Name pockets: probability and statistics don't work in real life

Anyone who's been around here more than a month is probably aware that my family has a lot of Julia-names: my daughter is Julianna, I'm Julia, my mother is Julia, her mother was Julia, and both of my mother's grandmothers were Julianna. (And there are more further back in the family tree.)

We've known for a month or so now that Julianna and her best friend Julia will be in the same pre-kindergarten class, and we've known since late spring that there's a Juliana living on the next street over who will be starting kindergarten a year from now, same as our daughter. Well, it turns out that this year, little neighbor Juliana is in the other pre-K class at the same preschool. Oh, and Julianna and Julia's teacher has a daughter named Julianne.

We're in Pennsylvania, if anyone wants to look up the state-specific stats. They don't predict this pocket.

In the meantime, the twin boys across the street have the current #3 and #17 names (#12 and #25 the year they were born), and the one with the more popular name has yet to share it with a classmate or neighbor. (The less-popular name has some spelling variations, and he shares the name with a neighbor and several siblings of classmates.)

I realize that some of this is the frequency illusion (also called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon): I notice Julia-names a lot more easily than I notice, say, William-derivatives. But it's not illusory that out of fewer than 30 four-and-five-year-olds, three have Julia-names... I'll be better able to quantify things next week, after I get a proper class list and a chance to look at coat hook labels.


By EVie
September 11, 2015 2:05 PM

That's so weird how that happens. Presumably about half the class is boys, too, so that would mean that about 20% of the girls in the class have Juli- names. And I have yet to meet any preschoolers or younger with any of those exact variants in my area (though I do know two Juliets and a Julija--only one in my son's class, though). 

September 12, 2015 1:33 PM

I had never encountered any Juliets before mine was born, and then in the first few months we encountered 3 of them. Funny how that works! I still havent met any little ones with variants (Julie, Julia, Juliana). We're in TN, for reference. 

September 12, 2015 4:55 PM

DD has a Julia in her pre-k class also.