Town Census: First Names

This is Part 2 of looking at the Bedford census data. This time, the focus is on first names. Part 1 was looking at birthdays. Part 3 looks at a random mix of data.

Last week, the Annual Town Census landed in Bedford mailboxes. It’s important to return to the form this week. As stated on the back: “compliance with this State requirement provides proof of residence, protection of voting rights, veteran’s bonus, housing for the elderly and related benefits as well as providing information for your community.” One of the resources the List of Residents creates is information for first responders.

Fred Rogers asked, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” With the help of Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue, we’ve decided to provide some information for our community from the List of Residents (or at least the 11,283 residents from households that sent back their 2022 town census form and are over 18 years old, along with some data from the 2021 American Community Survey and 2020 Decennial Census).

Of the 11,283 residents on the Bedford List of Residents, there are 3,150 different first names.

2,759 first names have only one instance in the Bedford List of Residents, that’s 24.45 percent of the Bedford Residents on the list with original first names. The rest of us have at least one first name twin out there in town. And if you have the most common name, Michael, you’ll find 193 others.

The Bedford first names with 50 or more instances in the List are Michael (194), John (185), Robert (183), David (177), James (131), Richard (116), William (116), Joseph (99), Christopher (95), Mary (90), Daniel (87), Thomas (87), Elizabeth (86), Matthew (86), Mark (81), Paul (78), Susan (76), Brian (67), Jeffrey (67), Jennifer (66), Peter (65), Andrew (59), Sarah (58), Barbara (57), Karen(57), Katherine (57), Kevin (54), Linda (54), Lisa (53), Nancy (53), Nicholas (52), Laura (51), Stephen (51), and Christine (50).

Speaking of Christine, we have Christine (50), Kristine (6), Christina (19), Kristin (15), Kristen (18), Kirsten (3), Kristina (4), Khrystyna (1), Cristina (3), Krista (2), Kristie (2), Christa (1), Christiane (1), Christianna (1), Christie (1), Cristine (1), Kristi (1), Kristy (1), and Christy (3).

There is at least one resident on the list with the first name as Jan, Feb., Mar, April, May, June, Julie, and Augusta in town. As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day today, we have 17 Martins (and zero Luthers) as first names on the List.

There are three individuals who might have had a more challenging time than the rest of us learning to write their names in kindergarten or filling out bubbles on a ScanTron form, they have the longest first names coming in with 15 characters in length. There are 88 names on the list with 10 or more characters, which is 1.83 percent of Bedford residents (207 individuals), bolstered by 95 Christophers. On the flip side, there are 15 names (20 individuals, 0.18 percent) listed with only two characters.

Looking at first initials (the first letter of each first name), Bedford has a name for every letter of the alphabet. The letter S and the letter A top the list of different names starting with that letter at 317 and 310, and ranges all the way down to 5 and 12 Residents with first names starting with the letters U and Q, respectively.

That is looking at the number of different names starting with any given letter, however, looking at the number of people with those names the top of the list shifts. Thanks to the quantity of Jameses, Josephs, Jefferys, and Jennifers in town to tip the scale, the letter J leads the pack for the number of residents with any given initial. U and Q remain at bottom of the list for the number of residents with that initial.

Combining the last two sets of data it is slightly interesting to compare the difference in number of different names with a first initial and number of residents with that first initial. Again, those common J names gives J a push in number of residents category – more residents hold fewer original names. Less common first initials have names carried by only one or two residents so the ratio of number of names to number of residents flips.

If you are a fan of anthroponyms (names), you may have guessed from the Town’s top names the largest age groups of Bedford residents was born in the 1970s. Here’s looking at you, Jennifers, Karens and Lindas!

The 2020 US Census data has the median age of a Bedford resident at 43 years old. Using Baby Center’s Top Baby Names for 1979, and census data to calculate percent of names, how well does the 2022 Bedford Resident’s List line up in popularity based on sex assigned at birth? (Read the data that just over 2 percent of Bedford residents assigned as male at birth are named William).

Most popular birth names along with the percent of births in 1979 and percent of Bedford population on the List sorted by sex assigned at birth.

And finally, the commonality rank in Bedford as compared to the the US Social Security Administration list of top names in the country over the last century:

Editor’s disclaimer: Data included is calculated to the best of our ability and knowledge using the resources mentioned, but is collated for entertainment purposes only.


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-430-8837

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