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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    15,700

    How Popular Is A Name Really?

    Hi Berries, judging by some recent posts on Nameberry, many parents are concerned with the popularity of a chosen name. Here is an interesting summary made by Laura Wattenberg at Baby Name Wizard (I've only copied some of her blog). Do you agree with her findings?



    Super-Popular Names: One in Every Classroom

    (1 out of every 25 babies born)
    Good news! NO names are that popular. Not even close. Even the most popular name in America is given to just one out of every 177 babies. The #1 name in your home state may approach 1 out of every 100 babies.


    Very Popular Names: One in Every School

    (1 out of every 100-1,000 babies born)
    This functional level corresponds roughly to today's top 100 boys' and girls' names. If your favorite name is out of the top 100, it's not "very popular." Surprisingly, this applies to your state's top 100, too; the #100 names for boys and girls in your state are given to about one of every 1,000 babies.

    Popular: You Wouldn't Be Surprised to Meet One

    (1 out of every 1,001-5,000 babies born)
    The name Gregory has fallen far from its peak, but you wouldn't bat an eyelash at a young Greg. You've probably never met a Kyla, but that name wouldn't surprise you either. And even if the name Angelo isn't common in your community, you know there are plenty of Angelos out there. These are the names ranked in the #101-400 range.

    Not Especially Popular: Oh Yeah, That Name

    (1 out of every 5,001-10,000 babies born)
    There are tons of babies named Jackson and half-tons named Jaxon, so it figures there would be some Jaxens. And while the name Linda has dropped off the trend radar, it figures that it hasn't disappeared completely. Some of the names in the #401-700 range may be genuine surprises (Sincere for a boy, and Phoenix for a girl?), but most will look familiar in one way or another.

    Uncommon: Huh, That's an Interesting One

    (1 out of 10,001-20,000 babies born)
    Old Testament names and presidential names are hot, but Hezekiah and Nixon? When's the last time you met a baby Ernest, let alone an Elvis? And how did they spell that, Charleigh? Add in some names that may be well-known within a particular ethnic group but unfamiliar outside of it (Belén, Vihaan) and the names ranked #701-1,000 bring you to the realm of the unexpected.

    And Then There's...

    ...everything else. Think about it: we reached the level of genuinely unexpected names without even leaving the top 1,000 lists. More than a quarter of baby names chosen today lie beyond.

    If you fall in love with a name that's almost never heard, that should give you confidence to follow your heart. But if you gave up on the name Calla because a ranking of #1,911 seemed too common for your unique and precious child, I'd strongly suggest you reconsider. When a frequency of 1 occurrence per 39,000 babies born overrides all the other qualities you look for in a name, you may be putting too high a premium on uniqueness -- or losing sight of what "popular" really means.
    All the best,
    Mischa.

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    915
    Love it, and I think that her conversational labels are spot-on. I grew up (b. mid-80s) with a name that entered the top 1,000 a couple years before my birth, climbed to the 500s within two years, and has bounced around the high-300s to mid-500s ever since. That puts it in her "Oh yeah, that name" category, which is about what I usually get. Every now and then, someone knows someone with my name (usually a pet), and every now and then no one has EVER heard it, but most of the time I get slightly surprised vague familiarity.

    I would love something lower than that for my child, just because I know that my favorite reaction is when no one has ever heard my name before, asks about the origin, how my parents chose it, etc. I hope to pick a name that's unfamiliar to most people, at worst vaguely familiar, and that prompts curiosity.

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    1,912
    This is brilliant! I say this all the time- popular names may not be as ubiquitous as people think! Even if it is number one in your particular state, is it number one in your town? The school your child will attend? I think people turn away from perfectly lovely, beautiful, classic names (not talking about Nevaeh here- more like Sophia, Emma, Isabelle) just because they are popular.
    Mi corazón
    Zoe Milena

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,752
    Most of my favorites don't make the top 1,000 so popularity doesn't affect me

    I prefer to look at the state rankings because it gives you a more realistic idea. You may find that 500 kids were given your top name but if there were 250,000 kids born that year then you're fine. My name was in the top 50s nationally and in my state. There were 283 born in my state yet in my 28yrs I've only met one- we had a college class together.

    Fox * Shea * Jade * Azure * Eden * Greer * Arden
    Lotus * Tallulah * Noor * Jasper * Blaise * Linden

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    15,700
    @yellow - thanks for your personal name story.

    @dindlee - I think Nameberry is "a world of its own" and many parents eliminate perfectly fine classics because they have a skewered view of what's happening in the real world due to the names that crop up here more frequently.
    All the best,
    Mischa.

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