Reprise: The Age of Aidans

May 12th 2008

Three years ago, I looked at American baby names and declared that we had entered "The Age of Aidans":

Looking at the most popular American baby names of 2004, one name leaps out at me....or rather, one sound. A whopping 33 different names rhyming with Aidan made the boys' top 1000 list. (And that doesn't even count the near misses, like Dayton-Payton-Layton-Clayton-Treyton.) That number is up from 28 Aidan-esque names in 2003, and just one 20 years ago.

It turns out that wave is still rising. The number of Aidan-rhymes on the boys' list reached 40 last year, accounting for more than 4% of all boys born. And even the formidable -aidan bloc is just a small part of a larger phenomenon: little Daytons, Casons, Kians, Landyns, etc. Almost a third of all boys born now receive a name ending in -n. Meanwhile the traditional, classic English boys' names are all plummeting because parents want their kids' names to be "distinctive." But how distinctive is Jaidyn in a class with Aydin, Bradyn, Kaeden, Raiden and Zayden? (Yes, those are all top-1000 names.)

What you have here is a story of two competing impulses. American parents love the idea of unusual names, but our tastes are still as much like our neighbors' as ever. The inevitable result is hundreds of tiny variations on a theme. We carve out tiny niches of uniqueness -- "that's Jaidyn, not Jadyn" -- and end up sounding more alike than ever.

Comments

1
By JennyAnna (not verified)
May 12, 2008 11:27 AM

So does this mean I should follow my husband's desire to name our soon-to-be-born son Linus, Abner or Burt?

2
By Guest (not verified)
May 12, 2008 11:37 AM

I think Linus falls into the "urban hipster" category of names. I've met some boys called Linus in my area. It is much nicer than anything rhyming with Aidan.

Abner and Burt? Not so great.

3
By Amy3 (not verified)
May 12, 2008 11:52 AM

JennyAnna -- I've had a soft spot for Linus for the longest time. I also had a cat named Abner, partly because I thought I'd never have the chance to use it on a boy (and I was right). (Linus made the short list of names for the cat, too.) I think both are great names.

Burt I don't care for because of personal associations with the name.

As for Aidan and the many sound-alikes, I know very few kids IRL with these names. If I were naming a baby now, though, I'd definitely avoid them, even though I think Aidan itself is quite nice.

4
By Howard (not verified)
May 12, 2008 12:00 PM

Of course, the immense popularity of Aiden et al is somewhat hidden by the spelling differences. A parent to be considering Aiden may look at the top 20 popular names and think, "Hey, it isn't even that common." Adding spellings together would paint a different picture, though I understand the reasons why Laura decided not to in the Name Wizard. At the same time I found the list fascinating:

http://www.namenerds.com/uucn/top06xy.html

Kindergarten are about to get drowned in Aidens et al. Little niches of distinctiveness will be "Aiden T." and "Brayden with a Y".

Oh well. All the Jennifers and Lisas born in the 70's survived.

Aside: Whenever I tell someone they almost assuredly don't know someone over 10 named Aiden, about half the time they say "There was that guy on Sex in the City named Aiden." That was TV, not real life!

5
By Jill C. (not verified)
May 12, 2008 12:01 PM

My playgroup (about 30 kids) has an Aidan, a Hayden, a Caden, and a Brayden.

I like Linus and Burt/Bert, maybe short for Albert?

6
By Wendy (not verified)
May 12, 2008 12:24 PM

I wonder how much the "aidan" rhyming names are a white American pheonomenon. Last summer I posted about my daughter's pre-k class. Her male classmates were:

Aidan
Braydon
Evan
Brandon
Julian
Logan
Max

All the boys were white middle class. (My daughter's comment at the time were all boys names sound alike). Now, she is in a racially diverse kindergarten.

The boys names:

Elijah
Joshua
Matthew
Griffin
Humberto
George
Pedro
Donnell
Justin
Aaron

And I love the name Linus -- had a cat named Linus Pauling in the 90's.

7
By Patricia (not verified)
May 12, 2008 1:08 PM

Regarding "The Aidans" (once again):

In the discussion following Laura's previous post, Susan wrote that as a substitute teacher, "I'm typically faced with a class of kids named Aiden, Jaden, etc. and I find it very difficult to keep them straight." I can understand how those who have several boys called Aidan, Jaden, Kaden, etc. among their students or their children's friends would begin to see these names as 'all the same'.

Two days ago I posted in regard to all the spellings of Aidan: "I can think of lots more possibilities and combinations: first syllable Ai, Ay, A, Ae, with d_n -- put in any of the 5 vowels or y; plus one could throw in an extra 'd' or 'n', making limitless ways to try to make one's own baby Aidan different from all the rest (or something???)." I thought I had all eventualities covered, but my daughter, mother of grandson Aidan, told me she knows an Aidghan! That appears to be Aidan designed to look like Meghan.

Interesting, when I consulted CE Evans book to find out about the 'h' that sometimes is put in Megan, I learned that "the many respellings of this name [Megan] are American attempts to make the name look Irish, but it is not an Irish name and has almost never been used in Ireland, The idea that it's Irish may have come from confusing it with the Irish surname Meighan, with which it has no connection." Evans says that Megan is the Welsh variation of Margaret.

8
By Patricia (not verified)
May 12, 2008 1:35 PM

Laura wrote that "the traditional, classic English boys' names are all plummeting because parents want their kids' names to be "distinctive."

Our family prefers "traditional, classic English boys' names" because they sound distinguished.

It does seem that these names are still doing fine, as at least a third of the boys' names in the SSA top 25 would fit that description.

And of course, the more parents who choose the 'new' names with their own 'created' spellings, the more the traditional names, spelled the standard way, will stand out and seem distinctive.

Right now "unique" names and non-standard spellings are popular among some American parents. But I think the trend eventually will turn away from fad names (with some of these names going away about as fast as they sprung up) to timeless names for boys, like the traditional classic English names.

9
By Paz (not verified)
May 12, 2008 1:59 PM

What I find interesting is that the -ayden still sound very new and unique to a lot of people. My fiance just heard that his cousin had a baby named Cadin and commented on how they picked such a "unique" name. I always follow baby name trends closely so the name did not seem at all unique to me.

10
By Valerie (not verified)
May 12, 2008 2:44 PM

I agree, Paz. We know a family who just had a Caden (brother to Connor) and I'm feeling sorry for them already, as they probably think it's really unusual. Ditto for another family who just had a sister for Gabriella whom they've named Isabella!

I think when you hang around this blog long enough you do begin to have more unusual taste. This week Albert is really growing on me!

11
By Valerie (not verified)
May 12, 2008 2:45 PM

I expect now someone will come along and tell me that Albert is the next big thing...

12
By Amy3 (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:00 PM

Valerie -- I *love* Albert. :-)

There's a little first-grade Albert that goes to my daughter's school.

13
By Amy3 (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:01 PM

Wait, I think he's actually an Alfred. Either way, I love it. I'm a fan of the Al- names, though.

14
By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:06 PM

Valerie,
I posted on the -bert names back in 2006. Thanks to Laura's new search function, I was able to find the post. Here's what I said:

"As the daughter of a Herbert and the granddaughter of an Albert, I can't believe I didn't think of the "-bert" ending for boys' names before now! Shame on me! A quick search on Voyager revealed the following:

Albert 1880s
Bert 1890s
Egbert 1890s (my personal favorite!)
Gilbert 1930s
Dilbert--only one of these, but I'd say he peaked in the 1990s
Herbert 1920s
Hubert 1920s
Humbert--must have been a Nabokov original!
Robert 1930s
Wilbert 1910s

and Rupert 1900s

Interestingly, the "-berto" names peaked in the 1990s with Alberto, Humberto, and Roberto (an exception is Gilberto, which peaked in 2003). Since the Latino population is rising rapidly, I find this a particularly fascinating trend. That drop to me is more significant than it would seem since the number of Hispanic babies born in the US is increasing so rapidly, I would think that the frequency of all Latino names would be as well."

I left out Engelbert, but despite the popularity (?) of the campy Mr. Humperdinck, the name never caught on in the US, at least not since Social Security records have been kept.

15
By Amber the Red (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:17 PM

I have to admit, I don't see what the ickiness of Abner is all about. I rather like it! Of course, I like August and Arthur, and Edgar is growing on me, too.

16
By Madeline (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:20 PM

It's such a shame that Aidan is going to become so fad-y because it's a lovely name. I actually know 2 Aidans in their mid 20's - but both are from Ireland (I live in the US). So adult Aidans do exist!

Despite their numbers, all those little boys born these days are lucky not to have a super-trendy, "creatively" spelled variation...

17
By Madeline (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:22 PM

I knew an August...who went by Gus. And I always thought it was a bit of a shame because the full name is so beautiful.

18
By sohotosoho (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:41 PM

Yes there are many adult Aidans around, immigrant paddies like myself, who are all rather bemused at all the two year olds with their moniker! Patricia's Aidghan is bizarre, perhaps an attempt at the (real) Irish name Aodhan?

19
By Sushila O'Malley (not really) (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:41 PM

I also like Arthur, Edgar, Albert--all the Ed- and Al- names work for me, pretty much. Hey, and Edwin, Calvin, and Kelvin even keep you in the popular "-in" crowd!

(I do know boys named Edward and Albert who are second graders right now.)

20
By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:42 PM

I need help from the statisticians in the group! I got curious about Latino naming trends and wanted to see if boys' names ending in "n" had increased or decreased in popularity recently. I first decided to exclude names like Adrián, Martín, and Sebastián, since it is impossible in the SSA stats to distinguish those from Adrian, Martin, and Sebastian. The -n ending is not very popular in traditionally Hispanic names, so I looked at names like Cristián, Efrain, and Fabián (which I kept in because I decided, perhaps wrongly, that Fabian is still too fusty-sounding to be used by the non-Spanish speaking public). I also looked at classic Hispanic names like José, Miguel, Jesús, and Enrique. Surprisingly, almost all of these names have fallen in popularity. Their rankings were almost without exception lower in 2007 than in 2006. And this is where I need help from those trained in interpreting statistical data. Since I assume (again, perhaps wrongly) that the Spanish-speaking population rose from 2006 to 2007, especially among newborns, I take this to mean that Spanish-speakers are more likely now to give their children names outside of the traditional names.

This could mean that the Hispanic population is taking a cue from the rest of the country and giving their children less common names from within their traditional set of names (like Yamilet and Lizet on the girls' side), that Hispanics are assimilating in their naming tastes and calling their children Jayden and Michael, or that non-Hispanics who were using names like Jose have started to abandon them. Or it could mean something totally different.

At any rate, I found it really interesting. I'm going to examine the girls' side now and see if the same trend is occurring.

An aside, the five Hispanic children in my daughter's kindergarten class are named Daniel Brandon (he goes by both names), Tony (I'm not sure if that's short for Antonio or is his given name), Sabrina, Emyly, and Lizbet.

21
By *Madeline* (not verified)
May 12, 2008 3:51 PM

Wow!

Here I am thinking I am unique enough to post as Madeline on here, guess not.
I suppose I should get used to this, I am sure within a few years the wave of Madelines that were born in the 1990's will ojoin the adult world, and I will have to live with sharing the name more often.

To be more on topic, I have a nephew named Caden and his parents thought they made it up, but now he has a name just like everyone else.
It is really unfortunate that a name that has a long history like Aidan has now been lumped in with recent creations.

Oh well

-*Madeline* with stars

22
By jt (not verified)
May 12, 2008 4:03 PM

I don't think we should be too quick to feel sorry for those who named their children something more common than they thought it was, even if they are claiming to try to be different. I would think (hope) that most parents who are very concerned with a name's popularity (or lack thereof) would check the social security rankings of a name before bestowing it on their child. Otherwise, they probably don't care much about the popularity and just like the name, in which case we shouldn't feel sorry for (or superior to) them. As someone else so eloquently put it, many people with common names (such as the Amys, Jennifers and Kimberlys of the 1980s) turned out just fine.

23
By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
May 12, 2008 4:06 PM

OK, so I've done a spot check on Hispanic girls' names and found a slightly different picture. As with the boys' side, stalwart favorites like Alejandra, Marisol, and Guadalupe (for those of Mexican descent) have fallen. On the other hand, Sofia, Isabel, Daniela, Juliana, Camila, Esmeralda, and Ximena have all risen. In the case of Sofia, Isabel, Daniela, and Juliana, I suspect that this is a result of parents of other ethnicities using the name, but the data doesn't speak to that.

The names that fell from 2006-2007 (some only by a few positions) are: Maria, Adriana, Valeria, Mariana, Liliana, Ana, Guadalupe, Alejandra, Selena, Cecilia, Estrella, Marisol, Perla, Mercedes, Jimena, and Fernanda.

So, if native Spanish-speakers are abandoning traditionally Hispanic names, what do you all make of that? Is it related to the anti-immigrant sentiment, general naming trends in the American zeitgeist that seem to push parents to choose less common names, or something completely different?

24
By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
May 12, 2008 4:21 PM

And sorry to keep harping on this subject, but I should qualify my above remarks by saying that of course not all Hispanics are native Spanish speakers. I would love to figure out how to sort out the naming preferences among first, second, and third generation Hispanics, but don't have the stamina to even begin such a search.

Cleveland Kent Evans, do you have any data on this?

25
By Eo (not verified)
May 12, 2008 4:29 PM

I've always loved "Marisol"-- sounds whimsical and ethereal. I think there was a very appealing artist, who may still be creating, who bears that name, and she is one of those "single name" individuals-- I don't think she uses a surname.

One of the "-bert" names I'm surprised hasn't returned yet is "Gilbert". For me, it avoids the "fussiness" of some of the others. Has a strong, retro sound. Good nicknames-- "Gil", "Gib" or "Gibbs". And isn't "Gil" an interesting Israeli name in its own right?

26
By J&H's mom (not verified)
May 12, 2008 4:41 PM

Does anyone have an example of a more traditional name that is plummeting dramatically?

I'm sure it's the circle I run in, but we meet plenty of boys (and girls) with the old-is-new-again flavor of names. I sort of like how you end up with a Ronald and a Mary sitting next to a Caysen and a Mia at toddler storytime.

There are certainly plenty of boys running around with my sons' names (Jack and Henry).

I do think Laura's explanation makes perfect sense, although to back up my own muddlings, I looked up Cade vs. Caden, and Cade did indeed peak first. After 2001 Cade declines fairly dramatically, while the opposite is true of all forms of Caden.
Do you suppose folks think of Caden as the more formal version?

27
By Amber the Red (not verified)
May 12, 2008 4:46 PM

Madeline with Stars, I sympathize. I was originally just plain Amber. Now I must go by Amber the Red. The ignominity of it all!

Back on topic, my sister-in-law asked for help picking out a Celtic name for her child. she said, "I'll probably go with Aidan if it's a boy, but I know Aidan's pretty popular right now." Needless to say, I did all I could to give her as many options as possible. And now that she's having a girl, I hope that she's still not going with Aidan ^_^

28
By Sushila O'Malley (not really) (not verified)
May 12, 2008 4:52 PM

Traditional name that's dropped significantly?

Edith dropped 80 slots from 2006 to 2007--no notion why, since it's one of those old-is-new-again names that gets mentioned a lot here, and it doesn't have any obvious pop-culture reasons for plummeting. Ellen dropped 40 spots in one year--and has fallen almost four hundred rungs in 15 years--even while Ellie is such a popular girls' nickname.

Oh, and Timothy's on the bump--#100--it's about to drop out of the top 100, if trends continue, after being solidly in the top 50 through the 1990s. It wasn't a dramatic one-year plummet, but it's one of those biblical boy names that's been drifting firmly downward in popularity (like Peter, which hasn't been in the top 100 for a decade now).

29
By Harriet (not verified)
May 12, 2008 5:09 PM

Irrelevant but...any info on the rise of Joan for boys?

And I agree with this post. We want to feel unique, but we're scared of actually being that way, so we go with a million slightly different variations of the same thing and say each of us is unique. It's in our baby names, it's in our clothing, it's in the way we speak, it's everywhere.

30
By Blythe (not verified)
May 12, 2008 5:48 PM

J&H's mom- Frances dropped 57 places, and Anne fell 60 places, falling out of the top 500 for the first time.

On the other hand, Jane jumped up 50 places, after a decade of gradual falling.

31
By Valerie (not verified)
May 12, 2008 6:00 PM

I think it's possible that more Hispanic families are choosing English-language names. In my Kindergarten through third-grade classes this year, there were Hispanic children named Parker, Mason, Evan, Diana, Lily, Katie, Michelle, Caitlyn and Emely.

32
By Blythe (not verified)
May 12, 2008 6:02 PM

Sorry, I meant to include the boys in that- Karl dropped nearly 100 places this year, Bernard's dropped 500 places in 15 years, Francis 60 places this year, and poor Gordon's dropped 250 places in four years, while it and Hugh are almost out of the top 1000, despite the fact that they've been there since 1880!

33
By Guest (not verified)
May 12, 2008 6:23 PM

Does the Name Voyager have a wildcard that will allow me to search on name endings? Does anyone know?

Thanks.

P.S. I've met babies named Adin, Ayden, Aiden and Aidan. I always wonder whether Adin, Ayden and Aiden's parents simply don't know how to spell, or whether they think their Aidan will be unique because his name is spelled incorrectly.

34
By Keren (not verified)
May 12, 2008 6:42 PM

It's not just an American trend - Jayden, Aiden and Hayden are all in the England and Wales top 100. Although far more popular here is the -ie or -ey ending

35
By Patricia (not verified)
May 12, 2008 7:37 PM

jt posted: "I would think (hope) that most parents who are very concerned with a name's popularity (or lack thereof) would check the social security rankings of a name before bestowing it on their child. Otherwise, they probably don't care much about the popularity and just like the name, in which case we shouldn't feel sorry for (or superior to) them."

I'm guessing that a lot of expectant parents (perhaps the majority) have never *heard* of the SSA rankings and website. That's been the case with all of my family and extended family when they were looking for the best name for their baby -- until I 'clued' them in about SSA baby name data.

I think many people don't think that much about baby names until they're pregnant, and even then they may have few clues about how to gather name information and/or the inclination to make an extensive search of name popularity, etymology, associations, etc. I suspect that many expectant parents get a name book or two, often randomly (from a friend, pick one up at a bookstore, whatever their local library has, etc.), and go with that plus their own perceptions of which names they've been hearing lately and which are unknown to them.

And there are so many really bad name books out there: books with incorrect meanings, books that imply that all spellings of a name are equal. I purchased one of the more widely sold books, only because Half Price Books had it on sale for $2 and I wanted to take a closer look at it. (It must have been a overstock, as the book continues to be available at major booksellers.) Looking at that "very best name book," if I were a parent interested in the name Aidan, I would find that Aidan can be spelled Adan, Aden, Aydan, Ayden, Aydin, Aiden, Aidon, Aidyn or even Aydean, as if all spellings are equal. Pick one!

In an 'ideal world,' every expecting parent would be provided a copy of The Baby Name Wizard and the URL for SSA name rankings! (Laura, I hope you'll include the latter in your revised Wizard.)

36
By Patricia (not verified)
May 12, 2008 7:55 PM

Valerie, I'm wondering if the family you know who just had a sister for Gabriella whom they've named Isabella cared that much about name popularity. Not everyone does. Perhaps their main criteria was to find a name that they think goes well with their older daughter's name -- and in that, they succeeded.

Too, with name popularity, one can 'never tell'. It seems that one of the things many parents want to avoid is having their child be in a class with another child with the same name and end up being called, as my grandson is, Aidan K. As my daughter wrote in an email recently, "who knew that the name Aidan would become SO popular? Not us!"

Having your child differentiated by the the first initial of his/her last name can happen with names far less popular. My twin grandsons' names (traditional, classic English boys names) were ranked 5 and 18 for the year they were born. Yet in their preschool class, no other boy has either of their names, while #68 Adrian has two representatives -- Adrian C and Adrian R.

37
By JRE (not verified)
May 12, 2008 8:10 PM

To piggyback off Patricia,

Some of us do know the popularity of a name and use it anyway. I knew full well that Jacob was the top boy name and *gasp* used it for our son. The fact we both liked it, it has strong history, and family significance outweighs the top ranking. And then we dove right back into top names with our newest naming her Elizabeth.
Ironically, not only is he the only Jacob in his class, he's the only Jacob in the entire elementary school.

Personally, I find it a shame that people won't use a name they love because of a perceived popularity.

38
By brooke (not verified)
May 12, 2008 8:15 PM

to J&H mom:

LOUIS/LEWIS - a handsome name that keeps falling in popularity (a big plus in my book!)

39
By Jill C. (not verified)
May 12, 2008 8:52 PM

Seconding the "popularity/obscurity is relative" comments: My DD is Mamie, a name not in the top 1000. About 9 months after she was born, I learned that a guy I went to high school with named his new daughter Mamie. He hadn't heard about MY Mamie; I believe theirs is named after the wife's grandmother.

Incidentally, I belive the BNW lists Dixie as a sibling name to Mamie -- now that Dixie has jumped onto the list, will Mamie be next?

And I am also loving Gilbert! Isn't he Anne of Green Gables' husband?

40
By Guest (not verified)
May 12, 2008 8:59 PM

The -ayden names for boys sound oddly feminine to me, maybe because I went to high school in the late 80s with a girl named Kayden. I thought that was a cool name at the time.

Re: giving a child a name that you know is currently highly popular is much harder for me to understand when it's a faddish name, but for classic and/or time-tested names like Jacob or Elizabeth, it's not really the same thing in my mind.

41
By Jiggs (not verified)
May 12, 2008 9:05 PM

I used to babysit an Aidan--he'd be about sixteen now and sometimes I think of him and feel sad that what was such a unique and beautiful name when he was little has become so common. He and my sister are the same age and my sister's name is Lily, which was also not a top-100 name the year she was born.

In fact, Lily was ranked #504 the year she was born and has risen rapidly and steadily every year. In 2007, it was #27.

Aidan, and only that spelling of it, was #796 that year and is now #54. Crazy!

It makes me nervous--you might think you're picking out a lovely and relatively unpopular name but in fifteen years time, it could be the most common name.

And I love Gilbert, too, for the Anne of Green Gables reference. I don't think I could do Linus but Abner sounds distinguished to me.

42
By Patricia (not verified)
May 12, 2008 9:27 PM

Jiggs, do you really think 16-year-old Aidan cares a bit that his name has become the #1 boys' names when Aidan and all its non-standard spellings are counted together -- or is even aware of that? No need to feel sad about his name becoming so popular. As for Lily, does she like having a name that was fairly unique when she's little but now is very popular?

My oldest daughter named her third daughter Emma (151 in 1989) and her fourth/last daughter Sophia (168 in 1995). Both names were seen as rather old fashioned (and questionable) by some in our extended family. In 2007 Emma was number 3 and Sophie, 6. Does either girl feel sad about this? Quite the contrary: they're proud their names are so popular. And they've had the best of both experiences -- never another Sophia or Emma in their class (or often in their entire school), yet eventually their names became very fashionable. Their mother congratulates herself on knowing all along that these names were 'winners'.

43
By Patricia (not verified)
May 12, 2008 9:33 PM

That should have been Sophia that ranked 6 in 2007.

44
By Nina (not verified)
May 12, 2008 10:04 PM

I hate the creative spelling of names, especially when it is no longer pronounced at you wold think from reading it. Like Zoie etc.

When I was young my name was unique, I could never buy anything with my name on it. But suddenly it became popular and I'm not happy about it.

45
By Hannah1981 (not verified)
May 12, 2008 11:23 PM

I'm not happy that my unusual name has become so popular for baby girls. My brother, Micah, who just turned thirty, hates hearing about how trendy his name has become. When you have an unusual first name plus a long and difficult to pronounce surname, you're usually just called by your first name. Now that our first names are so popular, we have to deal with listening to everyone trip over our awful surname.

46
By J&H's mom (not verified)
May 13, 2008 12:04 AM

Thanks for doing all that digging for me, everyone!

On popularity...I'm convinced that a fair amount of the search for originality is driven by moms who grew up with names they perceived as overly popular! Every Jennifer I know still talks about how much she hated being one of half a dozen.

My husband informs me that no man (or boy) gives two cents about the popularity of his name. I'm sure there are exceptions to this sweeping gender stereotype, but it does seem to have some truth to it.

I'd say most regulars to this site are more concerned about a name that will become popular and date-stamped, than they are about sheer numbers. I was thinking today that no matter how many times I hear the name Claire, I just love it. Happily, I feel the same about my own boys' names, even though both are more popular than I'd expected. I Am glad that I don't have to say something like, "Well, we made it up, and it turns out a bunch of other people made up the same thing!"

47
By Barnyardmama (not verified)
May 13, 2008 12:37 AM

Louis is what I will name my next child if he's a boy. I don't know why it's so unpopular. It's short, recognizable, not made up, and it's not consonant heavy. I guess people just want stuff that's different.

Laura is right about traditional names falling. I named my son Charles nn Charlie and just knew that it was going to be a big riser this year. WRONG! It dropped two places and Charlie lost ground too.

I just like knowing that my child's name is going to stand the test of time. Popularity isn't as much of an issue for me as a date stamp is.

48
By Lisa in Tx (not verified)
May 13, 2008 1:17 AM

Elizabeth T. - A lot of later-generation Hispanics are going for inter-racial marriages (my own husband included) and of course the other spouse brings a whole new element to deciding what names fit for the new family. It's a totally different dynamic, deciding between John or Juan, Miriam or Marisol (translation is ""Saint Mary of the Sun," by the way), when you have such very different naming backgrounds to meld. And then you have people like my husband who don't identify very closely with their "ethnic background" just because it's too far removed. When the survey people call he has a hard time convincing them he's Tejano (native Hispanic Texan) or just plain American, and NOT Mexican-American. His family has lived in this country at least as long as mine (150+ years) and has likewise shed most of the original culture.

jt, Patricia, et al. - popularity is hard to rate, too. My son's name Joseph is popular, but not top 10. We're expecting in September and thinking of Sophia as a name, and even with the two spellings combined to make it the #1 name, it still has the same name density as Joseph. And it has half the density of the big names (Jennifer, Jessica, Ashley) from when we were born. Popular does not mean pervasive.

49
By Valerie (not verified)
May 13, 2008 1:31 AM

Patricia- you may be right and the parents of Isabella may not mind at all if her name is popular. Maybe I was imposing my own fear of that on to them. My mother was pretty upset when she discovered that naming my sister Sarah in 1970 made her one of many in her age group.

I remember Leslie Dunkling saying that a lot of people feel it's an advantage to be ahead of the curve. For example, your granddaughters Emma and Sophia will be in that position now for the rest of their lives. I think it was because people will think they are younger than they are... although now I'm questioning the whole basis of that statement! That just totally buys into the "younger is better' mentality that afflicts our culture....

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, that would put me at a disadvantage, as I'm a Valerie born in 1962 which was at the tail end of the name's popularity. I probably have experienced people assuming I'm older because of that- before they meet me- but it hasn't been a big deal. And anyway, it's coming back now, apparently!

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By Jiggs (not verified)
May 13, 2008 2:08 AM

I know that my sister gets frustrated when she lived for most of her life without knowing anyone her name and now she is constantly hearing her name called out in grocery stores, etc.

My husband, Dylan, also is frustrated by the recent surge of little Dylans everywhere. I suppose my point was not so much that there is something wrong with having a common name, if that's what the parents want as much as it is difficult to predict which names are going to become popular. I think Lily, Aidan, and Dylan are all lovely names--even if they are too popular for me to want to use.

And when you are used to having a "unique" name and it does become suddenly quite popular, I think that for some people that does feel awkward.