What counts as a weird name these days?
Reader’s Digest asked 1,100 readers to vote for their favorite unusual baby names and here is what they came up with:
For girls, the top uncommon baby names were: Sadie, Astrid, Harper, Flannery, and Ursula.
For boys, Zane, Quincy, Silas, Jasper and Calvin were tops.
Given the trend towards unusual names, these names don’t strike me as so weird. I know several girls named Sadie, a name I considered for both of my daughters. We know a boy named Harper and we have met a couple of kids around our neighborhood named Zane. On the other hand, I have yet to meet a Flannery or an Ursula.
When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, my girlfriends were named Amy, Lisa, Jennifer, and Michelle. The boys were David, Mark, Michael, and Steven. Now my daughters’ friends are named Anisia, Jakai, Inessa, and Wilehmina.
Originality is key in baby naming these days. In Babble’s recent baby name poll, 90% of those who responded said that a name’s popularity would make them less likely to choose it for their child. And nearly 90% said that as long as they liked a name, they wouldn’t mind if it was “out of style.”
Those responses are in keeping with the national trend towards unusual names.
An analysis of 325 million baby names recorded by the Social Security Administration from 1880 to 2007 found that as time passed, parents became less likely to choose popular names for their babies.
For instance, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, about 5 percent of babies were named the most common name. More recently, that dropped to 1 percent.
The researchers who analyzed baby name trends attributed the increase in unusual baby names to a cultural shift from encouraging conformity to emphasizing difference.
Strollerderby’s Sierra Black recently wrote about her decision to name her daughter Rio.
“There are actually a lot of perks to having an unusual name,” wrote Sierra. “It’s memorable, which is useful at cocktail parties and as a professional writer. I never have to remind people of my name after we’ve met, and no one ever mixes me up with some other Sierra they know.”
What’s your favorite unusual baby name?