Friday, May 31, 2013

Fastest-Falling Names of 2012

by Vera Kratochvil
Maybe you've noticed it, maybe you haven't, but there was a naming phenomenon that swept the country for the past decade until now. In 2011, more than 700,000 American baby boys had names that ended with the letter N. Maybe you haven't thought about it, but now you're able to recall all the little Aidens, Masons, Ethans and Jaydens that you know.

With all the recent data released for 2012, it looks like the "era of the -n" is finally starting to wind down. The 5 fastest falling boy names last year all ended with N.

1. Jaden - Dropped by 40 ranks. (It went from #100 in 2011 to #140 in 2012.)
2. Rylan  -Down by 33 ranks. (#146 in 2011 to #179 in 2012.)
3. Ashton  -Fell 32 spots (#109 in 2011 to # 141 in 2012.)
4. Hayden -Moved down 19 spots.  (#90 in 2011 to #109 in 2012.)
5. Justin - After 40+ years of popularity, it finally fell 15 ranks.  (#59 in 2011 to #74 in 2012.)

Jaden has embarked on its journey down the chart due to most parents choosing Jayden as their standardized spelling. Jayden actually also fell since last year from #4 in 2011 to #7 in 2012.  Ashton has finally seen its day; perhaps partial blame is on Mr. Kutcher's name being splashed all over the news in the past couple years?  Justin has notoriously been a "cute-boy" name, from Timberlake to Bieber, parents are finally weening off of it after a long run of popularity.

As for the girls, 3 of the 5 the fastest-falling names were trend-based celebrity names:

1. Dulce - Dropped a whopping 159 ranks! (#415 in 2011 to #574 in 2012.)
2. Danna - Fell an impressive 125 spots!  (#365 in 2011 to #490 in 2012.)
3. Audrina - Another big mover, 122 ranks down! (#318 in 2011 to #440 in 2012.) 
4. Alexis - Fell 14 spots after years of usage at the turn of the century. (#26 in 2011 to #40 in 2012.) 
5. Alyssa - Only fell 7 spots but it's notable after its huge popularity. (#37 in 2011 to #44 in 2012.)

The top 3 names were the celebrity-inspired names that lost popularity along with the "stars" they were named after: Dulce MarĂ­a, Audrina Partridge, and Danna Paola.  The reason Alexis and Alyssa are noteworthy on this movers-and-shakers list is that they've both seen mega popularity in the 1990's and 2000's. It seems as though their day has come to an end. While the names will remain on the Top 1000 for many years to come (perhaps forever), their decreased usage puts a time stamp on them.

What do you think of these names? Are there any other big-movers that are worth mentioning? Let me know in the comments below!

Name of the Day: Lavinia

I chose this name for my very first "Name of the Day!" It is one that I've recently discovered and fell in love with.

The name Lavinia ranked on the Top 1000 chart from 1880-1929 and hasn't been seen since then! An old name that dates back to Roman Mythology, Lavinia was considered the mother of the Roman people. She was the wife of the Trojan hero Aeneas and he named the Town of Lavinium, Italy after her.

In Literature, Lavinia was the protagonist's daughter in Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus" which includes the line "She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd."  There is also a Lavinia in "The Hunger Games" series, which may have caught the eye of our younger name-enthusiasts!

American actress Ava Lavinia Gardner wore the name gracefully during the Old Hollywood days.  Emily Dickinson's younger sister was known as Lavinia "Vinnie" Dickinson. And an Italian painter wore the name from 1552-1614, Lavinia Fontana.

In Pop Culture, (and where I first heard of this lovely moniker,) there was a character on the British period drama "Downton Abbey" named Lavinia Swire.

Have you ever heard of this old-fashioned gem before? If not, I'm proud to introduce it to you. I would personally love this name paired up as a middle name to Ivy.  Ivy Lavinia sounds beautiful to me!

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Cassandra, Eveline, Delilah, Genevieve, Marina
Brothers: Alistair, Elijah, Lachlan, Oliver, William

Middle Name Ideas:
Lavinia Rose
Lavinia Katherine
Lavinia Aveline
Lavinia Eve
Lavinia Wren

As a Middle Name:
Ivy Lavinia
Ava Lavinia
Olive Lavinia

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Top 10 Boy and Girl names for 2012

by Petr Kratochvil
This is old news by now, but I thought I would post the Social Security Administration's Official Top 10 names for boys and girls in 2012.

1 Jacob
2 Mason
3 Ethan
4 Noah
5 William
6 Liam
7 Jayden
8 Michael
9 Alexander
10 Aiden

Jacob has been sitting at the top since 1999. Interestingly, the actual amount of babies being named Jacob has declined over the years despite the name holding steady at the #1 rank. In 1998, roughly 1.8% of boys born were named Jacob, and it was still second to Michael on the charts. In 2011, slightly less than 1% of all baby boys born were named Jacob, and the name still held its top rank. It was higher than 1% in 1990 when the name originally began its ascent to the throne.

The reason for this has been described as the "name diversity revolution". More and more names are being used that are not on the top 100 so the "top names" aren't used as frequently as they might have been a couple decades ago.  It begs the question whether or not this list is accurate. On a state level, there is a greater variety of names that occupy the top slots.

Parents seem to really like the name Liam (#6). Some choose to use it as a full name, and others opt for the more classic William (#5).

As for the name Aiden (#10), many are speculating that this is actually the true #1 boy name when all of the spelling variations are combined such as Aidan, Ayden, Aydan, Aidenn, etc.

1 Sophia
2 Emma
3 Isabella
4 Olivia
5 Ava
6 Emily
7 Abigail
8 Mia
9 Madison
10 Elizabeth

The top girl name, Sophia, has come back with a vengeance! An older name, it previously peaked at 132 in 1880. After a decline through the turn of the century, it remained in the 400-800 range through the mid-20th century. It jumped from #489 in 1975 to breaking into the Top 100 in 1997 at #94. It steadily gained popularity throughout the 2000s before taking the #1 spot in 2011.

Emma is another older name, popular in the 1800's that has risen to fame in the past decade.  Isabella is one of the fastest climbing names in recent history. In 1990, it sat at #895, by 1995 it jumped to #174. In 2000, Isabella hit 45 and was crowned in 2009 as the number one name, losing its position to Sophia in 2011.

I could talk all day about the rise and fall of these Top 20 names, but I will stop there for now. Which of the top 20 names are your favorite? Would you use a popular name or do you tend to shy away?  Let me know in the comments!


Thank you for visiting us here at The Art of Naming!

 First, let me introduce myself. My name is Kara and I have been a self-proclaimed "name nerd" for many years. While there is always more to learn, my fascination with names has finally led me to do something more than browse naming websites. I decided to start this blog/forum so that I can not only personally share my opinions on names, but also help others find the perfect name for their children. 

My goal with this blog is to help broaden the general public's naming horizons. Many people stick to familiar or popular names, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I want to expose others to names that are a bit more unique or underused.

Therefore, this blog is dedicated to discussing and analyzing everything having to do with names. I also have a forum section that allows you to post your own questions and thoughts. I believe that community and interaction are important. Sometimes, it truly takes a village! Finding the perfect name is no long as simple as deciding between Mary and Margaret like some of our ancestors have done in the past.

As this "name diversity revolution" continues, more and more parents find themselves overwhelmed by all the options. I'm here to help you narrow it down to something you truly love instead of settling for an "easy choice" off the Top 10 list.

I hope you'll bookmark this page and tell your friends! Join in the conversation by commenting below or on the forums! I appreciate your company!



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