There are so many worries when choosing your child’s name. You don’t want to offend an entire religion, hurt a family member’s feelings, or choose a name that is too common. But be careful when choosing a unique name for your son, because a new study shows that naming a boy an unusual name could land him behind bars.
In the professional journal Social Science Quarterly, Shippensburg University professor David Kalist says giving baby boys unusual or feminine first names makes them more likely to land in jail.
The study looked at 15,000 names given to baby boys between 1987 and 1991. The more unusual the name, the more likely that boy would turn to crime. Kalist explains, “Uncommon names are likely not the cause of crime but correlated with factors that increase the tendency toward juvenile delinquency.” Prior studies reveal that uneducated people tend to choose unusual names and spellings for their children.
According to Kalist, the top 10 “bad boy” names are Alec, Ernest, Garland, Ivan, Kareem, Luke, Malcolm, Preston, Tyrell and Walter.
Walter? Doesn’t really stir up the image of bad boy to me. So I asked Pam Satran, Montclair baby name expert and co-owner of Nameberry what she thought of this study:
“I think there are a couple of problems with it. For one thing, names have changed so much in the last 20 years that whatever experience a little boy named Luke or even Kareem had in 1989 is very different from what he’d have today. Parents have gotten much more adventurous with names, especially boys’ names, and kids are less and less likely to be teased for having ethnically-distinct, unisex, or even ‘oddball” names.
Their list of names is so strange that i can’t help but question other factors in their sample. Ivan? Who are these ‘bad boy’ Ivans they found? And Garland? Garland wasn’t in the top 1000 in 1990, which means there were fewer than 177 boys (I would guess far fewer) named Garland that year. So how many of those could possibly have become criminals?”
Does your son have an unusual name? Are you worried that he may turn into a bad boy?