Sunday, April 22, 2007

Map of names

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me "how many people named x are there in the U.S., and where do they live?" I'd be no richer than I am today, but with at least I'm now prepared to answer that very tough question (and hope someone asks it soon!). Take "Bryce" for example, the database tells me there are 6,065 of them, and it's the 1118th most common name in a field of 2,634,850 names. Click on the map to find out where they'll find the highest Bryce density in Texas, California and Utah, which even has a canyon named Bryce! You can browse name-frequencies by state, and you can search on last names or combinations of first (John is most common) and last (Smith is the most common). You might think John Smith would be the most common combination, but it comes in sixth..and it's not possible (except perhaps by trying combinations of the 10 most common first and last names) to determine the most common combination. By searching a couple of unusual first names like Btisn and Buwakeow (I know noone with either of these names), ranked 397,176 and 397,198 respectively, I discovered that there was only one occurrence of each...this means that there AT LEAST 2,337,674 unique first names in the database, even though the database ranks them sequentially (a unique name like Btisn, at 397,176, is sandwiched between other unique names Btily at 397,175 and Btlim at 397177 - the sequence here, obviously, is by alphabet rather than by frequency) I'm going to work my way up the list of unique names to the names of which there are only two occurrences, but that will have to wait till this weekend. Anyway, loads of fun at Enjoy!

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