Category: top baby names
I love the name Henry.
If our first child had been a boy, she would have been named Henry.
Then, by the time we did have a boy, I decided I really wanted to use a family name — Joseph, if you’re curious — instead.
And when we had our third child and second son, it seemed I knew too many Henrys.
There’s a Henry my youngest son’s age who lives across the street from us. One a little older down the street. And one a bit younger, a friend of my son’s, around the corner.
I still love the name, a strong yet stylish classic. And yet while I feel that it’s a favorite that got away, I wouldn’t use it for a baby now because it seems there are too many Henrys in my neighborhood, my town, my life.
Maybe it’s because I used to be a fashion editor, but I’ve often thought that names were like clothes: coming into and going out of style, some choices enduring through the ages while others are momentary trends, everywhere for a season and then sinking from sight.
But the other day I started thinking that names are like clothes in a different way. Some names, I decided, are like magnificent couture ballgowns – gorgeous, luxurious, distinctive, dramatic, but a bit grand for everyday use. This may be the factor that keeps parents from choosing names like Raffaela and Orlando, Atticus and Anastasia, lovely as they may be.
More comfy and cozy, better suited to real modern life, may be the blue jean baby names. Down-to-earth and easy to wear, these blue jean names are popular but not trendy, attractive but never showy. With these names, you register the person first and the name second….or maybe fifth.
The big news in baby names this week has been the Most Popular Names 2012: Top 1, Top 10, Top 100, Top 1000.
But swimming just below the surface — not quite on the radar but not truly off, either — are dozens of more unusual baby names poised to find wider favor….or dropping from view.
Of course, that may bring relief rather than disappointment to many parents. If you want to name your baby Magnolia or Clementine, Bishop or Langston — or already have — you may tremble on surveying the new Top 1000, hoping your favorites stay off the list.
We looked below the Top 1000 for girls and boys and found those names within 50 points of the cutoff that we felt were heading back into style, along with those sailing off into the sunset.
In raw numbers, 251 girls received the Number 1000 name Katalina while 197 boys were named Number 1000 boys’ name Dangelo. The numbers after each name below represent the number of children given that name in 2012.
Here, the names just under the Top 1000 coming into style and heading out:
Kelli Brady, creator of NameFreak!, combined spelling variations to come up with the real top 50 names on the new US popularity list. Her results show some names vastly more popular than it seems and a new Number 1 and Number 2 for boys.
Some names might actually be more popular than the SSA list shows because it ranks each spelling of a name separately, rather than counting all spelling variations — Sophia and Sofia, for example — together. To see how popular a name actually is, I have gathered the various spellings of each name in the 2012 Top 1000 and come up with a new Top 50 for each gender!
Why do I call this the Playground Analysis? Well, when you are on the playground with your kids and you hear a name, you don’t know how it is spelled, but you do know how often you hear it.
Note: The main name listed is the spelling given to the most babies in 2012 (SSA Rank is in parentheses). The others are in alphabetical order. Opinions vary on how different spellings are pronounced. I went with my best judgment.
Sophia, which took the crown as the Number 1 girls’ name last year, is a Greek name that means “wisdom.” It entered the Top 10 in 2006.
Arya and Major were the fastest-rising names for 2012. Arya’s popularity stems from the show and book Game of Thrones, while Major is a military name featured on reality TV show Home by Novogratz.
Second fastest-risers Gael and Perla are widely used by parents of Spanish descent.
The complete Top Ten are: