NameVoyager Updated with 2009 Data

May 7th 2010

The new data's up, have fun exploring in the NameVoyager!

If you've visited the NameVoyager recently, you might have to clear your browser cache to make sure you see the updated version. A simple test: if the name Knox appears (as a vertical blue sliver on the right), you're looking at the new data.

Maximiliano: The Social Security Adminstration Cranks It Up To 11

May 7th 2010

In the fastest-rising names post earlier today, I named Maximiliano the #1 fastest-rising boy's name. But it seemed weird. It turns out it was weird. Check this out. According to the official Baby Name Wizard Hotness Formula, the fastest rising boy's name in America was Maximiliano...and the fastest falling boy's name was Maximilian! Unlikely, eh?

Clearly, something is afoot. The name Maximiliano never cracked the top 1000 list until this year. This year, it checks in at #460. And miraculously, it now also appears on every top 1000 chart for the past decade! Meanwhile the popular favorite Maximilian has been downgraded for that same time period.

See the pattern? Yep, it seems that until now, the SSA didn't look past the first 10 letters of the name.

For a long time Christopher was the only name that ran afoul of that rule. Indeed, when I first started crunching SSA data, some years showed incredible spikes for the name "Christophe." They fixed up Chris, but somewhere in the data-processing funnel, the fundamental problem remained. So to all of the Maximilianos out there: welcome to the fashion mainstream, where you belong.

2009's Hottest and Nottest Baby Names, Part 1: The Risers

May 7th 2010

Back in 2006, I wrote, "If there were a baby naming hall of fame Angelina Jolie would be a charter member." Names like Maddox and Shiloh had established her as America's most influential name style-setter. This year's top-rising baby names prove that Ms. Jolie still holds the title. The names of her young twins, Vivienne and Knox, both shot up into the U.S. top 1000 this year. Vivienne was the #2 hottest rising girl's name in the country, while Knox ranked #6 for boys.

But Angie now has some competition.

The #4 rising girl's name: Maliyah. #9: Malia. And Sasha's no slouch, checking in at #51. That makes the Obamas the most influential baby namers in American politics since President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland. (Did you know that Ruth and Esther, the Clevelands' daughters, were the hot celebrity baby names of the 1890s?)

The full hottest names countdown:


#5 Caylee
Last year I contrasted the news coverage of the name Barack vs. the name Caylee. Caylee continued its rise this year, and Barack remained, as always, outside the top 1000 names.

#4 Maliyah

#3 Khloe
Another holdover from last year's hot rising list, which was packed with unconventionally-spelled tv personalities.

#2 Vivienne

#1 Analía

Yes, Analía is the name that absolutely blew away all competition to be the hottest rising name in America. Didn't see that coming? Tsk, tsk. Telenovelas are practically the doppler radar of short-term name forcasting, and "El Rostro de Analía" premiered on October 20, 2008. The name is a natural, unfamiliar yet effortlessly fashionable. the "anal" spelling may make some parents nervous, though, so don't be surprised to see names like Annaleah down the road.


#5 Liam
You named your first son Aidan: short, simple, and Irish, with long vowel sounds and no pesky consonant clusters. Now you're expecting another boy, what do you do?

#4 Bentley
With most classic "fancy lad" -y surnames -- Courtney, Aubrey -- turning to the girls' side, along comes Bentley. It seems to be taking over Royce's longtime role as the luxury-cruising name for boys.

#3 Archer

A long-time entry on my "Why Not?" list, Archer finally hits the top 1000. Think Carter and Tanner, run through an Edith Wharton filter.

#2 Kellan
Twilight alert: vampire Emmett Cullen is played in the movies by actor Kellan Lutz. Mr. Lutz has also signed on as a Calvin Klein underwear model. Need I say more? OK, I will. Emmett is #7 on the rising boys list.

#1 Maximiliano

Sure, there was some celebrity action on this name. A little telenovela exposure, and a handsome Argentinian polo player who got a lot of attention on "The Real Housewives of New York City." But as a baby name platform, they're no Angelina Jolie. So this had to be a name that just struck the right style chord...I guess.

UPDATE: I've posted a follow-up explaining the Maximiliano mystery. It turns out that the Social Security Administration failed to count any Maximilianos before this year! So the true Hottest Boy's Name of 2009 is Kellan.