Name Sage: Is This Name Too Popular?
However, I was one of four Sarahs in my graduating class of a small town high school.
When do you think Ezra will peak? I realize this is a guess, but it’s the kind of thing I wonder about.
I would love to hear what others think!
The Name Sage replies:
Plenty of parents share your concern about popularity, especially if they went through school as Jennifer M. or Mike T. While I can’t promise that Ezra won’t be a future Top Ten name, I don’t think you’ll regret choosing it for your son.
Ezra is on the rise, and for good reason. It’s vintage and literary, with just enough of an edge. From poet Ezra Pound to children’s author-illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, there are plenty of appealing namesakes.
That said, I don’t think Ezra is going to be everywhere before your son learns to walk. And even if you feel like you’re meeting lots of baby Ezras as your son grows up, I don’t think you’ll regret the choice.
Very few names are overnight sensations. The current Number 1 name, Noah, entered the US Top 100 in 1995. It didn’t reach the Top Ten until 2008. Ethan first ranked in the Top 100 back in 1989, and reached the Top Ten in 2001. That’s over a decade for both! Newer names, like Jayden, do tend to climb (and fall) faster, rising in just five or six years.
But I’d expect Biblical, traditional Ezra to trend more like Ethan than Jayden. If your main concern is Ezra having lots of other boys with the same name in his kindergarten or graduating class, that’s just not likely. Even white-hot names like Mason and Liam didn’t go from Number 119 to Number 8 in a single year.
The most popular names are less popular than they were in the 1990s. Sure, Number 1 is still Number 1. But in 1990, the top name for girls was Jessica, given to around 2.3% of all girls. Fast-forward to 2014, and only a little over 1% of all girls were named Emma – but that was still enough to make Emma the Number 1 name. Even the most popular names are less likely to repeat today than they were twenty-five years ago.
Tally up Jackson, Jaxon, and Jaxson – all Top 100 names – and the combined total is enough to make Jackson and company the most popular name in the US for 2014. Since I doubt we’ll be seeing many (or any?) boys named Ezzra or Ezrah, Ezra will probably feel less popular than names with multiple spellings.
Personal meaning makes up for a lot. You haven’t mentioned if the other names on your shortlist also have personal significance. Even if Ezra does become more popular, I suspect that the meaning will resonate, and make the name feel special – even if your son has a classmate with the same name.
Because here’s the kicker: Ezra could remain relatively obscure, and you might still meet other Ezras. That’s partly because your ears will perk up when your neighbor mentions that her college roommate’s sister-in-law just had a son named Ezra. But it’s also because we tend to have a lot in common with our friends, colleagues, and neighbors – so it’s no surprise when we share the same taste in baby names.
Now, let’s look at your final question: will Ezra be mistaken for a girl?
Here’s where Ezra’s rising popularity helps you.
Overall, I think Ezra hits the right note. It’s a name with lots of meaning for your family. And while it’s a fairly familiar boy’s name, it’s still far from being too popular.
Readers, what do you think – will Ezra become too popular? Should they choose another name?
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on July 14th, 2015 at 11:32 pm
Ezra Matthew is a wonderful name; I agree!
The “z” sound is particularly appealing.
Great choice (and I would never imagine it on a girl). I think Name Sage is right about it not reaching the top ten.
on July 15th, 2015 at 12:19 am
These are all really great points by Name Sage. Ezra is one of my favorites, but since I’m far off from having kids of my own I like to see it used by others. Ezra Matthew is awesome! 🙂
on July 15th, 2015 at 3:24 am
A great choice! Ezra is a winner indeed! Name Sage made great points!
on July 15th, 2015 at 4:37 am
Completely agree Name Sage.
on July 15th, 2015 at 5:48 am
Ezra Matthew is our new son’s name (big brother is Eli Michael). We love it. Funny that you mention Abraham as a possible option. If we have another boy in the future, Abram is at the top of our list.
on July 15th, 2015 at 6:26 am
Completely agree with name sage stick with Ezra Matthew!! It’s a lovely name and has such a great meaning for you : )
on July 15th, 2015 at 8:07 am
110% agree with Name Sage!
To put the popularity in perspective, Ezras born last year only represent 0.166% of baby boys born. So you would need to meet a lot of baby boys to meet another Ezra statistically.
on July 15th, 2015 at 9:01 am
I completely agree with Name Sage on all counts (although I do dig Ezekiel and Abraham should you go another route). Ezra Matthew is totally a winner, esp due to the family connection.
When we had our first daughter 9 years ago, Nora/Norah were not anywhere close to the top 100. We felt safe that she would at least not have to worry about being Norah P (esp as we went with the less traditional spelling). Fast forward 5 years and there are like 5 Norahs and 2 Noras in our relatively small elementary. We couldn’t believe it…and you guessed it, there is one in her grade so she is often referred to as Norah P. Sigh. You really never can tell and the stats don’t work in all cases. End of the day, I’d use the name you love that has bonus meaning.
on July 15th, 2015 at 9:47 am
Ezra Matthew is very charming!
I doubt Ezra will be mega popular any time soon. However, going with a name you love is important. So, I think Ezra is a very charming name, I haven’t met any, though. But I do live in England and I doubt it’s very popular here.
on July 15th, 2015 at 10:11 am
Ezra Matthew is a very fine name! Classic yet not ordinary and with deep family connections, perfect.
To me Ezra is one of those names that will always be around and definitely says “boy”.
As for popularity, it has been rising sharply for a while now and although not many boys names make it all the way to the top 20, I can see it getting into the top 50 in the next 10 years or so.
I suggest looking at the state trends from the SSA website as the numbers can vary widely from place to place: what is popular in the most populous states NY, CA is often vastly different from what is popular in IA or AZ or ME. Ezra might be much more or less popular than in the nation as a whole, which really doesn’t effect whether your son will be an Ezra M. in his local school.
on July 15th, 2015 at 12:55 pm
I think it’s a great pick! Especially for the family reasons. I’m a sucker for family names and meanings.
on July 15th, 2015 at 5:30 pm
I agree with the Name Sage! I picked three names that aren’t even in the top 1000, and we have met children in our neighborhood with all three names! 🙂
Ezra Matthew is a very strong name, and has such meaning for you – I say go for it!
on July 15th, 2015 at 9:29 pm
I agree w/the pp & the Name Sage…Ezra Matthew has a lot of personal meaning & the names sound good together. I’d definitely stick w/them.
From my own perspective, I like having Ezra used for a boy…to keep it firmly in the boy camp. I do know of a little girl (under 10) whose name is Ezra J*** & it just jars me every time I hear it.
on July 15th, 2015 at 10:03 pm
Ezra Matthew is so handsome and seems to hold such meaning for you all. I agree with Abby’s analysis.
To me, Ezra is like Julian. Both are handsome, sturdy, vintage names with a slightly feminine sound to them (in that one ends in -a and one has Julia in it – they aren’t girly to me!). While Ezra has the Biblical flair that Julian lacks, as well as the zippy Z sound and TV character reference (the questionably sketchy but charming Ezra Fitz on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, for one), I just can’t imagine it becoming a Top 10 name. The Biblical names that tend to rise to the top feel much more familiar, even simple, than Ezra – I’m thinking Jacob in particular, or Noah, which is most close to Ezra in lilt and melody, yet strikingly different (to me) in feel and image. Noah is friendly and playful, yet pure, whereas Ezra is charming, alluring, masculine, and perhaps a little artsy. That ends-in-a sound doesn’t tend to be a super popular one for boys, either, save for Biblical favorites Joshua and Noah. And, as so many others have mentioned, what makes a popular name in 2015 is so different than what made one in 1980-1990: fewer kids receiving the most popular names, fewer names ever reaching the top of the top, etc.
All that to say – Ezra Michael is a dashing, striking choice that won’t let you down. Ezra if familiar yet standout in its sound and image, Matthew anchors the name, and the two together present a pleasant and sturdy Biblical, classic, masculine package of a name fit for any child to grow into.
(That said, Abraham and Ezekiel are excellent as well. Neither feels quite like Ezra to me, which is much more downplayed in its Biblical charm, in comparison, and much more up-played in its vintage flair. Names like Ezra, to me, are Julian [as mentioned before], Emmett, Oliver, and Jasper, with the more Biblical similar names being Isaac and Asher. Abraham and Ezekiel suggest a preference for a bolder Biblical choice to me: Hosea, Zebedee, Ephraim, and Solomon [love!]. You can’t go wrong in either direction, but they feel distinct to me. I always like to do the “sister test” in my head with competing names. I can totally see Ezra and Abraham as brothers, so the names aren’t necessarily stylistically off at all, but for me, Ezra’s sister might be Daphne, Lillian, or Blythe, whereas Abraham’s sister might be Hosanna, Zipporah, or Naomi.)
on July 15th, 2015 at 10:05 pm
I would use it. It is gorgeous.
on July 16th, 2015 at 9:51 am
Any plans for follow up posts? Would love to what some of the parents ended up choosing.
on July 19th, 2015 at 2:20 pm
Completely agree! I LOVE Ezra and find it the perfect choice. Stick with it, its a great name!
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