Whiteboard Data Viz: Delaware Baby Names

Whiteboard Data Viz: Delaware Baby Names

OpenDataDE published the open data portal a few months ago. If you are not familiar with the Open Data movement in Delaware, check out this story from Technicly.DE. There are a ton of amazing data sets for open data advocates to focus in on. We decided to pull a set just for fun. With two kids of our own & former owners of a baby boutique, our minds naturally lean towards kids…and coffee. So we went with a data set all about TOP BABY NAMES in the state of Delaware.

This set contained the top 15 boy and girl baby names in Delaware from 2009-2013. The open data portal has made it extremely easy to pull data off the site. Using R, I was able to load the data and summarize it in 4 lines of code.

require(RSocrata)
require(tidyr)

baby_names

baby_names_sum %group_by(NAME,GENDER)%>%summarise(Min_Year = min(YEAR),count = n(),ave_rank = mean(RANK))

To visualize the data, we chose a radar chart of the top 8 boy and top 8 girl names. A radar chart is a graphical representation of data that illustrates multiple variables in a two-dimensional way. We used it to illustrate 3 variables; the baby names, their rank and the year. We used separate radar charts for boys vs girls names as they are independent from each other.

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Sophia & Ava were the top contenders for those 5 years. Aside from a steep drop in 2011, Isabella also held firm in the ranks.
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While the top girl names seem somewhat consistent in their rank, the boy names fluctuate. Outside of Michael & William, the other 6 popular titles jump in popularity through the years. Thus making for a more exciting star shape.

When these data are updated, we’ll revisit the rank listings for more recent years. It would be interesting to compare this name popularity to that of other regions. We could have added a FOURTH dimension to this visualization by sourcing the national popularity of these names for 2009-2013. So, do your kids’ names rank? Or are you more of the Opal & Jetsen type?


Data Dan Larson is a data enthusiast who loves problem solving. He looks for ways to utilize data to optimize the world around. He’s also a papa who loves relating his findings back to life as a modern parent.

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