Trends in baby names

I've always loved the names application on the US Social Security website, which lets you see the relative popularity of names over the years, at least in America - it's an interesting sociological exercise. Well, the Baby Name Wizard lets you track the info visually - so for example, my name peaked as a baby name in the 60s at #179, and didn't do too shabbily in the 70s at #207 (and I am, indeed, a 70s kid who knows a fair number of fellow Daryls), but has been declining in popularity ever since. The alternative spelling, Darryl, seems to have peaked and fallen similarly.

The graphs sometimes show sociological and demographic trends: for instance, the growth of the Hispanic population in the US is mirrored in the increasing popularity of baby names such as Alejandra or Jesus.

You can also use the app to see what names have fallen in and out of fashion... clearly Gertrude, Hilda, and Ethel are names of the past, while people nowadays seem to really like names that suggest hoity-toity soap-opera characters: Alexis, Madison, Sydney, Brianna, and Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn? That sounds like too many people trying too hard to avoid the supposedly more usual spelling of Caitlin.

I know those are all girls' names: that's because fashions in girls' names tend to fluctuate more than boys' names, at least according to baby-naming experts:
Lansky said boys' names shift "glacially," while girls' names phase in and out of fashion.
Ultimately, I guess anything's better than calling your kid ESPN.


Anonymous said…
We use the social security tool on our site as well. however it is very US we will be glad to find other countries tools if possible..
There's an article on what makes certain names popular on - There are so many factors invovled in a trend riseing or falling. Personally I think less common, traditioanl names are the best way to go

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