Here’s a naming challenge: we can’t trust our perception.
But only our perception matters.
Maybe you’re an analytical type, comfortable ignoring your personal experience in favor of data. But most of us – regardless of professional experience or education – have a tough time with this in some areas of life.
And names tend to be one of them.
Let’s say we’ve never met a Sophia. So even though we know that the data tells us that Sophia has been powerfully popular for two decades and counting, and the reason we don’t know any girls named Sophia/Sofia/Sophie is almost certainly because we’re the first in our family and circle of friends to have a child, well …
We continue to believe that Sophia is an unusual name.
That’s an extreme example, maybe. But people often remark that names like Hudson and Aurora are really unusual. (Nope. They’re Top 50.) Since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you know that, too.
So if our radar is pretty lousy at telling us which names are popular, does it matter?
I’m not sure.
If you’re desperate to find a stand-out name for your child, then, yes – it’s important to listen when your name-obsessed friend explains that Grayson and Wyatt and Aria and Everly are actually quite popular.
But if not? Maybe it’s okay to have the name be fresh and surprising just to us.
What do you think? Did you choose names based on your gut feeling? Or did you focus on objective criteria to build your list first?
Are we seeing a split in naming, with some parents choosing elaborate names with bonus middles, and others opting for keeping things as brief as possible? British Baby Names often makes me think that might be the case. The same birth announcements round-up that gives us Theodora Frances Rosebud also includes Mimi Jean.
New and creative can be serious business. A thoughtful look at the process of finding an appropriate ASL name for Kamala Harris, with lessons for all of us on naming from the insightful Laura Wattenberg.
Will we be meeting more babies named Trudy + Hal? Nameberry is betting yes … and I’m here for it.
How ’bout Simon? Cleveland Kent Evans does a deep dive on the name. I think it has so much potential.
And lastly, what’s big in Croatia. In some ways, it’s just like what’s big elsewhere in the world. I mean … Mia and Mateo, right? Nancy quotes a researcher who notes that parents have moved away from traditional names like Trpimir and Zdravko. I’m not really sure what to think about that.
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When I notice a top name that I don’t know any kids with, I hit the state level data. Often in that case it turns out that the name is way less popular in my state (and in the states people are moving here from) than other key areas of the country. Another exercise is to go back to my birth year and see what the correlating name for that number would have been for my generation, and consider how many people I actually know with that name.