Sunday, July 6, 2014

An Interactive Look at the History and Distribution of Baby Names in the U.S.

How Baby Names Spread Across the U.S. is an interactive map that showcases the history and distribution of baby names. The map draws on data from the U.S. Census Bureau to show the popularity of baby names since 1911 through 2012. Enter a baby name into the search box and click "go" to see the distribution of that name. You can place your cursor over a state to watch the data for just that state change. I did this with the name Michael and the state of Wyoming to learn that from 1926 to 1930 none of the babies born in Wyoming were named Michael.

The map was developed by Brian Rowe and published on The Guardian's Data Store.

Applications for Education
How Baby Names Spread Across the U.S. could be the start of an interesting research exercise for social studies students. You could have students pick a name, perhaps their own names, and try to determine why that name is more popular in one state or region compared with another.