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Will Baby’s Name Influence Future Earnings?

Got your favorite baby names all picked out? 

Wait! Do you know what those names are likely to earn?

Salary Finder


If you are like me, income potential was not a factor in choosing a baby name!

But then again, I didn’t have this fancy app with average salaries of more than 91,000 names, to keep me clicking all night when I was on the name-hunt.

Fun Facts About Names and Money

Before we get into the details about how the salary app works and how we trudged through 5 million records, here are some cool things we learned.

First, name length makes a difference.

Shorter Names Earn More

Chart of income by name length. Shorter names have higher income. 3 letter names earn 60,982, 4 letter names earn 58,432 and 5 letter names earn 54,979

Three letter names earned the most on average, and then the average salaries keep dropping the longer the names get.

The most common 100 names earned an average of $60,104. The top 45,000 names, about half our database, earned an average of $55,097. And the less common names making up the other half of the database earned $51,773 on average.

Of course, those are averages. Some uncommon names earned quite a bit like guys named Morton at $90,823 and Afshin at $91,123.

2020 Baby Name Earnings

It will be a long time before 2021 babies earn anything at all!

But here are the most popular baby names for the year, and what the app says those names are worth.

2020 Boy Names – Top 10 by Salary


2020 Girl Names – Top 10 by Salary


Harper looks like the girl to be this year, but to be fair, we only have 17 Harper’s in the database, so that salary number is likely to go down as more Harper’s enter the workforce.

Name Choice Effect on Baby’s Life Prospects

You will be hard pressed to find anyone willing to claim causality in the choice of baby names. In other words, the kid’s name can’t be proven to cause a certain result.

But there are many studies showing how name choices do correlate to certain outcomes.

Anna’s, Peter’s and Eleanor’s are more likely to get into Oxford University than others. See more vintage baby names here.

A study by Linkedin showed that abbreviated names showed up frequently as CEO’s.

To determine which names are perceived as more ambitious, intelligent and compelling, a UCLA professor tested 2,845 names. He identified 10 girl and 10 boy names that are most likely to be perceived as “successful”.

The names he identified as successful turned out to be classics like Jacqueline, Elizabeth, Christopher and Thomas. None of the modern, trendy names made the list.

Others have claimed that certain names incite teasing and bullying. That seems obvious but I haven’t seen any legitimate studies on the topic.

Highest Paid Names Overall

If you have scrolled this far, you are probably looking for the highest paid names overall, not just baby names.

Because we have more than 90,000 names it helps to subset them a little. We could get much more refined, but here are the main categories.

Top-Earning Men’s Names

Baby boy at a computer earning a livingFor this first list we threw out names that didn’t appear at least 100 times in our database. 100 and above seems like a reasonable sample size for a good average salary.

Of course, if we ignore sample size altogether, guys like Pitr look pretty good earning an average of $398,845.

Average Salaries of Male Names Appearing More Than 100 Times in the Database


Next, we took a look at the highest earners from the most common names which were those that appear in the database at least 1,000 times.

Average Salaries of Male Names Appearing More Than 1,000 Times in the Database


It is probably not a shocker to see names like Jim, Bob, Bill and Tom on this list as they have been extremely popular names over the past century.

Top Earning Women’s Names

For female names, we again queried with two different sample sizes.

Average Salaries of Female Names Appearing More Than 100 Times in the Database

Mary Beth$58,693

And for the most common lady’s names.

Average Salary of Female Names Appearing More Than 1,000 Times in the Database


Lower Earning Names

Here are the lower earning names for both men and women. These lists were for names that had at least 100 entries each in the database.

Lowest Earning Men’s Names


Lowest Earning Women’s Names


The Gender Pay Gap

girl with booksIf you’ve read this far, you’ve almost certainly noticed the discrepancy between the salaries of men and women.

You have only to look at the top names to see that Stu’s make $73,793 and Margot’s earn more than $10,000 less at $63,282. 

Our analysis supports the conclusion that has been reached thousands of times before, that men are more highly paid than women. The top 10 men’s names averaged $72,883, while the top 10 women averaged $59,427.

While it is safe to say that discrimination and prejudice against women still exist in our modern world, it would be erroneous to think that is the biggest factor causing the pay gap.

Differences in career selection, typical personality traits, career goals, family goals and educational choices, among many more, are all well-documented factors that influence salaries. 

Still, any prejudice is intolerable, and numbers like these help to keep us asking the question “Am I being fair?” 

Names by Occupation

Our study went beyond salaries to investigate job titles and occupations.

As you experiment with the salary app you’ll find that it tells you the occupations that people with a certain name are more and less likely to work in.

These are the names most likely to appear in each of the summary level occupation groupings. We’ve adjusted for the fact that there are many more of some names than others. So these selections tend to equalize the imbalance in name frequency.

 NameJob Category
NathanArchitecture and Engineering Occupations
HannahArts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations
JohnBuilding and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations
AnnieBusiness and Financial Operations Occupations
JoshCommunity and Social Service Occupations
AlexComputer and Mathematical Occupations
BobbyConstruction and Extraction Occupations
AlexanderEducation, Training, and Library Occupations
AlexFood Preparation and Serving Related Occupations
PatriciaHealthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations
CaitlinHealthcare Support Occupations
RobertInstallation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations
KatherineLegal Occupations
AnnaLife, Physical, and Social Science Occupations
BobManagement Occupations
GloriaOffice and Administrative Support Occupations
LindsayPersonal Care and Service Occupations
JamesProduction Occupations
JoseProtective Service Occupations
TylerSales and Related Occupations
JamesTransportation and Material Moving Occupations

The Salary Finder Study

We developed the Salary Finder app to provide one more data point for parents going through the process of finding baby names. While the choice can be as simple as finding something you “like”, it can also take into account a variety of other factors.

Income potential by first name is a curiosity most parents have never considered! Why not muddy the waters with yet another excuse to strike a name off the list.

The process of creating the app was primarily centered around obtaining and scrubbing data – lots of data.

The Data

Records  Dataset
 5,000,000 Private Job Dataset
 400,000 Public Job Dataset
 2,100,000 Final Scrubbed Dataset
 91,643 First Names in Salary Database
 74,760 First Names in Position Database

All of our data is from people working in the United States.

There are a variety of sources of salary data for publicly funded jobs because of the requirement to make that information public. We started with 423,000 records that were a representative sample of government and institutional jobs.

Public jobs don’t represent a full spectrum of salaries, however. So we also obtained 5.0 million records of private jobs from a data analytics company. Although this data included first names and job titles, it did not include salary information.

To get accurate salary data we turned to the Bureau for Labor Statistics who provide an annual report of wage estimates by job category.

Then we began a long and arduous process of mapping job titles to the 1,300 categories tracked by the BLS.

After scrubbing, eliminating and mapping job titles, we went from 5 million records to about 1.7 million that were mapped categories with solid salary estimates. That gave us around 2.1 million total records in the database.

Just to give you an idea of the diversity of job titles in this creative country of ours, we started with roughly 2.4 million titles from the 5.4 million job records.

We then analyzed our own data sample comparing it to national averages for salaries and frequency by job category. We normalized our data to account for sampling anomalies.

Wrap Up

If you enjoy the Salary Finder, check out our Baby Genetics Calculator that will tell you what your baby will look like!


  1. Girls called Anna are much more likely to go to Oxford than Staceys, thetab.com
  2. 50 Vintage Boy Names that Are Truly Timeless, theexperiencedmama.com
  3. Top CEO Names across the globe: Brad, Bland or Brand?, blog.linkedin.com
  4. Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says Give Them These Kinds of First Names, www.inc.com
  5. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov

Becky Hunt

Blessed mother of two boys and two girls, changing diapers and homeschooling for 20 years and counting. I love to research (I'm a CPA). And I really love to help other moms make wise and thoughtful decisions for their families.

3 thoughts on “Will Baby’s Name Influence Future Earnings?”

  1. This is such an interesting study! Our little girl has a rare name, so it cool to see that some other ladies that share her name have become successful. Now only time will tell the outcome for our little Marcelline!

  2. This is something I never heard before. I find it interesting and want to explore more about it. I wish this would work for naming babies in other countries!


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