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