Baby names

May 11, 2010

The list of the most popular American baby names in 2009 has been recently published by the U.S. Social Security Administration.  It has been said before that such lists are interesting as cultural indicators.   The top five names for boys: Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, and William; a patriarch, a not-sure, an archangel, a conqueror, and a king.  For girls: Isabella, Emma, Olivia, Sophia, and Ava; an Inquisitress, a fictional character (?), a pop singer (?), wisdom, and a palindrome.

Among the top ten boys’ names are five with Biblical roots, four that are solid and respectable,  and one odd interloper. (Be it noted: I thought ‘Jayden’ was a girl’s name.)  Among the top ten girls’ names are a few pretty ones — I am partial to ‘Emma’ and ‘Abigail’ myself — quite a few strange ones, and one with weight and substance (‘Sophia’).  All in all, these new lists confirm a general observation that has held true in previous years as well: people take the naming of boys more seriously than the naming of girls.

If anyone is wondering, ‘Craig’ was ranked 665th among boys.  The names of the other members of my family did not crack the top 1000.

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5 Responses to “Baby names”

  1. KathyB Says:

    I fear that the popularity of Olivia is due to a children’s book about a girl pig that came out about 10 years ago (although I have nothing against the name itself, I really didn’t like the book).
    Ava is also a film actress, namely, Ava Gardner.
    Madison as a girl’s name actually originates from a 1980’s comedy film called “Splash” about a mermaid who named herself after Madison Avenue in New York City.

    I of course can lay no claim to originality, as our daughter’s name, though currently not in the top 10, is historically the most popular girl’s name of all time. It’s popularity is also an indicator, in my opinion, that at least in the past, people did in fact take the naming of girls seriously.

    I’ll let other readers guess what the name is :)

  2. cburrell Says:

    A pig, eh? What book is that?

    I’ve not heard of Ava Gardner. I see she’s an older actress (so old that we can call her an “actress”), so I doubt she is behind the name’s surging popularity.

    You can see how your daughter’s name’s fortunes have waned here.

  3. Mac Says:

    I’m mildly shocked that you haven’t heard of Ava Gardner, even though her heyday was long before your time, and for that matter mine. Sic transit…

    I wondered where the popularity of Madison came from. It’s always mildly annoyed me for some reason, so I’m sorry to see it’s still in the top 10.

    You can never go wrong with Mary.

  4. cburrell Says:

    Well, I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a movie buff, and I have some problems — my own, admittedly — enjoying old movies. I expect I’ve never seen a film in which Ava acted.

  5. KathyB Says:

    The pig book was called “Olivia”. It was apparently done by a famous illustrator, so came out with a lot of hype.


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