Obviously, a variety of motives are at work when parents consider a name for their child.
They may want something traditional or something bohemian, something unique or
something perfectly trendy. It would be an overstatement to suggest that all parents are
looking—whether consciously or not—for a “smart” name or a “high-end” name. But
they are all trying to signal something with a name, whether the name is Winner or Loser,
Madison or Amber, Shithead or Sander, DeShawn or Jake. What the California names
data suggest is that an overwhelming number of parents use a name to signal their own
expectations of how successful their children will be. The name isn’t likely to make a
shard of difference.
But the parents can at least feel better knowing that, from the very
outset, they tried their best.