A study conducted by economists at the Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania set out to explore “the relationship between first name popularity and juvenile delinquency”.

The study found that, regardless of race, juveniles with the least popular names were more likely to engage in criminal activity.

The report, entitled First Names and Crime: Does Unpopularity Spell Trouble? and published in the journal Social Science Quarterly, states that the names themselves are unlikely to be the cause of criminal tendencies.

Rather it is other connected factors that could increase the likelihood of criminal behaviour such as being from a deprived background or single parent household.

The study also notes that youngsters with less popular names could be more inclined towards crime because they “are treated differently by their peers, making it more difficult for them to form relationships,” the journal’s publisher states.

Or young people with unpopular names may “act out because they consciously or unconsciously dislike their names”.

The authors conclude that: “First name characteristics may be an important factor to help identify individuals at high risk of committing or recommitting crime, leading to more effective and targeted intervention programmes.”
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