Why Names Starting with A Rank #1

Why Names Starting with A Rank #1

Names starting with the letter A have become the most widely used in the U.S., given to over 10 percent of all babies, more than double the proportion of children who were given A names in the 1950s.

You can peg the popularity of A names to pure fashion, and definitely, A names ranging from the classic Abigail and Alexander to the trendy Addison and Aiden have been on the rise for a couple of decades now.  While this may be part of an overall trend toward vowel names, which are up across the board while most consonant-starting names are trending down, A is up the highest.

But there’s evidence that A names may be beneficial for your child in more substantial ways.  A study by researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Diego found that students whose names begin with the letters A and B earn better grade point averages than those whose names start with C or D.  And more law school students named Anna and Andrew tend to go to top-ranked universities like Stanford than those called Chris and Drew.

Even more significant, another study suggests that people with names starting with A live longer – in some cases, as much as a decade longer – than those whose names start with the letter D.   Scary, but compelling if you want to give your child every advantage in life.

A names account for  20 entries on the girls’ Top 100, up from only five (Ann, Anne, Anna, Anita, and Alice) in 1950.  They are, in order of rank with their standing in parentheses, for girls:


  • Ava (5)

  • Abigail (8)

  • Addison (12)

  • Alexis (13)

  • Alyssa (19)

  • Ashley (20)

  • Anna (29)

  • Allison (30)

  • Avery (32)

  • Aubrey (41)

  • Alexa (42)

  • Audrey (49)

  • Arianna (52)

  • Amelia (55)

  • Aaliyah (63)

  • Alexandra (69)

  • Andrea (73)

  • Autumn (81)

  • Ariana (82)

  • Angelina (86)

  • And 12 for boys, compared with 7 (Anthony and Andrew, Alan and Allen, Arthur, Alfred and Albert)  in 1950:

    About the Author

    Pamela Redmond

    Pamela Redmond

    Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

    Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.