Stylish vs Popular: The boys’ edition
Yesterday we did a rundown on the divide between the girls’ names that are stylish to the point where it feels like they must be popular and those that are actually, statistically widely used. It’s especially hard to distinguish when it comes to the names we see appearing so often in berry posts and blogs.
So here we do a similar analysis for the boys, with some similarly surprising results, especially when it comes to those berry faves,…names such as Theo. It’s easy to be fooled if you live in a place where there are more Atticuses than Aidens in your neighborhood playground.
Once again, the numbers in parentheses represent how many babies were given that name in the most recent U.S. Count.
Did any of these statistics surprise you?
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on March 7th, 2012 at 8:15 am
Why are so many good boys names surnames! I don’t mind in principle but I live in the UK where I really know whole families such as The Finnegans, The Bowens, The Millers, The Sullivans, and very many The SMITHS (including the band!)… so they are just not plausible first names here :-(.
The others left on the stylish side that I like (Callum, Theo, Harry) are hugely popular here. Harry has been in the top ten for at least three years and Theo and Callum in the top 50. The girls list was great though; are there just fewer internationally-stylish boys names? I bet it was tougher to create this list than the girls one!
on March 7th, 2012 at 9:52 am
Hmm. I’m so sad that so many of my names are so popular! 🙁 I suppose what truly matters is my loving the name… but oh well.
I have been noticing the Last Names First sort of trend going on. Its an interesting trend… I’m not particular to it. But its not a bad one! I just can’t imagine using Finnegan [there once was a man named Michael Finnegan! ;)], Smith, Miller, Sullivan, Bowen, Anders, etc. I know too many people with these last names for me personally to want to use them!
I have a hard time liking a lot of these! I see Bodhi and think Body, which isn’t necessarily an attractive association to me personally. I do like Wiley, Theo, Zachariah, Gideon, Lucian, Matthias, and Cassius though! 🙂
L in Boston Said
on March 7th, 2012 at 10:18 am
I think you may be undercounting the Theos, though. There were 1305 boys named Theodore in 2010, and surely quite a large number of them are known primarily as Theo, no?
on March 7th, 2012 at 10:25 am
I would’ve thought Jefferson was more popular than he actually is! 🙂
Love Cassius & Remy to pieces! Glad to see them here in the stylish column, I’d hate for either of them to get too popular.
I think the Theodore/Theos are a tiny bit different than the “just” Theos, myself. Rather like the Josephines/Josies vs. the simply Josies.
on March 7th, 2012 at 10:46 am
This is certainly eye-opening. But I do think a lot depends on where you live.
Two different friends of mine welcomed baby Callums last year, but we know no Liams of any age.
And I have a two-year-old Henry — and, so far, we’ve met only one other younger-than-senior-citizen age Henry.
But I live close to NYC, where I think there’s a premium on stylish or unique names. In my son’s music class, he has little friends named Lotus, Lux and Aylot (girls) and Flash (a boy) — but not an Olivia or Jayden to be found!
on March 7th, 2012 at 10:57 am
That’s amazing, Jenifer. On my very short block in a quite similar town (ahem), there are THREE boys named Henry, though they are all teenagers. The one preschool-aged Henry recently moved away, perhaps due to the name competition?
on March 7th, 2012 at 1:48 pm
I adore the name Harry but I think I would play safe and use Henry as a full name. I want to give my children options in their teen years.
I am actually not keen on most of these names. Smith in particular seems pretty bad. It makes me think of anonymity. Kind of like naming you child Jones or Doe.
on March 7th, 2012 at 2:35 pm
Graydon? Not stylish. It sounds like another made-up “Aidan” variation.
I happen to think Owen is both stylish AND popular, but I’m biased (it’s my own son’s name.) Bowen sounds made up to me and Odin makes me think of Odie, the dog from Garfield.
I love Nash, Remy, Miller and Seamus.
on March 7th, 2012 at 2:42 pm
I love Darwin and Sullivan! They feel really modern. Sullivan is so geeky it’s cool!
Here in the UK, we’re overrun with Callums and Liams alike. They’re perceived as very cool, teenage sorts of names. Especially Callum! All Callums I know are cool.
Anders is now obviously unusable as a first name, at least in Europe in the countries where you don’t hear the name very often. So I think Andon makes a healthier – if trendier-sounding – alternative to Anderson or Anders.
Smith is the most common surname in the English-speaking world. If someone shouted “Smith!” I’d think it was the person’s surname. 🙂
I stumbled on Abner for the first time a few weeks ago, and I thought it sounded very cool. Older, more experienced people said it was an old man’s name. But I don’t think it sounds like an old name. Sounds new, almost trendy. It’s got the -er ending people like so much.
on March 7th, 2012 at 3:06 pm
Theo and Wylie were both on my boy list. If I had not had a Beatrix, I would probably have a Theo. Maybe someday.
Bea started daycare this week, and I’m reveling in the names of the other babies. There is a Maya, Lexi, and Ashton, but there is also a Serafina. Mostly popular, but we get a few style points.
on March 9th, 2012 at 1:33 am
Harry is, IMO, held back by the number of people who say Harry almost the same, or the same, as they say “Hairy.”
If Henry is off the table I think nickname-names Hal and Hank would be my choices before Harry.
I like Zacharias more than Zachariah, not sure why.
I do love, on the stylish side, Cassius, Dexter, Gideon, Finnegan, and Samson, and on the popular side, Abraham, Owen, Gabriel, Henry, and Wyatt.
on March 9th, 2012 at 8:28 am
I’m always surprised at the slower pace boys names move up and down the chart. Derek, Justin, Ryan, and Sean are far past their prime but still high on the charts, perhaps juniors.
I would have guessed Dexter and Finnegan to be more popular as I know several of each.
I knew Henry was popular before we chose it, but we went ahead with it because it’s a family name on several branches of my husband’s tree. Maybe this is the same logic of other parents as Henry peaked at number 10, 100 years ago. Really hoping he won’t be Henry B. All through school.
on March 12th, 2012 at 5:49 pm
I love a lot of the names on both the stylish and popular lists!
Stylish favorites: Abner (never heard this before! So cool!), Harry, Matthias, Remy, & Theo
Popular Favorites: Abraham, August, Liam, Finn, Henry, Maxwell, Henry, and Leo
I’ve got to say though, I really don’t classify anthing around 1,000 very popular. August and Romeo but also Finn and Abraham don’t seem so overdone.
on March 18th, 2012 at 10:41 am
I love the name Wylie, i’ll be using it for my son. Most of the names here are very harsh sounding and don’t seem stylish at all, but rather clunky instead.
on March 24th, 2012 at 12:01 am
I wouldn’t have pegged Darwin as stylish, although (or maybe because) that’s one of my kids’ names. I have an Anders, too. We’re trying to name our newest now; he was almost Gideon, and then almost Luke.
I agree with the Harry/Hairy problem, and I’m one of those people who ruin the name (sorry!).
on April 11th, 2012 at 6:53 pm
I absolutely love the name Theo! In a few years, it will most likely be popular. I also like Samson. 🙂
on May 25th, 2012 at 12:18 pm
Zachariah, Matthias, Samson, Dexter and Odin I love! Here in the UK, the name Harry is actually hugely popular – number 3. I also love Theo but it’s number 50 here 🙁 great names though!
on May 30th, 2012 at 1:24 pm
I’m a big name fan, but I keep waiting to see some perspective on “popularity.” For example, 4.1 million babies were born in the US in 2011. A name that would be considered prohibitively popular and overused, like Mason, is actually around 0.35% of babies born. Not 35%, 0.35%. I just don’t get the horror parents have that their child may someday encounter another person with the same name. I like a unique name as much as the next person, but as naming gets more and more diverse the chances of any one name being “too popular” seems to be diminishing.
on August 29th, 2012 at 4:11 pm
Artemisia, 0.35% would actually be a LOT… 143,500 if the 4.1mil figure is right. You’re thinking of 0.035%.
I personally would rather my child’s name be popular enough that they run into namesakes frequently, OR (preferably) so unusual that they will likely never meet another. This is just my preference based on my experience growing up with my name, which was in the 400s range when I was born. I remember feeling defensive on the handful of occasions (I think 5 total in my life so far, including soundalike spelling variations) I met another of my name
Of course, affection for a name trumps the above, but I still rule out otherwise-favorites based on popularity.
It’s all a matter of personal preference, which of course is heavily influenced by our own life experience.
on January 27th, 2013 at 7:24 am
I love Harry and I’m glad Australians don’t have the same “hairy” pronunciation problems as Americans!
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