When a restaurant or vacation spot is described as "popular" that's usually considered a compliment right? Yet in the world of baby names, "popular" has become the least popular designation around.
How do you feel about using a popular name? Is there a cut-off point when popular becomes too popular? Would you give up on a name simply because too many other people were using it or is that irrelevant to you?
Would you use a name in the top 10? top 50? top 100? top 500? Or would you avoid one that's on the SS list altogether? Do you draw a distinction between popular and trendy? Where do you stand?
I would not be averse to using a popular name unless it was trendy only within one generation. So I'm fine with Elizabeth, but I wouldn't use Sophia. I prefer not to use a name that's in the top 25 at all, preferably not in the top 50, but to me there is a big different between classic and trendy names.
For me popularity comes in two categories 'trendy' and 'classic'
If I was given a trendy name like Nevaeh I would literally hate it. Most likely go with my filler middle name that a child most like named Nevaeh would get. But if I was a name like Elizabeth I would be fine, actually really happy because Elizabeth is stunning! Nowadays I really do believe that their are two types of Jennifer effects the 'trendy' and the 'classic' the trendy is just yuck the classic is great, as classics names are always fantastic and will always be amazing.
Most of the names I like are in no way popular, but if I did really love a name on the charts, I would use it. Sometimes a name can be in the Top 100 and you'll never encounter another in your whole life. Just depends where you live and what crowd you are in, I think. I'm a Cate, and I've yet to meet one spelled with a C, though I've met only one Kate in school so far, and she's a year younger than me. And Kate/Cate is fairly popular!
Honestly, I think if you really love a name you shouldn't let anything come between you using it. If you are hung up on a name simply due to popularity, I think that's a sign it isn't the right name for you.
Here are the Top 10 name in America for 2012: (bolded numbers besides names are how many I know, mind you, i've only ever been to tiny schools. 70 at most in my whole grade for my middle school experience, about 40 in grade for my whole elementary experience)
1 Jacob 1 Sophia 2
2 Mason 0 Emma 2
3 Ethan 0 Isabella 3
4 Noah 0 Olivia 1
5 William 0 Ava 1
6 Liam 0 Emily 0
7 Jayden 0 Abigail 1
8 Michael 1 Mia 1
9 Alexander 2 Madison 0
10 Aiden 1 Elizabeth 1
The only name I like on this list is Liam and even if it is uber popular when I start having kids and I still like it, I don't think that'll deter me.
EDIT: Heck, I just looked it up, all (besides two, Alice and Cecily) of the names on my list haven't been in the top 1000 for the past 100 years!!
And on the topic of trendy, I see trendy as names like Kaylee etc, and I really don't like the look or the feel of those type of names so it's not really a problem,
Short Answer: I don't really care about trendy or "top" lists. It might bother me if my child was the fifth in their class, but as long as me and my future husband or boyfriend like the name, it doesn't really matter.
Being popular and "classic" is fine. Being popular and "trendy" is the kiss-of-death for me. :)
Let's take the top ten names in the US last year: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Emily, Abigail and Elizabeth are "classic" names (ones that have depth and a long history of usage). I would classify Ava, Mia and Madison as more "trendy" options (names that appeared out of nowhere and shot up the charts like a rocket). These three names follow certain trends. Ava and Mia are part of the "two-syllable ending in "a" brigade and Madison is a surname that ends in "n" and caught on from the mermaid film "Splash".
The top 100 girls name is Annabelle but that name was only given to 3,025 girls in the US in 2012 (compare that to the No# 1 name of Sophia with 22,158 girls). Popularity also depends on where you live. You may never run into any Sophias in your neighborhood and yet it's the No# 1 name in the country. So unless you have loads of Annabelles running around in your neck of the woods I think you'll be fine with names 100-1,000 rating.
I dislike popular (not classic, there is a difference) because I'd like my child's name to reflect their uniqueness, and honestly, as a name-lover, I simply get sick of hearing certain names. I used to adore the the name Isobel/Isabel/Isabelle, and now I can't stand it. I wouldn't let the popularity of a name simply off of a list deter me from it, but names like Isobel that I know too many of, will put me off of the name. Using Allie's list, here's how many I know (bolded are how many I know; not all of them are babies/small children, obviously):
1 Jacob 3 Sophia 9, 10, 11
2 Mason 0 Emma 4
3 Ethan 1 Isabella 4 (I know far more Isabelles)
4 Noah 1 Olivia At least 10
5 William 0 Ava 1
6 Liam 1 Emily 6
7 Jayden 0 Abigail 2
8 Michael 4 Mia 1
9 Alexander 0 Madison 1, 2
10 Aiden 2 Elizabeth 3
Popular names, as a general statement, are names that are completely associated with a certain generation. How many people named Lisa do you know that aren't born in the 60s? Or, as in your example, Jennifer, that weren't 70s children? Names like Sophia and Emily, to me, will be the Jennifer of the late 90s/early 2000s. Most of the Sophias I know are teens or preteens; a few are small children or infants, but the name is dying, already, being dismissed as "too popular", which people immediately stray away from. The desire to be hip and new is truly what is popular right now, the desire to shock, the desire for people to say, "I've never heard that name before." No one aspires for their child to be come just another ____ A. , or _____ R. Unfortunately, this often melds into similar strategies to amaze in impress; using boys' names for girls, is one common way to differentiate, as well as mixing two separate names, and inserting different and unnecessary letters (the letter "y" is especially popular) into established names. Here, on Nameberry, these are the three deadly sins, yet more every day to I see young children bearing names fitting these "youneek" trends.
Sophia and Olivia, when I was a kid, were pretty much unheard-of. Sophia would have been considered glamorous and romantic, and name to envy, something that would confer distinction on its owner; Olivia was regarded as an ugly clunker on a par with Gertrude. (I can remember jokes about Olivia Newton John--it seemed incredible that she was actually named that!) Now, of course, Sophia wouldn't be romantic and distinctive at all; it would be the name of that cruel girl in math class, that other girl who made a play for your boyfriend, etc.--the name has been ruined for a generation by carrying so many associations that it is no longer meaningful. It has lost its ability to be evocative. If popular names were truly popular because they are the Best Names Possible, the charts would be far more stable than they are, and not nearly so swayed by fashion.
Having grown up with a very popular name, I find them pretty appalling; I would't want my child to feel that his or her name was so generic that it's barely a name at all, which is still how I feel today. And in adulthood, a beautiful, unusual name is always an advantage. So: nothing in the top 200, and below 500 seems a lot better.
It's a matter of perspective. I grew up in the 80s and Sophia was an old-lady name to me and my friends while Olivia was a beautiful name. I also loved the name Emma. Isabella was another old-lady name. And don't get me started on Agnes or Agatha. I still don't like Sophia, Isabella, Agnes, or Agatha because they're just not youthful to me, yet many out there do like them and think they're precious names for their baby.
Originally Posted by vasilisa
I grew up with a very unusual name and I hated it. For that reason, I don't intend to let popularity sway me toward or away from a name. If I like it, I'll use it, regardless of how popular it is.
I grew up with such a popular name. I can barely recall times where I was the only Emily. The popularity of my name made me dislike it less and less and less and...well, you get the picture. I made a promise to myself that when I have kids (and that is far away!), I will never ever give them a popular name! Even if it is a family name. I joke around with my parents that I am in an identity crisis!! So to answer the question, no, I would never ever ever even REMOTELY consider a popular name!
ETA: That doesn't mean popular names aren't on my guilty pleasures list! I just wouldn't give that name to a child...
Popularity isn't an issue for me. If I like a name then I will add it to my list and I won't bother about the popularity of it. I would also only use the original or more heard of spelling of a name. For example I would use Caleb not Kaleb or I would use Ronan not Ronin and so on. I just think the original spellings look so much more classic and 'right' and the spelling variations look a little tacky.