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Baby Names Trend: The Jennifer Juggernaut

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cheridel Says:

February 20th, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I have never understood why Jennifer got so popular. I absolutely do not like it at all. I do love the similar Genevieve though.

Kibby Says:

February 20th, 2013 at 10:48 pm

The naming pool is simply too large now for another Juggernaut of a name to come through and sweep everyone away!

TheNameFreak Says:

February 20th, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Jennifer is a beautiful name if you get past how dated it is. it will take a while, but i think it could come back in the future.

namelover77 Says:

February 20th, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Jennifer is a nice name, but I think Guinevere is absolutely incredible.

I think it will be a while, but it will make a comeback.

karianne Says:

February 20th, 2013 at 11:01 pm

We had so many Jennifers, we came up with descriptive nicknames for them, most of which were unflattering. We had a “Redheaded Jennifer”, a “Bucktooth Jennifer”, a “Fat Jennifer”, a “Horseface Jennifer”. Not good. It’s going to be the same way with all of the Aidens and Jaydens and Avas.

augusta_lee Says:

February 20th, 2013 at 11:42 pm

I elect Harper and Archer.

shellezbellez Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 12:01 am

I’ve said it before in various threads–Jennifer is a great name. (Note, I am a Jennifer.) It’s got a lovely, rich history (Gwenfrewi; Gwenhwyvar/Guinevere), AND it has a unique combination of consonant sounds–the /J/, /N/, /F/, and /R/combination is a very interesting one. If it hadn’t been super-popular in the past few decades, it would definitely be one of the names we discussed on Nameberry. Most of the hate I hear about it is basically that it was just too popular for too long, anyway. That’s hardly a legitimate criticism of the name itself, just the overabundance of it.

Also, I never had a problem with people using unflattering terms to designate me or my peers; we usually went by Jennifer M. or Jen, Jenni, or Jennifer. I knew one who went by Fer.

I would love to see the name revived in a generation or two down the road.

mjeezy13 Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 12:31 am

I absolutely think Jennifer will make a comeback one day. I’m thinking it will be the 100 year rule in full effect. It’s a beautiful name and people are still finding fresh replacements for this over-used name. Genevieve and Juniper, for example.

emekct Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 1:28 am

Jacob…it’s nearly there with longevity!

maddiejadore Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 2:17 am

There were 3 Jennifer’s in my first grade class. They all had the same last initial…

Aurra Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 7:53 am

I don’t think another Jennifer will ever come by swarm, at least not in the next few decades. If you look at the SSA data for 1975, 58,000 girls were named Jennifer. In 2011, only 21,000 girls were named Sophia and 20,000 boys were named Jacob.
Also, in the middle of the 70s, there were almost 4 Jennifers in every hundred girls. (Math geeks can simplify it to 1 in 25)
Today, there is barely one Sophia in every hundred.

Today, the naming pool is much wider. Words, nature, gems, Hashtag… Anything goes. Misspellings are more common and more accepted. This is seen by looking at the percentages.

R_J Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 8:05 am

If I just focus on the sound of the name and strip away the associations, I really love the name Jennifer. It’s actually very pretty.

tori101 Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 8:28 am

I don’t think Jennifer ever became incredibly popular here in England. So the whole Jennifer craze concerning everyone being called Jennifer doesn’t come to mind for me. However it does feel very 80s! But I only know one Jennifer! The rest of my family don’t know any Jennifers. I think the name is really quite pretty and will eventually come back into fashion, when the name begins to feel fresh again.

Jennie Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 9:03 am

I’m a Jennifer that has gone through every variation of the name until I found one that fit. I was also born at the tail end of the trend and I’ve always disliked my name. In fact, it’s the reason I became a name nerd, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.

I personally hope there isn’t another phenomenon like it. At this point, it’s less of a name and more of a “Well, what else can I call you because I know 14 others?” Kids should be able to be known by their first name, not first name last initial or first name with an “i.”

blush Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 9:26 am

I’ve always found the name clunky with the J N F R sounds together. I’ve never understood it being described as delicate or beautiful. I absolutely think it will come back, and agree with the above, that it will likely be the 100 year rule. It was obviously popular for a reason, and I would think that will hold true again, when it sounds fresher to another generation.

lindsW Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 9:50 am

I always lumped together all of the Christina/Christine/Christen/Christa and their variations (“I” or “y” instead of an “e”), along with all of the variations that start with “K”. I know a ton of women with basically the same, all spelled just a little differently.

At least Jennifer, generally, only has one widely accepted spelling.

lindsW Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 9:51 am

Oh, I forgot Christy and Chrystal in my variations on a theme of Christina.

rkchance Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 9:58 am

There may not be another “Jennifer” but we do have trends. There are the preppy er, ly, and an/en ending names for boys and the unisex/nature names for girls. Notice how all the celebrity names are starting to look the same? The Beckams are a great example of these trends. Other examples are celebrity twins such as Monroe and Moroccan and twin daughters, Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge.

HerMajesty Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 11:50 am

To be honest, I only know one Jennifer. I do know a whole bunch of Jenny/Ginnys and five or six Jessicas, but only the on Jennifer.
I do think it a plesant sounding name however, it must be its conection to Genevieve/Guinevere but it has a romantic and fairytale air to it. I think it could come back, as others said before, with the hundred year rule.

niteowl13 Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I think Sophia could do it. Lots of baby Sophias where I live!

Ysaline Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Jennifer will definitely make a comeback once the big wave of Jennifers are grandmothers and great-grandmothers, although it might be used more often in the middle spot to honour these family members. I think it’s a lovely name but hey, I like Jason, too. ;)

A similar thing happened in France around the same time as the Jennifer phenomenon, but with the name Sylvie. Sylvie seems to be catching on slowly in the English-speaking world, but it definitely won’t be ready for a comeback in francophone countries for some time yet. I don’t see another name reaching the lofty heights Jennifer or Sylvie did nowadays – as has been mentioned, there are just too many names circulating now compared to fifty years ago, and the desire to be different rather than to conform is so steeped into our culture now (although of course there are still strong trends, just not as strong as before).

BerryBry Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Names I want to see getting more popular that are similar to Jennifer:
Juniper
Genevieve
Gwendolyn
Guinevere
Junia/Juno

blueberry1215 Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I used to have a great dislike for the name Jennifer, the ‘iffer’ part was just very unappealing to me, and the only people who held the name that I knew of were the older Jennifers of Hollywood and a bothersome girl in my grade.

In that way, I that Jennifer Lawrence has placed her name in a more favorable light, and I wouldn’t be surprised if her beauty and talent caused a bunch more baby girls to be given her name. I don’t think it’ll ever be so popular again, or that any other name will ever rival it (far too many names are used today for that).

encore Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Great article!

yw2 Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Argh, I’ve known way too many Jennifers. I have three cousins named Jennifer. I know a guy whose sister is named Jennifer and he also dates a Jennifer, and his lesbian ex-wife is dating a Jennifer, too. How is that not confusing for them? I guess when in doubt any lady between 30-25 is probably a Jennifer, lol.

In three or four generations it might come back. Grandma and Great-Grandma will be Jennifer’s then, and a few girls might carry the name. But I don’t think it will be as popular. I think media, movies, books, songs influence names more than ancestry.

Personally, I think Guinevere looks and sounds much more feminine than Jennifer. If you say Jennifer slowly several times, it sounds almost like a boy name, like Eugene or Carter.

stairwaytoastar Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Very interesting. When I initially saw your link, I thought of “Love Story” and how influential it was, and wondered if you would be mentioning it. I also like how you attribute Jennifer’s popularity to Jennifer Jones, who is largely forgotten by today’s generation. I was recently watching an episode of The Waltons where Olivia and John Walton take in a foster baby – named, you guessed it, Jennifer. The 70s show was supposed to be set in the Great Depression, when I believe Jennifer would have been a little too early… haha.

As for today’s “Jennifer” I think Sophia and Ava are both the equivalents.

NellieDellie Says:

February 21st, 2013 at 10:50 pm

My grandmothers name is Jennifer. I would love to honour her someday but Jennifer feels way to dated for me. I think I would go with Guinevere.

Poppy528 Says:

February 22nd, 2013 at 12:10 am

I would really really like to meet a little child named Jenson or Jensen named in honor of a Jennifer. The fact that the name was #200 in 1945 baffles me. I have never met a senior citizen named Jennifer! Jenna is exceedingly popular, but I prefer Gemma. I might get shunned from nameberry if I admit how much I dislike Guinevere or any name beginning with the “gw” sound (it’s like nails on a chalkboard, I literally shudder).

LuMary Says:

February 22nd, 2013 at 12:38 pm

A few thoughts: First, where is Jessica (Yesica)found in the Old Testament (you’ve also stated this in one or more of your books, and I’ve been meaning to write)? I’ve been reading through the Bible annually for a number of years, and don’t recall seeing a a Hebrew variation of Jessica. I thought it was a name invented by Shakespeare, appearing in Merchant of Venice. Second, I’ve often wondered if Donovan’s Jennifer Juniper contributed to Jennifer’s meteoric rise. Jennifer also fits the names beginning with “J” trend for boys and girls born in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Being a mom’s name currently, it probably will not regain popularity any time soon, but wasn’t it still fashionable recently in California? I can see the vintage Jennie or Jenny being given popularly on its own nowadays, or as a familiar form of the recently resurrected Jane. Jennifer was my favorite name decades ago, and I never thought it would sound mundane. But like most every mega-popular name, its star, too, has dimmed.

LuMary Says:

February 22nd, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I recall that the Fonzie character on Happy Days dreamt aloud one day that if he had a baby girl, he’d name her Jennifer. I remember thinking at the time that his affection for Jennifer was too premature. But, now that I’ve read your blog, I see that he wasn’t too far off the mark. I doubt the writers of Happy Days knew that Jennifer would be #200 by 1945, though. I’ve always disliked when the writers of sitcoms or soaps take currently fashionable names for children and apply them to adult characters like Grace in Will & Grace, or give names to children that are unfashionable, such as Donna Jo, 1950s style combo-name, in Full House. The Grace character had Jewish roots, which also made Grace unlikely.

EmilyVA Says:

February 23rd, 2013 at 1:18 am

There was a movie called Love Story where the heroine was named Jennifer.
Also my cousin is named Jennifer and may I wish to name a baby after her.

ShannonDee Says:

February 24th, 2013 at 12:04 am

I’ve been telling friends for years that it is safe to name their baby Emily or Sophia or Isabella because if you look at he numbers they are no where near as popular as Jennifer was. It is nice to read this article saying exactly what I already knew.

That said, I always thought Jennifer was a beautiful name and all the popular and socially successful girls were Jennifer’s. so I always associated the name with popularity.

willaisie Says:

February 24th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I am a Jennifer, and I have loathed my name since Kindergarten. In a tiny graduating class of 65, there were 12 of us. I don’t consider my name a name, I consider it a label.

LuMary Says:

February 27th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

In reply to my first comment: After a little research, I discovered that Jessica is possibly derived from Iscah (Genesis 11). Interesting.

I agree that Jennifer uniquely signified an entire generation, and we might never see another like it. Jennifer came on the scene when society was undergoing a radical shift. Jennifer was the Pepsi generation. The name shouted from the heights, “I am cool, and there is no other.” I think society would have to again experience a cataclysmic pendulous swing, and a name would have to simultaneously burst onto the scene that embodies that shift in order to achieve the status Jennifer held.

shyshutterbug Says:

March 6th, 2013 at 2:31 am

My sister is a Jennifer. She thinks her name is groan-worthy. It’ll never be on my top 100, but I don’t despise it. (Mind you, I didn’t have to grow up with it.) Her middle name is Eve, though, which I adore.

ladydonovan Says:

April 1st, 2013 at 2:02 pm

As a Jennifer myself, I hope there is never another like it. It was not fun growing up as one of many, many Jennifers. From pre-K on up through high school, every best friend I ever had was also named Jennifer. I became Tall Jen or Jersey Jen. I WISH my parents had thought a bit harder before naming me the same thing as every other girl in the nursery.

EllaMeg Says:

May 4th, 2013 at 5:37 am

Over here in England, our popular names are a little different from the US…although films (movies) do have an influence.
For the last 15 years or so we have been engulfed in a tsunami of names ending in -y or -ie (and not just for girls). Individually, they are each very pretty – although some of the boys names can seem a bit infantile for a grown man – but there are just too many of them!

For example, in our sports club we have 64 out of 120:
Abi, Annie, Amy, Becky(4), Betty, Carly, Cassie, Clarrie, Darcy, Daisy, Ellie(2),Elsie, Esmie, Evie, Ginny, Hattie (2) from Harriet), Heidi, Holly, Izzy(3), Katie(2), Lexie, Libby(2), Livvy (from Olivia), Lucy, Maddie, Maisie, Millie, Molly, Poppy, Rosie, Ruby, Sophie(2), Tilly, Zoë
Alfie, Archie, Bailey, Billy, Charlie, Denny, Eddie, Frankie, Harry(5), Henry, Jamie, Ollie, Riley, Stanley, Toby, Tommy

JennaBunnySkin Says:

June 22nd, 2013 at 8:51 pm

I am also a Jennifer. I was the only Jennifer in my tiny community until summer brought the tourists. Then a Jenny was born who later became my sister-in-law. In a high school with more kids then my small community’s population, there were five “Jens” with varying names like Jennica all using Jen or Jenn as a nickname. I was referred to as Jen L. using my last initial, it became Jennell quickly. After marrying in the same small town and getting my sister-in-law’s mail often, a relative of mine married a Jennifer… Who now has my maiden name… Living in a small town where everyone knows your name, they don’t forget your last name and as much as I would like to change my name so I would not be confused with relatives, no one would be able to remember to change my first name if after 14 years they still can’t get my married name remembered instead of my maiden name. :) If I could get people to call me Jenna I would love that but my favorite silly nickname came from a cousin who broke up my name into Jenna (we have a Maine accent) & Fur, her spin was Jennabunnyskin :D I do like my name but because it was so popular, the names on the toothbrushes, license plates for bikes etc. were always sold out of Jennifer. I know it was extremely popular but I thought there was an outbreak of Heathers as well. My mom’s grandmother’s name was Geniveve so even though my parents didn’t name me after her on purpose, I like to think it was a happy coincidence , although in this era I would choose to spell it Jenniveve or Jennaveve.

jennyesq Says:

July 26th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Jennifer here too. I’m 30 and there were 7 of us in my tiny class of 100. So…yeah, not a fan. Although, I would like it if I weren’t one of thousands.

visitor3 Says:

August 27th, 2013 at 7:57 am

The generation of parents named Jennifer & Michael (etc. from the 1970s-80s) remembers the problem of having so many kids with the same name. I think this is the very root of the backlash! Everyone wants a much more unique (but not too impossible to spell/remember) name for their kid. I think there is a reason for the new trend of individuality in naming one’s child.

Those names are really lovely solid names. There were just too many.

RainbowBright908 Says:

October 9th, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I think we are currently experiencing the Jennifer juggernaut again… Aiden, Aidan, Jaden, Jayden, Caiden, Caden, Zayden, Hayden, Braeden, etc. If we could add up every yooneeck spelling of an “ayden” name given to boys and girls in the past 10 years, we’d probably have as many kids with ayden-rhyming names as there were baby Jennifers. It’s been said here, there’s really only one common spelling of Jennifer. I look at the youth program at my church, and I’m not exaggerating when I say about 10% of the boys age elementary through high school have an “ayden” name.

taliesin Says:

October 19th, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Jennifer is a pretty name. For my generation, it was thought to be exotic. But Emily, Isabella and Sophia were unheard of, old ladies names. I know lots of women in their thirties named Jennifer, along with Heather, Sarah and Michelle. Then there were lots of kids named Jessica, Ashley and Rachel. Emily and Sophia may have peaked but they will never go out of style now because they are classic names. Whereas Harper is going to be a generational name because it’s trendy, like Madison.

I’ve been studying names for decades, the meanings, origins and where it fits in popular literature. You can often tell how old someone is by their name. Forty years from now, Harper is never going to get away with lying about her age, no matter how much plastic surgery she gets.

Because for all the talk about a new name that sounds “fresh” (being the operative word) people do name their kids by what’s popular. A woman I worked with last year would never have dreamed of naming her daughters Avery and Hayley a generation prior to that.

The witch in Rene Clair’s I Married a Witch, played by Veronica Lake, is named ‘Jennifer’. There may have been some feud going with the studio that employed Jennifer Jones.

Nerds and Words: Week 42 | Science-Based Life Says:

October 26th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

[…] ∞ The most popular girl names in the US over the last 50 years. Fascinating, but why so many “Jennifers”? […]

camjade1 Says:

November 6th, 2013 at 5:11 pm

By gosh! The name Emma has been number one for too many years! In my opinion…

tracyjmurph Says:

November 10th, 2013 at 5:51 pm

At my job (a bookstore with about 60 employees) we literally have a Jen A., Jen B., Jen C., Jen D., Jen M., and a Jenny. 1 in 10 people at work are named Jennifer. It’s funny.

Jennifairy Says:

November 19th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I am a Jennifer born in 1991, in New Zealand. My name was carefully chosen and it was intended to match my sister Katherine and my brother James. Dad taught me from a young age where my name came from, what it meant and he often called me variants like Jennifairy and Genevieve. I think maybe this was the reason I never felt overshadowed by the plethora of celebrity Jennifers as I grew up – to me, my name had a mythical, Celtic quality. There was only one other Jennifer at school and we got along fiercely well because of it. I never disliked my name. Today my friends often call me Jen, which I don’t mind, or Jenny to tease. I don’t like Jenny. I have always felt as though it is the name of the everywoman on the playground. I feel like Jennifer is thoughtful and deliberate, whereas Jenny is spontaneous and careless. I feel like my identity is heavily invested in my name. I wonder if this would be different if I knew many other Jennifers. Sometimes I like my name so much I wish I could name my daughter Jennifer, but there are so many other exciting names to consider I feel like this would be a waste!

DRB Feel-Good Issue #12 | AuthReport.com Says:

November 29th, 2013 at 7:18 am

[…] Map of Girl’s Names Throughout the Years – [fascinating]Some problems with science in “Gravity” – [interesting]Awww! […]

Apple or Fifi might work in Hollywood but… by Kat Apf | Parenthood 360 Says:

January 27th, 2014 at 8:13 pm

[…] generation has its group of overused baby names. Yesterday’s Jennifers are still trying to distinguish themselves from each other. When you’re naming a child, you […]

JViti Says:

February 7th, 2014 at 11:11 pm

As a Jennifer, I do think the name was a little bit overused. I was born in 1987. I was NEVER and still have NEVER been the only Jennifer. In school, college, work, family everywhere. I have a younger cousin named Jennifer, I am 1/5 Jennifers at work so we are known by our last initial, at my old job I was 1/3. In college I was 1/4 and in High School I was 1/5. In my group of friends, 3 of us were Jennifers. We had Jen A., Jen B, and Jenn with 2 n’s. My mom would write my name Jen, but EVERYONE else named Jennifer did the same thing, so I made it Jenn to be different. I hated it growing up, just like all girls hate anything that makes them too similar to someone else, and my middle name is Lynne, so I also became JennLynne at one point (which actually would be considered trendy today). I dont think its to the extreme where I need to join a support group for not having an identity, but yes, it was an over-popular name growing up.

refinnej Says:

March 26th, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I am a Jennifer and I love my name. My mom never allowed my sister, Stephanie, and I to have a nickname while growing up. She insisted that we were to be called by our given names. It was not until college that I proclaimed myself as Jen due in part to my precious, elderly dorm mom choosing another Jennifer to be my roommate. I believe us Jennifers born in 1973 {and earlier/later} share a unique bond. ;)

HopeIsCrazy Says:

June 5th, 2014 at 10:49 am

I was born in 1974, graduating class of 93. I was showing my kid and her friends my 10th grade yearbook. “So many Jennifers,” they said. “And Heathers and Amys/ Aimees!” I don’t know know about other parts of the country, but in the Portland Oregon suburbs, those 3 name were so huge. In elementary school, I was in Blue Birds and then Campfire, and out of our group of 16 girls, we had 4 Amy/Aimees and 2 Jennifers an 2 Dianas. I can see another name becoming that popular in the future. Movies and book definetly influence name popularity. Look at the name Ariel; after The Little Mermaid came out-Boom!- itr was popular. Then the love interest in Grumpy Old Men, her name was Ariel. Rose re-bloomed in popularity after Titanic. I wouldnt be suprised if Hazel didn’t make a big comback from The Fault In Our Stars.

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