The Most British and Most American Baby Names, Revisited: Part 2

Aug 28th 2013

Last time, we looked at the "most British" baby names -- the names that are far more popular in England and Wales than in the United States. Today we'll turn that around and identify the names with that are most characteristically American.

The Most American Names of the Year are:

Landon   Avery
Gavin   Aubrey
Anthony   Emma
Andrew   Zoey
Brayden   Addison
Wyatt   Hailey
Angel   Brooklyn
Christian   Lillian
Colton   Allison
Isaiah   Kaylee
Jose   Natalie
Jackson   Harper


A full half of the names on the boys' list share something huge in common. If it doesn't leap out at you, that's a sign of how pervasive this "something in common" has become in the current generation of American boys' names:

Landon, Gavin, Brayden, Christian, Colton and Jackson are all two-syllable names ending in -n.

A third of U.S. boys now receive a name ending in -n, a historically unprecedented concentration of sound and style. In Britain, the -n rate is just one in five, and the combo of -e and -y (as in Alfie and Harry) outpaces it.

The key cultural cues on the most-American boys' list are Spanish and Wild West. Just as Muslim names (e.g. Mohammed) and Celtic names (Niamh) reflected the British population, names like Jose and Angel, and even the non-Spanish Latino favorite Anthony, represent the contrasting ethnic makeup of the U.S. Names like Wyatt, Colton and Jackson, meanwhile, show off the distinctive cowboy strain of American style.

The Most-American Girls list shows off two seemingly contradictory styles. It's full of androgyny, and of girlishness. Half of the names are converted surnames or place names, and/or have a history as male names: Avery, Aubrey, Addison, Hailey, Brooklyn, Harper. Yet half of the names also end in the sound -ee, associated with girlish diminutives.

Put the two together and the list gives off a definite "Andro-Girly" vibe. That fast-rising American style is a kind of gender collage, building a girly sound out of boyish materials. Female names ending in -son are the classic examples, so it's fitting to find the name that launched that sub-style, Allison, on the most-American list.


September 16, 2013 8:02 AM

These are some of the best name and it really helped me a lot for choosing my son's name. [spam link removed]

December 22, 2013 7:22 PM

I was expecting Emma to be on the top oif the list. LOL anyways cool list! [spam link removed]

May 5, 2014 7:19 PM

To me it seems natural to officially give your child a "full" name to give them more nickname options—even if you wanted to have an Alfie, you could still give him the choice later on of going by Alfred or Alfie or Al or Alf or Fred or Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All or whatever else have you.