What’s in a name?
Apologies for having skipped the publication of the Futures /Cut over the past couple of weeks. I have been doing my bit to address the UK’s declining fertility rate (1.76) in the form of the birth of my daughter. After some contemplation Miss P. has been given an ‘unusual’ name (#1,681 in the popularity index). I was one of three Richards in my class at school and didn’t want to risk a similar fate. However, the data shows that unusual names are becoming less, well… unusual. Pre-industrial revolution, there was relatively little heterogeneity in given names, with the significant majority of people being given one of the top 10 (typically named after wealthy people with which an association was sought). Nowadays, only 13% of names are in the top 10. The evidence also shows that naming becomes more traditional during times of economic stagnation, and more sporty when the economy is performing well. With regard to the declining fertility rate, Brexit offers some positive news. Bookies are now placing odds at 3/1 that Britain will run out of contraceptives prior to the end of 2019. Watch out for a corresponding birth spike in 2020, but hopefully not a return to Richards.