Category: Baby names 2012
The 2012 Popular Baby Names list was released in May to a lot of excited name enthusiasts. Of course we were all interested in the Top 10 and Top 100, but I also loved seeing what fell out of and what made its way into the Top 1000. What’s the new name on the block? Finding out was like Christmas in May.
On my blog back in January, I made my own predictions and suggested 6 girl names and 6 boy names that would crack into the Top 1000. It’s always hard to say what will make the jump into the published list and what will not. In 2011, for example, Hattie reentered the Top 1000 at #993 with 253 births, up from 157 births in 2010 (which would have put it at #1444). It could take a lot of births, or just a few depending on the activity of the other thousand names throughout the year. To help me make these predictions, I went through the 100 names below the Top 1000 to see what jumped out at me.
Once upon a time, most parents would have never imagined naming their children Arya, Iker or Major. Now these are some of the fastest rising baby names in the U.S. With formerly unusual names hitting the mainstream, some parents are left wondering where to find under-the-radar names.
The trick is to stop looking for unusual names. That’s right. Instead of resorting to increasingly offbeat choices, consider some names that are right under your nose.
There are many names that seem on-trend yet remain under-the-radar, and many are familiar. Here are some names that are uncommon (most are outside the U.S. Social Security Administration’s top 1000 baby names for 2012) but don’t seem all that unusual. Next to each name is the number of babies given the name last year.
Aida – 164
Calista – 195
Cassia – 45
Flora – 124
Lavinia – 52
Lucinda – 181
Marcella – 166
Oona – 39
Ramona – 197
Rhea – 224
Sally – 205
Soleil – 177
Sybella – 11
Sylvie – 169
Vada – 157
Viola – 162
Clive – 65
Conan – 54
Ewan – 140
Fritz – 30
Gordon – 194
Guy – 138
Murray – 42
Niles – 44
Olin – 80
Orson – 31
Tobin – 138
Viggo – 29
Arden – 221 girls / 76 boys
Darby – 117 girls / 39 boys
Kelby – 32 girls / 59 boys
Remy – 195 girls / 233 boys
Name trends can be inexplicable and unpredictable, otherwise most of these names would show up on more parents’ baby name lists.
Okay, so at first glance some of these names, like Viggo, may come across as eccentric. But when compared to other names on the rise, Viggo isn’t that eccentric. Consider that another Norwegian name, Soren, has recently crept into the top 1000 and seems to be trending upwards, and Viggo has the trendy o-suffix. When these things are considered, Viggo seems like it should have been given to more than 29 newborn boys last year.
Another name that may appear eccentric at first is Soleil. And maybe thirty years ago, when a young Soleil Moon Frye entertained children as Punky Brewster, the child star’s name, the French word for “sun,” was unfamiliar and difficult to say. Fast-forward to 2013, however, and celestial names like Luna and Stella are taking off, and thanks to the actress, the name is no longer unfamiliar.
Most of these names seem like they should have caught on by now. But they haven’t. This is good news for anyone seeking that elusive different but not too different name.
Angela created Upswing Baby Names to help parents find that different but not too different name. She muses about names on their way in and on their way out in her book, The Top 22 in 2022. She is also an avid runner, wannabe foodie, and devoted mom of two.
The mythical secret vault of truly unique baby names is real, but only the US government holds the key.
To protect privacy, the Social Security Administration doesn’t release names given to only one child, drawing the line at five or more. So the names given to five babies are the most unique we’re able to learn about. Most of those on that rarefied level are tortured spellings of more familiar names: Mikeila and Scarlotte, Masun and Stanlee. And there are truly terrible names at the depths of the extended list too, as detailed in our recent blog.
But then there are those nearly unique baby names that are eminently usable, ripe for the picking for the parent who truly wants a distinctive choice. These are not for everybody, but we found over 50 excellent choices that were used for just five children each in 2012. Among them are names that are among our all-time favorites, such as Petal and Tiernan for girls, O’Brien and Poe for boys.
Our favorite nearly-unique (given to just five children) baby names:
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Every year, a small number of new names manages to move onto the Top 1000 list for the first time ever. Sometimes this marks the beginning of a climb up the ladder, other times it’s a name that will linger in the nether regions, and sometimes it might prove to be a one-shot wonder—perhaps an eccentric spelling picked up by just enough parents to make the grade.
In 2011, for instance, we saw the debuts of such nouveau names as Elliot for girls, Aviana, Blakely, Juniper, Liv, and Temperance; Bowen, Brecken, Flynn, the musical Crosby and Hendrix, the presidential Nixon and the Ivy League Princeton.
But how about the recently released list? Of the forty-five possibilities, here are the Nameberry Picks for the twelve most promising newbies of 2012.
Azalea—Though there were fewer than three hundred baby girls given this name in 2012, it has now definitely crossed over from the wilder fringes into the main flower garden. Azalea embodies a delightful combination of the fragrant floral with a shot of z-infused energy.
And then there are those baby names that are evidence of how wide the gulf is between the British and the American cultures.
We found 29 baby names — 20 for girls and nine for boys — that rank in the current British Top 200 (or so) that do not appear at all in the American Top 1000. (Note: We did skip spelling variations such as Hollie and Isobel.)
And another five Top 200 baby names for girls and nine for boys that are down at the bottom of our Top 1000; in other words, vastly less popular in the US than in the UK.