From Hayseed to Ubergeek

What a journey! From being labeled a “hay seed” [sic] by an anonymous blog commentor to being recoginized as a “ubergeek” in print by the Raleigh News & Observer. The G.D. Gearino column in today’s paper traces his steps to track down my gender-neutral first name analysis that a fellow reporter somehow got whiff of at a bar or party.

I don’t know who leaked the exercise, but now it’s out there. I used the Wake County registered voter database to analyze gender distributions of various first names to see which one was the most gender neutral. Of course, there are lots of ways to measure neutral, but I used the statistical definition of independence, looking for the name whose female/male ratio was most similar to that of the population (53% female) with the smallest confidence interval. Casey was the top name followed by Carey.

I explored the time component, but didn’t factor it into my analysis. Just as names go in and out of favor they also change genders over time. For instance, Morgan was more male, but these days it’s more female. That is, an older voter named Morgan is likely to be male, and a young voter named Morgan is likely to be female. Most neutralish names move toward female. The only names that I remember going from female to male over time were Frankie and Robbie.

Orange County doesn’t seem to have voter names on-line — just summary statistics by precinct.

2 thoughts on “From Hayseed to Ubergeek

  1. Detailed records are available to candidates and probably folks filing FOIAs. I was given an opportunity to get all the OC but narrowed the list to Chapel Hill.

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