Sunday, August 23, 2009

Baby names and criminality

I recently read an article suggesting that children who were born with certain names have a higher likelihood of ending up as a criminal. For real?

A US study in Social Science Quarterly indicates that boys with certain names, such as Michael, Joshua or Christopher have better chances of growing up to be decent law-abiding citizens. I'll vouch for that, although I thought I'd worked really hard to be a good person - apparently all I had to do was rely on my Christopher-ness to get by.

However, should your name be Kareem, Luke or Malcolm, chances are you are going to be some kind of delinquent.

It seems the top 10 names which are likely to turn your bundle of joy into a depraved serial killer are (in no particular order):


Wow. I had to deal with a guy named Luke the other day for work; fortunately I've still got my wallet. And Ivan? No wonder there was a guy named Ivan the Terrible.

But seriously, what are the links between these names and crime? I mean, if I was named Garland, I'd probably want to tear sh*t up too. And given that this is a US study, it's probably fair to say that any kid named Kareem or Tyrell has a better-than-average chance of residing in the ghetto, with all that entails. But Alec? To me that's one of the most upper-crust, silver-spoon type names I can imagine. Maybe boys named Alec all become fund-embezzling merchant bankers or something.

Actually, I've got my own ideas about which boys' names are more likely to belong to criminals. This is strictly based on my work in Melbourne, going from school to school. I see around 5000 kids every year, so I reckon I've got a pretty good idea. And besides, it's a little while since I wrote anything that really offended people, so I guess its about time.

Harley - the favourite name of Dads who are "motorcycle enthusiasts" (ie. bikie gang members).

Mohammed - almost every kid I've met with this name thought he was a tough guy and enjoyed using the word "slut".

Jayden - no name says "bogan" quite like this one. Boys bearing this name have a high chance of displaying classic bogan characteristics (frequent coarse language, mullet, alcoholic by age 13, a father by age 17.)

Brayden - see Jayden

Zoran - may be destined to grow his hair into a rat's tail, take up kick-boxing, lose his drivers' license for doing burn-outs and get sacked from his job as a bouncer for using undue violence.

Then again, it could be worse. You could be like Ashlee Simpson and name your kid Bronx Mowgli. Barely out of the womb and already in counselling.


  1. Hilarious - and shockingly accurate about the list of 'Aussie' names.

    Name choice is, rather obviously, a reflection on the parents and it's been my experience that the more grandiose, outlandish or spelling-mangled a child's name, the lower the educational outcomes were of their parents.

  2. @ Nick Charles - yup, "Kath and Kim" really nailed it with the baby named Eppony Rae.