Proudly Announcing the Birth of Baby Turnip Greens

Now and then I’ve been known to graph for pleasure. So a few years ago when a dear friend issued a plea via social media to the parents of the world not to name their babies “Chard,” it was pretty much inevitable that a graph was going to happen. The bad news (or the good news, depending on how strongly you feel about kids named for vegetables) is that very few parents over the years have opted for “Chard”. So the graph comes out looking like this:

Babies Named Chard--on the reals

This is an example of data that should not be represented with a figure.

But the conversation turned to other vegetable names, and in short order I had generated this:


I was half expecting Arugula, Collard or Sorrel to generate some hits, but no such luck.

What I find interesting about this second figure is the curve for female babies. Are those babies¬†really named after kale chips, or is this a variant spelling of the more familiar Kaylee? There is, of course, no way to know from social security data, which is what I used (did you know you can download baby name data from them for free?). Laura Wattenberg, aka the Baby Name Wizard, has written about how we really have at least two names–the name you pronounce and the name you read. I for one get just as annoyed at people who pronounce my name to rhyme with “piranha” as at people who call me “Sarah.” It happens more than you’d think.

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