The Tyranny of Jennifer

Posted by – December 1, 2013

To me, most data animations are just eye candy, but this animated map by Reuben Fischer-Baum is an exception. Fischer-Baum used Adobe Illustrator to assemble an animated gif of baby names from annual Social Security data to show the trend in time and space, telling a whole new story. Watching the animated GIF, you can see that female baby names often follow a pattern: a name springs up in some region of the U.S.—”Ashley” in the South, “Emily” in the Northeast — sweeps over the country, and falls out of favor nearly as quickly. The big exception to these baby booms and busts is “Jennifer”, which absolutely dominates America for a decade-and-a-half.

Now if you would color the states red and blue to show baby names by political party, too…