Goo-Goo-Aha! The Fascinating Research Behind Baby-Naming


Today the Social Security Administration released their latest batch of baby names, so if you meet a Noah or a Sophia 20 years from now, you’ll know they were probably born in 2013. But popularity rankings are just the most obvious analyses from the wide world of baby-name research. Here are more complex findings that academics and researchers have uncovered about how babies get their names and how those names might affect kids (or not) for the rest of their lives.

In some states, Ke$ha or 50 Cent could be an illegal name to give a child.

State laws governing what a parent can decide to call their child are far from uniform. As University of California law professor Carlton Larson explains in a sweeping legal review, some states explicitly require that a child have two names—so going with a mononym like Madonna would be a no go—while…

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