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Stylish vs. Popular Names: Do you know the difference?

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It’s easy to confuse popularity with stylishness.  Many baby names feel “popular” when they’re merely stylish: We’re hearing them a lot, they’re in step with the baby name fashions, and we worry that if we choose them, our little Matilda is going to be one of many.

And perhaps if you live in some edgy, baby-centric enclave – Park Slope, Brooklyn, say, or Bernal Heights in San Francisco – that will be true.  But for the most part, the numbers tell a different story, with many of the most stylish names used by very few parents.

One note: Names can be popular and stylish, so many of those in the popular column also qualify as stylish.

Looking just at girls’ names today, here’s a statistics-based reality check on what’s stylish vs. what’s truly popular.  (Numbers in parentheses represent how many babies were given that name in the most recent U.S. count.)

Allegra (114) is stylish, though Arianna (4,797) is popular

Aurelia (209) is stylish, but Amelia (5,417) is popular

Azalea (164) is stylish while Violet (2,531) is popular

Beatrix (123) is stylish while Alexa (5,012) is popular

Blake (240) is stylish, while Payton (3,561) is popular

Carter (158) is stylish while Kennedy (2,803) is popular

Cecily (96) is stylish but Cecilia (1,186) is popular

Clementine (132) is stylish and Charlotte (5,313) is popular

Devon (110) is stylish, while London (2,847) is popular

Esme (279), merely stylish;  Eliza (1,296), popular

Everly (159), stylish, compared with Ellie (2,886), which is popular

Felicity (355) is stylish, while Lydia (2,802) is popular

Flora (113) is stylish, though Cora (1,188) is getting popular

Harlow (349) is stylish, and Lola (1,454) is popular

Honor (83) is stylish while Hazel (1,232) is getting popular

Ida (99) is stylish, while Eva (3,247) is popular

Imogen (100), just stylish, while Evelyn (5,802) is popular

Isadora (122) is stylish, while we all know that Isabella (22,731) is super-popular

Maisie (123) is stylish, but Molly (3,338) is popular

Matilda (339) is stylish, while Madelyn and Madeline (over 7,000 combined) are popular

May (106), stylish, but Maya (3,921) is popular

Mercy (202) is stylish, while Faith (3,633) is popular

Millie (305) is stylish; Lily (7,900), popular

Pearl (263) is stylish, while Ruby (2,764) is popular

Persephone (110) is stylish, while Penelope (1,535) is popular

Poppy (118) is stylish, though Piper (2,119) is popular

Rory (242) is stylish,  Aurora (1,517), more popular

Sawyer (348), stylish;  Sydney (4,301), popular

Scout (148) is stylish but Harper (2,601) is popular

Seraphina (107) is stylish, while Serenity (3,437) is popular

Susannah (72) is stylish while Savannah (5,311) is popular

Tess (334) is stylish, while Tessa (1,413) is popular

Willa (262) stylish, with Willow (1,105) more popular

Winter (217) is stylish, while Autumn (3,476) is popular

Wren (184) is stylish but Quinn (1,267) is getting popular

Tune in for the boys’ rundown tomorrow!

 

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