7 Incredible Ways A Name Can Make Or Break Your Child’s Future Success

Your child’s name is his or her most significant identifier. But does a name really make a difference? Will it increase your child’s odds of achieving success and a better life?

Well, you’ll find out how much baby names impact your child’s life and future success.


Your child’s name can spell academic success or disaster

Yes, if your child has a linguistically low-class name, it can mean lower test scores and poor academic growth.

Now, what are linguistically low-class names?

According to a 2005 study by Northwestern University Professor Dr. David Figlio, these names are often given by parents from low socio-economic status and have 4 characteristics:

  • the name begins with one of several prefixes, such as “lo-“, “ta-“, and “qua-“
  • ends with one of some suffixes, such as “-isha” and “-ious”
  • includes an apostrophe
  • particularly long, with several low-frequency consonants (K,Q,Z) as in Alekzandra instead of Alexandra.

These monikers were given most frequently by African-Americans and Hispanic parents.

Unfortunately, ‘linguistically low-status’ names in African are often seen at a disadvantage.

Teachers perceived the students with these monikers negatively, prompting lower expectations and consequently, lower test scores.

Dr. Figlio’s findings were also supported by Professor Samuel Gray Garwood of Tulane University, New Orleans. According to him, name expectations are bound to influence the way a teacher interacts with a student. In the study they conducted, they found out that teachers are more likely to give lower grades to students with unique or unusual-sounding names.

So, while it may be tempting to go with unique names like Taisha or Lucious if you’re African-American or Hispanic, you need to think carefully about its possible implications.

On the other hand, Dr. Figlio noticed a different pattern among Asian students. He remarked that teachers had high expectations towards Asian students with Asian-sounding names compared to those who had American names.

Research has proven that children typically meet expectations so having high expectations academically can push these students to achieve higher marks.

Kids with feminine names– either a boy or a girl— can be typecast negatively

If your daughter has a very feminine name like Emma, Isabella, and Anna, she’s less likely to take up difficult and technical subjects like Physics or Math when she reaches 16 years old compared to someone with an androgynous moniker.

On the other hand, if your son has a feminine name such as Courtney, Jesse, and Shannon, he’s more likely to experience or develop behavior problems in middle school.

These are based on the studies by Dr. Figlio done in 2008 and 2005, respectively.

What can we draw from these studies?

It is a stereotype, and girls with particularly feminine names may feel more pressure to avoid technical subjects, Figlio explained in an article on The Guardian.

Girls with feminine names might not perform according to their potential because of typecasting while boys with girly names may have trouble fitting in socially.

Your child’s first name can predetermine his future job and residence

It’s amazing how powerful a name can be, right?

The Theory of Nominative Determinism states that people go for work areas that suit their names.

‘People follow professions that resemble their first names. Women named Laura often become lawyers, while men named Dennis often become dentists,’ psychologist Brett Pelham revealed in his 2002 study entitled Why Susie Sells Seashells by the Seashore: Implicit Egotism and Major Life Decisions.

His study recounts that supervisors subconsciously link the position and the gender match of the candidates’ names during job interviews. Ladies with more feminine monikers such as Maria and Kirsten are linked to ‘female jobs’ such as hairstylists, nurses, and secretaries.

It goes the same way for men with manly monikers like Connor or Adam. They would potentially eye jobs in ‘male-dominated industries’ as web developers, paramedics, and financial advisors.

It is similar to baby names from places. Baby names taken after places may also imply psychological effects to your child according to Pelham. Ladies named Sydney may be keen to move to the land down under while blokes bearing the name Louis could be drawn to live in Louisiana.

Another study was conducted at Ghent University, Belgium which is similar to the work of Prof. Pelham. In this research, they found out that people will likely work for companies with initials that match their names.

The researchers concluded that ‘Monikers may not only give you maladies; they may also get you a job!’

Why do these happen?

Ultimately, it’s because of ‘implicit egotism.’ Pelham coined this term to refer to the force that sways people to choose things that remind them of themselves.

If your child has a unique name, he or she may have better emotional control

Kids with unique names could master impulse control earlier than others after being teased or pried about their names. ‘They benefit from that experience by learning to control their emotions or their impulses, which is, of course, a great skill for success,’ New York University sociologist Dalton Conley claimed.

In a sense, having a unique moniker is a good thing. However, we caution against going for odd or wacky baby names.

Think of the long-term implications. Imagine your child in a playground, in a class, and at work.

Would your child’s name make it tempting for others to make fun of him or her? Or can you imagine people respecting your child because his or her name sounds pleasant and dignified?

Your child’s name affects their hireability

People with white-sounding names such as Emily and Greg are more likely to be hired than those with African-American names like Lakisha and Jamal. The applicants with white-sounding names got 50% more callbacks. Interestingly, the researchers also noted that having a white-sounding name is equivalent to eight years of work experience.

This is according to a field experiment on labor market discrimination presented in the American Economic Review in 2004.

Similar research done by Marquette University in Milwaukee concluded that applicants who have a common name are more likely to be hired than those who have unusual names.

Men with shorter names are associated with higher positions

LinkedIn analyzed over 100 million profiles and found out that common CEO names had only one syllable. Also, the Onomastics specialist Dr. Frank Nuessel regarded that it’s also better to go by nicknames to project a friendlier aura. Bill Gates sounds much more appealing than William.

However, keep in mind that this doesn’t hold true all the time. Remarkable leadership and management skills carry more weight.

If your daughter has a masculine name, her success rate is higher in certain careers

A study in 2009 found evidence that supports the Portia hypothesis which infers that females with masculine names are more successful in legal careers than females with feminine names. The study also suggests that women with masculine names such as Cameron, Dale, and Leslie increase their chance to become a Judge.

Therefore, do consider gender-neutral names for your daughter.

All in A Name

It’s amazing how much impact a name has on someone’s future. So, carefully picking and evaluating baby names are important for your child’s life and future success.

That’s why we’ve laid out specific steps to help you choose a great name for your little one. Then make sure to test drive your top choices before picking the final one.