Baby Name News from Around the Globe
This week’s news includes the latest name data from Denmark, surprising stats from France, and a defense of the delightfully… well, ordinary.
What’s Hot with the Danes?
Juhu! Denmark’s office for national statistics has released its annual baby name data for 2017! you can see the top 50 names given to boys and girls born last year, together with the total number of babies receiving each name, and the 2016 rankings for comparison.
And while the top 5 or so names for each gender come as little surprise (think Emma, Ella, Sofia; William, Noah and Lucas), there are some little-known gems further down the list — like nature names Lærke, Mynte and Storm, or rejuvenated antiques like Malthe, Villads and Asger.
What’s in a prénom?
… Well, rather a lot, actually, according to French sociologist Baptiste Coulmont. He’s produced two fascinating infographics showing the names of students most likely to receive an outstanding grade in the baccalauréat exams, taken at the end of high school.
And the results are striking! Girls named Garance, Héloïse or Apolline were over four times as likely to receive the top grade than those named Kelly, Sonia or Océane. And boys with the classic French appellations Grégoire, Augustin and Théophile bested those named Ryan, Steven and Mohamed by the same margin.
There’s even a link to baby name trends: students whose name is currently fashionable were significantly more likely to achieve a top grade than those with “dated” 80s or 90s-era names. Hands up who’d love to see the breakdown for other countries, too!
As Princess Diana’s biographer reveals what William and Harry might have been called, had Prince Charles got his way, Nameberry’s very own Pam gives some glorious predictions for a future Sussex baby — yes please to Princess Dorothea! Can you see the newest royal couple using any of these?
Celebrity Baby Receives “Normal” Name
Felicity is a sweet and lively vintage choice which has been rising rapidly up the rankings in recent years, currently sitting pretty in the popularity “sweet spot” at #347 in the US. But at #97 in England & Wales and #134 on Nameberry, we can see this one entering the mainstream pretty soon.
Coupled with popular 80s pick Nicole (it’s also mom Jinger’s middle name), it makes for a surprisingly… well, normal name choice for the family that gave us Jinger, Joy–Anna, Jedidiah, and — more recently — Spurgeon.
Could this be part of a trend back towards “basic” baby names among celebrity parents? Or do famous families who choose normal names just not make the headlines in the same way? Case in point: this list of fashion-forward celebrity parents who chose fabulously understated names for their kids. How many did you know?
Curiouser and Curiouser…
On the flipside, it’s no secret that ever-increasing numbers of children are receiving ever more “unique” baby names. Whether you credit celebrity influence, our insatiable modern desire for individuality, or simply the mass of instantaneous data that today’s new parents have access to, this certainly looks like one trend that’s here to stay.
An extreme example of popularity angst that surfaced this week was that of a British mum who is considering changing her daughter’s name (Esmée), because she didn’t realise how popular it was when she picked it. So far, so fair… but the catch? The child in question is four and about to start school!
Elsewhere in UK name news, check out some of the truly unique choices in this month’s roundup of British birth announcements from Elea at British Baby Names: girls named Pipper and Finetta, and baby boys dubbed Camhanaich, Euripides, and Todhunter.
And why not, when it turns out that even the most ordinary names can divide the crowd?
Rebirth, Redemption, and a Beautiful Baby Name
Popular or unique, most Berries agree that you can’t beat a name with personal significance. And it doesn’t get much more meaningful than the name Rachel Denhollander chose for her new baby girl, Elora Renee Joy.
Denhollander, who was the first person to publicly accuse former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse, explained the significance of the name in a touching tweet:
And Joy, presumably, needs no explanation.
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on July 25th, 2018 at 11:11 pm
The link for Denmark’s data just goes to the site’s home page 🙂
on July 25th, 2018 at 11:45 pm
Apologies and thanks for pointing this out, @alchemicallypurplefairy!
Here is the correct link, for anyone interested, and we will get the article link changed ASAP:
on July 26th, 2018 at 7:15 am
I’m sorry, but linking names to personal success stinks of classism to me. An individual’s score on a standardized test tells me nothing except they’re good at taking tests.
on July 26th, 2018 at 7:32 am
@wandsworth Absolutely, but that’s why I think it’s so important to have stats like these so starkly laid out. We should look at it as a judgement on the education system, not the students themselves (though I appreciate that’s an idealistic view!)
on July 28th, 2018 at 2:58 am
@wandsworth and @katinka – What this information reveals is the failure in the system to give pupils from different backgrounds equal opportunities. The baccalauréat does tell you a little more about a student than their exam skills – it shows their proficiency with language, their ability to mobilise their general knowledge, etc. However, it is absolutely shocking that the young people who grow up to do this successfully are the ones who have plainly learnt it from their parents, because it shows that the system hasn’t managed to nurture the talents of those coming from non-academic backgrounds to the same extent.
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