Category: baby names trends
Trendy baby names have been around a lot longer Miley Cyrus or any of the famous Kardashians. From the dawn of recorded U.S. baby name history — aka 1880, when the federal government began keeping records — we’ve adopted names inspired by current events and popular people and culture, only to leave them behind for a new inspiration the next year.
The inspiration for name trends a century ago may have been politicians and war heroes rather than reality stars, but the definition of trendy baby names was the same: Names that spiked in popularity thanks to an outside influence, then sank from view along with its original bearer.
An organization called Flowing Data has calculated the trendiest names in US history, a fascinating look at which names burned the brightest only to fade the fastest.
Hyperlocal is a word you hear a lot today. There’s hyperlocal news and hyperlocal food, hyperlocal weather and hyperlocal — yeah, baby names.
What are the name trends where you live? Which popular names ring through every playground and crowd every class list? What kinds of names are considered cool, and what names do you NEVER hear?
In my diverse liberal suburb of New York City, for instance, names that are ethnically distinctive and unconventional when it comes to gender identity are definitely cool. Names you hear a lot include Henry (there are three on my short block), Zoe, Izzy, and my younger son’s name, Owen.
Please tell us where you live to help put your hyperlocal baby names report in context. If you’re not comfortable revealing your exact locale, you can say “a gentrifying neighborhood of London” or “a prosperous town in Silicon Valley.” But something vaguer like “a conservative small town in New England” works too.
Yes, there are baby names that have had longer runs at the top of the popularity list. 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 US—enough for online Jennifer identity-loss support groups to spring up as they matured, enough for future parents to bemoan “I don’t want my child to be one of five named Jennifer in her class,” and enough for us to call our first book Beyond Jennifer and Jason. Jennifer became a one-girl baby names trend.
But why Jennifer? A once obscure Cornish form of the old Welsh Gwenhwyfar, aka Guinevere, a name that was hardly heard here before 1938—except for an appearance in a 1905 Shaw play– and which didn’t enter the Top 100 till 1956.
Scanning the popularity charts of some of the current most popular and stylish baby names (yeah, that’s how I spend my spare time), I noticed something fascinating the other day. Many of them – Ava, Ella, Peyton, Aiden, Emmett, even number one Isabella – were at the very bottom of the Top 1000 in 1990.
That means that they were rarely used when the parents of today – most popularly named Jennifer and Melissa, Christopher and Jason – were born, but were starting to rise up the charts by the time Jennifer was drawing hearts around Jason’s name in her Geometry notebook.
By that theory (who says baby name trends prediction isn’t a science?), we should be able to predict which names will be most popular 20 years from now by combing the bottom of today’s Top 1000.
Of course, not every name down in the 800s and 900s is destined for baby name greatness. But we see the following as likely popular choices for your grandchildren.
Three-quarters of the way through the year, we check in again with the most popular girls’ names 2010, nameberry style.
A note on tabulation: These lists represent the most-searched names on nameberry for January through September of 2010. Previously, we published the lists of most-searched girls’ names 2010 for the first half of the year, and before that for the first quarter.
This time around, a surprising 11 new girls’ names vaulted onto the Top 100. The newly-popular choices (in order of appearance on the list) are: