The Latest Trends: Why the Popularity of 89 Girls’ and Boys’ Names Soared in 2013

 

When selecting names, parents often consider options that are similar in some way. For example, they may consider root names against their variations (William versus Liam), names that sound similar (Aubrey versus Audrey), names with the same theme (such as nature names, place names, ethnic names or religious names, or names with the same prefix or suffix. Below are some name clusters or themes that explain why the popularity of 89 boys’ and girls’ names rose rapidly in 2013, as reported by the Social Security Administration

 

Girls’ Names Rising Rapidly in Popularity

 

Everly/Everleigh: Everly was the 5th fastest rising girl’s name followed by Everly, the 6th fastest riser. (I rated Everly, the name Channing Tatum gave his baby daughter, as one of the best celebrity baby names of the year 2013.)

 

Place Names: Led by Dallas (the 15th fastest rising girls’ name) and India (the 17th fastest riser), more than 15 place names increased in popularity including: Ireland, Milan, Milana, Maylasia, Maylaya, Phoenix, Asia, Londyn, Adelaide, Dakota, Catalina, Georgia, Virginia and more. (Strangely, Sydney had one of the largest declines in popularity on the top 100 girls’ list.)

 

Flower, Shrub and Tree Names: Rosie was the 16th fastest rising name for girls. Rosie and Rose also increased in popularity. A variety of other flower, shrub and tree names also rose, including Dahlia, Sage, Saige, Azalea, Laurel, Juniper, Magnolia and Willow. (I recently met a woman named Magnolia. She told me she was the only woman she knew with that name. Apparently, reinforcements are on the way.)

 

Amelia, Mila and Sound-Alikes: As Amelia climbed onto the Next 10 list, Mila leaped onto the top 100 list and sound-alikes Myla, Emilia, Camila, Millie and Milania also increased in popularity. (You may recall that Mila is what Jenna Bush Hager wants friends and family to call her daughter, whom she named Margaret Laura, in 2013.)

Brand Names: Though I was surprised to see Oakley, a chic sunglasses brand, show up on the rapidly rising list for girls, I also noticed Chanel, a well-established perfume and designer brand on the list. (One prominent brand name that declined in 2013 was Mercedes.)

 

Virtue Names: Also rising rapidly were a variety of virtue names including Mercy, Felicity, Serenity, Serena, and Joy.

 

Hadley/Hadlee: Hadlee was the 12th fastest rising name for girls. Also rising rapidly was root name, Hadley.

 

“Annabel Lee”: Another fast-rising cluster included Anabel, Annabell, Annabelle, and Annabella–names popularized by Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, “Annabel Lee,” which was written long before TV and movies were invented.

TV tie-ins: Daleyza (“Larrymania”) was the #1 fastest-rising girls’ name in 2013. Sadie (“Duck Dynasty”) had one of the largest percentage increases in popularity, from #119 in 2012 to #50 in 2012–a 58% increase in popularity.

 

Boys’ Names Rising Rapidly in Popularity

 

Variations of Jason: Jayceon was the #1 fastest rising boys’ name. Jayse was #4. Also rising rapidly were Jase, Jayce, Jayce and Jayson. However, the root name, Jason, declined. Apparently parents were seeking more contemporary forms of the mythological name. (You may recall that Jason led the Argonauts on a search for the Golden Fleece.)

 

Jackson/Jack & Variations: Jackson was the fastest rising name on the “Next 10 list. Related names like Jax, Jazen, Jaxon, Jack and Jaxton, also gained in popularity. (Popularity gains by these “macho” names is in contrast to gains on the top 10 list by “sensitive” names for boys with soft consonants.)

 

Pompous Titles: Duke was the 5th fastest rising boys’ name. Deacon was #19. Also rising rapidly were Royal, Major, King, Kingston, Messiah and Legend. (This trend should keep psychologists very busy.)

 

Weapons, Hunting & Battle Names: Names associated with weapons such as Remington, Gunner and Archer continued to rise rapidly, along with Gunnar, Kannon, Kayson, Kaysen, Cayson, Hunter and Killian. (This trend should please the NRA.)

 

Zane/Zayn and Other “Z “Names: Zayn was the 7th fastest-rising boys’s name. It’s a variation of root name ,Zane, which also rose rapidly along with  related variations, Zayne and  Zain. Also rising rapidly were unrelated “Z” names like Zaid, Zaiden, Zaire, and Zavier. (It seems that  “Z” names still have a “cool” and “macho” vibe.)

 

Arab Names: The most recognizable Arab names on the rapidly-rising boys’ names were Abdullah and Mohammad, followed by Ahmad, Amir, Ameer, Hassan, Mustafa, and Ibrahim, among others. (It takes courage to give your child an Arab name, because of fears people may have about them.)

TV Tie-ins:  Castiel (“Supernatural”) and Jase (“Duck Dynasty”) were the 5th and 16th fastest-rising names in 2013. Both names are associated with characters on TV shows.

Top 30 African American Baby Girl Names

Here are the top 30 African American Baby Girl Names from Elev8.com. The list was compiled by Oretha Winston, lead writer, from states which keep track of names by ethic backgrounds.

Top 30 African American Baby Girl Names

Naming is a creative process.Today’s parents seem to believe they can alter their child’s destiny by picking the perfect—preferably idiosyncratic—name. (Destiny, incidentally, was the ninth most popular name for girls in New York City last year.) The current crop of preschoolers includes a few Uniques, with uncommonly named playmates like Kyston, Payton and Sawyer. From Dakota to Heaven, Integrity to Serenity, more babies are being named after places and states of mind. Names with alternative spellings are on the upswing, like Jaxon, Kassidy, Mikayla, Jazmine and Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backward), as are mix-and-match names such as Ashlynn and Rylan.

1.Aaliyah/Aliyah

2.Alexandra

3.Alexis

4.Alyssa

5.Angel

6.Aniyah

7.Brianna

8.Chloe

9.Destiny

10.Diamond

11.Gabrielle

12.Hailey

13.Hannah

14.Imani

15.Isis

16.Jada

17.Jasmine

18.Jayla

19.Jordan

20.Kayla

21.Kennedy

22.Kiara

23.Laila

24.Madison

25.Makayla

26.Nevaeh

27.Sydney

28.Taylor

29.Tiana

30.Trinity

Make sure to read: Top 3o African American Baby Boy Names on Elev8.com.

 

 

After 18 Years as YingYing, She Decided to Change Her Name to Something More American

YingYing Shang has wanted to change her name since she was 7 years old. She was teased to tears and made to feel “foreign” even when teachers and acquaintances had not intended to hurt her feelings.

It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to have a weird name until you have one. (That’s why it bothers me when “name experts,” like Pamela Redmond Satran and Aela Mass of Nameberry, recommend names likely to cause embarrassment, teasing and even bullying.) Here’s a quick glimpse of what YingYing went through and why she was so motivated to change her name:

“Having an ethnic name in America has its difficulties. Growing up, my given name, YingYing, was distorted in more ways than you can possibly imagine — sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. The simplest situations that necessitated introducing myself to a stranger would make me cringe in apprehension. I learned to anticipate the extended pause when a substitute teacher reached my name on the attendance list, and raise my hand preemptively to spare them the pain.

“Last name Shang? It’s YingYing. That’s YingYing, with two Is.”

The simplest tasks, from ordering a Starbucks to giving my name to a service attendant at the mall, were fraught with mishaps.

Even when my name was spelled and pronounced correctly, an ethnic name comes with the unshakable assumption of foreignness.

Despite being 17 and supposedly hardened to the cruelty of the world, there was still a particular sting when an anonymous commenter wrote snidely on one of my pieces, “There’s a grammar mistake, but good luck telling someone named YingYing Shang about an English error.”

I’m impressed by the name YingYing chose as her new “American” name, Eva. It’s an alternate form of Eve, a Hebrew name that means “life.” And it’s a short form of Evangelina, a Greek name that means “bearer of good news.” Maybe Eva noticed that girls’ names ending with an “a” are increasing in popularity and that Ava is currently the #5 most popular girl’s name. The long “e” vowel sound of Eva reminds her of the repeated long “e” vowel sounds of YingYing. So after thinking about changing her name for eleven years, I think Eva Shang made a wise choice in selecting her new “American” name.

I’m grateful to YingYing for sharing her story so we’ll be more empathetic when we meet people with awkward-sounding names they didn’t choose and I’m grateful to xoJane for publishing it.