Choosing a baby name may be one of the hardest things a parent has to do. I'd say it's harder than potty training -- which has become my nemesis right now. Giving your kid a name, whatever name it is, is the one single word your kid is going to hear for the rest of their life. It's a BIG deal. It also says a whole lot about you as a parent. It even reveals your political leanings.
Conservatives tend to choose a certain kind of name, and liberals prefer names with a certain kind of sound.
Before I reveal, let’s take guesses. Let’s think about the kid names Leo and Kevin. If you had to choose who belongs to the liberal parent and who belongs to the conservative parent, what would you guess?
According to these findings, Leo’s parents are probably liberal. Kevin’s mom and dad are more likely conservative. Liberals tend to choose softer sounding names, while conservatives pick names with hard sounds like the letters K, B, and D make. Left-leaning parents also tend to like more unusual baby names and right-leaners go a more traditional route.
The study’s researcher Eric Oliver of the University of Chicago admits it’s probably a submiminal thing parents are doing. "I don't think people are really aware of why they're being drawn to certain names," Oliver told LiveScience. But it's happening. The study looked at birth records of 545,018 babies born in California in 2004, representing 52,589 different names. They counted unique spellings. They matched the records to neighborhoods and sorted the neighborhood’s voting leanings. "The fact that we would find any kind of systematic differences, much less the magnitude of differences that we found — I really did not anticipate that," Oliver said.
They results also showed that the less educated the parent, the more likely they were to give their child either an uncommon name or a unique name. This was also true for educated liberals -- they liked more unusual names like Esme or Finnegan. Or more feminine-sounding names like Leila, Liam, Ella, or Sophia. These types also preferred names with an "a" at the end. Obama did name his daughters Sasha and Malia.
Educated conservatives tend to go the popular name route or give their kids names with a harder sound like Kurt, Rick, or Megan like John McCain's daughter. The Palins did go with mostly hard sounds for their kids Track, Trig, Bristol, and Piper. But they also have a Willow, which bucks that trend. Interesting.
Don't go getting passing judgments on your friends and neighbors if their kids have names that lean in either direction though. This is a study, not exact science.
What do you think? Does your political leanings keep in tune with this study's findings?
Image via Nadia Phaneuf/Flickr