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The Politics of Baby Names

The Politics of Baby Names

Ronald Reagan left office in 1989. John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Still, conservatives carry a torch for President Reagan and liberals for President Kennedy, as well as his entire political family, and it's one that's sure to be carried far into the future.

How do we know this? We looked at the names Circle of Moms’ parents are giving to their children. We're seeing that 89% of mothers of children named Reagan identify themselves as conservative or Republican. Reagan (usually given as a girl’s name), is the "most conservative" among the top 250 names Circle of Moms’ mothers have given to their kids.

On the other side of the coin, 67% of moms of kids named Kennedy identify themselves as liberal or Democratic. Kennedy — also usually a girl’s name — is the #11 "most liberal" name in the Cirlcle of Moms ranking.


Also according to this ranking, Jaden — which has no political associations we’re aware of — is far more common among the children of self-identified liberals: 94% of the time, it is bestowed by liberal moms. (By this measure, it's the "most liberal" boy’s name.) Its conservative counterpart is Colton, which at 81% conservative, is is the "most conservative" boy’s name.

Fear not, Sarah Palin fans (and haters): Sarah is the second most conservative girl's name after Reagan. The numbers three and four names on the conservative list are also biblical: Rachel and Rebecca.

For boys, Colton's popularity among conservative parents is followed closely by Scott and Matt.

The most liberal names for girls are Jada, Maya, and Jasmine; for boys, the most liberal names after Jaden are Xavier and Julian.

Conservative Moms Favor Popular Names

Interestingly, popular names tend to be favored by conservative moms, while uncommon names are more likely to be found among the kids of liberal moms. All of the top ten most popular girls’ names (Sarah, Hannah, Emily, Jessica, Lauren, Madison, Emma, Samantha, Ashley, Taylor, Olivia) are more common among conservatives than among liberals. And nine of the top ten boys’ names (Matthew, Andrew, Jacob, Noah, Joshua, Ryan, Tyler, Ethan, Michael, and Christopher) are more common among conservatives, while only one (Jordan) is more common among liberals.

Liberal Moms Favor Unusual Names

Moms who have given their kids uncommon names (names held by less than one in 10,000 Americans) tend to be more liberal. Nearly half of all children have uncommon names (names at least as rare as Ray, Camron, Sky, Isis, and Jarrod). And a substantial majority (58%) of these kids are the children of liberal moms.

Data for the 1000+ most common names can be accessed using the links below.

Liberal and Conservative Baby Names by Ideology

Liberal and Conservative Baby Names by Name Frequency

Liberal and Conservative Baby Names Sorted Alphabetically

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