The 2009 Baby Name Pool: The Winners
Dear 2009 Baby Name Pool Participants,
Dang, you guys are good.
Hundreds of name enthusiasts joined our annual contest to predict the year's fastest rising and falling names. This year's entries were a powerful and competitive bunch, fueled by canny picks of hot-rising names like Vivienne and Bristol. Almost 90% of ballots yielded a positive score -- an impressive achievement in a subtle domain where Aiden and Isabella shoot up while Aidan and Isabelle sink.
The top-scoring ballot, submitted by reader Jill:
Rising: Bentley, Bristol, Bradyn
Falling: Joseph, Jessica, Diego
Bentley and Bristol were a powerhouse combination, and not an obvious one. Of all of the cultural memes shaping name trends, "pregnant teenagers" hardly springs to mind. Yet the sudden rise of Bentley was spurred by a baby featured on the MTV reality shows "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom." Bristol Palin, meanwhile, emerged as a naming force not in the year that her mother ran for vice president, but in the year that she became a single teenage mom.
Applause to Jill...but since she has declined to tell more about her choices, the full force of Baby Name Pool fame and plaudits goes to the close second place finisher, Kendra O. Her ballot:
Rising: Bristol, Henry, Kourtney
Falling: John, Sarah, Jennifer
Kendra is a nurse from Madison, Wisconsin. She first honed her baby-name trend predicting prowess by naming her cats Charlotte and Oliver, and has a taste for old-fashioned baby names.
Kendra weighed various factors in her choices: Bristol was inspired by increasing mention of that name on baby-related messageboards. Kourtney was inspired by Kourtney Kardashian, after seeing the rise of sister name Khloe. (Kendra notes, "I almost entered Mason, Kourtney's son's name, because I know of 2 Masons born in 2009.") And Henry is simply a name she's always loved. "I almost wish it wasn't so popular," Kendra writes, "since it's a favorite of mine and in my husband's family."
Congratulations to Kendra and to all of you impressively savvy name spotters.
Finally, I always offer a "tiebreaker" question, predicting the rank of a specific name. This year, an unusual number of you guess the rank of the girl's name Taylor right on the dot. Because Taylor, obliging, stayed exactly where it was: #22 in 2008, #22 in 2009.
See you next year!