The Themes Behind the Fastest-Rising Girls’ Names in 2012

You may have read articles about “hot names” written before the Social Security Administration released their authoritative list of the 1,000 most popular names in 2012. Forget all about them. They were based on “clicks” on websites rather than on the names that actually appeared on birth certificates during 2012. Here is my report on the themes behind the fastest-rising girls’ names in 2012. I’ve tried to explain the rapid rise in popularity of names which seemed to be rising for the same (thematic) reason. Most reports about “hot” or fast-rising names focus on celebrity tie-ins. I’m more interested in looking for patterns that connect several fast-rising names to a particular underlying theme.

1. “-Lynn/-Lyn” suffix names
Raelynn was the fifth fastest-rising girls’ name. Also in the top 20 fastest-rising girls’ names were Raelyn, Marilyn, Adelynn and Adalyn. Not too far below those names is Adelyn. Note that Marilyn was undoubtedly helped by the popularity of the TV show “Smash.”

2. Rose and variation
Rosalie was the sixth fastest-rising girls’ name. Further down the list you’ll also find the root name, Rose (a “grandma” name which appears to be coming back into fashion).

3. Spiritual/religious names
Haven was the seventh fastest-rising spiritual and/or religious name for girls. Others include Miracle, Journey and Genesis.

4. Camila and variations
Myla, a variation of Mila, was the 20th fastest-rising girls’ name. But not far behind came Mila (popularized by actress Mila Kunis). Mila is a nickname for root name Camila and variation, Kamila. Both were also on the list of fast-rising names. Camila moved up strongly to an overall popularity ranking of No. 48 (from No. 61 in 2011).

5. Skylar and variations
Skyler was the 22nd fastest-rising girls’ name. It was followed by root name Skylar and nickname Skye. Of these names, Skylar ranked highest in overall popularity at No. 87 (up from No. 145 in 2011).

6. Charlie as a girl’s name
Charlie was the 28th fastest-rising girls’ name; it was followed by an alternate spelling: Charlee.

7. Nature names
Ivy was the 23rd fastest-rising name for girls, and the fastest rising nature name–perhaps due to controversy that promoted awareness of Beyoncé’s daughter Blue Ivy. The only other fast-rising nature names were Willow and Iris.

8. Place names
Paris was back on the list of fast-rising place names. Much farther down the list (in the moderate-riser category) were Londyn, Charlotte, Georgia, Caroline, Brittany, Bristol and Madisyn. To put Paris into perspective, it ranked No. 274 in overall popularity in 2012, in contrast to more popular (top-100 in overall popularity) names like Madison, Charlotte, Broooklyn, Savannah, and Sydney–all of which declined in popularity from 2011 to 2012.

9. Musical names
The fastest-rising musical name for girls was Lyric. Other fast-rising musical names were Melody, Harmony and Harper. It should be noted that Harper ranked No. 24 in overall popularity.

10. Four-syllable, “-iana” suffix names
There were three four-syllable names that ended with an “-iana” suffix: Lilliana, Elliana and Jiuliana. I’m sure it will be a pleasure to call those girls to dinner, some day.

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