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