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Category: baby name study

African American baby playing with the letter A

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.

A names account for  20 entries on the girls’ Top 100, up from only five (Ann, Anne, Anna, Anita, and Alice) in 1950.  They are, in order of rank with their standing in parentheses, for girls:

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babykissingmirror


Unusual baby names are more, well, common these days than ever before, according to a new study.

This is not really news, and you don’t need to be a name researcher or statistician to realize it. Anyone who’s spent any time around children in the last few decades knows that you hear unusual names from Tatum to Trenton, from Delilah to D’Shawn around a lot more than you used to.

What’s surprising is the reason the San Diego State author of the latest study gives for the rise of unusual baby names since the 1940s, with the biggest rise in the 1990s. The theory: Higher narcissism among Baby Boom parents inspired the increase in unusual names.  We’re not so sure.

Jean Tweng, the author of the unusual names study, is also the author of two books on narcissism, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (Free Press, 2009) and Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled and –More Miserable Than Ever Before (Free Press, 2007).

We hate to be too, well, narcissistic about this, but we think the rise in unusual names is mostly because of us.

Our first book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason, came out in 1988.  We called it Beyond Jennifer & Jason because its whole point was to encourage parents to move beyond the expected names — Jennifer and Jason, Jessica and John — that were epidemic at the time and choose something more distinctive and, yes, unusual.

That book changed the way a new generation of parents thought about baby names.  It was our book, we maintain, that propelled the shift in naming trends, not the new generation of parents.

And we have proof.

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Baby Name Survey

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!!

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Boys’ Names for Girls: A Key To Success?

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Will giving your daughter a masculine name — as Heidi Klum and Seal did with their newborn daughter Lou — increase her odds for career success?

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.

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