We’ve tallied. We’ve clustered. We’ve grouped and ungrouped. We’ve stewed.
And while we still think there’s room for improvement, we’ve decided that our Revised 100 is ready to meet the world.
You can download the files from the box.net widget in the right hand column, or read on for some insights.
When we posted our revised Top Ten, we noted that parents do appear to approach naming a son differently. We tend to hew closer to the classics, though increasingly we’re willing to bestow the name in our native tongue. And while there’s a strong argument that Joey and Joel, Antwan and Anthony won’t be confused, the repetition of sounds does make the name less distinctive. (Thanks to Emmy Jo for her insights on this topic.)
The other issue was, of course, the Name Blob. While we might call our daughters Kayla, Kaylie, Kaycee, Mikayla, Mikailyn, Kaitlyn, Kaydence or Kaydee, there’s less variation with our sons’ choices. Most prefer to stick with two syllable constructions and prefer names that end in -n. The result? Most modern inventions for boys are even more often heard than those for their sisters.
In addition to these two issues, we couldn’t help but notice:
- While John doesn’t hold the top spot – and hasn’t for years – if we add up John, Jonathan, Jackson, Jack, Juan, Evan, Owen and Ian, we easily reach more than 90,000 bearers of some variation on the name – three times as many as the Josephs, Alexanders or Jacobs. Some families probably have two sons called Owen and Jackson. (Or one boy known as Evan Jonathan.) The names do stand on their own, but they share roots – and those roots continue to influence the boys’ list, even if they’re not as obvious as in generations past.
- But what’s more impressive is the dominance of the Aidens. Add up all the Aidens, Jaydens, Cadens, Braydens and Haydens, and you’ll reach a staggering 91,000 plus. Yup, that’s more than the John variants. There is simply no way – no spelling, no different first letter, no twist – that will make a name ending in -aden sound anything other than overexposed.
- The other sound we’ll nominate for a Worn Out Award? The Jay. Jacob, Jayden, Jason and Jaylen all rank in the Top 100. Tally those names and their variants, and it’s a record-smashing 71,000 plus names sharing the same first syllable. This doesn’t even take into account all of the Jacksons, Jordans and Justins, to say nothing of the boys called James, Joseph and John. If you want your sons’ names to stand out, opt for any of the other 25 letters of the alphabet!
Lastly, here’s a quick overview of the big movers between the Social Security Administration list and our recount:
- Jaylen and company – Jaylan, Jaylin, Jaylon, Jalen – make the biggest move, gaining by 93 spots to break into the Top 100 at #100;
- Mark, Marc, Marcus, Markus, Marco and Marcos together gained 89 spots to come in at #49;
- The Max names – Max, Mawell, Maxim, Maximillian, Maximus and Maximo – claim the #65 spot, up 76 places;
- The Caden cluster moved up 74 spots, to #18, doubtless helped by the ability to spell it with a C or that ever-popular K;
- Bryan and Brian both remain popular – and when added together, climb 38 spots to #40;
- Damian and Damien, plus less often-heard Damion, combine to move up 49 spots to #88;
- The falls are less dramatic, but among those moving down a few spaces: Adam (dropping 13 places to #77) and Evan (down 14 to #54). Unless creative respellings like Adym, Adhim, Evin and Evvan catch on, these choices will probably remain slightly less common than they appear based on the rankings alone.
Schwoo! Only a few more months, and the 2008 numbers will be out.