What's in a Name? – Gender Classification of Names with Character Based Machine Learning Models

02/07/2021 ∙ by Yifan Hu, et al. ∙ 0

Gender information is no longer a mandatory input when registering for an account at many leading Internet companies. However, prediction of demographic information such as gender and age remains an important task, especially in intervention of unintentional gender/age bias in recommender systems. Therefore it is necessary to infer the gender of those users who did not to provide this information during registration. We consider the problem of predicting the gender of registered users based on their declared name. By analyzing the first names of 100M+ users, we found that genders can be very effectively classified using the composition of the name strings. We propose a number of character based machine learning models, and demonstrate that our models are able to infer the gender of users with much higher accuracy than baseline models. Moreover, we show that using the last names in addition to the first names improves classification performance further.

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