One of the first posts I ever wrote was Never Out of Style: Boy’s Edition, a post I recently revised and expanded.
But what about the girls?
While it doesn’t take a name nerd to notice that girls’ names are more varied and diverse than those we give to our sons, the statistics surprise.
From 1880 through 2010, only one girl’s name has never left the US Top 30: Elizabeth.
But there is a long line of also-rans, with more years in the Top 100 than out, and never out of the US Top 200:
- Katherine – This is a particularly tricky case. The few years that Katherine dipped out of the Top 100, Catherine was on the rise. The sound isn’t subject to the whims of fashion, but the spelling. Kathryn also fared well at different times.
- Mary – If I’d written this list a few years earlier, Mary would’ve been right up there with Elizabeth. But she left the Top 100 two years ago, and shows no signs of making a comeback.
When it comes to naming our daughters, attention to style is the rule. Is there another way to look at which names might be declared members of that elite sorority, The Classics?
Conventional wisdom tells us that certain names are classics, numbers or no. How many decades have they appeared in the US Top 100?
- Alice: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s
- Caroline: 1880s, 1990s, 2000s Note: If Carolyn had been included, the stats would look very different!
- Charlotte: 1880s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s
- Eleanor: 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s
- Frances: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s
- Grace: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1990s, 2000s
- Helen: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s
- Jane: 1880s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s
- Laura: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s
- Louise: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s
- Rose: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s
With a slightly expanded definition, there are plenty of classic girls names to consider, both those in heavy circulation in 2012, and those slightly less common. Even the most enduring name for a girl, though, is still more subject to name trends than the classic picks for boys.
Why do you think parents are more adventurous with our daughter’s names? Is there a change happening, with parents willing to bestow trendy or stylish names on their sons, too? Do you favor more traditional names for boys?