Why is Alexandra up but Alexis down?
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:
Alexandra is up, but Alexis is down
Aria is up, but Cadence is down
Bella is up, but Isabelle is down
Elise is up, but Alyssa is down
Ellie is up, but Leah is down
Harper and Piper are up, but Taylor and Paige are down
Kate is up, but Katherine is down
Kendall is up, but Jada is down
Molly is up, but Gracie is down
Naveah is up, but Makenna is down
Scarlett is up, but Zoe is down
Asher is up, but Austin is down
Bentley is up, but Brady is down
Clark is up, but Kent is down
David and Henry are up, but John and Robert are down
Elijah and Isaiah are up, but Nathaniel is down
Grayson is up, but Carson is down
Jace is up, but Chase is down
Jackson is up, but Jack is down
Levi is up, but Devin is down
Oliver is up, but Christopher is down
Parker is up, but Hunter is down
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