Top 5 Baby Name Trends of 2012
Baby Namester is ready to announce our top five baby name trends of 2012.
1. Hail to the Chief
Presidential names have risen across the board. Perhaps this was spurred on by last years’ Lincoln movie? Lincoln itself jumped in popularity by 34%, rising to #132. Jackson has been hugely popular in the past few years. It currently sits at #23 in the US and is in the top 10 boy names in a number of states. Truman has just cracked the top 1000. Even relatively unpopular presidents like Carter (#36, top ten in some states) and Nixon (up by 61%) have gotten into the act. Some girl names on the rise are presidential too, like Reagan (+19%, #97) and Kennedy (#83).
2. Power Names
Especially for boys, but also for girls, powerful, grandiose, and divine names are on the rise. For boys, King and its variations Kingston and Kingsley are surging. Messiah of all names has more than doubled in popularity from 2011 to 2012. Other surging boy names like Major, Legend, Maverick, August, and Gunner exude power and toughness. For girls, Miracle and Genesis (ranked at #56!) strike the same theme. Boys and Girls are being named after gods like Odin and Athena.
3. Look to the Skies
A number of sky and star related girls names are surging. The trio of Sky (+19%), Skylar (#87, +55%), and Skyler (+28%) are all on the rise. Nova (+55%) and Stella (#62) are too. Nevaeh, which as everyone knows is “heaven” spelled backwards, continues its surprising run at #39 nationally and #6 in New Mexico!
4. What’s Old is New Again
Baby names that were previously deemed too old-fashioned are popping back to life. For girls names like Hattie (+55%), Ivy (+39%), Penelope (+36%, #125), Nora (+29%, #107), Elsie (+27%), Eloise (+26%), Alice (+14%, #127), and Scarlett (+14%, #61) are suddenly getting some buzz. Cora (+35%) is too, no doubt helped by the Downton Abbey character. This trend is slightly less pronounced for boys, but you can see it in Everett (+29%), Ellis (+28%), Emmett (+26%), Silas (+18%, #161), and Otto (+34%). With historical drama more popular on TV and in the movies in the past couple of years, I expect this trend to continue into 2013.
5. Stretching the Limits
More than ever before, parents look for unique and unusual names. This has led to many names with no history of popularity coming out of nowhere. For example, Cataleya did not crack the top 1000 names since records started being kept in 1890. In 2012, it made its debut all the way up at #479. Obscure welsh name Gael increased in popularity by nearly 400%, climbing from #407 to #146. Obscure Basque name Iker doubled in popularity to reach #230. Arya, taken from a Game of Thrones character, increased by 95% to reach #413. The name doesn’t mean anything, George R. R. Martin made it up. Non-traditional girl names Blakely, Paisley, and Braylee where never in the top 1000 before 2006, and they are all shooting up the charts. Harper sits at #24 (top 5 in several states), and it made its top 1000 debut in 2004. Made up names like Case and Crew are among the fastest rising boy names.
Baby name distribution charts tell the tale. In 1982, 67% of boys and 51% of girls got a top 100 name. Thirty years later in 2012, those numbers fell to 42% for boys and 30% for girls. All of this to say, parents have never been more open to new ideas for baby names. They don’t need to have a history, mean anything, or be a name of a relative. There’s a new premium on expressing individuality.
See the data for yourself on the Babynamester 2012 Trends page and form your own opinions. Let us know what you think!