The Fastest-Falling Baby Names of 2010: Back to Earth

May 5th 2011

I always feel a little bad for the fast-falling names. Sometimes they point to a celebrity's decline from the spotlight. Sometimes they paint a picture of generational changeover that seems all too fast. And somebody -- often tens of thousands of somebodies -- loves these names.

This year's list has an especially sad edge due to the presence of two names linked with specific real-life children.

Fastest-falling boys' names
5. Joshua
4. Kevin
3. Eduardo
These three longtime favorites are in different stages of popularity decline. Kevin peaked all the way back in the '60s and has spent the past half century slowly coming to earth. (It's still a top-100 name, though!) Joshua hit its peak in the '80s -- a even higher peak than Kevin ever managed -- and after this year's fall remains a very popular name. Eduardo is at an oxymoronic point: a spiky plateau. A hot year for an Eduardo like top telenovela star Eduardo Yáñez can bump the name up by hundreds of babies, while an off year sends it back down.

2. Aidan
This most traditional spelling of the name continues a rapid decline. The kind of parents who were drawn to Aidan as an old Celtic saint's name tend to be discouraged by the many similar "creative" names floating around. (Liam and Declan are helping to pick up the slack.)

1. Aaden
The #1 fastest-rising name of 2008 is the #1 fastest-falling of 2010. Aaden is one of the Gosselin family sextuplets featured in the reality series "Jon & Kate Plus 8." That wholesome entertainment went sadly awry as the Gosselin parents' marriage dissolved in very public fashion. The tv show was retooled as "Kate Plus 8" but much of the audience turned away.


Fastest-falling girls' names

5. Taylor
Here's a perfect example of the complicated relationship between baby names and fame. What celebrity of the past five years seems more err...tailor-made to launch a thousand names than Taylor Swift? But the name Taylor had already started to decline when Swift had her first hit song in 2006, and it has kept on dropping.

4. Malia
The rapid decline of the Obama daughter's name may look at first glance like a political statement, but Malia is just settling back in after a one-year publicity spike. This name is still more popular than it was before the Obamas hit the national scene.

3. Marley
Marley enjoyed a huge 2-year boom thanks to the film "Marley & Me." This year it retreated. Yes, I realize that the Marley in the film was a badly behaved male dog; I told you the relationship between baby names and fame was complicated.

2. Caylee
Caylee was top rising name in 2008 in response to the tragic death of toddler Caylee Anthony. (More background on this name and the general phenomenon of naming after crime victims can be found in this column from last year.)

1. Analía
Telenovelas are one of the top sources of one-year wonder names. "El Rostro de Analía" made this name the top rising girl's name just last year, and now it's the top faller.

 

See also: The fastest rising names of 2010, The most popular baby names of 2010

Comments

1
May 5, 2011 2:00 PM

These studies are so telling of the climate of names in the USA. Thanks so much for your hard work analyzing them Laura.

2
May 5, 2011 2:22 PM

I need some name advice. Everyone here was so helpful with feedback on names for our first, so I'm excited to get your input on names for our second! We are expecting our second girl in early September. Our first daughter is Cary$ Delph!ne. Her first name we just loved and the middle name is my grandmothers. So far, my husband and I haven't been able to agree on a name that we both love. We haven't ruled anything out yet, but I don't love his picks and he doesn't love mine!

His favs:

Anna
Evelyn nn. Evy
Ada
Alina nn. Alli

My favs:

Sloane
Halle

We will likely choose a middle name from his side of the family. Some options are Alice, Elaine, Louise.

I appreciate any suggestions you may have for us! Thanks!

3
May 5, 2011 3:44 PM

I was going to start with bridging Alina/Alli/Halle (Hailey? Halina?) but then I saw the first two choices of Alice and Elaine for the middle name--that's a bit too much repetition of similar sounds for me.

So, combining Anna/Ada with Evelyn and Sloane I get:

Severina
Evangeline
Dava
Annika
Dawn
Lane
Helen
Solana

This is really just a sound-based combination. All the names (including middle names) are heavy with A, L, S, N sounds. What do the names Sloane and Halle mean to you? What do your husband's choices mean to him?

4
By EVie
May 5, 2011 3:47 PM

Wow—next year I'm totally going to choose my fastest-falling bets based on the fastest-rising of the past couple of years. It's uncanny how predictive they were this year.

With other very popular names, I've noticed that the decline of the variant spellings seems to signal the impending decline of the mainstream spellings (though of course now I can't think of any examples). Could the decline of both Aidan and Aaden mean that the phenomenon is coming to an end? Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

5
May 5, 2011 4:00 PM

I'm guessing wishful, EVie. Jayden is still strong. Myself, I'm calling the peak when parents start trying to respell Maiden for their boys.

Although, the rise of Grayson and Mason might herald a replacement of Rhymes With Aidan with Rhymes With Jason. (I think I'm avoiding the "long A" for the foreseeable future for naming any boys I have.)

6
By lia2 (not verified)
May 5, 2011 4:54 PM

OT question, but how does one pronounce Analía? ah-NAH-lee-ah or AH-nah-lee-ah? Or maybe the accent mark makes it ah-nah-LEE-ah, more of two separate names (Ana and Lia)?

7
By Jaki Levy (not verified)
May 5, 2011 5:05 PM

I gotta say I love this site - and it's so fascinating to see such a close link between baby names and popular culture. I still don't get it though - how could it be that Taylor's name would be on the decline, though, when her fame is supposedly on the rise?

Does this point to some unseen trend?

8
By Kallie (not verified)
May 5, 2011 5:41 PM

In Spanish, the accented letter is stressed. So in this case it's Ah-nah-LEE-ah.

9
May 5, 2011 6:31 PM

I noticed in a couple posts you referenced names that were outside of the top 1000 with their specific ranking (i.e. a name ranked 2408). How do you see those names? Everything I see on the SSA website only goes to 1000.

Thanks! I'm trying to track our #1 name. :)

10
May 5, 2011 7:16 PM

On the Aidan trend - in our local paper last week there was a Tayden! That was a first for me, so no I don't think they are dead yet :)

12
By Andre (not verified)
May 5, 2011 10:29 PM

I think Taylor is seen as "past its selldate" by most parents, whether on girls or boys. Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner, probably the most famous Taylors right now, aren't enough to keep the name climbing.

For boys I've heard of Baylor, Saylor and Kaylor around, so watch out for them. Girls should start using them once they're popular for boys... its a cycle

13
May 5, 2011 10:34 PM

cvpea2-I put your preferences into Nymbler.com and picked through what it gave me. These are some ideas to go with Alice/Elaine/Louise and other A/L/S names as mn:
Abigail Alice
Celina Louise
Alyssa Adele
Suzannah Louise
Sophia Elaina
Lydia Elaina
Annika Louise
Stella Lucille
Scarlett Elise
Lillian Alyssa
Lauren Elisabeth
Olivia Louise
Aurora Cecelia

14
By Guest789 (not verified)
May 5, 2011 11:31 PM

Where did Evelyn get popular? Half my friends either named their girls that or wanted to but didn't want to copy my other friends.

Also, Faux-irish needs to get more extreme to be relevant IMO.

Forget Declan, Liam and Aidan. I want more Finn, Lugh and Crom.

Oh and Aoithe and Nuada for girls. If you're gonna be pretend-Celtic, go all out!

15
May 5, 2011 11:45 PM

@Guest789, I noticed the Evelyn thing starting here a few years ago. I know so many little Evelyn, Eva, Evies that it's not funny!

While I like Irish names I also prefer the slightly more obscure ones. Liam and Declan are way to mainstream/overused for me these days :)

16
By Guest-knp (not verified)
May 6, 2011 12:07 AM

I'm sad Gretchen fell out of top 1000. Is it really that bad?

17
May 6, 2011 12:21 AM

@knp, I really like Gretchen, so I don't think it's bad at all!

18
By knp
May 6, 2011 9:41 AM

well, Chimu, I know that you and I have some similar tastes. :) Gretchen seems just--cute, but also elegant. It is now on my list of absolutely recognizable names that are rare!

19
By Curiouslike (not verified)
May 6, 2011 1:29 PM

Was that a typo in your spelling of Cary$ and Delph!ne. I really hope so. If not, why are you shying away from using absurd notations in your next child's name. Wont he/she feel slighted by her hipster parents. Or maybe he/she will be thankful. Just wondering.

20
May 6, 2011 1:41 PM

Curiouslike,

It's common on this board to spell the name of specific people with special characters. That way, they won't show up on a Google search.

Suffice to say the real name uses an s and an i.

21
By Irish-Mama (not verified)
May 6, 2011 2:23 PM

Guest789, Chimu: serious think parents who want Irish names need to go all out. Forget Aiden, Liam and Declan.

Though I will say perhaps they better not, since I prefer not to see thousands of little girls running around the US with my daughters Irish names and spellings. I also wouldn't want to see that for any future boys(or girls) I might have. Though of course their names appear to be Top 50 names in Ireland.

22
By Jane 6 (not verified)
May 6, 2011 2:48 PM

About the fall of Joshua:
We named our son Joshua after my husband. When we decided this, I knew that Joshua no longer sounded fresh or exciting, the way it must have in the early eighties when my husband was named. On the other hand, I reasoned, Joshua hasn’t plummeted in popularity the way that many 80s names have, including my own. It was still the number 6 baby name in the country, which meant that while it wasn’t fresh, it also wasn’t exactly stale, either, in the sense that it was still very popular (as the roster of my older daughter’s elementary school affirms). So naming a son Joshua last year wasn’t like naming a son Jeffrey or Sean. It was still current. Maybe a new classic? Plus the nickname Josh, to me, still retained an affability and approachability that was appealing. Now I wonder, is Joshua a new classic, or is it just going to have a softer landing than some other 80s names while definitely sounding date-stamped by, oh, 2020? A different question is, are the people naming their sons Joshua today different from those naming their sons Joshua in, say, 1982? Back then, Joshua probably seemed cutting edge, even as it also appealed to religious parents. (Joshua is far and away the most common first name among the men at my husband’s seminary, average age 29. There are, I believe 11 Joshuas out of a class of 60-some guys). Today, are the parents choosing Joshua older, less hip? Does it even still appeal to religious parents, since now those same people seem to be choosing names like Elijah and Josiah?

23
By Jane 6 (not verified)
May 6, 2011 2:50 PM

I agree about Evelyn. I was just thinking how many little Eves and Evelyns I know. It's a name that came out of nowhere for me. Now it's almost overdone.

24
May 6, 2011 9:17 PM

@Jane6 - a friend named her baby Joshua 2 weeks ago, so it is still being used around here. It definitely isn't fresh anymore though. I actually have quite a lot of friends with Joshuas and most of them are approaching 10 years old now!

@knp - we do seem to overlap in style quite a bit. I'm seriously considering Gretchen as a middle name for my baby girl.

25
May 6, 2011 9:18 PM

Thanks Linnaeus and Zoerhenne for your suggestions. Of those I think my favorites are Evangeline, Annika, Stella and Celina. I also liked the middle name suggestion of Elise - that kind of combines the sounds of all the family names we were thinking of using.

I'll have to run these by my husband and see what he thinks. He's always very quick to veto names, so when I find one he actually likes then I consider it! Lately his picks have been pretty popular though and with Carys being uncommon I'm having a hard time pairing them together.

@curiouslike, there will be no absurd notations in either of my daughter's names! ;) Linnaeus was correct - I was trying to avoid a search for her actual name. Thanks!

26
By I don't remember my name (not verified)
May 7, 2011 7:25 PM

Jane 6 - My husband and I experiment with Joshua sometimes, testing to see if we'd like a future Joshua or not. While it's not fresh, it feels reliable and handsome and young and honorable, kinda like David. So I do see it as a kind of new classic. I don't see it as date-stamped at all.

27
May 9, 2011 4:10 PM

Re: Evelyn

I fell in love with this name a few years ago when V for Vendetta came out. I loved the traditional Evelyn with fun nn Evie. I made the mistake of sharing my favorite names with a friend - even though I knew she would have kids before me - and lo and behold she now has baby 3v3lyn M@r!ss@. The middle name is nms.

Between her taking the name (even though she's the kind of person who probably has no clue that I gave her the idea), and now that I hear it cropping up here and everywhere, I'll second Jane 6's sentiment that it's just about overdone.

28
By Andre (not verified)
May 10, 2011 7:11 PM

Evelyn still rubs me the wrong way because it's one of those male names that's been mistreated and gone to the girls.

29
By julie anne (not verified)
May 31, 2011 10:25 PM

Evelyn is, to me, a girl's name. It just sounds feminine. So do Ashley, Meredith, Beverly and Leslie- although they started off as being boys names.

30
By julie anne (not verified)
May 31, 2011 10:28 PM

...adding that my daughter's name is Claire, and I NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS would have thought that Claire would be a boy's name. Then right after she was born, a friend told me her grandfather was named Claire. Who woulda thunk? For the record, all the Claires I know are girls.

33
November 28, 2013 3:59 PM

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