Saturday, May 11, 2013

Baby Name Pondering and the 2012 SSA Lists

Photo courtesy of Teri Yover Photography

We name nerds are going crazy at the moment, because the SSA 2012 name data has just been released! Even though I'm from Australia, I have to admit to a real fascination with the SSA data. IT's much more comprehensive, not to mention the sheer variety of names to discover. Here's a couple of fast facts to show what I mean:

  • For newbies, the SSA lists include all names that were given to five or more children of one gender that year.
  • In 2012 the girl's list covers 1,743,626 baby girls and includes 19,380 different names. This is 166 fewer names than the 2011 list, despite covering 1216 more children. Is this the start of a shrinking of the almost fantastical variety of girls names? Probably not.
  • The boys 2012 list has 14,162 names, covering 1877705 baby boys. This is also fewer than the 2011 list by 
  • 96 names - but then again, there were 2928 fewer births included in the 2012 list.

Now, you'll see much talk about what names in the top 1000 were the biggest movers (Arya for girls, Major for boys), but it's outside the top 1000 that we really see some big mover and shakers. Maybe because (for girls) to go from position 1000 to 1 is a difference between a name being given to 250 girls or given to 21,695 girls, whereas the 2000th name would only have to be given to 152 more girls to get to position 1001. Which shows just how popular a name has to be to get to the top 10.

So, since a lot of the names I've featured on here fall outside the top 1000, I thought it would be a bit of fun to look at how the names I profiled in 2012 fared in 2012.

 Looking at the girls list, I'm excited by how many increased in popularity. I'm pretty sure that if Sutton continues its current path, she'll be a new entry to the top 1000 in the 2013 list. I am however a bit surprised to see Lawson climbing so much for girls, admittedly because I most often think of it as a boys name. Maybe the tide is changing for this name? It's definitely catching up to the boys.

Easily the most exciting thing about this list is that 'Hunger Games' name Finnick has burst into the charts for the first time. As a character that first appears in the second book, we are yet to see this character on the big screen. But with hype already building for the next movie 'Catching Fire', which is due out this November, Finnick stands to gain a fresh wave of fans. Katniss also entered the charts for the first time in 2012 at position 9,329. In real numbers, Katniss was given to 12 girls and Finnick to 9 boys, so it'll be interesting to see if they manage to gain more ground over 2013.

I didn't do a table for them, but several names appeared on both the boys and girls lists above. Of these, Matisse was easily the biggest mover for both boys and girls. Dresden, Sutton, Lawson and Hunter also increased in popularity for both genders. Cameo was a big mover for girls, but dropped off the boys list altogether. And Mitchell fell for both, dropping off the girls list.

Finally, for the truly rare names - those I've featured but didn't make it onto either the boys or the girls list in 2012. Admittedly, I have had some real flights of fancy at times so some aren't all that surprising.

The ones that have appeared at least once in the past are Florinda, McKaley and Yarrow. The rest are:

  • Alcide (Although Alcides is ranked 10,751 for boys )
  • Boo
  • Fillion
  • Mockingbird
  • Musidora
  • Obsidian
  • Raviva (I'm sure this one will appear in the 2013 list though!)
  • Six (but Sixto appears at #6,215 on the boys list)
  • Thackery
  • Titanium

Well I guess that just about covers it! Have you had a look at the 2012 data yet? How did your personal favourites fare? And what surprises did you find? If you're expecting a 2013 baby, will the results influence your naming choice?

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