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After a little searching, I was able to find data from the 1990 US census on the frequency of male and female first names, and on surnames. That data is here. I'm not able to find similar data for any other census years, however. Does anyone know where I can get data for other years, both earlier and later?

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  • $\begingroup$ This question is off topic according to a meta discussion. However, many of the answers are on topic and useful. Therefore I suggest we leave this thread open and I'm leaving the present comment in case the issue comes up with future questions. $\endgroup$ – whuber Jul 20 '11 at 20:32
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In this post, my friend John May links to http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/; I believe it only has the top 1000 most popular first names for both sexes, but for all years since 1879. (John's post and the followup are interesting in their own right - he looks at popular unisex baby names.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. $\endgroup$ – LockeCJ Apr 29 '11 at 5:25
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A search for a name on Wolfram|Alpha gives some stats and a distribution graph of ages.

At the bottom of the output is a 'Source information' link, which results in a popup with a bunch of references. One is the ssa.gov babynames (link above). Most of the references are for other countries (mostly English speaking), but the AGNAMES link looks really good, with "Popular Given Names US, 1801-1999" data and some normalization code.

At the bottom of the Wolfram|Alpha sources popup is this statement:

"Requests by researchers for detailed information on the sources for individual Wolfram|Alpha results can be directed here."

where the popup has the actual link. Seeing that Wolfram|Alpha output is all images of text and not text, I am not sure how open they are to sharing, but you could inquire.

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Try calling the census bureau using a help line number from census.gov. It usually takes a few tries and patience with bureaucracy, but they've always been helpful to me.

The census doesn't release individual names in their data sets, so it will have to be a census bureau created aggregation.

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