Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Parents of baby boys used to say NO to social security? Of course not!

I was getting some first name distribution data for project MICHAEL. I found out, by googling and consulting with wikipedia, that the social secuity website maintains a nice list of first names of BIRTHS reported on application for social security number. When I was excitedly "grabbing" data off this website, I noticed something unusual. The number of boy births did not match up with the number of girl births for a couple of decades. The trend is pretty interesting. See above.

I sent this graph to Andrew and he posted in this blog. I was looking forward to some freaknomics-type answers and I got some. Here are the explainations I can accept.

Yeah, I didn't think it was WWI. When SS was first enacted, enrollment was optional. Although SS benefits were small at the time, there were survivor benefits; plus, although regular benefits were roughly pegged to contributions, in general women had fewer market wage opportunities than men so SS was the only game in town. More women signed up sooner.
Posted by: Robert at May 10, 2006 10:47 PM

Jason Ruspini writes,
There is an error preventing me fromposting on the blog, but survivors benefits (lifeinsurance) would be my guess.
Cheers, Jason Ruspini


Tian Zheng said...

Oops, not "newborns", just births.

baby names data said...

Interesting that the percentage of registrations began to fall years in advance of the war - tells you something about the general future expectations of the country as a whole.