Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seth MacFarlane: Family Guy Creator or Math Genius?

On December 26, 2010, Family Guy creator and voice actor extraordinaire Seth MacFarlane tweeted, "If the T1000 had to kill everyone named Aiden Connor or Dylan Connor, he’d have tons of killing to do."  How accurate is his estimate?

According to Book Of Odds, each name has the following probabilities:
  • The odds a male is named Dylan are 1 in 6,250 (US, 5/1990 - 9/1990). 
  • The odds a male born in 2000 is named Aiden are 1 in 2,370 (US, 2000). 
  • The odds a person's last name is Conner are 1 in 4,442 (US, 2000).
Assuming there are no weird correlations, this means the probability that a person is named "Dylan Conner" is 1 in 28 million and the probability that a person is named "Aiden Conner" is 1 in 11 million.  Just considering the U.S. population, there are 150 million males roughly 5 and 12 of which would be named "Dylan Conner" and "Aiden Conner", respectively.  If each Conner weighed 150 lbs, the total weight would be 1.3 tons.

Well done Mr. MacFarlane!  [In poorly attempted Stewie voice] Victory is yours!


  1. You assume that the probabilities that a person's first name is Dylan or Aiden are independent of the probability that the last name is Conner...
    I am guessing someone with the last name Conner is more likely to have the first name Dylan or Aiden than a random person in the US, so that should increase the expected number of Dylan Connors and Aiden Conners. Mr MacFarlane is still correct, though, tons of killing.
    Unless Connors are less likely to be named Aiden or Dylan.

  2. What if all Dylans and Aidens are really, really thin? :)

  3. Both good points. It's hard to incorporate correlations which is why I left them out, but I agree that these particular names are likely to be correlated. It's certainly possible that Dylans and Aidens are very thin, but given what I've seen of most of the U.S. population, I think I'm pretty safe with this one.

  4. I just wanted to thank you for yet another classic problem. Also, thanks for the odds website. I've never seen that site until now and I bookmarked it!