Names do not live forever and sadly people do not either. As a result we get "old" names. This is the type of name you associate with your grandparents and their friends. If you know an Ethel, chances are it's the name of an elder not a young niece.
We at the Baby Name Institute decided to take a comprehensive look to find the oldness or youngness of each name. The interactive above essentially gives you a mini-report. There's a lot going on so let's walk you through it.
First enter your name or any other name you are curious about and hit enter. The search will work for any of the top 10,000 names maintained by the Baby Name Institute. The first big number you see is the average age. For example if you type in James you will see an average age of 48. This means of all people in the United States still living with that name the average age of them is 48.
This number is actually hard to estimate and takes a lot of assumptions. First, the Social Security Administration did not collect the name of every baby until Social Security Numbers began to be given out on birth. This was in the 1930s. Even then, the data is somewhat incomplete. This means we had to estimate the number of babies born each year based on the data the Social Security Administration did have from those who got cards later in life. This required some calculation although there is no way to be 100% precise with data extrapolation like this.
Second, we used life expectancy tables also published by the Social Security Administration. These tell us the expectancy of someone surviving to each age based on their birth year. We had to assume that each name had the same life expectancy regardless of geography or background. The only adjustment we made was for gender.
This gives us the average age. Below you will see two ranges, one for the name and one for the gender. For example, 50% of all men alive in America today are between the ages of 16 and 52. However, James skews a bit older and the typical James is between the ages of 34 and 63. The bar chart below that gives even more information on the breakdown of James by age.
Finally, the info at the bottom tells us how old James is compared to other names. This is done by comparing the average to all other averages. James is an old name which ranks older than 86% of all other names.
There are of course some names which are extremely old because they were given one year and never again. However, ignoring those and only looking at names which had a significant baseline of popularity the oldes female names are Ethel, Betty, Willie, Gertrude, and Pat. If you plug these names into the widget above you will see their name age information. The oldest names among men are Dick, Bob, Carroll, Orville, and Bill. Women live longer which is why their names reach higher average ages than men. Ethel has an average age of 67 while Orville has an average age of 60.
Meanwhile, we can also find the youngest names too. Chances are these will change by the time you read this article but as of writing this the youngest names for girls (which have still achieved significant popularity) are Daleyza, Everly, Paislee, Adalynn, and Addilyn. The youngest names among boys are Jayceon, Kyrie, Thiago, Iker, and Beckham.
There are also some names for which it is very hard to predict the age. This are the names that have a huge range of young people and old but living people with the name. Often times these are names which were once popular, became unpopular, and are now popular again. The top five girls names with the biggest typical age range are Mabel, Elsie, Hazel, Eloise, and Eleanor. The boys names with the biggest typical age range are Otto, Leo, Henry, Ellis, and Charlie. If you meet someone with most of these names there is an equal chance they are 10 or 60.
There are many new names that have a tight window of popularity. For example we have a pretty feeling someone named Kyrie is between 1 and 4 but that is mostly due to the fact it was not a common name until four years ago. If we ignore young names, there are still some names which can predict someone's age very accurately. For example, half of all people named Kim are between 55 and 64 years old. Other names like Lisa, Tammy, Gale, and Tonya also have extremely narrow age windows. On the male side we see a similar pattern with Chuck, Doug, Rod, Cody, and Shaquille.
Try the calculator above with your name, your friend's name, your mom's name, and your nephew's name.