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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Culture influences on popularity?

    Obviously they exist, but today I finally decided to look at the popularity of my current top girl's name -- Helena.

    And I found something interesting. It steadily dropped from 200 down to around 800, and then in 1991/1992, TANKED. Gone. 1992 it wasn't even in the top 1000 -- not even 190 Helena's born in the US. In fact, it went down to basically zero. I'm on this site,
    and as best I can read the tiny chart, probably about ten Helenas in 1991, just for the sake of safety.

    So naturally I turned to Google for answers, and the most likely result was an Evolution/Darwinism book written by someone named Helena. Helena Christensen was in a popular music video in 1991, which I haven't seen and therefore have no opinion on, but maybe that contributed as well?

    In a similar vein, my name, Cecilia, spiked recently -- I'm blaming it on The Office and grandmothers.

    Any other interesting name popularity observations? Comments on these?
    I'm not feeling incredibly profound at the moment. Check back later.

  2. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    east of the sun, west of the moon
    Oh for sure! I was looking at Tristan the other day, which I was half aware had been in the top 100 for some time, but I'd never looked at the numbers. I was shocked to see that until 1995, it wasn't all that popular. 300s and 400s mostly. It jumped from 452 to 68 in two years. What?? I thought to myself. Why? What the heck happened in 1994 to make people fall in love with it? So I got my magic google bar out and typed 'Tristan' '1994' and the first thing that popped up was a little old movie called 'Legends of the Fall'. Yep. Never seen the movie, so it made not even a blip on my radar, but apparently lots of parents went mad for Mr. Brad Pitt.
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  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    I think that site is showing the frequency of Helena's born. Less than 1% (I think?) of the Helena's born were born in 1991/1992.
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  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    @Redwoodfey, I've never seen Legends of the Fall, but I do remember that being one of the movies that really made Brad Pitt a household name.

    Out of curiosity, I looked up the popularity of Monica. It was in the top 100 through the 90s until 1998, when it fell to 105 and then consistently dropped. Not coincidentally, 1998 was the year the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, and the name is now at 434.

    According to the SSN data, there were 187 girls named Helena born in 1992, so it missed the top 1000 by only two slots (the names in slot 998, 999, and 1000 were given to 189 babies). Not sure why it dipped down and then rose again to 843 in 1993. Maybe Helena Christensen brought the name back. She was a pretty well-known supermodel in the 90s.

    ETA: I wonder if that site you found only uses the top 1000 list and not the more thorough data you can download here. That would explain why it shows such a dramatic dip in 1992, when actually there were only 9 fewer Helenas in 1992 than 1991.
    Last edited by maggiefromcanada; September 7th, 2013 at 12:49 PM.
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  5. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Diana boomed up in the 90's because of Princess Diana. That's how I sort of got my name

    As of today, Luna is ranking higher and higher thanks to Harry Potter. Edward and Isabella are also high thanks to Twilight.

    And I'm sure there are going to be a lot of George's now thanks to the new prince.

    I definitely think media influences name popularity.

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