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ANSWERED on Mon 15 Oct 2007 - 7:19 pm UTC by David Sarokin

Question: Middle name "Wayne" and propensity to criminality

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 13 Oct 2007 20:06 UTCSat 13 Oct 2007 - 8:06 pm UTC 

The commonality of the middle name "Wayne" amongst criminals has been remarked upon by News of the Weird and Steven Levitt's Freakonomics blog on the NY Times website.

I am wondering whether there is any statistically significant relationship between the middle name "Wayne" and propensity to criminality.    

From the ssa.gov website, I have found that "Wayne" was fairly popular as a first name for boys, peaking in 1946.  Not sure if it was more popular as a middle name. 

The ideal answer will compare the percentage of males for the US population as a whole with the middle name of "Wayne" to the percentage of incarcerated males. 


K. "Wayne" P*******, NYC 




 14 Oct 2007 07:29 UTCSun 14 Oct 2007 - 7:29 am UTC 

Maybe every name that has 'Y' as its middle letter is similarly cursed?



Oliver Scriptor 


 15 Oct 2007 00:25 UTCMon 15 Oct 2007 - 12:25 am UTC 

Well, in Nevada there are currently 16 inmates whose middle name is Wayne. In Georgia 374 ... in Kansas 677 ... and in the prisons of Iowa, no less than 3171 offenders have Wayne as their middle name.

Does this tell us anything about people whose middle name is Wayne, or maybe rather about the difference between Nevada and Georgia? Hard to decide...



David Sarokin 


 15 Oct 2007 19:19 UTCMon 15 Oct 2007 - 7:19 pm UTC 


Intriguing question!  It very well could be that the speculation about Wayne as a middle name is correct.

There appears to be a higher percentage of men with the middle name of Wayne in the prison population and criminal world than one would find in the general population.

Of course, I am not a Wayne-ologist, so my estimates below should not be considered those of an expert.  But from what I can see, the middle name of Wayne is significantly more prevalent in the criminal world than it is in the population at large.

In order to find the prevalence of Wayne as a middle name in the criminal population, I examined two sources of data:  the list of fugitives maintained by America's Most Wanted, and the database of offenders maintained by the Iowa Department of Corrections.


America's Most Wanted, familiarly known as AMW, has been airing shows for quite some time highlighting wanted fugitives:


They maintain a database of the fugitives profiled:


and by clicking "Male" fugitives (and leaving everything else blank), the system returns 1,274 male fugitives in the AMW database:

Your search returned 1274 results.

Out of these 1,274 men, 12 have a middle name of Wayne, as can be seen from the following search:


The 12 (which include aliases as well as given names) are:

Allen Wayne Andrews
(Daniel E. Miller, Wayne Freeman, John Wayne Freeman, Andy Simpson, Thomas Daily, Ed Bassett, Bobby Bassett)

David Wayne French

Dennis Wayne Harvey Jr.

Jason Wayne McVean

David Wayne Bell

Christopher Wayne Luttrell

Jerry Wayne Wright

David Wayne Greth

Richard Peter Gilliland
(Rik Gill, Richards Finetti, Raymond A. Arnold, Richard Peter Finetti, Robert Gillmore, Raymond Johnson, Raymond Roberts, Richard Greenbaum, Abraham Lieber, Raymond Arnold Arthur White, Garey Lamar Sloan, Craig Main, Garey Letinsky, Gary Wayne Moore, Garrey Letinky, Craig Maigne, Craig Peter Maignewitz)

Keith "Boom" Wayne Bryant

Patrick Wayne Bell

Todd Wayne Mulder

The percentage of male fugitives with Wayne as a middle name is 12/1274 = 0.0094 = .94%.  In other words, just about 1% of the AMW male fugitives -- 1 out of 100 -- have Wayne as a middle name. 


Iowa Department of Corrections

As the earlier comment from scriptor points out, there are 3,171 names in the Iowa DoC database with Wayne as the middle name. 

Iowa Department of Corrections Offender Information 

All told, there are about 177,000 offenders in the Iowa prisons database.  For there to be 3,171 with a middle name of Wayne equates to about 1.8% of the  population with a middle name of Wayne (3171/177,000= 0.018 = 1.8%), which is an even higher percentage than the AMW database.

You should be aware, though, that the Iowa database counts Wayne's along with a number of close variants, as you can see from the brief sampling of names below:  

Andy Wayne Atwood [...] 1984  M
Johnny Wayne Balvanz [...] 1978  M 
Damian Wayne Barndt [...] 1978  M 
Thomas Wayne Bellendier [...] 1966  M 
Johnnie Dwayne Bolds [...] 1959  M 
Kyle Dwayne Boleyn [...] 1975  M 
Tyler Wayne Bolson [...] 1987  M 
Eric DeWayne Bolton [...] 1968  M 
Jerry Dwayne Burt [...] 1982  M 
Jermaine Dewayne Campbell [...] 1984  M 
Jesse DuWayne Caston [...] 1956  M 
Calvin Wayne Chapman [...] 1978  M 
Timothy Wayne Clark [...] 1969  M 
David Wayne Crow [...] 1961  M 
Christopher Dwayne Davidson [...] 1974  M 
Larry Dwayne Doran [...] 1960  M 
Rickey Wayne Droddy [...] 1954  M 
Larry Wayne Durham [...] 1979  M 
Larry Wayne Fish [...] 1956  M 
Reginald Dwayne Fleming [...] 1974  M 

Still, the two databases combined strongly suggest that roughly 1% of the criminal population has a middle name of Wayne.  Offhand, this strikes me as a rather high figure, just based on my own observations about how relatively uncommon "Wayne" is as a given name. 

In order to get some perspective on the popularity of Wayne as a middle name in the population at large, I examined two additional databases, the Social Security Death Index, and the directory database for Louisiana State University. 


Social Security Death Index

I visited the Social Security Death Index to find statistics on names:

Social Security Death Index Interactive Search

There are about 80 million records in SSDI.  Since deaths are pretty evenly divided between males and females, SSDI includes about 40 million records of male names.  A search for the middle name of Wayne turns up only 1,312 names, out of 40 million records.  This amounts to 0.003% of all male names.

Put another way, the middle name of Wayne is about 300 times more common in the AMW and Iowa DoC databases, than it is in the SSDI. 

You can also use SSDI to examine statistics in individual years.  For instance, in 2005, there were 2.2 million deaths in the nation overall.  About 1.1 million were male, and 39 of these were men with the middle name Wayne, which is equivalent to 0.002%. 

Of course, SSDI represents names of people who have died who, for obvious reasons, tend to be older than the general population. 

As you noted, Wayne became a popular name in the 1940's, and most of the Wayne's from that era would be expected to still be living.  As such, the SSDI database would better represent the distribution of names from generations past, rather than names as they are currently in use among younger males. 


To get some additional perspective, I took a look at the directory for Louisiana State University, which allows searching by middle names:

Louisiana State University

A search on the middle name of Wayne returned 25 records.

According to the LSU facts and figures page:

30,000 students
1,200 full-time faculty members
staff of more than 3,000

there is a university population of about 34,000.  Assuming half of these are men, there are 17,000 men of whom 25 -- 0.15% --  have a middle name of Wayne. 

While this is a much larger percentage than the SSDI figure, it is still considerably smaller than the AMW or Iowa DoC figure of roughly 1%.


There aren't many databases that allow easy searching on middle names, especially in a way that can provide statistics on how common or rare a certain middle name is.  However, the databases that do allow such searching clearly suggest that Wayne is much more common as a middle name among criminals/fugitives than it is in the more general male population. 

I hope this provides the sort of documentation you were seeking.  Let me know if there's anything more I can do for you. 

And if your middle name is, indeed, Wayne....stay out of trouble!





 15 Oct 2007 20:04 UTCMon 15 Oct 2007 - 8:04 pm UTC 

This is pure conjecture. I haven't researched it, but it might lead somewhere.

I know quite a few families where a son has been given a middle name that is the father's first name. Vanity, perhaps, or maybe a way to provide a link from generation to generation.

If "Wayne" as a first name peaked in popularity in 1946, perhaps it peaked as a middle name one generation later. And when does crime peak? Sixteen to twenty-five, I think.

So those sons-of-Waynes who got "Wayne" as their middle name have recently passed the peak of their offending, and are perhaps at the peak of their incarceration.

If this theory holds, there should also be an incarceration peak for other names that were popular as first names in the 1940s and 1950s.




 15 Oct 2007 20:55 UTCMon 15 Oct 2007 - 8:55 pm UTC 


This is good stuff. 

Am not convinced yet though. 

You have four data sources, two for the general population and two for the criminal population.

Regarding the AMW list, that one looks good to me at about 1% of the population.  Iowa list is a bit higher possibly due entirely to the inclusion of Wayne derivatives.  But if we could look at a statistically significant sample size of the Iowa list and throw out the derivatives, we'd get to a %age that I'd be inclined to accept, with the caveat of potential geographical bias? 

Re geographical bias, while it may play a role, I would think the Nevada - Iowa difference another poster mentioned is more attributable to database limitations.  I can see from the SSA baby name popularity site that Wayne has been similarly popular in most states over time.  So I think with some quick adjustments we could be there on the numerator (ie the % of Waynes in the criminal universe). 

Regarding the two "general population" databases you use to arrive at the denominator, I think these are more problematic.  The SSA death site skews old and the LSU one skews young.  I think the typical Wayne is a baby boomer like my dad.  Starting in 1887, Wayne was the 310th most popular boy FIRST name, rising to 29th by 1946 and falling again to 645th by 2006 (probably b/c of all these News of the Weird and Levitt articles). 

So I think your two databases fail to capture the incidence of Waynes in the general population.  Any other ideas for a general population middle name data source?

Also I suppose for our purposes I am willing to ignore the age skew of the general population vs the criminal population but as Ribuck points out I have a feeling that would explain a lot of what is going on here. 

I'll throw in a tip for all the trouble.  Cheaper than a psychiatrist to treat the "Wayne Complex" I am developing. 

Thanks, K. Wayne


David Sarokin 


 15 Oct 2007 20:59 UTCMon 15 Oct 2007 - 8:59 pm UTC 

K. Wayne,

You have a good eye for statistical strengths and limitations.  Give me some time to explore how I can best address your comments.  There are very few databases that allow searching on middle names, and that's the biggest constraint in all this. I'll see what I can do, and get back to you in a few days.

Til then...

David NW* Sarokin

*not Wayne




 15 Oct 2007 23:15 UTCMon 15 Oct 2007 - 11:15 pm UTC 

Sounds good.


David Sarokin 


 15 Oct 2007 23:51 UTCMon 15 Oct 2007 - 11:51 pm UTC 


Let me know what you think of the following:

At this site:


it's possible to download a list of professional licensees in Colorado.  I downloaded this list of all CPA's in the state:


This group seemed a reasonable match regarding the demographics you talked about -- older than college students, but not quite up there with the SSDI crowd yet (the database doesn't have age info...I'm just using common sense here).

All told, there are 22,284 names in the CPA database, of which, 51 are listed with the middle name of Wayne.  This represents 0.2% of the entire list...a number consistent with the LSU data.   

For this list -- as for all the databases thus far referenced -- there are always caveats, such as the simple fact that not everyone provides a full middle name for the records (I can attest to this, as I rarely use my own middle name). 

Before going down the path of looking for similar license-holder databases, I just wanted to hear your thoughts on whether you consider these reliable sources to gain some perspective on the Wayne question. 






 16 Oct 2007 00:27 UTCTue 16 Oct 2007 - 12:27 am UTC 

This is a good idea. 

Probably better to exclude from the 22284 those who didn't provide more than a middle initial, so the 0.2% will rise. 

Also I guess we are skewing the socioeconomic makeup by only using professional databases.  If Wayne is a redneck name, less likely to be a CPA, right?  But if that's all we have...


David Sarokin 


 18 Oct 2007 00:30 UTCThu 18 Oct 2007 - 12:30 am UTC 


After a lot of digging around in the rare databases that (a) include middle names (b) allow middle name searching, and (c) can provide statistics (such as total number of middle-name Waynes), I've come to the following conclusions:

--Wayne is much more common as a middle name than it is as a first name (I haven't any real clue why this is, though it might have something to do with the popularity of John Wayne as an actor for an older generation).

--Most databases and name lists don't include (or present) middle names

--Even for databases that do include middle names, many entries don't include middle-name information
(SSDI is a great example of this -- there are roughly 10,000 middle initial records for every record with a full middle name.  For this reason, I stopped pursuing the SSDI and Colorado license angles that I was pursuing earlier).

--Many people don't use their middle name in any routine fashion

--Law enforcement databases are the exception.  In order to provide the least ambiguous identification, they often include -- and list -- full middle names, along with first and given names.

The result of all this is that people don't see or hear the name Wayne all that often, since it is (for some reason) more common as a middle name than as a first (or last) name.  Most lists of names that one sees, then, don't include middle names, and hence, don't have very many Waynes.  People with the middle name of Wayne may not use the name very often in personal interactions.

When they do see a list of names that include middle names, the list is often from a law enforcement context, and the name Wayne pops out because it is a relatively uncommon name. (In contrast, there are also lots of people on inmate lists with the middle name William, but these don't "pop out" since William is a common first name as well). 

Hence, it's easy to come away with the impression that middle-name Waynes are somehow associated with criminality. 

But (<<big sigh of relief>>), I don't really see any firm statistical evidence to support this, my original answer notwithstanding. 

Let's go into this in a bit more detail.

--Wayne is much more common as a middle name than it is as a first name

Take a look at the results from the following three databases that all allow middle-name searching:

24 Waynes total
4 first names
19 of them middle names
1 last name

Louisiana State University
First name Wayne -- Names found: 12
Middle name Wayne -- Names found: 25

10 first name Wayne
187 middle name Wayne
15,400 members total

Note that in the university databases, Wayne as a middle name is 2-5 times more common than as a first name.  In the Alabama lawyers database, the same pattern holds, but is much more pronounced.  Middle-name Waynes among the lawyers are 18-19 times more common than first-name Waynes. 

I think the reason for this is probably that the lawyer database is more legalistic in nature, and tends towards inclusion of middle names, whereas the university databases are more take it or leave it when it comes to middle names.  Of course, this is total speculation on my part, but it's the best hypothesis I can come up with.

When we turn to criminal databases, the patterns aren't notably different from the lawyers (heh heh!). 

KY Offender Online Lookup
First name Waynes -- 30
Middle name Wayne -- 448

Middle name Waynes are about 15 times more common than first name Waynes.

Iowa Offenders Lookup
First name Wayne:  Matches: 372
Middle Name Wayne:  Matches: 3171

About 9 times more common.

In contrast, look at the same sort of stats from Iowa for the name William:

First name William -- Matches: 2461
Middle name William -- Matches: 2626

It's a big contrast.  William is equally common as a first and middle name.  Hence, when one sees name lists that include middle names (such as criminal justice lists), William doesn't really stand out as anything unusual, even though there are plenty of criminals with William as a middle name. 

But the middle name Wayne does jump out at us, since we don't see it very often as a first name.

I'm sorry this is all so long-winded, and I hope it makes sense.  Nothing here is really proven, by any means.  But I think it's a fairly solid conjecture, just the same.

Kevin...Let me know your thoughts on all this.





 18 Oct 2007 02:31 UTCThu 18 Oct 2007 - 2:31 am UTC 

David - nice job.  Thanks much.  Although I won't use my middle name professionally, I know there is no more chance of my becoming an axe murderer than anyone else. 

Very much appreciated.

K Wayne




 18 Oct 2007 02:59 UTCThu 18 Oct 2007 - 2:59 am UTC 

trying to add a tip here




 18 Oct 2007 11:35 UTCThu 18 Oct 2007 - 11:35 am UTC 

again trying the tip


David Sarokin 


 18 Oct 2007 12:30 UTCThu 18 Oct 2007 - 12:30 pm UTC 

Thanks a lot, Kevin.  Seems like you're not a bad fellow, after all, middle name aside :-)




 18 Oct 2007 12:36 UTCThu 18 Oct 2007 - 12:36 pm UTC 

After this exposé, my bet is that the use of this name will now start to wane.


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