Frito Lexus, please go to the white courtesy phone
October 9, 2011 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find a list of completely unique (N=1) first names in the USA?

I could swear I stumbled across a web page that listed all the first names in the USA which only one person had, but my web history and Google-fu are failing me. The US Census site has various name files available, but they limit the names to those with at least N=5.
posted by benzenedream to Education (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Is it possible you are thinking of this site?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 3:11 PM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Shouldn't you be looking at Social Security not Census data? I thought that's where I saw a list once where one child in the US was named Lasagna. That stuck with me. Lasagna.

and key words: least popular names
posted by cda at 3:12 PM on October 9, 2011

Actually, the Social Security site limits their data dump to N>5 names (site). I checked there, but I'll dig around some more.

Howmanyofme is not what I'm looking for. They offer no data dump of unique names that I've been able to find. I'm not interested in verifying uniqueness of a few names, I want a list of all the unique names (or at least a frequency table which includes N=1 names that I can filter).

Searching for "least popular names" comes up with 1000's of baby naming sites. I've dug through a crapload of pages using those terms already.

Closest thing I've found so far is this PDF from Alberta which includes all the N=1 girl names in that province (boy version also available).
posted by benzenedream at 4:30 PM on October 9, 2011

Howmanyofme also isn't all that accurate, at least in my case. It tells me that I am the only person in the US with my name, but I know that there is at least one more thanks to Google.
posted by crankylex at 5:41 PM on October 9, 2011

Discovery... Exxon... Michelob... Sprite... Visa... all popular US brands? Nope, just a sampling of trademarked baby names in Georgia (N=1).

Lexus is actually quite popular (N=170) among car names. Teriyaki and Taco made the list for food names.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 6:03 PM on October 9, 2011

I bet you could export what you're looking for through these guys if you paid for their "expert" level accounts.
posted by pwb503 at 6:26 PM on October 9, 2011

The lists you are looking at will not give you the info you're looking for. They'll give you a list of names that only one person was given in a particular year or, in collective form, a list of names that have only ever been given to one American.

They will not include names of people that were born outside the United States and then immigrated. They will not include names that were given to several people, of which only one survives.

If one person was named "Zorgophan" in 1907, and that person died in 1987, but another "Zorgophan" was born in 1975 and is still alive, does that count as a unique name or not?

Also, what about people who changed their names as adults? Should they count? If only one child was ever named "Bellimany" but another adult changed his name from "John" to "Bellimany" do you want that to count as a unique name or not?

Similar with immigration.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 6:53 PM on October 9, 2011

See if you can get voter registration data. I was using some while volunteering for a political campaign last cycle, and I ran across some incredibly unique names. Was able to check, on a lark, whether they really were unique. (Simply by searching for voters with that partial name, a routine operation when trying to decipher handwriting.)

My login only had privs to access one state's worth of data, but I'm certain it exists for the whole country, because when I went to another state, it was there too and the interface was exactly the same. I don't know if they'd let you pound the crap out of their database server to do the kind of query you want, but I'm pretty sure the data is out there, all the way down ton n=1.
posted by Myself at 9:03 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

How many of me isn't terribly accurate in any case. I know for a fact that there are two people with my first/last combination [as well as one historical one] and How Many tells me "There are 1 or fewer people in the U.S. named Jessamyn West."
posted by jessamyn at 11:05 AM on October 17, 2011

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