Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
We all have big dreams for our children – success at work, wonderful friendships, a loving relationship and family. But could our name choices impact our children’s futures negatively, even if we don’t pick an out-there name like Facebook or Moon Unit? Especially if our dreams for our children involve a fancy degree from an Ivy League school?
Well, if you believe Gawker, having the most popular name from the year you were born may make it more likely that you don’t get that slot at Harvard. They compared the list of most popular names from 1994 with the current roster of Yale undergrads, and discovered that there wasn’t a whole lot of overlap. Many of the top baby names, including Ashley, Amber, and Morgan for girls, and Anthony, Brandon, and Kyle, didn’t appear on Yale’s list. But Yale’s list included a bunch of names that are on the current popularity list. We see Sophia, Abigail, and Emma for girls – and Samuel, Benjamin and Charles for boys. (I have to say, I was heartened by the fact that my daughters names, Katharine and Margaret, were both on the Ivy League list.)
Which falls in line with the research showcased in Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. they showed that there is a definite baby naming trend – the upper classes (those more likely to be able to foot the bill for a Yale education) choose the up-and-coming names. Those names soon start to catch on, and as they reach the peak of popularity, the upper classes move on to a new name.
So if you want to know what could be the next new and up-and-coming names, simply start checking out the rosters of swanky preschools in your area – then place your bets as to what’s on the baby-name horizon.
Image: Graduation cap by Amir Ridhwan/Shutterstock.com
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Friday, August 10th, 2012
While you may hear some of the same boys’ names on the playground now that you heard when you were a kid (hello, Michael and Ryan!), odds are you won’t find any girls sporting the names that were popular when you were a kid—for instance, I haven’t met a single young Jennifer, Lisa or Heather. And it turns out, girls’ names tend to fall out of favor much more quickly—according to findmypast.com, an online genealogy site, they turn over in popularity at least seven times more often than the boys’ names.
I don’t think it’s a matter of lack of creativity on the boys’ parents’ part. Here’s my theories on why this happens:
1. There are more options out there for girls. There seem to be far fewer names out there for boys—as I discovered when I was searching out names for my potential son. Especially if you take out all those -aden, -aiden and -ayden baby names (which I did).
2. The girls have taken over so many names. Some names that were once for boys only, like Casey, Riley, Dana and Kennedy, are becoming more associated with girls than boys—and that means that there may be even bigger limits to what’s available for boys.
3. I think girls’ parents feel more free to be creative with their baby’s names. I think parents worry more about giving boys a name that stands out (in case it could create problems with bullies on the playground), while girls are less likely to have issues with names that are unique.
4. You can’t discount the “junior” factor. While women may be less inclined to give their daughters the same names they have, there are always plenty of juniors (and beyonds) around—and that means that names get passed down through the generations.
What do you think? Have you found that there are fewer options for boys’ names than girls?
Photo: Family by Jacqui Martin / Shutterstock
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