Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Month of "A" Names

I was thinking about what name I wanted to blog about next, when I found that overwhelmingly I kept thinking of names that started with "A". But the last name I profiled was "A" name Astley, and recent names Cavalia and Malta are also quite heavy on the "A"'s. Would it be too much?

Then I read this week's 'Nameberry Nine' post by Abby. Seems I'm not the only one who has been noticing "A" names everywhere recently. And since August also starts with the letter "A", I thought it would be the perfect time to go the whole hog (so to speak) and devote the entire month to "A" themed names.

"A" names are perennial favourites amongst today's parents. For the girls they are a clear winner. Of the 19,380 girls names that appeared on the 2012 SSA list, a massive 3,048 of them - or 15.7% - started with the letter "A". The next popular letter was "M", which started 1,761 (9.1%) of girls names. That's a fairly big lead. Again, if you look at popularity by number of births 18.1% of baby girls were given an "A" name - that adds up to 315,445 girls!

The boys have a similar story, although "A" names are still a second favourite for American boys, behind the number one letter of choice, "J". Newborn boys with a name starting with "A" totaled 194,6788 in 2012, representing 10.4% of boys. This was made up of 1,449 different names, just 20 fewer than the number of different "J" names used by parents in 2012, or 10.2% or boys names.

So why are "A" names so popular? It's hard to say as every individual name has it's own special charms. Maybe because the letter "A" can give a name a gentle softness, a lilting lyrical feel, or a subtle strength depending on how it is used. Maybe you like the idea of being called first if a group is going alphabetically. Or maybe you've seen the study that found that people with names starting with "A" are more likely to receive "A" grades at school.

Do you have any "A" names on your list? What is it that you like about them? And what names are you hoping to see me profile this month?


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