••• mothers research

BabyCenter reveals top baby names of 2014

Little Francis sure likes to scheme

Jackson held tight as the top boys’ name for the second year and Sophia led the girls for the fifth year in a row, according to results from San Francisco-based BabyCenter’s annual Baby Names Survey and the Top 100 Baby Names of 2014. Three new names popped into the top 10 lists, including Caden and Logan for boys and Madelyn for girls.

“[The 2014] list shows Jackson has staying power and is not a one-hit wonder, and Sophia is arguably the Jennifer of its generation, with five consecutive No. 1 spots. It’s clearly entered the baby name hall of fame,” says Linda Murray, BabyCenter global editor in chief.

As for what inspires parents to pick a baby name, TV has become a dominating factor. Nearly 20 percent of moms surveyed found inspiration from TV-show characters and 16 percent looked to actors and actresses for great baby name ideas. “[2014 was] the year of the binge-watching baby name,” says Murray. “When you spend 16 hours in one weekend binge-watching your favorite series, you can’t help but fall in love with the characters’ names. The correlation between trending baby names and trending binge-watch shows is undeniable.”

Additionally, the survey provided insights on baby names and social sharing. Ninety-four percent of those surveyed used social media/technology to announce their baby’s name. Facebook is the preferred media for sharing names (58 percent), ahead of offline methods such as in person conversations (50 percent) and phone calls (45 percent). Forty-four percent shared their baby’s name through social media immediately after the baby’s birth or after deciding to announce it.

Based on the names of more than 406,000 babies born in 2014 to moms registered on the BabyCenter site, BabyCenter’s Top 100 Baby Names list combines names that sound the same but have different spellings, making it a true measure of baby name popularity. The site also conducts its Baby Names Survey each year, talking directly to new and expecting parents about their baby name decisions and diving deep into the psychology and trends surrounding baby-naming.
Several House of Cards character names showed an increase since 2013, including Garrett (up 16 percent), Claire (up 14 percent), Zoe (up 13 percent) and Remy (up 11 percent). Both Frank (up 19 percent) and Francis (up 5 percent) jumped in popularity. Interestingly, in addition to Robin Wright’s character’s name (Claire) jumping in the ranks, both Robin (up 12 percent) and Wright (up 65 percent) saw significant gains.

Not to be outdone, Orange Is the New Black character names skyrocketed in popularity, including Galina (up 67 percent), Nicky (up 35 percent), Piper (up 28 percent), Larry (up 28 percent) and Dayanara (up 19 percent).

The names of both Netflix cofounders also increased, with Marc (Randolph) rising 15 percent and Reed (Hastings) jumping 11 percent.

Many of the names from ABC’s popular show Nashville are skyrocketing in popularity. Luke saw the greatest gain, jumping 44 percent, followed by Avery (up 25 percent), Deacon (up 22 percent), Daphne (up 15 percent), Gunnar (up 14 percent), and Scarlett (up 13 percent).

And, while her character’s name (Juliette) is on the decline, moms still love Hayden Panettiere. The name Hayden rose 23 percent.

Additionally, Southern-style names are increasing in popularity, including Tennessee (up 61 percent for boys and 8 percent for girls), Macon (up 29 percent), Virginia (up 21 percent), Charlotte (up 19 percent), Raleigh (up 11 percent) and Austin (up 11 percent). Even Nash increased by nearly 10 percent!

Shonda Rhimes isn’t only the creative force behind many of moms’ favorite TV dramas – she’s also influencing baby names. Across the board, names from Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder increased in popularity. Grey’s Anatomy names include Arizona (up 35 percent), Callie (up 30 percent), Miranda (up 15 percent), and Owen (up 14 percent). And of course, Jackson is this year’s No. 1 boys’ name.

Scandal names include Fitzgerald (up 56 percent), Huck (up 44 percent), and Cyrus (up 13 percent). Not to mention, Olivia is the third-most-popular girls’ name. Additionally, the names of the actors are on the rise, including Bellamy (up 28 percent), Jeff (up 25 percent), Scott (up 25 percent), Darby (up 18 percent) and Guillermo (up 18 percent).

It turns out Frozen isn’t just for kids – the creative, strong character names are giving moms some fresh, new baby-name options. The biggest influences are Elsa (up 29 percent), Duke (up 29 percent) and Hans (up 19 percent). Anna, already a popular name, is holding steady. Although there were no baby girls named Idina in BabyCenter’s 2013 database, this year, there’s one little Idina.

Are moms hoping for a future hall of famer? Baseball’s Derek Jeter’s goodbye tour clearly had an effect on moms’ naming choices this year: Jeter increased 82 percent while Derek jumped 10 spots (up 4 percent).

Parents flocked to destination names last year. Names traveling up include Everest (up 70 percent for boys and 21 percent for girls), Verona (up 58 percent), Bronx (up 34 percent), Aspen (up 33 percent), Cairo (up 41 percent), Persia (up 16 percent), Kenya (up 16 percent), Egypt (up 15 percent), Israel (up 14 percent), and Boston (up 10 percent). In fact, one in four of those undecided on a name said they might choose the name of a place they associate with special memories.



••• transportation research

Canadian commuters keep calm

Vancouver has the lock on gridlock

As reported by The Canadian Press, Canadians actually enjoy their commute and find it relaxing, according a study released by Toronto ad agency Bensimon Byrne – a finding that runs contrary to the popular vision of commuters as harried and fed up, if not enraged. Even more surprisingly, three-quarters of commuters report being in a better mood after their commute, according to the survey.

“The results are an eye-opener and contradict the prevailing narrative of commuting – which is often conveyed as long and negatively affecting our work-life balance,” says Max Valiquette, managing director of strategy, Bensimon Byrne. “In fact, our findings show that having some time to relax and rest, or a few quiet moments to reflect is what makes commuting so important and desirable.”

The online survey, conducted for Bensimon Byrne by the Gandalf Group, questioned 1,500 people in various regions of the country, with an oversampling of commuters in the greater Toronto area as well as samplings in Quebec proportional to the number of the province’s French and English speakers.

The Gandalf survey found that three-quarters of respondents would prefer to be alone during their commute. As a result, drivers in the survey were slightly more likely to strongly agree (56 percent) that their commute is an opportunity to have some quiet time by themselves, compared with 49 percent of public transit users.

Transit users tend to face a more difficult commute but use their commuting time to rest and relax, the survey said.

The oversampling of greater Toronto area (GTA) respondents supported, for the most part, trends found elsewhere. However, GTA commutes tend to be longer and commuters there were less likely to be in a better mood after their commute (72 percent) relative to the national average of 77 percent, the survey found. And slightly more respondents in the GTA (16 percent) dreaded their commute versus the national average of 11 percent.

Interestingly, outer GTA commuters were almost twice as likely to dread their commutes as city of Toronto residents, in spite of the fact that they are twice as likely to drive, tend to have shorter commutes and are more likely to live in and commute to suburban rather than urban communities, the survey found.

Nationally, two-thirds of respondents reported having a commute of 30 minutes or less, half said they drive, 25 percent use public transit, 14 percent were automobile passengers, 6 percent walk and two percent used a bicycle.

Some 15.4 million Canadians endure a daily commute to and from work, based on Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey. It also found that four out of five commuters reported taking a private vehicle, most of them driving themselves, the survey found.

Vancouver ranked the worst city in the country for gridlock, according to a 2014 study. The study found the average commuter in Vancouver experienced 87 hours of delay time per year, based on a 30-minute daily commute.

After Vancouver, the most congested cities in Canada were Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Quebec City and Edmonton, according to the index.

••• online research

Keep the Web affordable, please

Low-cost access a ‘basic human right’

A survey of Internet users in 24 countries has found that 83 percent of them believe that affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right. The study also found that two-thirds (64 percent) of users are more concerned today about online privacy than they were compared to one year ago.

The CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, undertaken by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by research company Ipsos, also found that when given a choice of various governance sources to effectively run the worldwide Internet, a majority (57 percent) chose the multi-stakeholder option – a “combined body of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organizations and institutions that represent the interests and will of ordinary citizens, and governments.”

The survey of 23,376 Internet users was carried out between October 7, 2014, and November 12, 2014, in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.

In terms of top overall levels of concern, it’s criminals hacking into personal bank accounts (78 percent) that heads the list, followed by concern about someone hacking into users’ online accounts and stealing their personal information like photos and private messages (77 percent) and a private company monitoring their online activities (such as their Internet surfing habits) and then selling that information for commercial purposes without their explicit consent (74 percent).

Following on concerns about invasive criminal or marketing incursions that might affect them personally come broader concerns related to governments and institutions: A full majority (72 percent) are concerned about important institutions in their country being cyber-attacked by a foreign government or terrorist organization followed by two-thirds (64 percent) who are concerned about governments censoring the Internet, almost equally (62 percent) concerned about government agencies from other country secretly monitoring their online activities and six in 10 (61 percent) concerned about the police or other government agencies from their own country secretly monitoring their online activities.

Even if coincidentally, a majority (60 percent) have heard something about Edward Snowden, the U.S. government contractor who leaked documents to the media showing the United States and other national governments had been secretly tapping into personal online accounts to collect information about people around the world. Of the 60 percent to have heard of Snowden, four in 10 (39 percent) have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security as a result of what he revealed.

As noted above, global Internet users appear clearly and cleanly divided into two camps: two-thirds (64 percent) who are more concerned about online privacy today compared to a year ago and the one-third (36 percent) who were not. This is reflected in the fact that 64 percent disagree that private information on the Internet is very secure and 63 percent who also disagree that sharing personal information with private companies online is something that they do all the time (compared to the other 37 percent who do share their personal information with those companies because to them it’s not “a big deal”).

As a result, many users have taken steps in the past year to self-regulate their own behavior by avoiding certain Internet sites and Web applications (43 percent), changing their password regularly (39 percent), self-censoring what they say online (28 percent), changing who they communicate with (18 percent), closing Facebook and other social media counts, etc., (11 percent) and using the Internet less often (10 percent).

Further, a full majority (73 percent) want their online data and personal information to be physically stored on a secure server and, in particular, in their own country (72 percent).

Governance of the Internet on a local and global basis has been an increasing part of the online dialogue because of these growing concerns among users affected by unwanted and often alarming intrusive behaviors. Various models have been proposed but it’s clear that, when tested among global users, it’s the multi-stakeholder form of governance – that includes citizens, and not just experts, international institutions or combinations of countries – that has the broadest appeal when it comes to overseeing the running of the Internet (57 percent). This top option is followed by an international body of engineers and technical experts (54 percent), the United Nations (50 percent), international technology companies (49 percent), their own government (47 percent) and the United States (36 percent).

Wariness about the role of governments – including their own – clearly underlies the desire of a majority of Internet users for a broad and more encompassing governance multi-stakeholder body. Only 48 percent believe that their own government today does a very good job of making sure the Internet in their country is safe and secure (compared to 52 percent to disagree). Further, one-third (34 percent) believe that their own government and governments other than their own (43 percent) will restrict access to the Internet.

The importance of the Internet – both today and in the future – for users can’t be underestimated: the vast majority (83 percent) believe that affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right (49 percent strongly). Buttressing this view is the importance that users place for their future in using the Internet for various undertakings. For them, the uses are ranked beginning with accessing information and scientific knowledge (91 percent – very important: 57 percent), followed by personal enjoyment of recreation (87 percent – very important: 47 percent), social communication (85 percent – very important: 48 percent), free-speech of political expression: (83 percent – very important: 47 percent) and their own economic future and livelihood (81 percent – very important: 45 percent).

This survey was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation. Twenty of the countries utilized the Ipsos Internet panel system while the other four (Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tunisia) were conducted by Ipsos CATI facilities in each of those countries. In the U.S. and Canada respondents were aged 18-64, and 16-64 in all other countries. Approximately 1,000+ individuals were surveyed in each country and are weighted to match the online population in each country surveyed. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval. In this case, a poll of 1,000 is accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points. For those surveys conducted by CATI, the accuracy is a margin of error of +/-3.1.

••• employment research

Work-study seems to work

Gallup-Purdue survey shows value of internships

Work and internship opportunities in college that allow students to apply what they learn improve the chances that college graduates will land work after college. As reported by Sean Seymour and Julie Ray, a Gallup-Purdue University study of college graduates finds 71 percent of the most recent graduates who strongly agreed they had these types of jobs or internship opportunities as undergrads are working full time now for an employer, compared with 56 percent of those who strongly disagreed.

Despite the recent drop in the national unemployment rate, the relationship between applied internships and graduate employment may cause some current college students to consider how they focus their time between now and graduation day. While the number of students taking advantage of internships has been rising across campuses, relatively few of all college graduates report participating in these internship or job opportunities.

The “employment benefit” for graduates who strongly agreed they had applied internships or jobs in college exists for all those who have earned their degrees in the past four years – regardless of gender, race, the type of institution they graduated from or whether they are the first in their families to attend college. This reinforces that what students do while in college – and the opportunities their institutions afford them – can be more important than a number of other factors, including the type of school they attend.

These results are based on the Gallup-Purdue Index, a joint research effort with Purdue University and Lumina Foundation to study the relationship between the college experience and college graduates’ lives. The Gallup-Purdue Index is a comprehensive, nationally representative study of U.S. college graduates with Internet access. (According to a 2013 Census Bureau report, 90 percent of college graduates in the U.S. have access to the Internet.)

Recent graduates who strongly agreed they had an internship or job where they could apply what they were learning in college are likely to have full-time employment and are also more likely to be engaged at work. Fifty-six percent of employed recent graduates who took part in applied internships are engaged at work – meaning they are involved in and enthusiastic about their work – compared with 33 percent of those who did not.

This higher likelihood of engagement is good for these graduates, because engaged employees feel emotionally connected to the mission and purpose of their work, but it is also good for their employers. Engaged workers are the lifeblood of their organizations. Previous Gallup workplace engagement studies show that business units scoring in the top half of their organization in employee engagement have nearly double the odds of success compared with those in the bottom half.

The potential benefits of applied internships are numerous – these graduates are more likely to feel prepared for life, they are more likely to be employed full time for an employer and they are more likely to be engaged at work. The higher percentage of recent graduates who report taking part in these programs may be a positive sign that more students – and colleges and employers – are beginning to realize the value of these experiences.

Results for this Gallup-Purdue Index study are based on Web interviews conducted February 4-March 7, 2014, with a random sample of 29,560 respondents with a bachelor’s degree or higher, aged 18 and older, with Internet access, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The Gallup-Purdue Index sample was compiled from two sources; the Gallup Panel and the Gallup Daily Tracking survey.

••• automotive research

Report identifies auto marques with gabbiest owners

15 percent of new car buyers account for 59 percent of WOM

The Foresight Research 2014 Word of Mouth Immersion Report shows that among auto owners, MINI, Subaru and Volvo buyers stand out as the most likely to recommend their brand (all at 96 percent). “Word of mouth is a prominent influencer in new auto purchases. Almost one-third of new auto buyers say they were moderately or completely influenced by it, and that can go as high as 45 percent for a highly-influenced brand like Audi,” says Nancy Walter, vice president, business development at Foresight.

So who are the people who give advice? Foresight calls them TalkersPlus, a group of highly influential buyers who are 15 percent of the buyer population but generate 59 percent of the word of mouth (WOM). They are more likely to be brand-loyal males who comment about their new vehicle purchase online. They spend $246 more on accessories, are more likely to be influenced by social media, use a mobile device and attend a motorsports event.

To put the giving and getting “sides” of WOM in perspective, Foresight developed the Amplifier Index, which shows the strength of WOM for a brand, segment, or buyer characteristic. The soaring Audi Amplifier Index score of 251 reflects high levels of creating and nurturing brand advocacy. Audi beats out a strong second-place Mercedes-Benz at 2.14 and scores double the industry average of 1.22.

The Amplifier Index for any given brand can be driven more by the giving or the receiving side of WOM. For instance, RAM buyers score an above-average 1.30 Amplifier Index because they advise the most people about car purchases (7.3), while the Subaru buyer 1.61 score is driven by a very-high 43 percent WOM influence.

This report is built from Foresight Research’s CHIPS Study, which is conducted annually among 7,500+ recent new auto buyers.


••• health care research

A healthy dislike for health insurance shopping

Rather have a tooth filled

Despite government efforts to improve the health insurance exchanges, most Americans still dread shopping for their health insurance, according to a Bankrate.com report. In fact, 82 percent of Americans who recently shopped for health insurance say that it’s just as bad as or even worse than doing your own taxes. Seventy-five percent say it’s the same or worse than getting the middle seat on a crowded airplane. Even having a tooth filled is better than health plan shopping for some Americans; 23 percent of those who recently shopped for a plan say it was less enjoyable than facing the dentist’s drill and 45 percent say it’s just as bad (for a total of 68 percent who say it’s the same or worse).

Additionally, 32 percent of Americans say they feel “more negative” now than they did a year ago about the Affordable Care Act’s impact on their own health care, more than twice as many as the 15 percent who feel “more positive.” And almost half (49 percent) of Americans want major or minor changes to be made to Obamacare: 26 percent want to repeal the law completely (down from 30 percent when the same question was asked in June 2014) and only 16 percent want to keep the law as-is.

When it comes to health insurance, more than four in 10 Americans prefer a high-deductible plan with a lower monthly premium, according to the Bankrate.com report. Thirty-six percent of Americans would rather choose a low-deductible plan with a higher monthly bill and 9 percent would not choose either of these two options.

Millennials and Americans with household incomes of $30,000-$49,999 are the most likely to prefer a high-premium/low-deductible plan, while higher income Americans ($50,000 and up) and those ages 30-64 are more likely to prefer a low-premium/high-deductible plan.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, which obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,004 adults living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (502) and cell phone (503, including 291 without a landline phone) in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from November 20-23, 2014. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.