Category: baby names 2011

There was a time when we thought—rightly or wrongly– of regional names in terms of stereotypes—prim and proper appellations in New England, sweetly feminissima Southern belles, Tex-Mex cowboys out west. Now, though, it sometimes seems that baby names have become more and more homogeneous across the United States, but if we really peruse the popularity figures for states’ local baby names we do find some regional differences and state eccentricities.

First, a look at which names were in first place and where they ruled:

girls

AvaLouisiana, South Dakota

EmmaAlabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, Wyoming

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Over 1500 new baby names joined the Social Security extended list this year, 641 boys’ names and 896 names for girls.  Nephele, one of the original Berries, tallied all the new baby names for us from the complete list of names given to five or more children in the U.S. in 2011.

Are there any gems in the bunch?  A couple, which we will highlight for you in a moment.  For the most part, though, the new baby names are either kreeatif spellings of old names – Cathrynn and Zakarri – or inventions such as Dhyey and Blessn unlikely to inspire many imitators.

Still, the names below are notable for a variety of reasons, though they’re not all recommended:

girls

ACE – We’ve been hearing more boys named Ace, but think it’s a cute nickname-name for a girl.

ANSON – If you’re on board with the EmersonJensen style names for girls, Anson is one that might honor an ancestral Ann.

ARLINGTON – Of all the fresh place name possibilities, this one is particularly attractive.

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Popular baby names are the Number 1 topic of the week, but today we thought we’d turn the tables and ask instead about favorite baby names.  What are your personal Top 10 names for each gender?

The criteria: Those you love best, period.  Put them in order, with Number 1 your very favorite on down.   Or hey, if that’s too hard, just give us your ten best in any particular order.

And if you can’t come up with ten for each gender, then list as many as you can think of!

Whether or not your personal favorite baby names are favorites with anybody else doesn’t matter.  But if you’d like to add commentary on how popularity or family or your personal history factors into your decision, it would be very welcome.

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popular names

The official list of U.S. Most Popular Names 2011 will be revealed this Friday, and so in advance of that announcement, we’re asking YOU to predict:

What do you think will be the 2011 Most Popular Names?

Will Jacob and Isabella hold their top spots?  If not, which names do you think will make it to Number 1?

What about the Top 10?  There’s a prize (see below) for the first person to guess correctly!

In 2010, these were the Top 10 names for girls and boys:

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It’s easy to confuse popularity with stylishness.  Many baby names feel “popular” when they’re merely stylish: We’re hearing them a lot, they’re in step with the baby name fashions, and we worry that if we choose them, our little Matilda is going to be one of many.

And perhaps if you live in some edgy, baby-centric enclave – Park Slope, Brooklyn, say, or Bernal Heights in San Francisco – that will be true.  But for the most part, the numbers tell a different story, with many of the most stylish names used by very few parents.

One note: Names can be popular and stylish, so many of those in the popular column also qualify as stylish.

Looking just at girls’ names today, here’s a statistics-based reality check on what’s stylish vs. what’s truly popular.  (Numbers in parentheses represent how many babies were given that name in the most recent U.S. count.)

Allegra (114) is stylish, though Arianna (4,797) is popular

Aurelia (209) is stylish, but Amelia (5,417) is popular

Azalea (164) is stylish while Violet (2,531) is popular

Beatrix (123) is stylish while Alexa (5,012) is popular

Blake (240) is stylish, while Payton (3,561) is popular

Carter (158) is stylish while Kennedy (2,803) is popular

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