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Note: This post does not set out to prove anything – it is just food for thought.

Here are the top ten girl names of those born in New York City in 2007:

  1. Isabella
  2. Sophia
  3. Emily
  4. Ashley
  5. Sarah
  6. Kayla
  7. Mia
  8. Olivia
  9. Samantha
  10. Rachel

Sophia and Isabella are tied for first.

Now break that down by race, where Hispanics count as a separate race:

Top white names:

  1. Sarah
  2. Rachel
  3. Sophia
  4. Olivia
  5. Ava
  6. Isabella
  7. Esther
  8. Julia
  9. Chaya
  10. Emma

The top Asian names:

  1. Sophia
  2. Emily
  3. Chloe
  4. Tiffany
  5. Angela
  6. Ashley
  7. Rachel
  8. Isabella
  9. Fiona, Jessica, Sarah (tied)

Top Hispanic names:

  1. Ashley
  2. Isabella
  3. Emily
  4. Mia
  5. Brianna
  6. Samantha
  7. Angela
  8. Melanie
  9. Sophia
  10. Jennifer, Kayla (tied)

The top black names:

  1. Madison
  2. Kayla
  3. Jada
  4. Brianna
  5. Nevaeh
  6. Alyssa
  7. Makayla
  8. Gabrielle
  9. Taylor
  10. Imani

Please note: There are white girls named Kayla, etc. These are merely the most common names for each race.

No name made all four lists.

Only two names made three lists: Sophia and Isabella. They were on all but the black list.

What I find interesting are the names that made only two lists. Why? Because I see it as a measure of how much races deal with each other as equals. That might be wrong, but for this post I will assume it is true.

Here are which names appear on only two lists:

  • white/Asian: Rachel, Sarah
  • white/Hispanic:
  • white/black:
  • Asian/Hispanic: Angela, Ashley, Emily
  • Asian/black:
  • Hispanic/black: Kayla, Brianna

I listed all six possible pairings, but only half of them have anything. These are just the pairings you would expect if you assume race in New York is a four-layer cake that looks like this:

  1. white
  2. Asian
  3. Hispanic
  4. black

With whites at the top as the richest and most privileged.

Whites and Hispanics do use some of the same names (Isabella and Sophia), but only if Asians use them too – just as if Asians are the go-between.

This seems to rule out two possible models of race in New York:

  1. Whites at the centre: If that were true, then the white pairings would have the most names. Instead two of them have no names at all: white/Hispanic and white/black. And even the remaining one, white/Asian, is outdone by Asian/Hispanic. This also shows, by the way, that names are not coming directly from a white mainstream but spread some other way.
  2. A white/Asian overclass and a black/Hispanic underclass: If this were true then the Asian/Hispanic pairing would have few to no names. Instead it is the strongest pairing of all.

You can also get a measure of ghettoization, of how separated each race is from the others, by how many names are found only on its list:

  • white (6): Olivia, Ava, Esther, Julia, Chaya, Emma
  • Asian (4): Chloe, Tiffany, Fiona, Jessica
  • Hispanic (4): Mia, Samantha, Melanie, Jennifer
  • black (8): Madison, Jada, Nevaeh, Alyssa, Makayla, Gabrielle, Taylor, Imani

To prove anything you would at least have to look at more years and go deeper in the lists to see if these patterns hold up. You would also have to study just how girl names start and spread.

See also:

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If your name is Precious you are probably black, if it is Tanner you are probably white. But if it is Erica or Julian it is hard to say:

BOYS

Blackest Neutral Whitest
Darnell
DeAndre
DeShawn
Malik
Marquis
Terrell
Trevon
Tyrone
Adrian
Anthony
Edward
Ian
Jonathan
Julian
Mark
Richard
Cody
Connor
Dustin
Jack
Jake
Luke
Tanner
Wyatt

GIRLS

Blackest Neutral Whitest
Aaliyah
Deja
Diamond
Ebony
Imani
Nia
Precious
Shanice
Alexis
Alyssa
Arianna
Elizabeth
Erica
Mia
Nadia
Victoria
Amy
Claire
Emily
Emma
Katelyn
Katie
Madeline
Molly

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