Category: baby names of 2009
At long last, the official list of the most popular names for baby girls and boys born in England and Wales in 2009 has been released. And, to cut to the chase, here are the Top 10 for each gender–all of which were there last year, with several remaining in the same spot:
- Chloe (up 3 places)
- Emily (down 1)
- Sophie (up 2)
- Jessica (down 1)
- Grace (down 3)
- Oliver (up 1)
- Jack (down 1)
- Harry (up 1)
- Alfie (up 2)
- Thomas (down 3)
- William (up 2)
- Daniel (down 2)
So Jack hit the road, after reigning as #1 for 14 years–though he was still on top in Wales and some areas of England. But it’s interesting to note that if the 12 different spellings of Mohammed that were listed separately had counted as one name, it would have topped Oliver.
The biggest climbers in the Top 100 were Maisie for the girls and Austin for the boys. There were also regional differences (Isabella in London‘s Top Ten, Seren #3 in Wales) and seasonal (Holly was the favorite name for the month of December).
The Royalist spirit was reflected in the naming of 16 Kings, 68 Princes, eight Dukes, 11 Earls, four Barons and four Lords, as well as 12 Queenies, seven Queens, 109 Princesses and five Ladys.
There were only six new boys’ names in the Top 100:
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.
Now that the Social Security Administration has released its annual baby names listings beyond the top 1,000 (including all names that had at least five occurrences in any given year), names researchers can better track the influence of popular culture on our names.
For example, a girl’s name appearing in 2009 for the first time on the SSA lists is “Greidys” – with an astonishing count of 186 baby girls having been given that name in 2009. Its variants “Greydis” and “Greidy” also appear for the first time on the 2009 list, again in the astonishing numbers of 100 and 25 occurrences respectively.
Another girl’s name appearing in 2009 for the first time on the SSA lists is “Chastelyn” with 150 occurrences. Its variants “Shastelyn” and “Chastelin” also appear for the first time in 2009, with 34 and 33 occurrences respectively.
While we may expect new names to appear on the SSA lists each year, these new names generally don’t have more than a dozen occurrences, if even that. Why are the names “Greidys” and “Chastelyn” (with their variants) suddenly so prominent in their first appearance on the SSA list?
Our Latin friends can answer that question easily enough. These names shot to popularity with those who watch the Spanish television network Univision’s reality TV show called Nuestra Belleza Latina * (which translates into “Our Latin Beauty”). The winning contestant in the show’s third season (2009) was a Latin beauty from Cuba, named Greidys Gil. Another popular contestant was Chastelyn Rodriguez from Puerto Rico. And thus were two new names embraced by American moms (or dads!) in search of baby names.
Every few months, about as often as I allow myself to relish a hot caramel sundae and with about the same amount of delicious anticipation, I dip into the London Telegraph birth announcements to see what the upper-crusty British baby namers are up to.
And as with that sundae, the results rarely disappoint. There are always plenty of eccentric three-name combinations, lots of charming sibsets, and a collection of names not often heard in my neighborhood of New Jersey.
One trend asserting itself in this collection: R names, with a raft of children (far beyond those mentioned here) called Rory, Rufus, Rupert, Rex, and Rowley, and on the girls’ side, Ruby, Rose, Rosemary, Rosalind (and Rosalyn) and Romilly. R is a letter that’s seemed dowdy for quite some time — blame all those Baby Boom Roberts and Richards — and is due for a resurgence.
The best of the recent British baby names are, for girls:
- Clementine Annabel Emily, sister for Rupert
- Daphne Olga Amelie, sister for Henry and Beatrice
- Eliza Miranda Rosemary, sister for William
Go straight to lists of unusual names for girls.
Often I’ll look up a name I think is attractive or stylish – or even trendy — on Nameberry, and find myself shocked to discover it doesn’t rank in the Top 1000. How is it possible that a name du jour like Esme or Clementine, Tallulah or Wren doesn’t make it into the 1000 most popular names, I wonder, when it seems to me that every other baby girl I meet has one of these names?
But then I remember that I dwell in the relatively rarified world of Nameberry, where people’s taste in names tends to be pretty sophisticated. Plus, some of these names seem poised for a big leap upward – or maybe that’s just my imagination? I’ve marked those I expect to hit the Top 1000 any year now with an asterisk.
The really good news for the moment, though, is that all these names feel eminently stylish without actually being very popular. Top name Bree was given to 262 girls last year; bottom name Louise just 100. (I’ll deal with fashionable names given to fewer than 100 girls in another post soon.) So while, if you live in a nameberry kind of neighborhood, it may seem as if all 108 baby Tallulahs were born within three blocks of you, the statistics confirm that it’s a highly unusual name nationwide.
That number on the left represents its rank in the complete U.S. tally.