Whether you name your baby Addison or Adysyn, it all adds up to the same name. But unfortunately, baby name statistics don't combine all those spellings when they determine the top 20 names—and so you could end up picking a name that's much more popular than its current standing suggests. Several blogs have sussed the numbers on the current lists, and while it doesn't change the top 5 girls' names, it does change the top 5 for the boys—which now become Aiden, Jackson, Jayden, Jacob—and the official top name, Noah, moves to number 5.
But what's even more interesting is to see which names move way up in the standings, thanks to the addition of all those creative spellings. Names like Layla, Madeline, Adeline, and Arianna soar on the list for girls—and each has nearly a half-dozen different ways they're spelled. And for boys, don't think you're in the clear if you pick a variant of a name like Jace or Caden—Caden looks like a top 100 name, but the variant spellings—Kaiden, Caiden, Kaden, just to name a few—moved it into the top 10.
And based on the vast number of creatively spelled names on this year's movers and shakers list, I think this problem is only going to continue. My advice? If you don't want your son known as Aidan W. for his entire school career, think of all the different ways that people could spell a potential name, and make sure that none of those rank higher than you desire. And maybe think twice about picking one of those creative spellings, which don't really make your child's name different enough to avoid the Aidan W. syndrome.
Tell me: How worried are you about the popularity of a name when you picked it? Were you surprised at how popular your baby's name actually was?