Category: Trends and Predictions
By Eleanor Nickerson
A cursory glance at the top names in both England and Wales shows many of the same favourite choices, but, dig a little deeper, and Wales‘ Celtic heritage and separate language becomes apparent, with names almost exclusively found inside Wales alone. For one thing, Welsh has its own phonetic rules for letters of the alphabet which don’t always match English. That’s why the Welsh Top 200 has spellings which — to English speakers — look like “creative” spellings, but to Welsh parents are most compatible with their mother tongue: Harri, Tomos, Jac, Alys, Ela, Lili, Efa to name a few.
Many unisex baby names are not truly unisex, meaning they’re used predominantly for one sex and only rarely for the other.
I’m thinking of names like Addison and Madison, which started as boys’ names but are now used nearly exclusively for girls, and names like James, in the Top 10 for boys but receiving a lot of attention as the middle name for a couple of high profile celebrity baby girls.
But which names are most evenly split between the sexes, so that they can truly be called genderless names? We analyzed all unisex names to find the most popular choices with at least a 40-60 split in either direction.
The Number 1 truly unisex name is, surprisingly, Charlie, which started as a boys’ nickname-name but is now used exactly evenly for girls and boys. Surname-names Finley and Skyler rank second and third, with word-names Justice and Royal rounding out the Top 5.
Here, the Top 50 truly androgynous baby names, with the gender split by percentage according to the most recent Social Security statistics.
by Sophie Kihm
Baby name sibset patterns can be very cute and add cohesion when done well. But sometimes it can get you into trouble. Take Ayesha and Steph Curry. They have two daughters named Riley and Ryan, and now Ayesha is pregnant with their third child. Ryker or Ryder seems like the obvious choice for a boy, but if they have another daughter, this could be the end of the Ry– pattern.
Kimberly and James Van Der Beek (shown) are also in a predicament if they have another baby girl. Each of their children has a 3+ syllable name, and their daughters’ names all start with vowels—O, A, and E– which leaves I and U. My top choice for them is Isla, which follows the different vowel pattern, but not the syllable count one.
All this is to say—patterns can be great, but if they’re too restrictive, be prepared to give up some of the requirements as more children are added to the mix. I’m excited to see how these celebrities handle the challenge, and I’ve weighed in with my predictions below.
Stars are not just like us when it comes to baby names. They’re nothing like us, in fact. They’re more innovative, coming up with wholly new names like Chicago, Suri and Rumi for their kids. They’re bolder, often picking names that are far outside the mainstream. And they really love using names with ties to Hollywood.
Case in point: On February 15, The Blast revealed that Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul and his wife Lauren Parsekian had named their newborn daughter Story Annabelle. For almost any other couple, this would be a daring, even outrageous, name choice. Only 68 baby girls in the U.S. were named Story in 2016 — fewer than were named Aries, Timber or Yocheved. But in Hollywood, the land of storytelling, there’s nothing strange about naming a baby Story. At least two other celebrity couples beat the Pauls to the punch.
Story is far from alone. It’s just one of the many weird names that celebrities are obsessed with. Nameberry analyzed thousands of names in our database of celebrity kids names to identify those that were given to multiple Starbabies despite being relatively unpopular in the country at large. The 20 names below were each given to at least three children of celebrities but were not among the Top 300 baby names for either sex in 2016, the most recent year on record. That means that they’re all given to fewer than 1000 babies per year — often many fewer. Just 60 newborn girls in the entire country were named Coco in 2016, for example. But they’re definitely names to watch going forward — once a few celebrities use a name, there’s a good chance that civilians will follow.
Names can define generations, with John and Mary the Number 1 names for The Greatest Generation, Linda and Gary emblematic names of the Baby Boom, and now Jessica and Michael emerging as the top names for Millennials.
Nameberry tabulated the names of all babies born from 1982 until 2004, widely agreed as the boundaries for Millennials, and found that Jessica and Michael were at the head of the list for all names given for babies born during the Millennial generation.
Michael was by far the leader for both sexes, with over 1.1 million boys named Michael in those 20+ years. The reason: Michael is a name that feels at once traditional and modern, and provided the perfect bridge between the Old School male names like Robert and Richard borne by the fathers of Millennials and the new names from Milo to Maverick used for boys today.
On the girls’ side, Jessica‘s popularity is somewhat watered down by having shared the stage for so long with Jennifer, which was off its peak by the time the Millennial Generation started being named. The top Millennial girls’ names are a mix of the classic — Sarah, Emily, Elizabeth — and trendy, such as Ashley and Amanda.
Here are the Top 20 most Millennial Names for each gender, with the total number of people who received the name during that generation.