a simple multiplication formula

Notepad intensifies

115 points · 1 month ago

Unregistered hypercam 2

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I'm sorry to tell you this but, Peyton is pronnounced almost the same way as the french word "pétons" which means "Let's fart" in english...

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What's your surname? Lafferty? Do you hog the balls?

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45 points · 1 month ago

but I love Peyton

21 points · 1 month ago

I don't know why I expected anything else

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I've never thought of Peyton as a girl's name (only ever heard of Peyton Manning), but now that I think about it, it doesn't scream "must be a boy" to me either the same way "Robert" or "James" would.

3 points · 1 month ago

On the other side of the name, my first exposure to the name Peyton was a female character on a TV show. It doesn't scream "must be a girl", of course, but I still do a double take every time I hear of a man Peyton.

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depending on how it is pronounced it can be a pretty nice name or a weird one:

  • Python/Pythan

  • Payton/Paytan

  • Peeton/Peetan

  • Pieton/Pietan

and so on, depending on culture, area, dialect and other things.

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My always hated your name too! I'm kind of sorry!

Your username is just screaming robinsparkles to me, so ill assume youre a girl peyton.

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Its almost Python, You could be a Sssnek

I love it!!

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OC: 9
Original Poster260 points · 1 month ago

Baby Name Applicant Data found on SSA's website here and was filtered down to years 1980-2017 by most popular names that both males and females shared

Visualization was created in R

Surprised Alex was not on this list

I'm going to guess that not enough parents actually name a girl Alex. A lot of Alexes are nicknamed from Alexis, Alexa, Alexandria, Alexandra, etc., so that would bring down the numbers.

Or maybe not enough parents named a boy Alex Oo.

A male 'Alex' checking in. All I ever meet are female Alexes. But I don't follow up to find out of they are Alexandrias or what. But this is fairly recent, in the last twenty years or so. Before that it was only male Alexes, and not many of those.

Hi fellow Alex, come join us in /r/alex

Was not expecting that to be real

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65 points · 1 month ago

I was surprised Alexis is a unisex name.

One of reddit's founders, /u/kn0thing, is also a man called Alexis.

40 points · 1 month ago

I believe that's what one would call a "fun fact."

28 points · 1 month ago

Copied from a previous comment, as I think it counts as a fun fact:

In France "Alexis" is a pretty common boy’s name, it’s almost unheard of for females (the only female Alexis my male friends know about is the American "Alexis Texas"...).

It was always a male name everywhere (St. Alexis was a man), until the 80s in America, when one of the writers of popular soap opera Dynasty decided to name a female character "Alexis", played by Joan Collins.

This character proved very popular -despite her ruthless and greedy personality-, and pretty soon baby girls named "Alexis" started popping up everywhere.

This is what my research has led me to, just to explain to my American friends that "Alexis" is a boy’s name, originally.

Thanks a lot there, Cliffy.

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20 points · 1 month ago

In French, Alexis is actually exclusively a male name.

Same in Greek

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Spanish name, like Alexis Sanchez.

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12 points · 1 month ago(6 children)
OC: 7
8 points · 1 month ago

I thought that was a brand of ham.

6 points · 1 month ago

Like Belgium or luncheon

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Well, Alex is usually shortened from something else, that probably isn't the same for both boys and girls. Similar for Sam, which is a really common unisex name, but is generally shortened from a non-unisex name like Samuel or Samantha.

4 points · 1 month ago

I'm more surprised that Taylor breaks in favor of females.

Male Taylor checking in here. I’ve never met another male Taylor, but plenty of female ones. I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon, given Taylor Swift’s popularity.

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Or Sam??

Same, but I suppose it could also be a nickname that represents a whole bunch of names that aren't necessarily unisex like Alexander and Alexa.

3 points · 1 month ago

Or Kelly?

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What R package is this type of visualization in?

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OC: 4
3 points · 1 month ago

I've been trying to recreate your dataset as a bit of a Sunday morning exercise, and I'm finding my Top 10 is quite different from yours. Here's my Top 10 names taken from SSA with Genders M, F within the years 1980 - 2017:


Are you using some sort of minimum threshold for shared? An overlap %age or something? Or am I just missing something obvious here?

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As someone with a name on this list, I feel this is an appropriate outlet to say I've always wanted to date someone of the opposite gender who also had the same first name.

I'm not entirely sure why.

I knew a couple where the woman and man had unisex names and people would assume his name was the wife’s and visa versa and they found it hilarious.

Yup this is me and my partner: Carmin and Taylor. We most commonly run into issues at Starbucks.

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My name is also on this list. It's good to see that it's a name that's almost 50/50 split because I could never figure out if it was mostly guys I met with my name or girls.

I think that makes you a homonameual.

My husband's name is Casey Jones he dated and took a chick named Kaccee Jones to prom.

10 points · 1 month ago

Kaccee Jones

LPT for all you parents out there- if you're going to give them a relatively normal name, give them the normal spelling too. Otherwise it's painfully obvious that you were just trying to "stand out", and used your child's entire life as an avenue to do such. It's self-centered, and will 100% be an issue in the child's life at some point, but that shouldn't matter because your child is "unique", right?

Casey Jones teaches middle school art and comes home 1st day of school each year with ridiculous spellings of names. My personal fav has been "Brytknee".

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Because it's surprisingly sexy to call out your own name in bed

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What do you call these type of plots?

I know you created them in R, but do you have any idea how to make these kind of plots using matplotlib?

OC: 9
Original Poster148 points · 1 month ago

I believe they are called sankey diagrams.

I am not entirely sure how to create them in python but looks like they can be done with plotly.

I read this as “snakey” diagrams which seemed reasonable as well.

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Thanks! that's a great article.

35 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

Doesn't look as pretty as this though. But, personally I think this is a pretty forced usage of Sankey and it doesn't represent all the data well at a glance. Some sort of stacked column chart would be better I think, maybe like this. It'd be easy to see how many are named <name> compared to the rest, and the distribution male/female at a glance. With a stacked column variable width chart, you could easily point to the one of the most common names or least common names, and easily find the one that's most male versus most female.

The sankey graph is kind of distracting and there's only two immediate choices with no intermediate stages. You're representing the same data if you just draw a line at each name where it splits up or down and you can take out the right side completely. And if you put them side by side instead of stacked on top of each other, you have a stacked bar chart.

Here's a great Sankey chart. Notice how there's multiple stages it can go through, each having potentially different stages in the middle or shared ones. And you get tons of data at a glance. You can look at Losses at the top right, and go right back to where those came from and how they got there. It gives you so much more information than <Name> to (Male/Female). There's so much data in that example, but you can visually pull out so much information out of it. It's like a map where you can see a complex system and how everything relates to each other visually.

OC: 1
8 points · 1 month ago

I think this is a great opportunity for a "stacked" bar graph where the middle is the axis. I'm guessing it has a name. Where for example female would be above the axis and male below, with the variable width as you suggested. Or rotate the whole thing 90°.

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67 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

There's too many bloody Jordans about

Source: am a jordan who went to school with several other Jordans and used to date another jordan

Edit: even on reddit it seems

Are you sure we aren't the same person

Looking at your post history we might just be

sorry. named my baby girl jordan

Ah no problem there's far fewer female Jordans than male ones

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7 points · 1 month ago

I'm not a Jordan but I live in Jordan

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Interesting fun fact: Children named Peyton have a 10% greater chance of being ball hogs as young adults.

Do you thinks it’s because the name instills some sort or selfishness or is it because the kind of parents that name their kid Peyton tend to be the ones that raise little shits.

I think it's just because their acting careers don't pan out, and they need the money.

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Wow, celebrities can really throw off perception. If I saw that I was meeting with a Dakota, I would have assumed female, because of Fanning.

28 points · 1 month ago

Dak Prescott's first name is shortened from Dakota.

That’s actually his middle name. His first name is Rayne

My name is Dakota, can confirm. Whenever I tell people my name I usually get a confused look followed by “Like Dakota Fanning?”

24 points · 1 month ago

I always get, "North or South?", and I wait tables so this happens multiple times a day...

Isn't pretending people's recycled jokes are funny the worst?

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As another fellow male Dakota I can say I've gotten that one so many times... I have although met many girls named Dakota but never another guy

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I have twin brothers. Both of their names are on this list. However, the spelling is a little funky. Dakotah and Rylie. Mom also thought it would be fun to give them 2 middle names as if the spelling didn't already help them stand out.

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60 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

As a non- native English speaker many of these surprise me. All the Alexis I know are male, and I would guess that Jamie would mostly be male and Dakota mostly female

101 points · 1 month ago

You actually know male Alexis'? Can't say I've met a single one in my life.

Haven't met him but the co-founder of this very website is Alexis Ohanian.

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Alexis Sanchez

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22 points · 1 month ago

If he's non-english, I can get it. In french, Alexis is a boy's name, and it isn't pronounced like it is in english.

Huh, did not know this.

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43 points · 1 month ago

Am a British English speaker and I can't get used to Jamie being a girl's name.

Yeah just imaging calling your little girl Jim.

Jim is strictly for James where I’m from in the US.

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3 points · 1 month ago

I wonder how the data is collected. Is it that there are loads of men officially named James but commonly called Jamie which arn't shown, skewing the line towards women?

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Where is Alex? , in the UK if people are a girl the long name for that is an Alexandra and boy Alexander. Is this data just US?

36 points · 1 month ago

I’m assuming Alex isn’t there because of it being a nickname, not a “real” (lack of a better term) name

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Data is pretty clearly US only. How many Peytons have you ever met in the UK?

I feel like it should specify this in the title of the post tbh.

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This is from birth certificates, so nicknames aren't included. Alexandra would be listed as Alexandra and Alexander would be listed as Alexander.

It does seem to be the US judging by Alexis and Angel (Spanish), and Dakota.

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I can see no reason to visualize it like this. I think it overcomplicates a simple point. I love sankey diagrams but I hate when they're misapplied

Yeah, it seems like these types of diagrams are becoming more popular here just because they're something new and different. Stacked bars would be fine here

I'm personally not good at picking data visualizations out of thin air, but now that you mention it, a two-color (male and female) stacked bar graph would probably have been much more visually clear and efficient here.

It seems to me a sankey would be more appropriate for data that break down across more than two layers, correct?

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Sankey makes sense for before-and-after states of data. There is no flow to describe here. No time passed. It's a snapshot of data.

This graph makes no sense for this use case.

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This was indeed very annoying to look at

Yeah, somewhat interesting data, but definitely not “beautiful”

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Huh, this was the first Sankey diagram that I thought made visual sense. Most of the time they seem to muddle the information they're trying to portray.

Sankey diagrams are great for energy flows and troop movements. Using them elsewhere is almost always a way of making the data harder to read. They're waaay overused right now just because they're novel.

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Have they been correctly applied on this sub?

3 points · 1 month ago

Not that I've ever seen.

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Agreed, only the left side is really of interest so it could be a much simpler graph.

Doesn't the right side show that unisex names are given to girls rather than boys more often? This could just be stated but I thought it was useful to include in the diagram.

To be fair, I guess you could also tell that out of males who have popular unisex names, around maybe 1 in 4 are called Jordan. Though I don't know if I'm interested in that and I still don't like this visualization.

Yeah I'm not even sure how to read it.

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214 points · 1 month ago

"DataIsBeautiful is for visualizations that effectively convey information. Aesthetics are an important part of information visualization, but pretty pictures are not the aim of this subreddit."

I don't frequent this sub, but man is this one of the worst ways to visualize this data.

10 points · 1 month ago

these kinds of graphs are just trendy so everyone puts everything in them

I've been subbed to this sub for some time but have been disappointed and lost interest. I don't know if mods or audience or creators are to "blame". It seems to me that popular posts are mostly "I have this interesting/funny data, and I visualized it", and sometimes "i have this cool-looking visualization"; and some I have no idea why are interesting.

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I found the way this is visualized to be interesting and easy-to-process.

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On the other hand. If people here insists on using this type of visualization, this one is definitely preferred over some other datasets that were very poorly represented this way

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Okay, my reddit is bugged, it showed a loading icon half transparent in the background of this photo and i thought the person who made it was some kind of fucking monster... turns it out its just the app.

Really interesting as a non American. Most of those are generally not unisex my country. Although that is by my experience (i'm mid 30s) I'd love to find data for here and test my population data against country wide.

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In uni, I had three male friends called Jamie, Taylor and Avery and used to date a (female) Dakota.. really beat the odds I guess

4 points · 1 month ago

Personally I've have coloured the male and female flows, so it's slightly easier to follow when they overlap, but pretty good overall.

Huh, I never thought Alexis would be a gender neutral name, but then I remembered the Byzantine Empire.

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OC: 1
3 points · 1 month ago

Took me a while to realise what was being visualised here. Didn’t realise I had to tap on the image to see the flows.

3 points · 1 month ago

I worked w/ a guy named Baby. When he was born, his parents hadn't yet decided on a first name so the doctors wrote in "Baby", which is typical, and most parents will then correct the record when they decide on a name. But his parents thought that Baby was set in stone, so they did nothing.

At first, I had the hardest time calling a mature (and serious) man "Baby", but eventually got used to it.

It'd be interesting to see the distribution of these names in the UK, I think Jamie would be the other way round.

I'm a guy named Jamie (UK) and most other Jamies I've met have been male, the only female Jamies I've met have had it hyphenated with another name (e.g. Jamie-Lee).

Some also have it as a nickname for James.

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A Payton here! As a female in my early 20’s i am fairy surprised to see my name gaining popularity and also surprised to see a nearly even split between the genders. Ive met one boy my age spelled “Peyton” and one girl my age spelled the same as mine. I always believed that because of this the female version was with an “a” and the male with an “e”. It would be interesting to see that comparison mapped out.

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Related Subreddits

If you want to post something related to data visualization but it doesn't fit the criteria above, consider posting to one of the following subreddits.

  • Data_IRL: Feeling the need to be hilarious? Go here. Data.

  • SampleSize: Conduct and share surveys

  • Datasets: Request and share data sets

  • DataVizRequests: Request a visualization to be made from a dataset.

  • Visualization: Discuss and critique the design and construction of information visualizations

  • MapPorn: Share maps, map visualizations, etc.

  • Infographics: Share infographics and other unautomated diagrams

  • WordCloud: Specifically for sharing word clouds

  • Tableau: Share and discuss visualizations made with Tableau software

  • FunnyCharts: Share funny graphs and charts

  • U.S. Data is Beautiful: for those of us who simply can't wait for Thursdays

  • MathPics: Share pictures and visualizations of mathematical concepts

  • RedactedCharts: Try to guess what a chart is about without the labels

  • Statistics: For all questions and articles related to statistics


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