Why aren’t there more John Smiths in the U.S.? John is the most common first name in the U.S. and Smith is the most common surname in the U.S. But there are 7,000 less people named John Smith than would be expected by calculating the odds of that name occurring among the U.S. population.
Why? Take a look at the synonyms Thesaurus.com lists for John Smith:
“average joe, average person, common man, everyman, joe blow, joe doakes, joe sixpack, john q. public, man in the street, mr. nobody, ordinary joe.”
The well-documented Slate article written by Lee Hartman does a good job explaining why “more than 7,000 people named John Smith are missing: the name means “average person,” “man in the street,” “everyman” or “nobody.” It comes across as a phony alias rather than a real name. Enjoy the Slate article.