How Related Are The Popularity Histories Of Two Names?
The names Faith and Grace have grown and shrunk in popularity and close to equal rates.
If you've spent any time looking at the popularity history of names on our site you will see how each is unique. Some have decreased over time only to recover. Others went from obscurity to peak rapidly and then collapsed. Others are steady.
The widget above helps show some of these interesting connections. Put in any two names (which appear in the top 10,000 names in history) and the widget will graph them on the same graph showing how similar or opposite they are.
For those curious, correlation is a statistical measure of how similar two streams of data are. A correlation of 1.0 means they are perfectly related. A correlation of -1.0 means they move in opposite directions at all times. A correlation of 0.0 means they are not related at all and move randomly compared to each other.
Correlation considers percentage change and not the total numbers. Consider the names Megan and Meghan. Megan has always been more popular but they have moved up and down at about the same percentage. Their correlation is 0.98.
If you click on “Relative Popularity” you will see the values rescaled. The top is 100%. A name will be scaled to reach 100% in it's most popular year. The bottom is 0%. It is scaled to reach 0% in it's least popular year. If you search Megan and Meghan and click on “Relative Popularity” you can see just how similar they are.
Try the test with your sibling's names or your childhood friends. If you are looking for the most related or least related to any particular name you can always go to each name's individual page. For instance, if you go to the page for Truman you will see the name is most correlated (out of the top 10,000 names) to other presidential names such as Jackson and Kennedy.
We plan on using the method from this widget for some deeper dives into individual names and trends. If you thought this was interesting then please subscribe below to our e-mail list so you don't miss any new articles or widgets.