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Facebook and gender-bias in names

Some weeks back, I used Facebook’s open graph API to read about 1.2 million names from Facebook users. I used it to construct this file, which shows, for each name, the number of times it occurs, the number of times it’s used by males, and the number of times it occurs in females. To keep things simple, I’ve included all locales, although the gender bias does differ a bit depending on locale.

As you can see from the first few names in the list, most first names have a strong male or female bias on Facebook.

“Michael”,13937,13905,32
“Chris”,13384,13254,130
“Matt”,12996,12996,0
“David”,12298,12292,6
“Sarah”,11469,4,11465
“Jessica”,11168,6,11162
“Ryan”,10729,10542,187
“Andrew”,10512,10504,8
“Lauren”,10459,9,10450

Although I’ve always thought of the names “Chris” and “Pat” as being gender-neutral, both names show a strong male bias.

“Chris”,13384,13254,130
“Pat”,869,830,39

The two most popular strongly gender-neutral names on Facebook are Taylor (which skews slightly male) and Casey (which skews slightly female).

“Taylor”,1646,893,753
“Casey”,1814,811,1003

I should point out that this is not a representative random sampling of names (and the name frequency disagrees, for example, with a similar list provided by the US Social Security Administration). Since I trawled these names in ascending order of Facebook id, and Facebook was a service first used by college students, the list represents mostly the names of US college students born in the 1980s. For example, in this group of early Facebook adopters, the name “Sarah” is the most popular female name, while according to the SSA, it is only the #5 name for babies born in the 1980s.

Here is the complete file

Enjoy!

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