Boys’ Names: The rise and fall of the Aiden craze
By Kelli Brady
Aiden and the –aiden boys’ names have been all the rage since the turn of the century. Have you ever wondered about the history of the name trend? Which names were around first and when did the most popular ones appear? How do the numbers show the adjustments in the trend?
I have compiled all –aiden names since data started being collected in 1880. Give or take a few (I cannot be 100% sure I captured them all, but I am confident I got most of them), there have been 383 names that rhyme with Aiden given to boys in the United States. If you combine the spellings of like names (think Playground Analysis), there have been 26, listed here by the most popular spelling of each name in the order of popularity (number of spelling variations):
When I mean most popular, I mean Aiden and its various spellings have been given to a total of 433,576 babies since 1880. Jayden and its various spellings have been given to 335,091 babies since 1880. And so on, all the way down to Fayden, which has just been given to 5 boy babies in 2016 so far.
If we talk about individual names and not the grouped spellings, the most popular –aiden name given over the years has been Jayden with 190,853 babies, followed by (in order) Aiden, Brayden, Aidan, Hayden, Jaden, Ayden, Caden, Kaden, and Braden.
The information I gathered also allows me to look at all the data by year. Observing the top –aiden name for each year is an interesting way to see how the trending names change. Before 1986, the top –aiden names were Adan and Hayden. Now let me pause and talk about the name Adan. While a lot of people nowadays may pronounce it like Aiden, it is a Spanish name that has an accent on the second syllable, pronounced more like ah-DAHN. Because of this, I would also like to note that prior to 1986, the second most given –aiden name was Braden. Braden took over the top –aiden position in 1986 (Adan briefly took over again in 1987) and held the top spot until 1990 when Hayden took over. In 2000, Aidan became the most popular –aiden name, and then was surpassed by Aiden in 2006. Jayden reached the top spot in 2007, keeping the most popular crown until Aiden returned to the top in 2014.
Prior to the huge Aidan/Aiden trend of the 2000s, we need to keep in mind that just because Hayden was the most popular –aiden name during the 1990s, it only reached the highest rank of #150 during that time. It eventually went on to its highest rank of #71 in 2007, when all the –aiden names were at or near their peaks. Braden reached #133 in 2005 (Brayden went as high as #37 in 2011), Aidan reached #43 in 2005, Aiden reached #9 in 2010/2011, and Jayden reached the highest ranking by an –aiden name at #4 in 2010/2011.
Let’s go back even further! When did these names first start to show a constant presence in the United States? Hayden showed up consistently from 1888, Adan from 1914, Braden from 1946, Aidan from 1957, Caden from 1979, Jayden from 1983, and Aiden from 1987. Most Braden spellings showed up in the 1980s, most Jayden spellings came around in the early 1990s, and most Caden/Kaden and Hayden spellings appeared in the 1990s and early 2000s. Most of all the creative spellings, and new names like Drayden, Tayden, Xaden, and Zayden, appeared in the late 1990s and 2000s when the –aiden craze was building strength.
Speaking of creative spellings, as mentioned in the list above, there have been 54 variations of Aiden, 74 variations of Caden, 48 variations of Jayden, and 38 variations of Zayden given to baby boys throughout the years. Some examples of the newest variations that are out there right now include Aaiden, Eiden, Jeyden, Khayden, Xaiden, and Zaydan.
Now let’s get down to the numbers. Looking at the birth numbers for each year shows us how the names have trended upwards and downwards. Less than 100 boy babies were given –aiden names each year before 1914, when the top –aiden name given was Hayden. The number broke 1,000 each year in 1986, when the top –aiden name given was Adan (Braden was #2). The number broke 10,000 each year in 1998, when the top name was back to Hayden. And the number rose higher than 100,000 from 2007 through 2009, when the top –aiden name given was Jayden. The total number of –aiden names drastically jumped 340% from 24,556 in 2000 to its peak of 108,035 in 2008! As we now know the trend is declining and the proof is in the numbers… the number of boy babies named any –aiden name has decreased 37%, from 108,035 in 2008 to 67,716 in 2016. The –aiden name trend grew dramatically faster than it is shrinking, but shrinking it is!