Saturday, October 26, 2013

Baby Name Popularity By The Letter

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Have you ever wondered which beginning letters seem to be most popular when it comes to baby names? I know that I tend to favor a certain few letters and then there are those letters that continuously stump me when searching for a favorite or even one that I can tolerate.  Have you ever tried to pick a single favorite name for each letter of the alphabet? I cannot narrow down my favorites for A or C or E, but when I get to the tail-end of the alphabet, choosing a decent one seems to be an impossible task!

It begs the question, why do we prefer these letters and side-step those ones? Does it have to do with the sounds? I see trends that favor soft letters like vowels and L's and M's, (think names like Lila and Emma). Are there letters that just have really,
really bad name choices all bunched up together?  For instance, I was reminded of  this article that discusses F names and how there is only ONE in the entire Top 100 in 2012 but there were 9 in 1880. Parents aren't naming their children Floyd and Fannie anymore. The article asked the question "Is F an unattractive sound for parents nowadays?"

Tell me what you think. Is it related to the basic sound of the name, or does it have more to do with the names themselves?  Below is a tally of how many names start with each letter in the US Top 100 for each gender.

Boys Top 100 By Letter:


Beginning Letter
# of Boy Names in 2012
A
11
B
7
C
12
D
5
E
5
F
0
G
3
H
3
I
3
J
19
K
2
L
7
M
3
N
5
O
2
P
1
Q
0
R
3
S
2
T
3
U
0
V
0
W
2
X
1
Y
0
Z
1

It is no surprise that the letters of the first half of the alphabet are dramatically more popular than the second half.  J is definitely the most popular letter in the top 100 for boys. At first, I was a bit surprised at the amount of J names, but then it just seemed right after I thought more about it. So many of the timeless, biblical choices start with J, and many of those are in the top 100.

The next most popular letters are C with 12 names, then A with 11. After that, B and L both have 7.

Letters that are completely absent from the Top 100 for boys include F, Q, U, V,and Y. Additionally, P, X and Z only have one representative each.

Girls Top 100 by Letter:

Beginning Letter

# of Boy Names in 2012

A

22

B

4

C

5

D

0

E

7

F

1

G

4

H

3

I

1

J

3

K

7

L

8

M

10

N

3

O

1

P

2

Q

0

R

2

S

11

T

2

U

0

V

2

W

0

X

0

Y

0

Z

2


Not surprisingly, the letter A dominates feminine names. 22 of the names in the Top 100 start with A and 32 of them end with A, including the top 5! If you count names that end in the A-sound, like Hannah with the -ah, then you get a total of 37 names that end with the popular A-sound.

In second place is the letter S with 11 names, and then M with 10.  I was a bit surprised to see S be so popular since there were only 2 boys names in the top 100 that start with S.  However, the favorite boy letter is J and the girls only have 3 of those on their side.

Unpopular letters for the girls side include D, Q, U, W, X and Y all with 0 names.

It is interesting to note which letters parents favor and how it differs for each gender.  Just the letters A, S and M alone make up 43% of girl names. 42% of boys names begin with A, C and J.

I wanted to see this kind of data to see how my own naming preferences match up.  33% of America and I love A names.  For a girl, A, C, E, and M tend to be my letters, whereas for the boys, I prefer A, D, E and M.  My problem letters include B, F, J, K, N, P, S  and T, besides the obviously tricky U and Y.  It can sometimes feel a bit limiting.

Which letters do you tend to favor and which do you have trouble with?

1 comment:

Elsie Beth said...

I've discovered, over the years, that I like a lot of names that begin with H. Kind of ironic considering neither of my kids have names that start with that letter.
K is my least favorite letter for names. I think it has something to do with the fact that my own name starts with C.

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