14 hours ago
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Your name says little about you but it speaks volumes about your parents. Children's names are clear markers of parents hopes, dreams, aspirations, education and political leanings. It's why most common name studies are so closely watched by many soon to be parents (or more likely mothers).
This year's official tally (using social security data)won't be released until May, however The Baby Center has jumped in with their most popular list based upon reporting families. Not quite the same but there will be a great deal of overlap.
I remember "The baby name book" sitting on my wife's nightstand for several years. I doubt I ever flipped through it's pages; somehow our children were named, and we've a defendable story for each. The chapter on "do names matter" in Freakonomics was my entry into the American baby naming ritual.
Using data collected by the state of California, the authors of Freakonomics reached the following conclusions: "As a mother becomes better-educated, she’s much more likely to give her boy or girl a popular name, and much less likely to give her an uncommon or unique name. And one of the statistics that just leaps out at us about this that is amongst African American mothers with less than a high school degree, 36 percent of them give their daughters a unique name. Now, the statistical probability that you could give your child a name that nobody else would have is really kind of remarkable. And if you think about it as an act of imagination, it’s pretty astounding."
So what are the most popular baby names for 2013?
Jackson (up from 22 last year), Aiden, Liam, Lucas, Noah, Mason, Jayden, Ethan, Jacob, Jack
Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Mia, Ava, Lily, Zoe, Emily, Chloe
Not one of those names was ever in consideration for my children.
PS: For those keeping score, author, raconteur, polemicist Christopher Hitchens died two years ago on this date.