Baby Names and Hurricanes

In the aftermath of a hurricane, it is interesting to note the effect that they can have on baby names.

Using Wolfram|Alpha’s United States name data, you can see that the names tied to some of the most powerful storms drop in popularity.  

The name “Katrina" took a large hit after the 2005 hurricane of the same name:


In 1961, Hurricane Carla became one of the strongest storms to hit the United States. From the graph below, you can see that the name “Carla" peaked in popularity right around 1961, then quickly began to wane in popularity.


Irene currently isn’t a very popular name in the United States, but it will be interesting to see if the hurricane has any sort of effect. 

Word Frequency History in Wolfram|Alpha

Now when you ask Wolfram|Alpha about the “word frequency history” of any word in English, you’ll see a plot of how that term’s usage has changed over time.

The word frequency history of a word can document when a common word, such as “web”, becomes more popular after gaining a new meaning.image

It can also show how quickly a word can pass into common usage after the emergence of a new technology, such as “transistors”.


These plots may also show interesting correlations with historical events. For example, malaria became a large problem for servicemen in the Pacific during World War II.image

(Raw data comes from the Google Books “English One Million” corpus.)

Site traffic after the hype

Two of the biggest internet announcements this summer were J.K. Rowling unveiling Pottermore and Spotify coming to the US. It was expected that these websites would garner a large number of hits, but what is more interesting is to look at the severe dip in visitors each site experienced a few days after all the hype wore off.

Wolfram|Alpha provides graphs documenting the visitor histories of both sites, just simply enter the URL.



Both sites saw massive spikes followed by huge plummets (Pottermore more-so). This makes sense with Pottermore, as the site just recently allowed the first round of registrations more than a month after the site launched.  


Age ain’t nothin but a number, baby!


Daily chart: the 100 club. Five countries will have more than a million centenarians by the end of the century. China will get there first in 2069, 90 years after its one-child policy was implemented.

Using Wolfram|Alpha you can dig a little deeper into the age data of these countries. By entering “Japan population fraction age 100 in 2050" you get the following data:


This shows what fraction of the Japanese population will be above 100, as well as a breakdown between male and female residents.