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Rapleaf Study: Most Common First, Last, and Full Names on Facebook

Posted by Caitlin MacDonald

June 22, 2009

Facebook is not only one of the largest communities online, it’s also one of the most cosmopolitan. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what the most common names are on a social network with such vast reach? We thought so too, so one of our engineers spent a few hours during “Hackleaf” – our choose-your-own-project-for-a-day event – to find out.

First, we looked at over 100 million publicly-available profiles on Facebook. Next, we ran a rough tally on all the unique first and last names to get a general impression of popularity – we did not apply any intelligence to the data so nicknames like “Bob” and “Mike” were considered unique from “Robert” and “Michael.”

First Name Results
Here are the top 10 most popular first names on Facebook:

First Name Count
1. John 1,037,972
2. David 966,439
3. Michael 798,212
4. Chris 647,966
5. Mike 535,065
6. Mark 526,198
7. Paul 511,504
8. Daniel 504,203
9. James 494,945
10. Maria 484,693

Highlights:

  • 9 of the top 10 most popular first names are male. This may be partially explained by the non-aggregation of nicknames since female names tend to have more variations.
  • If nicknames were considered, Michael/Mike would probably be the most popular name.
  • Most names are traditional American/English names even though most of the 167 million Facebook users crawled were not American. “Mohammed," one of the most common first names in the world, is not even in the top 100.

Last Name Results
Here are the top 10 most popular last names on Facebook:

Last Name Count
1. Smith 1,049,158
2. Jones 520,943
3. Johnson 440,978
4. Lee 392,709
5. Brown 375,444
6. Williams 372,486
7. Rodriguez 328,984
8. Garcia 311,477
9. Gonzalez 277,987
10. Lopez 269,896

Highlights:

  • The last names list is more representative of Facebook’s global reach than first names. Surnames like Lee, Rodriguez, and Gonzalez are not only popular in the U.S., but also all across the world.
  • While some English last names like “Smith” prevail in popularity, they drop much faster than English first names.
  • Compared to first names, last names drop off much faster in popularity: the 10th most common first name has 214,797 more occurrences than the 10th most common last name, and the 100th most common first name has 101,065 more occurrences than the 100th most common last name. This is not as surprising since last names are naturally “collective buckets” for first names.

Full Name Results
Here are the top 10 full names on Facebook:

Full Name Count
1. John Smith 75,980
2. Joe Smith 14,648
3. Bob Smith 13,846
4. Mike Smith 11,199
5. Juan Carlos 10,254
6. Jane Smith 10,023
7. Mike Jones 10,014
8. David Smith 9,322
9. Sarah Smith 8,534
10. James Smith 8,397

Highlights:

  • These names, especially the “John Smith,” are common ones that many of us have come across before. What is more difficult to ascertain is how many of these names actually correspond to a real person instead of a false user account.
  • The one non-obvious surprise is “Jane Smith.” “Jane” doesn’t appear in the top 100 names and is not a popular name for women under 30. This fact, combined with “Jane Smith” being a name people would make up, leads us to suspect that a big portion of those Janes on Facebook correspond to fake accounts.

Get Age, Gender, Income and More Data with InstantData

Takeaways
In general, results of the study suggest that Facebook users have predominantly American and English names. This is particularly true with first names and full names. Given Facebook’s birth in the U.S. and quick adoption among college campuses, the popularity of American and English names are not entirely surprising. Additionally, it is not uncommon for users in foreign countries to go by American names.

More indicative of Facebook’s global presence is the variation in last names and how the most-popular surnames will change as the social network continues to grow internationally.

For full data on the top 100 first names, last names, and full names on Facebook, see the three .cvs files here:

Top 100 First Names on Facebook.csv

Top 100 Last Names on Facebook.csv

Top 100 Full Names on Facebook.csv

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