Category: baby name research
When my husband announced the birth of our first child to my family last June, they were convinced, thanks to a bad cell phone connection, that we had named our daughter Tetra. My dad Googled the tropical fish, and my brother, who was wielding a video camera, performed a dramatic zoom on its Wikipedia page.
In the two confused minutes it took to convey that the baby’s name was actually Petra, my grandmother had started to come around to Tetra, which just goes to show that even the staunchest traditionalist can accept the weirdest baby name, as long as it’s attached to someone tiny, adorable, and genetically related to her.
A names – those that start with the letter A – have become the most widely used in the U.S., given to over 10 percent of all babies, more than double the proportion of children who were given A names in the 1950s.
You can peg the popularity of A names to pure fashion, and definitely, A names ranging from the classic Abigail and Alexander to the trendy Addison and Aiden have been on the rise for a couple of decades now. While this may be part of an overall trend toward vowel names, which are up across the board while most consonant-starting names are trending down, A is up the highest.
But there’s evidence that A names may be beneficial for your child in more substantial ways. A study by researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Diego found that students whose names begin with the letters A and B earn better grade point averages than those whose names start with C or D. And more law school students named Anna and Andrew tend to go to top-ranked universities like Stanford than those called Chris and Drew.
Even more significant, another study suggests that people with A names live longer – in some cases, as much as a decade longer – than those whose names start with the letter D. Scary, but compelling if you want to give your child every advantage in life.
We realize a lot of people come to nameberry to help make their first baby-naming decision, but today we’d like to hear from those parents who’ve already named one or more children with our new baby name survey.
What factors influenced your name choice? Whose advice did you take? How did you finally settle on “the one”?
We’ll be following this up with questions about your opinions on middle names, nicknames, sibling names, etc.
CLICK HERE TO START Part 1 of the baby name survey. We’ll be reporting on the results soon.
THANKS for participating!!
Unusual baby names are becoming more and more, well, common these days. A mere one percent of babies are named Emma or Jacob, the most popular names, and only about ten percent are given one of the Top Ten names. Compare that to a hundred years ago, when FIVE percent of babies were given the most popular names John or Mary, and 30 percent of boys and 20 percent of girls received one of the Top Ten Names. For the first time, less than half of all babies get one of the Top 50 names.
And it’s not only American parents who are choosing unusual baby names. Chinese parents, seeking individuality in a country with 1.3 billion people sharing only 129 surnames, are turning to unconventional combinations of letters, numbers and symbols for their children’s names. One couple wanted to name their baby 1A while others use the @ symbol, pronounced “aita” and meaning “love him” in Chinese.
Many European countries restrict the pool of possible names, though many parents are testing the centuries-old boundaries. But Belgium, with no such laws, over half of children receive such unique names as Testimony, Cherub, and Edelweiss.
If you’re considering giving your baby an unusual name, your biggest question may be: How will an unusual name affect my child for better and worse throughout his or her life?
It might if she goes into the legal profession, according to a new study. Women with masculine names make more money as lawyers than those with feminine names and are more likely to be appointed to judgeships, say researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina.
Not only that, but the more masculine the name, the better. A woman named Kelly has a five percent greater chance of becoming a judge than a Sue, while Cameron’s odds are tripled and a female Bruce’s are quintupled.