Baby-Name Trends in 2013: The Good News and the Bad News

First the good news:  According to a study conducted by Enzo Caffarelli: after Jose Mario Bergoglio was elected pope on March 7, and picked the papal name Francis, Francesco (the Italian form of Francis) passed Lorenzo to become the most popular boy’s name in Italy.  What’s more, there have been 300 public places in  Italy named after Pope Francis so far in 2013. Caffarelli should know; he researches the origins of names at Rome’s Tor Vergata University. I call this good news because Pope Francis may go down in history as one of the most pious and beloved popes of all time.

And now the bad news: According to, the 7th most popular unisex name in the U.S., so far in 2013, is North (West)—the name Kanye West mentioned as a joke on the “Jay Leno Show” and then decided to use as a name for the baby girl he had with Kim Kardashian. The reason I call this “bad news” is that:

-North (West) is on a number of “worst” name lists for 2013 and has been described as “outrageous,” “crazy,” “bizarre” and “weird”—to mention only adjectives that can be reprinted in a family newspaper.

-Many articles have been appearing in U.S., Australian, Irish, and English media recently attributing “a rising tide of bizarre names” to fans of celebrities who choose “what were they thinking?” names for their children.

I suppose we should be happy that North (West) was the only “what were they thinking?” name on Nameberry’s top-10 lists of boys’ names, girls’ names and unisex names for 2013.

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