The Popularity of a Name

(40 Posts)
Liz09 Fri 08-Jul-16 10:57:28

How important is the popularity of a name, really? If a name is popular (top 10), is it something to avoid, or should we just look past it because we love it?

FWIW, my name was number 27 in the year I was born and I never knew another person named Elizabeth until my last two years of school. By comparison, Madeleine was number 36 and there were 2 Madeleines in my class in primary school and 3 in my high school (out of about 30 girls in the grade). So I assume popularity differs depending on where you live, specifically.

My husband and I (he in particular) love a name that is in the top 10 and has been for a long time now; we are both put off by the popularity, despite not knowing any babies with the name. Should we just look past it and assume that its popularity will die down eventually?

MrsJayy Fri 08-Jul-16 11:03:02

I have a popular 70s name every other girl had it in my year in school we all had to be Jay x y z if a teacher was talking to us Dh haas a very feminine name he was teased for for it soo naming or children had to be no tease element and nothing too popular as a result they have ordinary but popular names just not for the year they were born iyswim

BakewellSliceAgain Fri 08-Jul-16 11:04:39

Some popular names are widespread and you don't meet lots of them in one school. Others seem locally popular. Examples in my children's classes have been Jack. - most popular name for years and yet we never came across too many. Mia / Maya seemed to be a lot in a few years and local to us. There are a lot of Andrews in my son's year now. We used to live in West of Scotland and the equivalent year had Callum as a popular name. Look to local trends.

MrsJayy Fri 08-Jul-16 11:06:33

Oh I meant to say. Unless a name i "out there' or made up its probably going to be on some list name the baby what you want

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Fri 08-Jul-16 11:08:47

If it's popular and classic I think it's fine. If it's a name that was unheard of 20 years ago, steer well clear because it will date.

MrsJayy Fri 08-Jul-16 11:08:56

DDS years were Amy and callum then Rachel and Lewis

Hastalapasta Fri 08-Jul-16 11:09:54

Go with whichever name you both like, assuming the baby suits itgrin
At school there were a lot of Davids and Sarahs so I know what you mean but I don't think that is a thing now, no jacks or sophies in my DC's classes....

Liz09 Fri 08-Jul-16 11:11:40

The closest area stats I can find are for about 40+ minutes away bit figure it can't be too different. It's actually ranked number 11 on their list, so might be declining in popularity.

Thanks, everyone! Almost all of the names we like are in the top 50, so I assume at some point our child will end up meeting someone with the same name, but it didn't bother me (although it might be because I was older) that there was a second Elizabeth in my grade. I just worry that they'll have several others in their class.

DavidPuddy Fri 08-Jul-16 11:20:44

It was so ordinary when I was at primary school to have duplicated names. We had two Natalies, two Joannas, two Richards, two Charlottes, two Gemmas. This was in a class of about 30. Everyone had their own personalities and friends and it didn't occur to us to mind. I was one of these children. The name was the only thing we shared and really defined us so little.

Liz09 Fri 08-Jul-16 11:26:15

DavidPuddy My dad was a David. He was one of six in his Kindergarten class. His teacher reassigned them all a new "nickname" and his stuck for life!

I suppose you can never really predict these things. For as popular as Jessica and Ashley supposedly were for my age group, we never had a single one in our grade! The same goes for Joshua and Thomas.

toadgirl Fri 08-Jul-16 11:28:02

I have an unusual name.

I hated it when young.

How I longed to be called "Jane" or "Emma" or something more normal.
I just didn't have the personality to want to stand out and have to spell my name and have people pass comment on it every time. Even though the comments were always flattering.

I have never met someone else with my name, although I believe it's more common in the US.

I've kind of got over it now though, so my feelings did pass.

Liz09 Fri 08-Jul-16 11:32:41

Thanks toadgirl. My mum feels the same way - she has an unusual first name and had an unusual maiden name. She doesn't hate it now, but she still loathes having to spell and pronounce it for everyone she meets.

caju Fri 08-Jul-16 11:35:53

I think it's something to take into account, but if you love a name that happens to be popular, you shouldn't let that be the deciding factor against it.

I have a very common name (think top 10 and sometimes top 5 every year for the last 20+ years) and it's never bothered me in the slightest. Of my group of 8 very close friends at school, 3 of us had this same name! But it never worried us. In my adult life I meet a few others with the same name as me at university, places I work, etc. but the majority of people have names that are not mine, lol. So not an issue at all.

MrsJoeyMaynard Fri 08-Jul-16 11:37:40

Worth bearing in mind that the pool of baby names used now is also a lot larger than in the 70s/80s, say, so the most popular names now will be given to a smaller number of children than the most popular names in the 70s/80s.

Take the most popular baby name in 2014 in England and Wales (2015 stats haven't been released yet). That was Oliver, with 6,649 baby Oliver's born in 2014 (The most popular girls name, Amelia, was given to 5,327 babies). Sounds a lot, initially, but... There were 695,233 live births in England and Wales in 2014.

So that means, assuming my maths is correct, that 0.95% of all babies born in 2014 in England and Wales were given the most popular baby name. That's less than 1 in 100. So assuming a class size of 30, if The Oliver's were distributed evenly throughout England and Wales, you'd get 1 Oliver in every 3 to 4 classes.

Popularity does vary locally though, so you'll have some areas flooded with Oliver's and other areas where Oliver's are almost unheard of, but as a general rule, a top 10 name certainly doesn't mean your child is guaranteed to be one of several in a class.
Personally, if I really loved a particular name, I wouldn't let its position in the top 10 baby names put me off, especially if I didn't know of any locally.

(All statistics quoted above are taken from the office of national statistics)

Liz09 Fri 08-Jul-16 11:41:56

MrsJoey Thanks so much for taking the time to break that down. That definitely puts my mind at ease, especially as the stats from the closest area to me put this name outside of the top 10. smile

MrsJoeyMaynard Fri 08-Jul-16 11:45:53

No worries. I'm busy procrastinating wildly this morning grin

100paperclips Fri 08-Jul-16 11:54:15

My name is deeply unfashionable and has been for many many years (outside the top 500 during my life so far). My parents chose it for family reasons.

The plus side is that when I hear my name I can generally assume someone is talking to me, and I've never had to be 'paperclips number 1' (I currently work in a small office of about 15 people with four Helens so they are numbered because two of them also have the same initial).

The downside was there was (and still is) never a keychain or novelty item with my name on. As a child this was a bit annoying, but probably saved my parents a fortune in overpriced gift shop tat.

I wouldn't go way out of my way to call my children something that definitely nobody else will have chosen over a more popular name that I liked more.

However, I do tend to avoid very popular names, mainly because they are often ones where, because there are lots of them around, I know at least one I don't like, rather than because I would just die if my child encountered another child with the same name as them at school, therefore realising that they weren't a special snowflake and their self-esteem was irreparably damaged

CourtJester Fri 08-Jul-16 12:30:53

My name was number 1 the year i was born, and several years before and after, and i cannot tell you how shit it is to be one of a million girls with the same name in your school year.

It was forever Name A or Name F or even worse was Little Name or Big Name' or even Name ...no not that one, the other one

And plus, becuase i was one of the youngest in the year, i alwasy got the taunting and teasing of You STOLE my name

I always hated my name purely becuase it was so popular and i hated having to be connected to all of those other girls. All of the other girls with the same name were bitchier, naughtier or gobbier so i generally got put into that same catagory, or forgotten about entirely becuase i was not as loud or obnoxious as the rest of them.
I never felt i could do anything special with the name becuase it was so boring and dull, and it belonged to every other girl in my school so how i could i possibly stand out against all the others.
It also stuck me with a nickname (the obvious shortening of the name) which i didn't like either and tried to get everyone to stop using, becuase all the other ones used it and i wanted to be different. My attempts didn't work and i got stuck with the nn, which i eventually just accepted. However, the one positive is that all the rest of them generally went back to using the full version of the name in adulthood, wheras i stuck with the nickname, so there are not quite so many of me now.

CourtJester Fri 08-Jul-16 12:33:27

I would 100% give my child a name outside the top 100, becuase i would not want them to have to experience that i did. I would also not give them a weird or made-up name, but a name that will hopefully be individual to them whilst they are at school.

I don't mind crossing paths with people who share my name, but not to the extent that i had to when i was younger.

OliveV Fri 08-Jul-16 14:03:47

Popularity isn't important, IMO... The love of the name should come first smile

ThoraGruntwhistle Fri 08-Jul-16 14:19:03

One of my children has a very popular name - there are five in their year at school. We still love the name but really wish we had thought of a different one.

septembersunshine Fri 08-Jul-16 14:33:41

I don't think popularity should put you off if you really feel the name is right for you. Honestly, you say it a thousand times over the course of a year - hundreds of times a day! It's often the first and last name on your lips every morning and every evening...therefore the love of the name is more important to consider. Will you regret it if you don't use it? Do you both love another name as much? Does it feel right? Can you imagine using a different name?

I have a Jack. Very common name but it suits him and we knew it instantly. He is a handsome boy and needed something short and simple. He struggles at school (with his work) and I think an unusual name would make things harder still for him later on. Plus for two years in a row he was the ONLY Jack in his school. Even now there is only one other (this is now the third year he's been at school). There are plenty of Harrys, Williams and Oliver's. More then you can shake a stick at. Even some Zach's. Not one Jack for two years yet the stats would suggest you can't turn around for tripping over them. Very strange but I really believe the stats can vary wildly between areas and county's and don't always mean you will have more then one in your child's class at school.

CodewordRochambeau Fri 08-Jul-16 15:03:07

I think that on the whole it doesn't matter that much - but if the name is Jack, then I'd reconsider, especially if you have a common surname. It has been top 3 since 1994, and according the names.darkgreener there have been 7000-9000 Jacks born every year since 1995. It has been popular for so long that there is a whole generation of them, the oldest of whom are now twenty. Once those boys leave school and start mixing in mixed-age groups like workplaces, they will encounter a lot of other Jacks. Lovely name but so common, and still really popular - I know three under 2.

CodewordRochambeau Fri 08-Jul-16 15:06:24

I'd also add that your child might be the only X in their class at primary, but once they reach secondary school the intake could increase to four or six classes. I teach secondary in a reasonably small school (four-form entry, ie 120 kids per year). I teach two classes with multiple Jacks, and there are four Jack Smiths on roll.

Crunchymum Fri 08-Jul-16 19:11:27

DS has a top 10 name whereas DD has a name outside of top 100.

Sometimes popularity is a good thing.... I mean a lot of classic names are never out of the top 10?

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