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Too Many Matts?

Ezra Klein suggests that "the blogosphere's got too many Matt's." This is, of course, not a problem limited to the blogosphere. As you can see on the SSA's baby names page, "Matthew" was the number three name for babies born 1990-1995 and 1997-2001. It was number two in 1996 and it's been number four in 2002 and 2003. I don't believe any other name has that kind of consistent popularity over time. If one does, certainly it's rare. The result is that the world is awash in Matthews and Matts, leading to confusion in many domains.

April 5, 2005 | Permalink


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Tracked on Apr 5, 2005 5:11:47 PM


Michael is the undisputed champion name in modern America. From the same SSA page, Michael was #1 from 1990-1998, and 2 from then on. And its dominance goes back a few decades. It looks like the M names have it all locked up.

Posted by: houdini's ghost | Apr 5, 2005 1:57:34 PM


is the king of all baby name sites.

Posted by: joe o | Apr 5, 2005 2:01:57 PM

Yeah, it's all about the Michaels.

Posted by: Kimmitt | Apr 5, 2005 2:02:58 PM

Yeah, but is your last name absurdly common. Try having a name like Chris Michael or something. My own is so bland that I've been accused of making it up. And don't even try to find by googling my name- there's just too many of me.

Posted by: TJ | Apr 5, 2005 2:05:45 PM

When I was born, my name was fairly unusual-- it's now the most popular one.

There was a time when I was fairly confident I was the only person with my name-surname combo in the world. A little googling indicates that I now share it with some elementary schoolers.

Posted by: JakeV | Apr 5, 2005 2:17:21 PM

"Christopher" is number 2 for the 1970s, number 2 for the 1980s, and number 2 for the 1990s.

Posted by: Christopher M | Apr 5, 2005 2:19:53 PM

"Robert" was #1 in 1920, and quite often thereafter. "Michael" and Matthew" weren't on the 1920 list. "Robert" was always in the top ten, mostly around #5 until around 1990, when it fell off and didn't return.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Apr 5, 2005 2:24:24 PM

How did a nice Jewish boy get the name "Matthew?"

Posted by: jerry | Apr 5, 2005 2:26:04 PM

Damn you Matt Groening!


Posted by: Homer | Apr 5, 2005 2:28:12 PM

There are too few bloggers named Dwayne.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 5, 2005 2:28:29 PM

Don't worry about it. Some showbiz chump will ruin your name for generations eventually. For example, see what the artist who blessed the world with Danke Schoen did for mine.

Posted by: PSoTD | Apr 5, 2005 2:33:53 PM

How did a nice Jewish boy get the name "Matthew?"

Both of the Matthews that I was childhood friends with were Jewish. We can't give up on all saint and apostle names, because there won't be much left.

Posted by: DonBoy | Apr 5, 2005 2:34:20 PM

I don't believe any other name has that kind of consistent popularity over time.

There's Mohammed.

Posted by: Kriston | Apr 5, 2005 2:35:22 PM

The only name that can possibly rival Michael is John -- lengthen the time frame, and John defeats Michael. It was undisputed champ of the last half of the 19th century, and number one until the 30s. It was in the top five until the mid 70s, and in the top 10 in the 80s. It's last top 10 appearance was 1989, but its holding ground in the teens, waiting for a re-emergence.

In contrast, girls names go in cycles. When I was in high school, every girl was named Lisa, Kim or Jennifer, and their moms were named Carol or Sue. Now girls are named Emma, Emily and those many derivative "K" names which don't show up on the SSA database because of inconsistent spelling, such as Caitlin, Kaitlin, Kaightlynn, etc., or Kaylee, Kailey, Kayleigh, etc.

Posted by: pj | Apr 5, 2005 2:38:12 PM

How did a nice Jewish boy get the name "Matthew?"

Because it's a name of hebrew origin. Means "gift of god". and I might add, is my favorite name. Though my mom claims I was named after Matt Dillon, the sheriff on Gunsmoke, not the actor.

Posted by: MattDinBrooklyn | Apr 5, 2005 2:47:08 PM

You realize of course that if you weren't humans, we might be allowed to hunt you Matthews down kill a number of you to thin the herd! ;-)

Posted by: JT | Apr 5, 2005 2:52:44 PM

Hi, I'm Michael. This is my son, Matthew. Excuse us while we blend into the crowd...

Posted by: Mike | Apr 5, 2005 3:00:22 PM

Ezra Klein suggests that "the blogosphere's got too many Matt's."

And there's an unsurprising dearth of Ezra's in the blogosphere (and everywhere else for that matter).

Posted by: SoCalJustice | Apr 5, 2005 3:08:36 PM

what gives with "Aiden"? Why is it so popular? Hard to imagine a lot of Aidens running around in a decade or so.

Posted by: noto | Apr 5, 2005 3:09:16 PM

Eric was #14 in the 197o's.

It's #57 now. Oh well.

Posted by: eric | Apr 5, 2005 3:10:21 PM

Rubbish! There can never be too many Matts.

Posted by: Matt Taylor | Apr 5, 2005 3:19:03 PM

I should also add that Taylor is much easier to spell than Yglesias.

Posted by: Matt Taylor | Apr 5, 2005 3:22:16 PM

I think Americans have decided that Aidan sounds Waspy and important, when it's actually one of those giveaway Catholic names in Ireland.

Posted by: ac | Apr 5, 2005 3:29:04 PM

Ah, too have a name you don't have to spell over the phone. I can only imagine.

Posted by: WillieStyle | Apr 5, 2005 3:31:49 PM

"Taylor is much easier to spell than Yglesias"

The anglophonic viewpoint. "Taylor" is only easier to spell than "Yglesias" in English.

Posted by: rea | Apr 5, 2005 3:45:14 PM

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