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There are 43 Daniels on campus: Behind the most popular Princeton names

Students are walking to their respective classes.
Guanyi Cao / The Daily Princetonian

In the class of 2027, there are two Emily Zhangs. Scratch that — two Emily R. Zhangs.

“Me and the other freshman Emily Zhang have the same birthday,” Emily Ruohan Zhang ’27 told The Daily Princetonian. “We’re the same exact age.” 


All together there are four Emily Zhangs on campus, and they are not alone — several undergraduates share the same first and last name.

Our analysis of the Residential College Student Facebook revealed which names — first, last, and full — are the most common among undergraduate students. This study did not aggregate different spelling variations of the same name, meaning that, for example, ‘Claire’ and ‘Clare’ would be counted separately.

There are 2,516 unique first names among Princeton undergraduates. However, roughly one in 16 students have one of the top 10 most common first names at Princeton. Similarly, one in five undergraduates hold one of the 50 most common first names at Princeton. This means that 2 percent of first names account for over 20 percent of all students.

The ‘Prince’ found traditionally female names to have more variation than traditionally male ones. The top 10 traditionally female names account for only 4.54 percent of all names in the undergraduate student body, compared to traditionally male names at 6.09 percent. 


Certain surnames appear frequently among Princeton undergraduates. The top 10 last names account for 6.61 percent of undergraduates. Kim is the most common last name at Princeton with 59 undergraduates, or 1.13 percent, sharing the surname, meaning over one-in-a-hundred undergraduate students share this last name.

In the United States, Smith is the most common last name, held by 0.83 percent of Americans in the 2010 U.S. Census. However, at Princeton, only twelve students, or 0.22 percent of the undergraduates, have this last name. Kim does not appear in the 2010 top surnames. Lee, the second most popular surname among undergraduates, is the 21st most popular name in the U.S., with 0.23 percent of the population.

Each graduating class has a distinct combination of the most common first and last names. Daniel and Kim are the most common first name and last name respectively, both for the Class of 2024 and for the entire undergraduate population.

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Twenty-eight unique full names are shared by two or more Princeton undergraduate students. There are three students named David Lee, three named Sophia Chen, and four undergraduates named Emily Zhang. The recurrence of some of these names has caused some confusion around campus.

“Frist sent [another Emily Zhang] my bank statement one time,” Emily M. Zhang ’26 said. She also shared how “the first exam that I took at Princeton, our exam grades got mixed up on Gradescope and she [another Emily Zhang] did better than I did. So it was really bad for me.”

The two Emily R. Zhangs ’27 were placed in the same freshman writing seminar. Emily Ruohan Zhang elected to go by Em for the entire semester to avoid confusion.

James Beacham is a contributing Data writer for the ‘Prince.’

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