Category: baby names 2011
Kindergarten teachers across the US are learning the names of all their new students, which might present an especially big challenge this year.
Children entering school this fall were most likely born in 2010 or 2011, when the Number 1 names both years were Jacob for boys and Sophia for girls. (Even when Isabella took first place in 2010, Sophia and Sofia together outnumbered her.) That makes nearly 100,000 children named Jacob, Sophia, or Sofia starting kindergarten this fall, an average of 2000 in every state.
If you throw Jake and Sophie into the mix, that’s nearly as many children as were named Michael and Jennifer in 1983, the year today’s average kindergarten parent was born. Welcome to school, new generation of kids destined to be known as Jacob R. and Sophia W.
And then there are those baby names that are evidence of how wide the gulf is between the British and the American cultures.
We found 29 baby names — 20 for girls and nine for boys — that rank in the current British Top 200 (or so) that do not appear at all in the American Top 1000. (Note: We did skip spelling variations such as Hollie and Isobel.)
And another five Top 200 baby names for girls and nine for boys that are down at the bottom of our Top 1000; in other words, vastly less popular in the US than in the UK.
The figures for the most popular names in the UK in 2011 have just been released by the Office for National Statistics, containing plenty of surprises and interesting tidbits. For one thing, it seems that despite a lot of cross-pollination, there is still a considerable divide in name popularity across the Atlantic. Just looking at the two top names–which replaced last year’s Olivia and Oliver—there is Amelia, which is #30 in the US, and Harry, which is way down at Number 709 here—although with all those captivating shots of the ebullient prince as a spectator at the Olympics, this could change.
As usual, there is a generous infusion of celebrity influence, from the royal realm, show biz and sports. Amelia for example, was quite probably given a bounce by the 2011 X-Factor finalist Amelia Lily. Led by Alfie in the top five, the nickname name trend continues for both girls and boys—Evie, Ellie, Millie, Rosie, Archie, Tommy, Ollie, and Bobby being among the hottest.
Linda and I have spent a lot of time over the years tracking the ups and downs of baby names and making sense of the movements. Often, it’s possible to divine trends in the popularity lists: Girls’ names that end in a are marching up the ladder in seeming unison, for instance, while New Testament names for boys are moving down.
But sometimes, the patterns are not so easy to discern. Sometimes, in fact, the shifts seem downright contradictory, undercutting any attempt to identify a trend.
Sure, sometimes you can credit a celebrity for a name’s rise or blame a slide on the fact that a name has been around so long that people have gotten tired of it and are turning to a new flavor. We do get, for instance, that Britain‘s newest royal is responsible for the predominance of Kate over Katherine, and that Oliver is simply a fresher name than the long-popular Christopher.
Still, even with those examples, the rise of one name at the same time another, very similar name drops can be amusing. Some notable pairings from this year’s list:
With over 33,000 baby names on the new national roster – a full 50 percent more than were in common use a quarter century ago – you figure there have to be some weird choices among them. Our friend Brooke Dowd Sacco at KidCrave gathered the 102 weirdest names on the 2011 baby name list, and we cherry-picked the strangest of the strange.
Here, our nominations for the weirdest baby names of 2011: