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How Long Do Popular Names Stay Popular?

top 10 baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

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A Nameberry reader recently asked: How long do baby names in the US Top 10 tend to remain in the Top 10?

Good question, we thought, and so with the help of our commando researcher Esmeralda Rocha, we did some investigation.

The short answer: It’s complicated. While girls’ names in the current Top 10 have been there fewer years on average – 12 years versus 14 for the boys – those numbers are skewed by the amazing durability of Emily at 24 years and, even more dramatically, Michael at 72. Take Emily and Michael out of the equation and the balance reverses, with girls’ names staying on top an average of 10 years versus only 7.5 for the boys!

But this doesn’t tell the whole story either, given that classic boys’ names such as William and James have been in the Top 10 for most of the 135-year history of the data, though they dipped out and returned only recently. And on the girls’ side, Elizabeth had been in the Top 10 most of those years, only to slip out in 2014.

Here, a closer look at the popularity durability of all the names of both genders in the current US Top 10.

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How Popular Is Too Popular?

popular baby names

We spied this question in the forums and thought it was so good we’d ask the Nameberry community at large:

How popular is a name before it gets too popular for you?

Would you avoid the Top 10? The Top 100? The Top 1000?

Or maybe you’d happily choose the Number 1 name if you loved it enough. Or only want names that nobody else, literally, is using.

When it comes to baby names, how popular is too popular for you?

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UK vs US Popular Baby Names

posted by: Elea View all posts by this author
Anglo-American baby names

By Eleanor Nickerson, British Baby Names

Britain and America: two countries sharing, yet divided by, a common language.

As both a Brit and a name lover, the release of the US statistics is always fascinating for me.
On your top 10 are names of interest which are having a direct influence on British names. There are names which have had their day in the UK and are now swiftly declining, and, of course, there are names which are very similar in both countries.

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top 10 girls

By Linda Rosenkrantz

When you hear the phrase ‘Top 10 girls’ name,’ you might tend to think of classics like Mary and Elizabeth, or later long-running favorites Jennifer and Jessica, or the current Sophia.  But it certainly wouldn’t be Bertha—which in fact was in that golden group for twelve years– or Mildred, up there for close to a quarter of a century.

I became curious about what became of these once mega-popular appellations, whose top positions lasted from 37 years to being one-time-wonders (bearing in mind that they well might have been top-ranked for years before the SSA started keeping figures in 1880), particularly those that were once in the Top 10 but now reside outside the Top 500, thus eliminating evergreens like, yes, Mary and Elizabeth that have retained their popularity. You might find a few surprises here–unless you’ve known a lot of Tammys and Tracys in your life.

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Future Top 10 names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

We’re just days away from the new year!  As 2014 draws to a close, plenty of websites and hospital systems have released their top baby names for the past twelve months.

At Nameberry, Asher, Declan, and Atticus topped the boys’ list, while Imogen, Khaleesi, and Charlotte were favorites for girls.

The official 2014 US data doesn’t come out until May 2015.  But this early information lets us read the tea leaves and guess – or hope! – which names might come out on top when we see the official numbers in a few months.

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