The White House Doesn’t Represent America (‘s Surname First Letters)

In idly scanning the data dump today of visitors to the White House, I got to thinking: How representative of America are these people? You know, are they just more … whoever/whatever it is that people think are the kind of people who get invited to visit the White House when they don’t get invited to visit the White House?

The thought of actually looking up who these people are, what they do, and why they might be visiting was excruciatingly boring, so I didn’t do that. Instead, I looked at the distribution of first surname letters of the people who visited the White House, and then I compared that distribution to the actual frequency of the same first surname letters in the U.S. writ large.

Here is the result:wh-letters

The red columns are the distribution of surname first letters according to census data for the 1,000 most popular surnames in America. The blue columns show the distribution, by surname first letter, of visitors to the White House. The x-axis letters are organized from left to right by decreasing Census frequency

As you can see, there are big differences between Census data and the 492 logged White House visits between January and now. For example, visitors with a surname beginning with the letter "s" are much more likely than you would expect based on the Census distribution of such names. Census data suggests that surnames beginning with "m" would have been the most likely, but they rank 5th among the first surname letter of White House visitors.

There are lots of other things in there too, like the White House dislike of people whose surname starts with "h". And there is also the Obama administration’s outright letter-centric discrimination against people whose surnames start with "q" or "v", both of which had zero surname-sporting visitors to the White House. Where’s the outrage on that, Glenn Beck?

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