Socioeconomic determinants of first names

G. Bloothooft, D. Onland

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

1515 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-41
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Socioeconomic determinants of first names'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this