As I scanned the roster, I realized that three girls had the same first name as my friend’s daughter and three had the same first name as my own. That might explain why nobody called for “Kate” to pass the soccer ball but instead called for “Raz” to pass the ball. As reported in the FiveThirtyEight, one can learn a lot from a girl’s name including an estimate of her age. Using Social Security Administration data and actuarial tables, one can calculate the median age and interquartile range (the range spanning the 25th through 75th percentiles) for men or women with a given name. Women’s names, more than men’s, fall in and out of favor more quickly and have narrower interquartile ranges.
For example, Brittany was a popular name from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s. However, it was not popular before or after that time period. That means that half of living American women named Brittany are between the ages of 19 and 25. Some names are newly popular. The median age of girls named Ava, Isabella, and Lily is approximately 5 years with 75% of them younger than 10 years of age. And some names went out of style long ago.
The median age of a woman named Gertrude is 80 years; one quarter of all women named Gertrude are older than 87 years and 89% of all women born since 1900 named Gertrude have already died. However, while some women’s names will remain popular and others will not, it still seems a bit dicey to guess a woman’s age--regardless of her name.