This is why divorce won't lead me back to my spinster name: "REGINA MARIA RODRíGUEZ:"
Why Aren't There More John Smiths in the U.S? Do you see that name that's sixth from the top, "Maria Rodriguez?" Two thirds of my given name is among the most common in the United States. I can't stand it (but at least "Regina" doesn't show up in these statistics). Changing my last name was one reason I was glad to marry Bob Martin in 2008.
Later the article lists the 20 most frequent American surnames: "Rodriguez" is in there at #11. And "Martin" is #15. The commonness of my husband's last name is why I didn't change to "Regina Martin." I didn't think that would solve the problem of having a name that can be confused with thousands. But if you google "Regina Rodriguez-Martin," hardly anyone comes up besides me. That's better.
The rest of the Slate article does a bunch of number crunching and analysis to figure out why the name "John Smith" is far less common that it used to be. I'm not sure what that hand-wringing is about, but it makes me hopeful that maybe one day "Maria Rodriguez" will decline in popularity, if Mexican Catholics can get more imaginative in their baby-naming.