More Questionable Predictions: Five 2014 Baby Name Trends from Belly Ballot

Because it takes time for trends to develop, it’s more probable for trends to continue from year to year than for trends to stop abruptly—to be replaced by new trends which reverse previous trends. Here’s a quick list of Belly Ballot’s predictions with some background info to help you see how plausible (or implausible) their predictions might be:

1. Unconventional Spellings. Examples: Izak, Karder, Riyan, Kooper, Mykel, Emhily, BrookeLynn, or Meeya

Comment: This is the trend that led me (in 1978) to publish  the Best Baby Name Book (which became the #1 name book in North America within 6 months, because it included “unconventional spellings” not found in any other books). So this is not, remotely, a new trend.

2. Show Biz Names. Examples: Hayley, Camille, Piper, Ichabod, Katrina, Milan, Lincoln, Everly, and Autumn

Comment: Not a new trend, either. There’s nothing new about characters from TV shows or celebrity baby names influencing name choices. I suppose Belly Ballot might suggest we keep our eyes on specific “show biz names” they cited as examples. OK, will do. FYI, I commented favorably about Everly (Tatum) and Autumn (Hallisey), so I’d be happy to see those names do well. I enjoyed reading Orange is the New Black and like the classic preppy name, Piper. And Lincoln is on my list of “inspirational names.

3. Hispanic is Caliente. Examples: Lola, Maria, Carmen, Sierra, Ernesto, Diego, Santos, Miguel, or Luis.

Comment: Hispanic names are cold (aka declining). When Belly Ballot sent out a post claiming Caucasians were increasingly giving their children Hispanic names, I countered by pointing out that the use of Hispanic names in the U.S. was declining, overall, due to the fact that Hispanic parents were increasingly selecting “American” names for their children. Apparently the use of Hispanic names by gringos wasn’t strong enough to offset naming trends by Hispanic-Americans. FYI, I commented favorably about Carmen (Baldwin) and Lola is on my top-10 list of Cool Names for Girls, while Cruz and Matteo are on my top-ten list of Cool Names for Boys.

4. Return to the Bible. Examples: Caleb, Levi, Luke, Isaiah, Naomi, Shiloh, or Judith

Comment: A highly improbable prediction! The number of biblical names in the latest top-ten boy’s list from the Social Security Administration is down. Abigail is the only biblical name on the SSA’s top-ten girl’s list (and it wasn’t in Baby Center’s top-ten. I strongly doubt this trend will materialize. FYI, I like biblical names, because they create a positive impression for values and character.

5. Mythological Names. Examples: Luna, Camilla, Gaia, Tristan, Damon, or Thor

Comment: I haven’t seen much evidence of this trend, yet. You may recall that Uma Thurman used Luna as a nickname after the first 5 (mostly unspellable and unpronounceable) names she came up with for her daughter self-destructed. I hope, for Belly Ballot’s sake that at least one of their predicted trends takes off. This trend isn’t a complete non-starter; though it seems like a low-odds Hail Mary pass at the end of the “prediction season” to me.

Summary: Seems to me we should call December the “silly season” for trend articles. Most of the “trends” proposed by both Belly Ballot and Nameberry seem highly unlikely to pan out; unless of course they are not remotely new and have (like “unconventional spellings”) been in a long-term uptrend for decades.

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