May 09, 2008

For all you Name Nerds

Thank you everyone for your blogging suggestions!!! I will admit I've been putting off writing about Mary's wedding (which went fabulously!) because I feel like I should include pictures with it, and I've been too lazy to organize, resize, and post any of my 250+ pictures. But I promise to blog all about the wedding and trip with pictures soon. So if the 3 people who voted for "Mary's Wedding" as a blog suggestion want to offer up something else, I'm happy for those suggestions too :).

Today, however, I want to post about baby names. For Name Nerds, the Friday before Mother's Day is the most exciting day of the year--it's the day the Social Security Administration releases its yearly list of the most popular names of the previous year based on Social Security applications. Here is this year's list.

In addition to being fun, the SSA list is a wealth of information that tracks the top 1000 names of every year since 1879. Playing around on the site is a lot of fun. It also gives hard numbers of the actual numbers of babies with that names, which makes it easier to track variants.

What's even more fun is Name Nerd message boards where these lists are dissected and revealed in their full glory. One major problem with the SSA list is that it treats spelling variants as different names. If you are of the belief that a different spelling does not make a different name (as I am), then this can skew the results tremendously. For example, the name Aiden comes in at number 27 on the boy's list, which would lead one to believe that it's not all that popular. Likewise, Aidan comes in at number 54. However, if you count Aiden and Aidan as the same name, all of a sudden it shoots up to number 3. If you combine all 10 spelling variants that appear in the top 1000 (Aiden, Aidan, Aydan, Ayden, Adan, and so on--yep, there are 10), then Aiden far and away blows out every other boy's name on the list.

I personally count spelling variants as the same name because when a teacher stands in front of a class and says, "Aiden, Aidan, Ayden, Aidyn, Aydin" it comes out sounding like, "Aiden, Aiden, Aiden, Aiden, Aiden." And since most of our communication is done verbally, Aidyn is no less popular than Aiden. If you changed the spelling because you wanted a different spelling, then you succeeded, but if you changed the spelling because you wanted a less popular name, I'd consider that a fail.

That said, the Name Nerds are already out with their calculators counting the variants and doing the math for us, so all we have to do is sit back and wait to find out what the most popular names really are. Someone already worked through the top 50 on the girl's side and I'm sure the boy's will come soon.

In case you don't want to click over, here are the top 20 names for boys:

1. Jacob
2. Michael
3. Ethan
4. Joshua
5. Daniel
6. Christopher
7. Anthony
8. William
9. Matthew
10. Andrew
11. Alexander
12. David
13. Joseph
14. Noah
15. James
16. Ryan
17. Logan
18. Jayden*
19. John
20. Nicholas

*Like Aiden, Jayden also has 10 spelling variants that appear in the top 1000, which will move it up significantly when the adjusted counts are added up. Interestingly, as mentioned above, the #1 adjusted name, Aiden, doesn't even fall in the top 20.

Here are the top 20 girls:

1. Emily
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Ava
5. Madison
6. Sophia
7. Olivia
8. Abigail
9. Hannah
10. Elizabeth
11. Addison
12. Samantha
13. Ashley
14. Alyssa
15. Mia
16. Chloe
17. Natalie
18. Sarah
19. Alexis
20. Grace

And the top 20 adjusted for spelling variants:

1. Sophia
2. Emily
3. Isabella
4. Madison
5. Olivia
6. Emma
7. Ava
8. Hailey
9. Abigail
10. Kaitlyn
11. Brianna
12. Addison
13. Hannah
14. Jasmine
15. Sarah
16. Elizabeth
17. Ashley
18. Natalie
19. Alyssa
20. Madeline

Interesting, no?

Posted by Shelby at May 9, 2008 09:45 PM

I can assure you, there will be no more "Katrina" names.

Posted by: Kat at May 10, 2008 08:17 AM

I always love when parents name their kids common names with bizarre spellings like:
Aaishe (Aisha)
Daizie (Daisy)
Leesa (Lisa)
Mhaxx (Max)

Posted by: Sherri at May 12, 2008 05:10 PM
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