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Modern naming practices in the Netherlands between 1982 and 2005 were studied on the basis of 1409 popular first names, divided into fourteen name groups determined by the common preferences of parents for the names involved. Socioeconomic variables such as family income, parents' level of education, and lifestyle indicators were analyzed in relation to the names — and name groups — of the children in 281,751 households. Naming practices could be described on two independent dimensions. The first of these was education and family income: parents with lower incomes and levels of education preferred English, Italian, Spanish, and international names, while those with higher incomes and levels of education chose predominantly Dutch, Frisian, Nordic, Hebrew, and French names. A second dimension distinguished between conservative and religious parents with a preference for traditional names, and trendy parents who favored shorter and modern names. The complex nature of the relationship between social class and naming practice, and its dynamics, is discussed.
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© American Name Society 2011 DOI 10.1179/002777311X12942225544679
names, Vol. 59 No. 1, March, 2011, 25–41
Socioeconomic Determinants of
First Names
Gerrit Bloothooft and David Onland
Utrecht Institute of Linguistics, NL
Modern naming practices in the Netherlands between 1982 and 2005 were
studied on the basis of 1409 popular first names, divided into fourteen
name groups determined by the common preferences of parents for the
names involved. Socioeconomic variables such as family income, parents’
level of education, and lifestyle indicators were analyzed in relation to the
names — and name groups — of the children in 281,751 households.
Naming practices could be described on two independent dimensions. The
first of these was education and family income: parents with lower incomes
and levels of education preferred English, Italian, Spanish, and international
names, while those with higher incomes and levels of education chose
predominantly Dutch, Frisian, Nordic, Hebrew, and French names. A second
dimension distinguished between conservative and religious parents with a
preference for traditional names, and trendy parents who favored shorter
and modern names. The complex nature of the relationship between social
class and naming practice, and its dynamics, is discussed.
keywords first names, lifestyle, education, income, social classes
Naming practices changed in a revolutionary way during the twentieth century in
Western Europe. While choice of first names in previous centuries was predominantly
bound by traditions that prescribed naming children after relatives, saints, or god-
parents (Leys, 1974; Seibicke, 1996), a diminishing role of the church, loss of tradi-
tion, urbanization, and emerging individualization created freedom for parents. This
freedom allowed parents to follow their personal name preferences, which, however,
were and still are influenced by social stratification and fashion. The diffusion of
name innovations across social strata, which had followed a top-down direction for
centuries, lost prominence as social classes developed their own preferences (Besnard
& Grange, 1993). Class-related naming preferences usually did not involve strict
segregation in favored names, but rather a different distribution of popularity in each
social class, with each group drawing from a large set of common names (Desplanques,
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1986). This observation is supported by Lieberson, who observed differences in
naming practices between groups in Texas with different socioeconomic levels
(Lieberson, 2000) and groups in New York with different education levels (Lieberson,
1992). He concluded that there is little class imitation: different social classes adopt
the same names if these come into fashion, but the turnaround is too fast to allow
for top-down class imitation, even though adoption in higher social strata may in
some cases be quicker. Fryer and Levitt (2004) describe a contrasting difference in
naming practice between Blacks and Whites, with the growth of distinctively Black
names following the Black Power movement in the early 1970s in the USA. Thus,
while changes in naming practice are evident throughout the western world over
the last century, there may be considerable differences among and within countries,
due to differences in driving mechanisms and speed of change, related to varying
historical, cultural and religious conditions.
Leys (1974) noted that in West-Flanders, Belgium, it was the lower rural classes,
rather than the elite, that started to adopt new and often foreign names in the 1960s.
He explains this as the result of contact with new name inventories through televi-
sion. This reinforced the emerging freedom in naming practice for innovation’s sake,
which was not yet as widespread during the era of the radio. In earlier centuries, such
freedom and contact with other cultures were privileges of the educated and higher
social strata, albeit in a different way. The lower and middle classes now seem more
eager than the elite to adopt new names that come to them through the popular
In Germany, Debus et al. (1973) investigated naming practices in Kiel for 7000
children born between 1958 and 1966, and found a reduction in naming after
relatives, a trend more pronounced for workers than for the elite. Gerhards (2003)
compared naming during the whole of the twentieth century in the small towns of
Gerolstein and Grimma, in the former Western and Eastern parts of Germany respec-
tively. He found a faster rate of secularization in the Catholic Gerolstein, and a more
gradual one (although with an earlier start in nineteenth century) in the Protestant
Grimma. After differentiating parents on the basis of education required for their
profession, he found that there were only minor differences between classes in the
timing of the adoption of new names. Highly educated parents maintained Christian
naming somewhat longer, while parents with intermediate education had the stron-
gest preference for transnational names. He is unsure whether the generalization of
Besnard and Grange (1993), that social classes in present-day France differ in their
unique name choices, also holds for Germany. For Denmark, Andersen (1977) also
concludes that the period 1969–73 showed a marked increase in the choice of new
names in the lower and middle classes, but he is hesitant to conclude that naming
practices are class-related.
Desplanques (1986) investigated changes in naming practices on a firm statistical
basis using a large sample (2.3 million in total) of names given in twentieth-century
France, complemented by data on the professions of the parents. His pioneering
analyses demonstrate that the transition from tradition-bound to modern naming
practices took place relatively early in France, and had already begun in the second
half of the nineteenth century. He concludes that, while each socioeconomic class
developed a preference for certain types of first names, the vast majority of French
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names are found across all classes, albeit with different levels of popularity. He found
that parents with higher education levels took the lead in the adoption of new French
names, but the slowest adopters, rural farmers, lagged behind by only five years
(whereas Besnard and Grange (1993) showed that a century ago the elite were about
thirty years ahead in naming trends). It remains to be seen whether the same holds
for the adoption of, for instance, Anglo-American names.
In the Netherlands, differences in naming practices were long dominated by reli-
gion rather than social status. For official registration, Catholics predominantly chose
Latinized names (for instance, Wilhelmus), and Protestants chose similar names but
with Dutch spelling (Willem), or names of Germanic or Frisian origin. Differences
between the groups in the use of familiar names, which were usually abbreviated
forms of official names, were less distinctive, especially for males. This relatively
stable situation changed dramatically during the twentieth century, which is demon-
strated by the sudden decline in popularity after 1950 of Maria, once the most
popular name (see Figure 1). In France, Marie shows the same tendency, but with an
even steeper decline from its height at 34 percent, starting at the end of the nineteenth
century (Dupâquier et al., 1986). Among Protestants in the Dutch population, a
gradual decline in naming children after relatives also started in the nineteenth cen-
tury, as demonstrated by the occurrence of the name Jan (Figure 2). This development
compares to the observations of Gerhards (2003) in Germany.
The more or less stable frequency of the traditional names in the Netherlands
around the beginning of the twenty-first century indicates that the transition that
started a century ago from traditional naming after relatives to free choices for
parents has been completed. This by no means implies that naming trends have
stabilized. On the contrary, they are more dynamic than ever with names coming and
going continuously. Under these new naming practices, Bloothooft and Groot (2008)
studied the first names of all 4.5 million children born in the Netherlands between
1983 and 2005. They analyzed the co-occurrence of names of siblings, and grouped
names that were often found in families. For instance, Maria and Johannes are often
figure 1 Reduction of the traditional naming practice between 1880 and 2009, exemplified
by the reduced relative popularity of the Catholic name Maria, with a sudden fall between
1955 and 1975. Popularity distributions for all first names in the Netherlands can be found at
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found together in a family, as are Kevin and Kimberley, and Mohamed and Fatima,
while this is not the case for Kevin and Maria or Mohamed and Johannes. They used
this analysis to divide the 1409 most frequent names into 34 distinct groups (see
Table 1), each of which is related to a common preference of the respective parents.
The name groups typically have an easily observable common denominator, such
as language origin (for example, Dutch, Frisian, French, English, Nordic, Arabic, or
Turkish names), religion (biblical and Latinized names), period of highest popularity
(traditional to modern), gender (given to boys or girls only), or morphology (suffix
type and length).
Our assumption is that parents who share a preference for certain names for their
children do so on the basis of a common socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, or linguistic
background. The last three factors are jointly known as CEL (cultural — ethnic —
linguistic) factors. Mateos, Webber, and Longley (2007) categorized the entire popu-
lation of Great Britain in 185 CEL-types (a subdivision of 15 CEL-groups) based
on a combination of techniques, including geographic spread. Because they did not
include socioeconomic factors, their analysis resulted in CEL-types that are mainly
based on ethnicity with little to no subdivision in social strata of the major categories.
The largest CEL type, of English names, therefore included 31.1 million people, 68
percent of the total.
An investigation into the socioeconomic determinants of naming practices could
start by defining the social strata into which parents are to be classified, while
subsequently investigating the naming characteristics in each class. However, defining
social strata is commonly identified as a major problem. Our study approaches the
issue from the other direction. We take name groups as a starting point, under the
assumption that each group is associated to coherent socioeconomic or lifestyle
characteristics of the parents; our study attempts to clarify this association.
Data and analysis
We analyzed the names of children in households for which social and economic
data were known. Although this kind of detailed information can be difficult to
obtain due to privacy concerns, we were able to use data from a large private survey
by a direct marketing company on consumption and personal backgrounds. De Grote
figure 2 The gradual decline of the relative popularity of the male Protestant name Jan.
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Main group Description of initial
name groups
Examples (female, male) Number
Number in
Dutch-Traditional Latin form
Maria, Johannes
187,133 2152
Dutch form
Aaltje, Willem
248,803 10,986
Frisian Frisian
Femke, Jelle
100,871 10,725
Elite Upcoming
Charlotte, Floris
187,071 17,312
Liselotte, Roderick
13,662 867
Group Alexander
Barbara, Alexander
33,122 1897
Hebrew Hebrew
Esther, Daniël
152,291 14,550
Dutch-preModern International
Laura, Mark
250,732 35,430
Group Thomas
Eline, Thomas
343,881 37,846
Group Eric
, Eric
9953 1440
Dutch-Modern Dutch modern
Sanne, Tim
575,780 73,376
English Premodern
Kimberley, Kevin
759,960 106,169
Upcoming short
133,924 20,666
Kelly, Davy
61,863 9262
Royal names
, William
2966 500
Group Cheyenne
Cheyenne, Jermaine
5372 771
French French
Maxime, Thierry
19,459 2016
Beau, Jules
33,234 2397
Mixed(Nordic) Short
Bente, Mats
17,557 2044
Nordic and French
Anouk, Niels
108,484 14,209
Mixed names
Ingeborg, Lucas
17,046 1724
Modern Group Mika
Puck, Mika
14,964 1607
Group Milan
Zoë, Milan
58,573 7743
Italian-Spanish Italian and Spanish
Alicia, Lorenzo
30,345 3854
Arabic1 Group Mohamed
Fatima, Mohamed
39,980 665
Arabic2 Group Samir
Nadia, Samir
17,447 719
Group Yassine
Youssra, Yassine
30,203 710
Turkish Turkish
Merve, Ibrahim
20,107 559
excluded Mixed names
, Remko
2408 398
excluded Turkish, group Esra
Esra, Emre
7127 237
excluded Arabic, group Tarik
9740 217
excluded Arabic, group Hicham
Yasmina, Hicham
8785 189
excluded Slavic
Ivana, Igor
1794 186
excluded Italian, group Louisa
Louisa, Leonard
1830 101
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Consumenten Enquête (lit. “big consumer survey”) is a large biannual survey conducted
by the WDM company in the Netherlands since 1994. It consists of over seventy
written questions that include, since 2002, the first name and date of birth of all
household members. Ten surveys (2002–07) were used to create a comprehensive
database of 1.13 million households (some 17 percent of all Dutch households).
Because we were interested in households with children born after 1982, only 281,751
households, containing altogether 512,545 children, were usable. Of these, 383,533
children had one of the 1409 first names that constitute the 34 name groups earlier
identified by Bloothooft and Groot (2008), and were subjected to further study (see
Table 1). They constitute about 10 percent of the total number of children born in
the Netherlands in the period 1982–2005.
From the abundance of data in the WDM survey, three factors were chosen as
major socioeconomic determinants: family income, the highest education level of the
parents, and the lifestyle of the household. The last factor was specified in some more
detail through the likelihood of attending classical concerts, pop concerts, or religious
The WDM survey grouped family income before taxes into seven classes, defined
relatively to the national average income. Participants were asked to choose between
unknown, minimum, below average, average, 1.5x, 2x, 2.5x and higher than 3x the
average income. Given the likely uncertainty of some participants about their own
gross income and/or the national average, we expect these answers to be indicative
at best.
Information on the highest education level of the parents is likely to be far more
We classified the various education levels by total number of years of education
(without internships), starting at the age of four years. The eight possible categories
were: unknown, primary school (8 years of education), lower secondary vocational
education (11 years), lower secondary school (12 years), senior secondary vocational
education (14 years), higher secondary school (14 years), higher vocational education
(17 years), and university (18+ years). Due to the nature of the Dutch education
system, there is no simple linear progression between the different categories, but
total numbers of years of education is nevertheless indicative of level.
WDM distinguishes twenty lifestyles which can be attributed to a household on the
basis of a weighting of all available data in the survey. Every household receives a
score on each of the lifestyles. Although WDM did not inform us about the details
of their analysis, we considered these lifestyle loadings a valuable parameter. To
determine the indicators of lifestyle more explicitly — apart from income and educa-
tion — we considered the attendance of classical concerts, pop concerts and religious
services as examples of underlying determinants. Participants indicated whether they
attended these events by a simple yes/no response. These figures were then converted
into a probability per name group.
The participants in the WDM survey are volunteers, and therefore form a biased
sample of the Dutch population. It is likely that households from the lowest and
highest social strata are underrepresented. Therefore, we compared name groups only
by looking at the relative differences within income and education classes, rather than
comparing absolute figures.
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Also underrepresented in our sample are the Arabic and Turkish names, and the
traditional Dutch names in their Latinized and traditional Dutch forms (see Table 1).
The likely explanation for the latter is that the Bloothooft and Groot (2008) analysis
used only officially registered names, while the questionnaire respondents probably
provided familiar names. For modern names, there is usually no difference between
the official name and the familiar name, but for traditional names there often is
(compare the official Franciscus with the abbreviated form Frans as a familiar name,
or Margaretha with Grietje). By studying percentages across income and education
classes, the bias of the sample can be overcome.
In our household sample, six name groups had a total frequency under 500
children. We decided to exclude these name groups from further analysis. Further-
more, in a preliminary analysis, we were able to determine that for some name groups
with a common denominator, such as language, socioeconomic factors were highly
similar. For reasons of simplicity and clarity of presentation, therefore, we decided to
combine the twenty-eight remaining groups into fourteen main name groups. This
summary process, including name examples, is presented in Table 1. Below, we refer
to these main name groups as name groups.
For our analyses, we needed parameter values (for instance, percentage higher
education) for a name group. To this end, responses on the questionnaire were
associated with all children in a specific family. These values were counted and
averaged over all children with a name from a name group.
Results and discussion
First, we investigated the distribution of household income for each name group.
The resulting series of histograms are presented in a single plot in Figure 3, grouped
figure 3 Combined presentation for all name groups of the distribution of households over
income classes (in % of the name group).
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by income class. The name groups within an income class are presented so that a
gradual shift across name groups (increasing or decreasing) is evident in most classes.
The order of presentation of the name groups is thus of interest. The series begins on
the left with Arabic and Turkish name groups, followed Italian/Spanish and English
name groups. These names are relatively frequently given by parents with low
income, and much less often by parents with the highest income. The two Arabic
and the Turkish name groups are special, in that the parents are probably following
the traditions of their native language and culture, and form CEL groups that should
be viewed separately from the mainstream. It should be noted that socioeconomic
differentiation is evident within the Arabic CEL group, in the relatively higher
presence of names from the Arabic2 group in higher income categories. Italian/
Spanish or English names are chosen not primarily by the relatively small number of
immigrants with these cultural origins, but rather by Dutch parents with an average
income. The Italian/Spanish and English name groups, unlike the Arabic and Turkish
name groups, do not emerge from CEL differentiation in the Netherlands. In this,
they are comparable to the remaining name groups.
The series continues with groups of names of Dutch, Frisian, Hebrew, Nordic, and
French origin and a group with modern non-Dutch names of various origins. The
Dutch names are divided into traditional, pre-modern, and modern groups, which
reflects their periods of maximum popularity: traditional names before 1960, pre-
modern between 1960 and 1990, and modern after 1990. The traditional Dutch names,
as well as Hebrew names from the Old Testament which also have a long history
of use, tend to associate relatively more to middle incomes. They share this position
with the modern names. The other Dutch, Nordic, French, and Frisian name groups
are all somewhat stronger associated to incomes above average. The elite names
(consisting of names connected to Dutch culture and history, and some French names,
as French was once the preferred language of the nobility and the highest social
classes) conclude the series with the relatively highest percentages found at the top
It should again be noted that our household sample does not necessarily reflect the
Dutch population in all aspects. This means that the percentage of parents in some
income classes may deviate from national figures. A comparison with an unbiased
sample from the National Bureau of Statistics (2007; 7000 households) showed that
the average-income class is overrepresented in the WDM survey, at the expense of the
high- and low-income classes. Within an income class, however, we can study the
relations among name groups without bias. Moreover, although the total number of
households associated with a name group may vary greatly, this is normalized by
presenting the relative distribution of a name group over income classes (in percent-
age). Despite the fact that we should be cautious in comparing percentages between
income classes, it is clear that there is not a one-to-one relation between a name group
and an income class. Since their fuzzy relationship could originate in the uncertainty
of the income data, we will now look into the more accurate data of educational
Figure 4 presents the distribution of households per name group over education cat-
egories. As already mentioned, there is no precise linear progression in the categories;
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the overall tendency from left to right is one from low to high level of education. The
clearer accuracy of these data as compared to the data on family income is
exemplified by the lower percentages for the category “unknown.” Furthermore, the
overall results per education category match the results of an unbiased sample from
the National Bureau of Statistics (2007; 11,000 households) better than the income
figures do; the education data show a maximum absolute deviation per category of
less than 4 percent, with the exception of lower secondary vocational education or
lower secondary education which are 10 percent points higher.
The histograms are ordered by name group for education classes in the same way
as for the income classes (above). This presentation facilitates a comparison of
Figures 3 and 4. Overall, gradual changes similar to those for income classes can be
seen: starting with the Arabic, Turkish, Italian/Spanish, and English name groups,
followed by the various Dutch, Hebrew, Nordic, French, and Frisian groups, while
the elite name group appears at the far right of the range. This demonstrates the
preference of parents with less education for Italian/Spanish and English names.
Other name groups dominate the higher educational categories; we have already
discussed the special position of the Arabic and Turkish name groups as specific CEL
In addition, it should be mentioned that in the Netherlands education is com pulsory
until the age of seventeen (implying thirteen years of education), and children do not
quit school after completing primary education. The high percentage of parents from
the Arabic and Turkish name groups who report having completed only primary
education therefore most likely represent first generation immigrants.
Alongside the relatively high positions of English and Italian/Spanish name group
categories, the traditional Dutch name group also scores quite high in the lower
figure 4 Combined presentation for all name groups of the distribution of households over
maximum number of years of education of the parents (in % of the name group). Education
starts in the Netherlands at the age of four.
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secondary vocational education category. This suggests that Dutch parents with a
lower level of education either uphold the tradition of naming after relatives (with,
for instance, Dirk and Johanna) or switch to English and Italian/Spanish names (such
as Dennis and Jennifer). They do not typically choose short Dutch names like Anne
or Daan.
To illustrate the spread of names across educational categories, Table 2 shows
the top twenty names for each. The highest rank order of a name is given in bold
typeface. Many names can be found in several classes, with the widest diffusion
apparent for the top names in the middle categories: Tim, Kevin, and Rick. Note
the full segregation between the primary school level and the university level list:
they do not share a single name in the top twenty. Because the top twenty list
only shows the most popular names, the largest name groups — English names and
Dutch-(pre)Modern names — dominate the table (see Table 1).
For each of twenty lifestyles, we have an average loading per name group. The
higher a loading on a lifestyle, the more applicable the lifestyle is for that name group.
Total number of years of education of parents
8 primary 11 vocational 12 14 vocational 14 17 vocational 18+
1 Kevin Kevin Kevin Tim Tim Tim Thomas
2 Patrick Dennis Kim Kevin Robin Tom Daan
3 Danny Mike Dennis Rick Kevin Sanne Tim
4 Wesley Kim Robin Sanne Tom Anne Anne
5 Dennis Rick Mike Kim Kim Daan Laura
6 Jeffrey Patrick Rick Robin Rick Bart Tom
7 Samantha Wesley Jeroen Jeroen Nick Bas Lotte
8 Chantal Jeffrey Mark Nick Sanne Thomas Bas
9 Ricardo Roy Nick Mark Mark Niels Wouter
10 Melissa Nick Danny Lisa Niels Jeroen Bart
11 Mike Robin Jeffrey Dennis Jeroen Sander Sophie
12 Wendy Mark Sanne Mike Laura Robin Sanne
13 Kim Danny Roy Niels Lisa Mark Jasper
14 Roy Tim Tim Tom Dennis Kim Max
15 Linda Jeroen Patrick Sander Sander Rick Eva
16 Joey Chantal Laura Bas Thomas Lars Niels
17 Michael Sanne Sander Laura Bas Lotte Koen
18 Nick Stefan Linda Bart Bart Iris Emma
19 Mark Melissa Wesley Lars Iris Laura Martijn
20 Robin Jordy Jordy Anouk Mike Martijn Bram
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To summarize the relation between lifestyles and name groups, we applied a factor
analysis (Gorsuch, 1983) on the loading patterns. It showed that, on a few indepen-
dent dimensions, the most important differences between the name groups in terms
of lifestyle can be captured. Figure 5 shows the results on the first two dimensions,
which already explain 75 percent of all variance in the lifestyle loadings.
The horizontal dimension in Figure 5 is governed by lifestyle differences that
connect to income. Given the lifestyle labels assigned by WDM, a positive score
indicates “well-to-do investors,” “families that love traveling,” “intensive users of
the internet,” while a negative score indicates “the financially limited” and “price
conscious consumers.” The vertical dimension indicates “fashionable young families”
and “curious amusement searchers” at the positive side, while a negative score
summarizes “socially concerned religious families.”
The positioning of name groups on the horizontal dimension matches well with
our previous results on family income and highest education. The vertical dimension
seems to differentiate between philosophies of life, from conservative and religious
to modern and trendy. The parents who chose Italian/Spanish or English names
have a lower than average income, but are open to innovation and easily shed tradi-
tional values. The highest income groups favor Dutch, Hebrew, and Frisian names
and are neither very modern nor very conservative. A conservative attitude is, not
surprisingly, associated with more religious parents who opt for traditional names.
To demonstrate the lifestyle dimensions more directly, in Figure 6 we present
the family income on the horizontal axis, and the probability of attending religious
services on the vertical axis (inverse). The positions of the name groups in this figure
match the lifestyle positions in Figure 5 quite well, although the dominantly Islamic
parents from the Arabic and Turkish name groups have relatively high mosque
attendance compared to their position in Figure 5.
figure 5 Name group
positions on the two major
lifestyle dimensions. The
horizontal dimension is
income-related, the vertical
dimension differentiates
between traditional and
modern lifestyles.
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The probability of attending classical or pop concerts gives us comparable results,
as can be seen in Figure 7. In this case, the income dimension seems to run diago-
nally from bottom left to upper right, since households with a low income cannot
afford any concerts (although this may not be the only factor for the Arabic and
Turkish parents), while for high-income households all options are open. The dimen-
sion orthogonal to income again differentiates between traditional and modern name
groups: parents who favor traditional names have moderate but equal interests in
classical and pop music, while parents who favor modern names are overwhelmingly
interested in pop music only.
Dynamics on the “lifestyle canvas”
We investigated naming practices during a period of about one generation. This rela-
tively long period has the advantage of a sufficient number of children for statistical
analyses, but naming practice is by no means stable throughout such a period. Parents
who had children in the 1980s made other choices than parents twenty years later did.
In the modern naming practice, most names have a life cycle: they emerge, become
popular, and disappear again. The same pattern should be expected for name groups,
which all were in some part of their life cycle during the period we have studied.
There are name groups that are declining, while others are expanding (see tables in
Bloothooft & Groot, 2008). These dynamics in naming raise questions about the role
of the socioeconomic factors involved. Is dynamic behavior limited to social strata,
which each follow their own development, or are the dynamics much more complex,
and involve diffusion of preferences through social classes?
It is possible to glimpse the answers to these questions by analyzing the largest
twenty-eight name groups (of the original thirty-four) with respect to lifestyle load-
ings. The resulting two dimensions are shown in Figure 8. In addition to the more
refined and complex presentation of the twenty-eight name groups, we indicate with
an open triangle that a name group was declining between 1982 and 2005, and by a
filled triangle that it was expanding.
figure 6 Family income
of name groups versus
religious attendance
(inverse) of parents.
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The general composition of the name groups of course resembles the composition
of the main name groups in Figure 5, but additional interesting details can be
observed. At the top, we see that all English groups, both those in decline and expan-
sion, are closely grouped together. This grouping suggests that the social classes
that favor English names have their own dynamics, abandoning names that are old-
fashioned (for this generation) and picking new ones. The exception to this general-
ization is the group of English royal names, which can be found at the bottom of the
figure, together with other traditional groups that are all in decline. These consist of
the two traditional Dutch name groups, one of the elite groups and a group with
more traditional mixed Nordic names. As there will always be parents who wish to
name their children after relatives, it is expected that the decline of these groups will
end in stabilization, especially the traditional Dutch groups. In the right-hand part of
the graph, the various elite, modern, Dutch, French, and mixed (Nordic) name groups
cover a range along the conservative-trendy dimension, but still show convergence.
The elite name groups group together, which can be interpreted as older elite parents
choosing names in the 1980s that were in decline over the whole period under study
(Roderick and Liselotte), while younger elite parents now choose the up-and-coming
figure 7 Attendance of
classical and pop concerts
by parents by name group.
Rotated axes indicate a
correspondence to the
income/education dimension
(starting left under), and the
traditional-trendy dimension
(starting right under).
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ones (Floris and Charlotte). In the social groups where older parents favored longer,
pre-modern Dutch, and international names like Thomas, younger parents may opt
for the increasingly popular groups of short Dutch Modern names (Tim and Sanne),
Nordic short names (Mats and Bente), Hebrew (Daniël and Esther), or Frisian names
(Jelle and Femke). These name groups can all be associated with parents that have a
comparable lifestyle. The parents that favored shorter pre-modern international
names like Mark, Peter, Paul, or Linda, may have successors that favored the up-and-
coming French names (Thierry and Maxime), or modern names from the Mika and
Milan groups. However, whether these interpretations are valid should be the subject
of further research.
The overall picture is that declining name groups can be found grouped with
corresponding expanding name groups nearby. This suggests that lifestyle, including
underlying factors like education and income, provides a social canvas with local
dynamics in naming practice. These dynamics may sometimes be very slow or even
entirely absent, as we see with traditional Dutch names, which at present are mainly
chosen by parents who still adhere to the practice of naming after relatives.
We did not examine whether individual name groups showed gradual changes
from one lifestyle to another over time. Such changes could signal diffusion of name
figure 8 Positions of 28 more differentiated name groups in the plane of the two major
lifestyle dimensions, associated with income (horizontal) and the traditional-trendy opposi-
tion (vertical). Open triangles indicate groups in decline, filled triangles designate expanding
Published by Maney Publishing (c) The American Name Society
preferences among social classes, which could manifest in the movement of a name
group across the “lifestyle canvas.” There is little indication, however, that elite
names will move through the whole spectrum of social strata into the classes that
now favor English names, or vice versa. Diffusion of, for instance, Dutch, Frisian,
Hebrew, and French names is nevertheless conceivable, given the noticeable spread
seen in the top twenty of names per education category in Table 2.
General discussion
The relationship between the modern naming practice and socioeconomic determi-
nants is fuzzy, but it does have some clearly identifiable characteristics. To establish
this relationship in the full population, it is first necessary to identify the CEL groups
in society, especially the groups that are associated with a closed community in which
language and culture, including names, are highly valued for their role in identity. In
our study, we identified the Arabic and Turkish name groups as unique CEL groups,
distinguishing them from the others. Only after making this distinction can further
analysis of socioeconomic determinants be pursued per CEL group. In the interpreta-
tion of results, it should be taken into account that all name groups were combined
in a single analysis in this study.
We did not investigate all first names from the latest generation of children in
the Netherlands, since the frequency of many names is too low for the name to
be allocated to any name group in a statistically meaningful way. There is no doubt
that the number of CEL groups in the Netherlands is comparable to the fifteen
that have been identified for Great Britain (Mateos et al., 2007). Whereas the Arabic
and Turkish name groups are easily identifiable and “closed” (since parents seldom
choose a name outside these groups), the Surinamese and Antillean populations in the
Netherlands show dominant preferences for, respectively, English and Spanish names.
A complication is that these preferences are also shared by many Dutch parents,
which makes a CEL group distinction between Antillean, Surinam, and Dutch parents
impossible on the basis of first names only. The Surinamese and Antillean population,
however, represents less than 2 percent of the total population, so their influence as
specific CEL groups will not be very high, even if all names of their children are part
of the very popular name groups.
Given the fuzzy nature of the relationship between naming practices and socioeco-
nomic parameters, it is important to reduce uncertainties by extrapolating beyond
the level of individual names, and using name groups defined by the shared name
preferences of parents. Our hypothesis that parents who share name preferences also
share socioeconomic determinants was supported, at least on a statistical basis. The
variability among parents is very high, in that names from a name group could be
found in almost all income and education categories, but clear tendencies are never-
theless visible from their distribution means. This observation supports the views
of Desplanques (1986) and Lieberson (2000). The higher their education level and,
correspondingly, family income, the more likely parents are to stick to Dutch names.
These are not traditional names, but related abbreviated variants, or longer variants
with historical connotations. In groups with lower income and education, there is
a clear preference for non-Dutch names, likely influenced by the Anglo-American
Published by Maney Publishing (c) The American Name Society
dominance of the popular media (Vandebosch, 1998). Although this is in line with
the observations about naming practices in Western countries summarized in the
introduction, we also identified another dimension, related to the philosophy and
attitudes on life of the parents, conservative and traditional versus trend-sensitive.
This dimension can be seen in many aspects of life: in fashion, in political prefer-
ences, and, as we showed, in the names of children. In this respect, parents’ choices
can be independent of education and income.
Our study only slightly touched upon the dynamics of naming practices, but
our results raise many questions in this area. Modern naming practices imply a life
cycle for names that seems to become increasingly shorter (Desplanques, 1986), but
our study suggests a more complex picture. The conservative-trendy dimension in
particular appears to be associated with a differentiation in life-cycle duration, from
a very long life cycle for traditional names to a very short one for name groups
consisting of foreign and modern names. If names have a life cycle, though, what
about the life cycle of a name group? It is unlikely that all names in a group become
popular simultaneously, and remain popular for exactly the same period of time.
Therefore name groups are likely to show a more gradual rise and decline in popular-
ity than individual names do. Various models for the life cycle and diffusion of name
groups are conceivable. We showed that name groups are related to social class indi-
cators. Over time, as the preferences of a new generation of parents emerge, new
names may replace old ones in a particular social class. In an analysis that covers a
generation, as ours, a shift in preferences may show up in two name groups, one in
decline the other on the rise. Another possibility, however, is that an analysis window
of one generation is too short to disentangle names on the rise and in decline and
that they merge into a single name group. It is also conceivable that a name group
might migrate during its life cycle from one social class to another, or even from
one CEL group to another. In such a case, this could show up as a longer name group
life cycle with multiple peaks. Finally, it is possible that a name group disintegrates
over time, with some names being abandoned by one social class (or CEL group) and
emerging in another. This possibility would manifest as multiple peaks in the popu-
larity distribution of the relevant individual names. It would be exciting to demon-
strate one or more of these processes to support the view that a simple top-down
diffusion model is not sufficient to describe the social patterns in naming practices
over the last century.
We wish to thank WDM company, and especially Bob Hoogewind, for making
available the data from De Grote Consumenten Enquête.
Andersen, Christian. 1977. Studien zur Namengebung in Nordfriesland. Die Bökingharde 1760–1970. Clausthal-
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vulgum).” L’Année sociologique 43: 269–94.
Published by Maney Publishing (c) The American Name Society
Bloothooft, Gerrit, Emma van Nifterick, & Doreen Gerritzen. 2004. On First Names — How The Netherlands
Gets its First Names. Utrecht: Het Spectrum (in Dutch).
Bloothooft, Gerrit & Loek Groot. 2008. “Name Clustering on the Basis of Parental Preferences.” Names 56:
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Schicht. Bericht über ein Projekt zur Personennamenkunde.” Naamkunde 5: 368–405.
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Dupâquier, Jacques, Jean-Pierre Pélissier, & Danièle Rébaudo. 1986. Le temps des Jules: les prénoms en France
au XIXe siècle. Paris: Ed. Christian.
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Quarterly Journal of Economics 119(3): 767–805.
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University Press.
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of Populations and Neighbourhoods Using Personal Names.” CASA Working Paper 116. Available at:
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Notes on contributors
Gerrit Bloothooft is researcher at the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics. His interests are
in language technology and onomastics. He has published on issues of nominal record
linkage and was co-author of a landmark book on first names in the Netherlands. He
recently launched online full population databases of first names and family names
in the Netherlands.
Correspondence to: Gerrit Bloothooft, Utrecht institute of Linguistics — OTS, Utrecht
University, Trans 10, 3512 JK Utrecht, The Netherlands. Email:
David Onland is research assistant. He studied Computer Science and History and is
working on his MA in political and cultural History.
... To make sure that participant perceived the hypothetical students as unique individuals, we gave each a different name, a different physical appearance, and different house and car(s) (Fig. 1). We selected names that are common in both high-and low-SES families 94 and physical appearances that do not reveal SES 95 , so that they could be used for both high-and low-SES vignettes. For each gender, we created two versions of the vignette, so that the names and physical appearances of the high-SES students in one version corresponded to the names and physical appearances of the low-SES students in another version, and vice versa, thereby ruling out any systematic influence of names and physical appearances. ...
... Following prior work 41 , the students depicted in the vignettes were boys and the teacher was a woman. The students had names that are common in both high-and low-SES families 94 . We randomized which student (i.e., the student displayed on the left or displayed in the right) received the more positive praise. ...
Full-text available
Can teachers’ inflated praise make children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds seem less smart? We conducted two preregistered experiments to address this question. We used hypothetical scenarios to ensure experimental control. An experiment with primary school teachers ( N = 106, ages 21–63) showed that when a child from a low-SES (vs. high-SES) background succeeded in school, teachers attributed this success more to hard work and delivered more inflated praise (e.g., “You did incredibly well!”) but less modest praise (e.g., “You did well!”). An experiment with primary school children ( N = 63, ages 10–13) showed that when children learned that another child received inflated praise (while an equally performing classmate received modest praise or no praise), they perceived this child as less smart but more hardworking. These studies provide converging evidence that teachers’ inflated praise, although well-intentioned, can make children from low-SES backgrounds seem less smart, thereby reinforcing negative stereotypes about these children’s academic abilities.
... As the primary symbol that distinguishes one person from another, a name can contain information of race, class, religion, and culture (Bloothooft & Onland, 2011), and may influence an individual's life (Biavaschi, Giulietti, & Siddique, 2017;Bielen, Grajzl, & Marneffe, 2021;Laham, Koval, & Alter, 2012). In the naming practices of most languages, the gender of a name is easily discernible. ...
... As parents usually have the legal right to decide the name of their newborn in all countries, parental characteristics have been featured most prominently in the literature. For example, Bloothooft and Onland (2011) analyzed the names of newborn children in Holland from 1982 to 2005 and identified several determinants, including parents' education, family income, parents' religious beliefs, and political values. Similarly, a case study by Lieberson and Bell (1992) revealed that parents' racial and educational backgrounds had the strongest influence on the naming patterns of boys and girls born in New York State from 1973 to 1985. ...
Drawing on data from the 2005 China mini-census, this study aims to measure the genderedness of Chinese names and explore the determinants of gendered names and their impacts on labor market performance. The Gendered Name Index we constructed shows that male and female names have been converging over the past century, mainly attributed to the defeminization of female names. A regression analysis reveals that the gender characteristics of Chinese names are highly correlated with parental characteristics, the strength of kinship networks, and local socioeconomic conditions. Additionally, the genderedness of a name has mild but statistically significant effects on labor market performance. Notably, a masculine name will increase men's earnings, while a feminine name will prevent women from entering the labor market and reduce their earnings. These findings support both gender identity and gender discrimination mechanisms.
... We use personal names to address and to greet others, to personalize conversation, and to call people over a distance. Names can be indicative of a person's gender (Cassidy et al., 1999), age group (Lansley and Longley, 2016), socio-economic status (Bloothooft and Onland, 2011), and often have a literal or connotative meaning that people identify with (Brennen, 2000). In many situations, personal names are deliberately used to show respect, affection, and to create closeness. ...
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Introduction Preliminary research based on everyday observations suggests that there are people, who experience severe fear when addressing others with their personal names. The aim of this study was to explore the extent to which this hitherto little-known psychological phenomenon really exists and to investigate its characteristic features, considering the everyday experience of not being able to use names and its impact on affected individuals and their social interactions and relationships. Methods In this mixed-methods study based on semi-structured interviews and psychometric testing, 13 affected female participants were interviewed and evaluated using self-report measures of social anxiety, attachment-related vulnerability, and general personality traits. An inductive content analysis and inferential statistical methods were used to analyze qualitative and quantitative data, respectively. Results Our findings show that affected individuals experience psychological distress and a variety of negative emotions in situations in which addressing others with their name is intended, resulting in avoidance behavior, impaired social interactions, and a reduced quality of affected relationships. Discussion The behavior can affect all relationships and all forms of communication and is strongly linked to social anxiety and insecure attachment. We propose calling this phenomenon Alexinomia , meaning “no words for names”.
... However, in most Western countries, such patterns have either not been widespread, as in Poland (Adamiak 2013;Dziadkowiec 2000;Bystroń 1938;Tomanek 2022;Zarębski 2018), or gradually dissolved in the wake of industrialization and urbanization, as naming choices became detraditionalized and increasingly shaped by individual tastes and collective fashions (Lieberson 2000;Lieberson & Lynn 2003;Coulmont 2010;Gerhards 2005;Taylor 1974;Smith 1985). Therefore, social scholars interested in naming have focused on macro-social factors accounting for those choices, including class (Besnard 1995;Besnard & Desplanques 1986;Besnard & Grange 1993;Bloothooft & Onland 2011;Elchardus & Siongers 2010;Gerhards & Hackenbroch 2000;Levitt & Dubner 2006;Lieberson 2000;Lieberson & Bell 1992;Lindsay & Dempsey 2017;Taylor 1994), race (Fryer & Levitt 2004;Levitt & Dubner 2006;Lieberson 2000;Lieberson & Bell 1992), and ethnicity (Gerhards & Hans 2009;Gerhards & Tuppat 2021;Kandt & Longley 2018;Lieberson 2000;Mateos 2014). Micro-social variables, such as birth order, have only been analyzed in a handful of studies. ...
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The paper investigates how birth order and gender jointly influence naming decisions among Polish parents. The impact of birth order on the choice of first names has been extensively documented in historical and anthropological studies worldwide, but it has been largely ignored in sociological research on contemporary Western countries. The study is based on a survey of 317 users of a Polish parenting forum devoted to first names and naming decisions. The names of the first-born and second-born children of the research participants are compared in terms of their popularity and traditionality, measured both objectively and subjectively, in regard to the subjective motives declared behind the naming choices. The findings show that, on the whole, the first-born children received more popular and more traditional names than the second-borns. However, when the gender of the children was figured in, the difference between the first-born and the second-born boys turned out statistically significant only in the dimension of traditionality, whereas between the first-born and the second-born girls, only in the dimension of popularity. In a within-family comparison, the names given to siblings were found to be fairly consistent in both dimensions, and the gender of the first child influenced the preferences for the second one, especially if the latter was a girl. Those results can be interpreted in the frame of different social expectations towards the genders, with a particular focus on gendered concepts of the self.
... Ook hebben we een indeling toegevoegd van de voornamen van de respondenten, zoals beschreven door Bloothooft en groot (2008) en Bloothooft en Onland (2011). Ten behoeve van onze analyse hebben wij hun voornaamtypologie ingedikt. ...
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Er zijn aanzienlijke verschillen tussen sociale klassen in Nederland. Deze structurele ongelijkheid gaat gepaard met verschillen in opvattingen, is hardnekkig en heeft grote gevolgen. Zowel voor mensen zelf als voor de samenleving. In het SCP rapport Eigentijdse Ongelijkheid kijken we niet alleen naar opleiding, beroep, inkomen en financieel vermogen (economisch kapitaal), maar ook naar ‘wie je kent’ (sociaal kapitaal), ‘waar je bij past’ (cultureel kapitaal) en ‘wie je bent’ (persoonskapitaal: gezondheid en aantrekkelijkheid). De analyse van deze vier kapitaalvormen levert zeven sociale klassen op: 1. Werkende bovenlaag (19,9%). Beschikt op alle kapitaalvormen over veel kapitaal. Actief op de arbeidsmarkt. Grootste aandeel zelfstandigen. 2. Jongere kansrijken (8,6%). Hoogopgeleid en ook in andere opzichten veel hulpbronnen, kunnen groeien in inkomen en vermogen. 3. Rentenierende bovenlaag (12,2%). In meerderheid gepensioneerd. Gemiddeld hoogste vermogen. Doorgaans goed inkomen en vaak hogeropgeleid. Door gevorderde leeftijd staan gezondheid en sociale netwerken onder druk. 4. Werkende middengroep (24,9%). Omvangrijke groep; bij vrijwel alle kapitaalvormen een middenpositie. Daarom te karakteriseren als een middenklasse. 5. Laagopgeleide gepensioneerden (18,1%). Grotendeels niet meer actief op de arbeidsmarkt. Opleidingsniveau doorgaans lager dan mbo-2. Vrij veel fnancieel vermogen en redelijk inkomen. Weinig cultureel kapitaal. Fysiek vaak ongezond, relatief beperkte sociale netwerken. 6. Onzekere werkenden (10,0%). Wankele maatschappelijke positie. Moeite aan te haken op de arbeidsmarkt. Minste mentale kapitaal. Ook in veel andere opzichten minder hulpbronnen: veel lage inkomens, mensen met schulden. Fysiek tamelijk ongezond, beperkt sociaal netwerk, sobere leefstijl. 7. Het precariaat (6,3%) komt bij alle vier kapitaaltypen het laagst uit. Vier op de tien is gepensioneerd. Even grote groep verricht geen betaald werk, en zoekt daar ook niet naar (bv. vanwege arbeidsongeschiktheid). Deze structurele ongelijkheid gaat gepaard met andere opvattingen. De lagere sociale klassen zijn minder tevreden over hun leven; vinden vaker dat de overheid te weinig doet voor mensen zoals zij; hebben vaker een laag vertrouwen in andere mensen, het kabinet en de overheid; en gaan relatief vaak niet stemmen. Dit kan de sociale cohesie in de samenleving onder druk zetten. De klassentegenstellingen verdienen daarom aandacht van het beleid. We schetsen zes beleidsrichtingen. Drie minder kansrijke beleidsrichtingen. * alleen aan ‘economische knoppen’ draaien * klassiek doelgroepenbeleid * mensen uitsluitend zelf verantwoordelijk maken voor het verbeteren van hun positie Drie beleidsrichtingen met potentie: * kapitaaltekorten gericht aanvullen * stelsel anders inrichten * meer oog voor het verband tussen de sociale klassen en visies
... Chen (2015) has previously investigated the significance of English or European personal names in China. The result is similar in that those personal names have a specific place in the global community, though Bloothooft and Onland (2011) state that this is reversed in the Netherlands. According to Chen (2015), those personal names confer high social status and fortune in business or other endeavors on a global scale. ...
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The intersection of loyalty to tradition among Prajurit Karaton and the demands of the times, particularly in terms of naming, is a topic that deserves to be researched. Furthermore, the community characteristics that are usually raised in scientific writings about naming are heterogeneous communities, so homogeneous communities become an important supporting component that completes the topic. This is a qualitative study that uses the Prajurit Karaton as the primary data source and a list of the names of their offspring as the secondary data. As a result, the names of the Prajurit Karaton’s offspring changed from mostly mononyms in the 1960s to polynyms in the 2010s. Nonetheless, the identity of a Javanese society remains. This also demonstrates that the Prajurit Karaton give names in accordance with the times while maintaining their identity as Javanese people and the Javanese cultural values.
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Baby names are often used to model the mechanisms of cultural evolution, as they are not given arbitrarily but on the basis of their perceived associations. Datasets showing birth registrations over time track changes in these perceptions, and thereby in tastes and ideas. Using birth registration data, numerous transmission biases have been identified that predispose someone to favour one cultural variant (i.e., a name) over another. While this research is facilitated by the annual release of many countries’ birth registration data, these datasets are typically limited to yearly counts of forenames. To gain insight into name transmission biases not detectable from birth registration data alone, this study parses the birth, marriage, and death registers of England to generate a dataset of 690,603 name transmission relationships, given between 1838 and 2014, and linking the names of both parents and child. The data reveal long-term trends in matro- and patronymic naming, once common practices affecting approximately 15% of male and 8% of female records per year throughout the 19th century. These practices declined precipitously throughout the 20th century, in the aftermath of the First World War. These results highlight the importance of contextualising birth registration data when identifying naming trends.
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Este trabajo indaga en las diversas fuentes que pueden servir de punto de partida para el estudio de los procesos antroponomásticos. Examinamos dos tipos de recursos para este tipo de investigaciones. Por una parte, podemos acceder a repertorios más o menos establecidos, como es el caso de la base de datos proporcionada por instituciones públicas en diferentes países (censos, padrones, organismos de carácter estadístico, entre otros), cuyo objetivo como servicio público es de carácter abierto y plurifuncional. Por otra parte, este elenco puede complementarse con otras compilaciones de muy diverso origen y cometido que pueden emplearse de manera subsidiaria. Se trata de corpus elaborados mayoritariamente por el propio investigador en onomástica, que recurre a herramientas como entrevistas, encuestas u otros mecanismos a partir de los cuales pueden establecerse catálogos onomásticos, así como hacer acopio de otra información relevante en los procesos que se suceden para determinar el impacto de determinados parámetros en los procesos de atribución, concretamente en la que afecta a los nombres de persona.
This study empirically tests the predictions of four primary theories applicable to joint‐liability microcredit programs’ repayment performance using an administrative data in a metropolitan setting. We introduce a new variable, group names, as a proxy for social capital to capture cooperation, solidarity, and drive for success, which shows a significant positive impact of 9.9% on repayment performance. Precise calculations of residential distance between group members show a deterioration of repayment performance by 1.1% with a 15‐min increase in minimum walking distance. The results also show that joint liability, sectoral diversification, type of sector that the borrowers facilitate, the ratio of new members in a group, characteristics of loan officers, loan amount, interest rate, income‐loan amount coverage ratio, the existence of senior members, average education, and diversity in income streams significantly affect repayment performance.
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This paper investigates the various sources that can serve as a starting point for the study of anthroponomastic processes. We examine two types of resources for this kind of research. On the one hand, we can access more or less established repertoires, as is the case of the database provided by public institutions in different countries (censuses, registers, statistical agencies, among others), whose purpose as a public service is open and multifunctional. On the other hand, this list can be complemented by other compilations of very different origin and purpose that can be used in a subsidiary manner. These corpora are mostly compiled by the onomastics researcher himself, who uses tools such as interviews, surveys or other mechanisms from which onomastic catalogues can be established, as well as gathering other relevant information in the processes that take place to determine the impact of certain parameters in the attribution processes, specifically in that which affects personal names.
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Mass media, especially television, appears to be playing an increasingly important role in selecting and giving names. The media are providing a pool of potential names, associating them with particular social characteristics and presenting some names as more desirable than others. The practice of “naming after stars” illustrates how media can stimulate the use of certain positively-associated names. Negative name stereotypes may be created or confirmed by the media, especially by television drama, which may, consciously or unconsciously, lead to the depopularization of some names.
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Parents do not choose fi rst names for their children at random. Using two large datasets, for the UK and the Netherlands, covering the names of children born in the same family over a period of two decades, this paper seeks to identify clusters of names entirely inferred from common parental naming preferences. These name groups can be considered as coherent sets of names that have a high probability to be found in the same family. Operational measures for the statistical association between names and clusters are developed, as well as a two-stage clustering technique. The name groups are subsequently merged into a limited set of grand clusters. The results show that clusters emerge with cultural, linguistic, or ethnic parental backgrounds, but also along characteristics inherent in names, such as clusters of names after fl owers and gems for girls, abbreviated names for boys, or names ending in -y or -ie.
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
[fre] Depuis un siècle, le stock des prénoms couramment attribués s'élargit, principalement sous l'influence des mass médias. En outre, depuis une vingtaine d'années, les prénoms se différencient plus nettement entre les sexes : les prénoms féminins homonymes de prénoms masculins, comme Danielle, Michèle ou Dominique, tombent en désuétude, et ceux qui résultent d'une féminisation trop apparente, tels que Yvette, Jacqueline ou Simone, entre les deux guerres, sont moins fréquents. La rotation des prénoms les plus attribués est de plus en plus rapide, les prénoms à la mode s'usent de plus en plus vite. Les règnes de Louis, puis de Jean, celui de Marie, avaient duré plusieurs décennies. Ceux de Sébastien ou de Céline ont été beaucoup plus éphémères. Un changement du mode d'attribution transparaît derrière ces tendances : du modèle classique, hérité d'une France rurale associant transmission du nom et transmission des biens, on est passé à un modèle dont les références sont plus ouvertement celles de la mode et de la distinction. L'impact des médias est décisif : Brigitte, Sylvie, Nathalie, ainsi que Sébastien et Nicolas, n'auraient sans doute pas triomphé sans leur intervention, sinon comme initiateurs, du moins comme relais ou comme amplificateur. D'autre part, ce sont les « cadres et professions intellectuelles supérieures » qui lancent la mode d'un prénom, mais ils s'en détachent plus vite. Leur choix se porte souvent aussi sur un prénom classique. [eng] For a century, the stock of first names currently in use has been growing, principally because of the influence of the mass media. Moreover, for about twenty years, first names have been more clearly differentiated between the sexes : the féminines homonyms of masculine first names, such as Danielle, Michèle or Dominique, have become obsolete and the too obvious feminizations, such as Yvette, Jacqueline or Simone, popular between the two world wars, are less frequently used. The rotation of the most frequently used first names is more and more rapid. Fashionable first names become unfashionable more and more quickly. The reigns of Louis, then Jean and Marie lasted several decades. Those of Sébastien or Céline have been much more ephemeral. A change in the mode of naming children is taking place behind these tendencies. A transition is occurring from the classic model, inherited from a rural France which associated transmission of a name and transmission of property to a model whose references are more overtly those of fashion and distinction. The impact of the media is decisive. Brigitte, Sylvie, Nathalie as well as Sébastien and Nicolas no doubt would never have triumphed without their intervention, if not as initiators at least as relays or as amplifiers. On the other hand, it is « cadres and the higher intellectual professions » who make a first name fashionable, but they drop it all the more quickly. Their choice is also often a classic name. [spa] Desde hace un siglo, el surtido de nombres que, por lo general suelen darse, se va extendiendo principalmente bajo la influencia de los medios de comunicaciôn. Ademâs, desde hace unos veinte ahos, los nombres se diferencian mucho mâs entre sexos : los nombres femeninos homónimos de nombres masculinos, tales como Danielle, Michèle o Dominique ya no se usan, y los que resultan de una femenizaciôn demasiado aparente, taies como Yvette, Jacqueline o Simone de los tiempos de entre ambas guerras, son menos frecuentes. La rotación de nombres que se suelen imponer es de dia en dia mâs râpida; los nombres de moda van desapareciendo mâs râpidemente. Louis, Jean, Marie imperaron durante varios decenios. Sébastien o Céline fueron mucho mâs efimeros. Un cambio en la forma de atribuir los nombres se déjà sentir a traves de estas tendencias : del modelo clàsico, herencia de una Francia rural, la que asocia la transmisión del nombre con la de bienes, se fué pasando a un modelo cuyas referencias son mâs francamente las de la moda y de la distinción. El impacto de los medios de comunicación es decisivo : Brigitte, Sylvie, Nathalie, asi como Sébastien y Nicolas no hubieran imparano sin duda sin su intervención, si no como iniciadores, cuando menos a modo de amplificador. Por otra parte, los « cuadros dirigentes y profesiones intelectuales superiores » son los que ponen de moda un- nombre, pero que lo dejan de lado mâs pronto. Escogen a menudo también un nombre clàsico.