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Category: Top 1000 names

popular baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

When the 2013 US Popular Baby Names list came out back in May, we ran Kelli Brady aka The Name Freak‘s wonderful Playground Analysis blog, with her count of the REAL Top 50 baby names. Kelli tallies all spelling variations of the top names to arrive at their actual rankings, which puts Aiden et al instead of Noah at Number 1 for boys, for instance, and bumps Jackson (and Jaxen, Jaxon, and Jaxson) up to Number 2.

Our focus is usually on which names are MORE popular than you’d think when you add in all their spelling variations.  The idea is that parents want to be forewarned when they’re likely to hear their favorite baby names far more often than they’d guess based on the official rankings.  Zoe and Aubrey, counting all spellings, are actually in the Top 10 for girls, for example, while Kayden and his many near-identical twins rank not at Number 93 but at Number 9.

But what about those baby names that are LESS popular than they seem judging by the official statistics?  Parents may veer away from some names, both classic and modern, that are actually somewhat more distinctive than they appear.  I’m not talking about names that are a couple of rungs further down the ladder, based on Kelli‘s analysis, but those that are significantly softer by our own subjective measure.

The point is: If you’re shying away from these baby names because you believe they’re too popular, maybe you owe them a second look.  They are:

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Isabella and Jacob Still #1

babyworldwithtype

Isabella and Jacob are still the top names in the U.S., according to the official statistics for 2010 released this morning by the Social Security Administration.

With a Top 10 list that was extraordinarily stable — Aiden was the only name that moved on, with Joshua falling off — most names even retained the rankings they held last year. The biggest change was Sophia, a name some berries thought would take first place this year, jumping up to Number 2.

The Top 10 for girls are:

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socialsecurity2

 Since the Social Security site showing the rankings of baby names is the bible for so many nameberries, we thought we’d turn to webmaster Jeff Kunkel to give us some insight into how it developed–and his instrumental part in it.

Soon after Social Security joined the internet, I became webmaster for my office, the Office of the Chief Actuary.  A high priority in those days was providing the public with information on cost-of-living increases and other things that affected Social Security beneficiaries.  The lists of baby names begun by Michael Shackleford, who was then a co-worker, were decidedly a low priority.

However, the popularity of the baby name web pages soon became apparent.  Dissatisfied with simply presenting the baby names as lists of the top 1000 names by sex for each year of birth, I wrote an interactive computer program that would allow people to select the year of birth, select the number of names to display, and select whether to display the number of occurrences of each name.  In essence, the program allowed people to generate their own customized lists.

My desire to see how the popularity of my daughter’s name changed over time, coupled with the success of that list-generating program, inspired me to write another program that would provide a way to see time trends in the baby name data.  The resulting new program proved to be even more popular than the list-generating program.

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Unusual Names for Girls: Below the Top 1000

Dora-the-Explorer-2

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.

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