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2013 Playground Analysis: How combined spellings change the rankings

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By Kelli Brady, The Name Freak!

For a second year, I present the “real” Top 50 by combining the different spellings of each name. Because when you hear “Jacob!” on the playground, you have no idea how his name is spelled, but you know you hear the name a lot. Where does it really rank compared to other names?

Note: These are the combined spellings of the names in the Top 1000 only. The main name listed is the spelling given to the most babies in 2013 (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.

GIRLS

Unlike in 2012, the Top 5 girl names in 2013 do not change at all after combining the spellings.  The rest of the list varies, sometimes greatly. Zoey again jumps from #24 to #8, but the largest jumps are by Adalynn (#173 to #34), Kaitlyn (#134 to #43) and Elena (#132 to #46).

1. Sophia (1) – Sofia
2. Emma (2)
3. Olivia (3) – Alivia, Alyvia
4. Isabella (4) – Isabela, Izabella
5. Ava (5) – Avah
6. Emily (7) – Emely, Emilee, Emilie, Emmalee
7. Mia (6) – Miah
8. Zoey (24) – Zoe, Zoie
9. Aubrey (18) – Aubree, Aubri, Aubrie
10. Abigail (8) – Abbigail
11. Madison (9) – Maddison, Madisyn, Madyson
12. Chloe (14) – Khloe
13. Madelyn (68) – Madalyn, Madalynn, Madeleine, Madeline, Madelynn, Madilyn, Madilynn
14. Layla (30) – Laila, Lailah, Laylah, Leila, Leyla
15. Riley (45) – Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie
16. Avery (12) – Averi, Averie
17. Arianna (44) – Ariana, Aryana, Aryanna
18. Lily (27) – Lillie, Lilly
19. Amelia (17) – Emelia, Emilia
20. Elizabeth (10) – Elisabeth
21. Addison (19) – Addisyn, Addyson
22. Charlotte (11)
23. Natalie (21) – Natalee, Nataly, Nathalie, Nathaly
24. Aaliyah (36) – Aleah, Aleigha, Alia, Aliya, Aliyah
25. Brooklyn (28) – Brooklynn
26. Evelyn (20) – Evalyn, Evelynn
27. Kaylee (41) – Caylee, Kailee, Kailey, Kayleigh, Kaylie
28. Hannah (23) – Hana, Hanna
29. Ella (15)
30. Hailey (43) – Hailee, Haley, Haylee, Hayley
31. Allison (34) – Alison, Alisson, Allyson, Alyson
32. Harper (16)
33. Mackenzie (62) – Makenzie, Mckenzie
34. Adalynn (173) – Adalyn, Addilyn, Adeline, Adelyn, Adelynn
35. Lillian (26) – Lilian
36. Maya (72) – Maia, Miya, Mya, Myah
37. Peyton (51) – Paityn, Payton
38. Kylie (61) – Kiley, Kylee, Kyleigh
39. Leah (33) – Lea, Leia, Lia
40. Grace (22)
41. Aria (40) – Ariah, Ariya, Ariyah, Arya
42. Victoria (25)
43. Kaitlyn (134) – Caitlin, Caitlyn, Kaitlynn, Katelyn, Katelynn
44. Camila (39) – Camilla, Kamila
45. Katherine (77) – Catherine, Kathryn
46. Elena (132) – Alaina, Alayna, Elaina
47. Sarah (48) – Sara
48. Anna (35) – Ana
49. Gabriella (38) – Gabriela
50. Samantha (29)

If we were to compare this year’s Playground Analysis with last year’s, the following names fell out of the Top 50: Alyssa, Brianna and Mikayla; the following names entered the Top 50: Aria, Camila and Maya.

BOYS

While the 2013 SSA list gave us a brand new #1 and #2, the Playground Analysis shows the same top 4 as last year. The biggest mover was Kayden (#93 to #9), followed by Jace (#66 to #16).

1. Aiden (12) – Aaden, Adan, Aden, Aidan, Aidyn, Aydan, Ayden, Aydin
2. Jackson (16) – Jaxen, Jaxon, Jaxson
3. Jayden (9) – Jayden, Jadon, Jaiden, Jaydon
4. Jacob (3) – Jakob, Jaycob
5. Noah (1)
6. Mason (4) – Maison, Mayson
7. Liam (2)
8. William (5)
9. Kayden (93) – Caden, Caiden, Cayden, Kaden, Kaeden, Kaiden
10. Ethan (6)
11. Michael (7) – Micheal
12. Alexander (8) – Alexzander
13. Elijah (11) – Alijah
14. Daniel (10)
15. Matthew (15) – Mathew
16. Jace (66) – Jase, Jayce, Jayse
17. James (13)
18. Benjamin (14)
19. Lucas (23) – Lukas
20. Caleb (33) – Kaleb
21. Logan (17)
22. David (18)
23. Anthony (19)
24. Joseph (20)
25. Joshua (21)
26. Andrew (22)
27. Christopher (26) – Cristopher, Kristopher
28. Christian (35) – Cristian, Kristian
29. Gabriel (24)
30. Dylan (28) – Dilan, Dillon
31. John (27) – Jon
32. Samuel (25)
33. Carter (32) – Karter
34. Landon (39) – Landen, Landyn
35. Isaac (29) – Issac
36. Jonathan (42) – Johnathan, Johnathon, Jonathon
37. Ryan (30) – Rayan
38. Nicholas (54) – Nickolas, Nicolas, Nikolas
39. Connor (56)- Conner, Conor, Konner, Konnor
40. Nathan (31)
41. Brayden (48) – Braden, Braeden, Braiden, Braydon
42. Luke (34)
43. Cameron (59) – Camren, Camron, Camryn, Kameron, Kamron, Kamryn
44. Hunter (36)
45. Isaiah (44) – Isiah, Izaiah, Izayah
46. Henry (37)
47. Owen (38)
48. Jack (40)
49. Wyatt (41)
50. Dominic (68) – Dominick, Dominik, Dominique

If we were to compare this year’s Playground Analysis with last year’s, the following names fell out of the Top 50: Colton, Gavin and Jordan; the following names entered the Top 50: Hunter, Jace and Jack.

So, does all of this sound right to you?

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About the author

NameFreak!

Kelli Brady is a stay at home mom of two who needed an outlet for her name obsession. She found it at NameFreak!, a blog dedicated to a wide variety of name-related whims and fancies. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Her eBook, Name-alytics, is a look at the history of the Top 100 names in the United States. Check it out at https://gumroad.com/l/name-alytics!
View all of NameFreak!'s articles View all Berry Juice Bloggers

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22 Responses to “2013 Playground Analysis: How combined spellings change the rankings”

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Sorceress Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 6:58 am

Combining spellings doesn’t work since you can’t guarantee they are pronounced the same – see Madeline, Madeleine and Madelyn. (And I can’t not say this – Madelyn with -Leen pronunciation is completely legit. Don’t care how much you think it’s not right – what is right and wrong pronunciation and spelling changes over time, especially pronunciations (see English language))

dindlee Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 7:50 am

I think combining spellings is legit. To most non-name nerds, no matter how you pronounce it, it’s more or less the same name.

krysta221 Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 8:31 am

Anna and Ana are different names. So are Elena/Elaina and Alyana/Alaina.

Coll Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 8:32 am

It would be even more accurate if we knew nickname stats– the number of Williams who go by Liam, for instance, bumping up that name’s total. But there’s really no way to figure that out officially. We just know there are an awful lot of little Ellies running around, whatever their given names.

KatieSpills Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 8:33 am

I don’t think Adeline and Adalynn are the same name. They’re pronounced differently, have different histories, and look different.

namenerd8 Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 9:50 am

There are a lot more than 2 spelling variations for Abigail, if more were included it would bump the name up considerably. I was actually quite shocked at how many variations there were for this name (and horrified, ex. Abbygale….)

KateMP91 Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 10:53 am

I would pronounce Adeline and Adalynn exactly the same. Same goes for Elaina/Elena, and Anna/Ana…location is definitely a big factor in the “right vs wrong” of names…

I feel that this boy’s list is much more accurate. I still feel like all babies are Aiden and Jackson, having various spellings doesn’t make me like the name any more…

KateMP91 Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 10:53 am

I would pronounce Adeline and Adalynn exactly the same. Same goes for Elaina/Elena, and Anna/Ana…location is definitely a big factor in the “right vs wrong” of names…

I feel that this boy’s list is much more accurate. I still feel like all babies are Aiden and Jackson, having various spellings doesn’t make me like the name any more…

clairels Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 1:44 pm

So according to this, not 1 but 3 of the boys’ Top 10 spots go to “-aden” names. The trend doesn’t seem to be going away soon.

maggiefromcanada Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I think combined spellings works most of the time, but not all. I say Madelyn, Madeleine, and Madeline all differently. I also say Elena, Elaina, and Alaina differently too (Eh-leh-nah, EE-lay-nah, Ah-lay-nah). For Zoe/Zoey, Paityn/Peyton, and boys named Jaydon/Jayden/etc., I would consider variant spellings. I can’t believe how many variations of Cameron there are. :-S

Aurora Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

A lot of these seem to work, though apparently not all. This does, unfortunately, seem to make the boys’ list more accurate. Oh well. I’m still excited about Noah! Even though we all know Aiden etc. is still the real #1 (when are people going to get tired of it??), it’s awfully nice to have a new official #1.

Saracita00 Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Thanks for putting this together. I think that considering rankings by the sound of a name is an essential element to finding an accurate representation of popularity. There’s a bit of room for discussion on which variant spellings are meant to be the “parent” name, but for the most part, I agree with your groupings and think you did a great job. It would be interesting to see all the possible spelling variations outside the Top 1000, but I understand the need to make a cutoff (for sanity! 31 parents decided that “Aydyn” was a good idea!)

Names4real Says:

May 12th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Awesome job Kelli! I did this too for my blog and put the same names together as you did. I know some pronunciations are a little different, but I think it is important for parents to know exactly how popular a name is.

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

May 13th, 2014 at 8:17 am

I can agree that some of the names grouped together might be pronounced differently, but when a mother is shouting the name across the playground, Elena (eh-leh-nah) might sound exactly the same as Alaina (ah-lay-nuh) and Elaina (ee-lay-nuh), Madeline (mad-uh-leen) sounds exactly like Madelynn (mad-uh-lynn) and Madeleine (mad-uh-line).

I’ve met two sets of parents, one with an Olivia and the other an Alivia. Olivia’s parents tried to stress the Oh sound (she wasn’t uh-liv-vee-uh, she was OH-liv-vee-uh) and Alivia’s parents paid special attention to the ‘live’ sound (uh-LIV-vee-uh), but on the playground, they sounded exactly the same!

You don’t necessarily pay attention to each individual syllable of a name, only the whole sound in general when you hear the name quickly.

labelo Says:

May 13th, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Thanks for putting this together! I know it’s tough to judge how to group names based on pronunciation, and I think you’ve done a really good job. I certainly find this sort of thing helpful when considering the popularity of a name.

Like others, I’d also be fascinated to see how nicknames play into things–I suspect the previous poster was right in saying that there are probably a ton of “Ellie”s running around.

And here I was thinking that the Aiden-Jayden-Brayden-Kaden trend had finally run its course… alas!

I was surprised to see that Madelyn is the most popular spelling of Madeline these days. I don’t get my knickers in a wad over unusual spellings in quite the same way that some other posters around here do, nonetheless, I do tend to prefer the traditional spelling.

tfzolghadr Says:

May 13th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

This is really a useful article. I’ve also been interested in how many names shorten to the same nickname. For instance, if you name your kid Eli, then how many parents are likely to be calling their kid Eli because they named them Eli, Elias, Elijah, etc.? That’s something I think a lot of parents forget to take into account.

Aurora Says:

May 14th, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I just ran over these lists again and was shocked by Camila’s popularity. I had no idea the name was moving up. It’s not popular in my area; I don’t believe I’ve ever met a Camila/Camilla/Kamila of any age. There’s always a surprise in the ranks somewhere…

Adelaide or Adeline? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

July 13th, 2014 at 10:46 pm

[…] of the two. It’s hard to gauge her true popularity with so many variant spellings, although Kelli Brady estimates her popularity to me more like #34 (not #232) in 2013 when alternate spellings are […]

Baby Names LESS Popular Than They Seem – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

July 23rd, 2014 at 10:43 pm

[…] 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 […]

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2013 Playground Analysis: How combined spellings change the rankings – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry

2014 Playground Analysis – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

May 10th, 2015 at 10:55 pm

[…] we were to compare this year’s Playground Analysis with last year’s, the following names entered the Top 50 in 2014: Annabelle, Nora, and Scarlett; the following names […]

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