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How Does A Baby Name Become Trendy?

baby stretching I’m kind of obsessed with those top baby name lists that are published every year. I’m just so intrigued about how names become popular and what the trends are. I for one want to steer away from choosing anything that is going to be in the top twenty but sometimes that’s hard to predict. What irritates me is names that we’ve had picked out for several years now are climbing the popularity scale and now I feel the need to veto them.

For instance, my husband has always liked the name Beck but now Beckham and Beckett are trendy and they’ll most definitely be shortened to Beck. I’ve also liked the name Lila since I was little (it’s my aunt’s name) but now it’s had a dramatic spike and is predicted to be one of the top ten names in just a few years. How does this happen? Were too many people watching Friday Night Lights?

I came across this article from the authors of Freakonomics that gave me some answers. One of their theories is that popular names start trending with high-income, highly educated parents and then it starts working its way down the socioeconomic ladder until it becomes adopted en masse and then so common that people start abandoning it. So if you’re looking for names that will be topping the charts five years from now, look towards your wealthy neighbors children’s names.

Sound silly? The article was written in 2005 and they predicted a list of names that will be popular in 2015. Check out the list below, it’s surprisingly accurate with the trending names of today.

Most Popular Girls’ Names of 2015?
Annika
Ansley
Ava
Avery
Aviva
Clementine
Eleanor
Ella
Emma
Fiona
Flannery
Grace
Isabel
Kate
Lara
Linden
Maeve
Marie-Claire
Maya
Philippa
Phoebe
Quinn
Sophie
Waverly

Most Popular Boys’ Names of 2015?
Aidan
Aldo
Anderson
Ansel
Asher
Beckett
Bennett
Carter
Cooper
Finnegan
Harper
Jackson
Johan
Keyon
Liam
Maximilian
McGregor
Oliver
Reagan
Sander
Sumner
Will

Intrigued? Check out this more recent article from the same duo about how the faster the baby name becomes popular, the faster it will die out.

Top baby names from 2009 and 2010: why top names don’t change

image: June Hong

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