Category: baby name popularity
Â There were dozens of stories in the baby name news last week, but they all shared a common theme: the Social Security Administrationâ€™s release of the 2012 baby name data
We talked about Titan and Briggs, Landry and Geraldine.Â About how Jacob remained number one, but only if you didnâ€™t tally up the many spellings of Aiden, Jackson, and Jayden.Â Televisionâ€™s influence was clear â€“ Arya and Aria, Litzy, Major, and Jase.Â Movies, sports, and music shaped our choices, too, as did faith.Â Nevaehâ€™s little brother might just be called Messiah.
But what about the quiet classics, the names that rise and fall, but still appear in nearly every generation?Â Hemlines change.Â We graduated from the party line to the iPhone, the horse to the Prius.Â And yet these names remain, worn by men and women, boys and girls of every age.
Thereâ€™s one vowel that’s found at the end of seemingly every girl name. That vowel, of course, is the A. Today the focus is on girl names ending in a different vowel– the incredible I.
The most popular ends-in-i nameÂ for the moment is Naomi, an Old Testament name long popular in the Jewish community, which is at an all-time popularity peak. Naomi broke the top 100 for the first time in 2010, and has gradually reached #93 for 2011 (the most recent year Social Security name data is available).
Another ends-in-i nameÂ that has seen recent success is Maci, which has dramatically ascended the charts. After spending a decade in the bottom top 1000, Maci achieved Top 200 status within a short two-year span, probably thanks to being the name of a teen mom featured on MTV reality shows.
Yes, there are baby names that have had longer runs at the top of the popularity list.Â Mary and John, certainly, and, more recently, Michael, who ruled for 44 years, yet none of them came to be seen as an epidemic or to signify a whole generation in the way that Jennifer did, though she was Number 1 for a mere fifteen years.
But in that time, between 1970 and 1984, there were 859,112 little Jennifers born in the USâ€”enough for online Jennifer identity-loss support groups to spring up as they matured, enough for future parents to bemoan â€śI donâ€™t want my child to be one of five named Jennifer in her class,â€ť and enough for us to call our first book Beyond Jennifer and Jason. Â Jennifer became a one-girl baby names trend.
But why Jennifer?Â A once obscure Cornish form of the old Welsh Gwenhwyfar, aka Guinevere, a name that was hardly heard here before 1938â€”except for an appearance in a 1905 Shaw play– and which didn’tÂ enter the Top 100 till 1956.
Last week we wanted to write about babies named Mitt Romney and Sandy, and as it happened, the world gave us both.Â Name nerds and regular folk alike respond to the idea that dramatic, world-changing events have an impact on what we name our children.
But while everyone else is confidently predicting an uptick in little girls called Sandra, berries know that the picture is far more complicated.Â Besides, wouldnâ€™t Sandrine or Alessandra be the more stylish option?
The truth is that the real shifts in names are rarely caused by a headline-grabbing event.Â While it was easy to be distracted by tales of Kenyan twin brothers given the names Barack and Mitt, last week was also rich with stories that show longer-term change in how we think about the names we give our children.
Last weekâ€™s nine biggest names in baby name news were:
Lately Iâ€™m wondering: is all this talk about baby names changing the names we use?
A century ago, parents could draw inspiration from the newspaper, the Bible, literature, music, and anything on the family tree.Â There was room for creativity, but actual data gathering would have been difficult.
Today a few keystrokes will tell you how many girls were named Isabella last year, or whether hundreds of random strangers think that Ethan Alexander is a good name for your son.Â No wonder an expectant mom actually grimaced when I asked her if theyâ€™d chosen a name yet.
With all of this information, could it be that trends will accelerate?Â Will we talk ourselves out of using great names?Â Iâ€™ve heard of dozens of parents deciding against their top choice for fear that Stella is the next Ava. Or maybe theyâ€™re desperately searching for a name just like Logan, but much less popular, without actually being too unusual.