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The combination of the SSA babynames data, which is very cool and deep on its own, with the SSA actuarial data is pretty neat, partly because I hadn't known about the actuarial data set...but when I saw that the OP had tried to calculate surviving persons of a given name and birth year, I assumed that they just used the SSA's death database...from until at least 2010, the SSA had a list of every SSA person who has died and also, when they were born, and also, their social security numbers. Since the SSN, until relatively recently, was indicative of what state the SSN-holder was actually born...well, that, combined with the babynames-per-state data, could get you very granular calculations...I'm sure the SSA's actuarial table gets it pretty much within an acceptable margin of error, but who knows, maybe some awkwardly named people were doomed to a shorter lifespan? (I'm only half joking, I think)

> what state the SSN-holder was actually born

No, it was the state where the SSN was issued. Not all children applied for an SSN at birth. Centralization of SS offices also altered this practice.

See, e.g., http://www.ssa.gov/history/ssn/geocard.html

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