Every year baby name experts gather stats and figures to determine which names will likely come out on top. And what have they found this year? While names like Scarlett continue to rise steadily, other names, like Madison, are in steep decline.
Read on to find out which trends will determine the names you’ll hear parents calling in the playground in 2012.
What was old is new again Some names just never go out of style, and research shows old-fashioned names tend to remain relatively popular each year. According to Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of babynames.com, biblical names (think Ethan, Noah and Benjamin) will wind up on many parents’ lists this year, especially for boys; as well as time-honoured Celtic names (like Liam, Declan and Owen). Something more commonly traditional will top a lot of lists for girls’ names. Look for a rise in names like Charlotte, Sophia and Amelia.
Game boy Alright, so it’s not like we’ll have a bunch of little Donkey Kongs or Princess Peaches running around our daycares (or, at least we hope not), but where favourite literary or film characters once heavily influenced parents, a surprising new trend will pop up in 2012. “Even bigger than music or movies, video games are becoming more and more a part of adult popular culture,” says Laura Wattenberg, author and creator of babynamewizard.com. “For example, Raiden from Mortal Kombat can be an alternative to popular names like Aidan and Hayden.” This could prove a more than suitable substitute, especially since similar sounding names to Raiden are decreasing in popularity. “For boys, the Aidan, Jayden, Braden and Caden craze is finally over!” says Moss. Give me a (long) “I” and “U” Look for more names with a long “i” or a long “u” sound to pop up in 2012. According to Wattenberg, long vowel names Lila, Miles, Eli or Ruby and Lucas will be on the tips of everyone’s tongues.
Retro rewind Despite the popularity of shows like Mad Men, don’t expect names like Don or Betty to make a reappearance in 2012. “Names from the ’60s generation have died away fast,” says Wattenberg. “Names that were once common are now endangered. For example, you don’t meet a baby Glenn or Kathy anymore.” According to Wattenberg, the new go-to decade for baby names is the ’80s, with names like Christian and Justine gaining ground.
Running from popularity Although trends tend to carry over from the previous year, one new deciding factor for parents in 2012 will be baby name lists – and just how to avoid the names on them. According to Wattenberg, popular name compilations will have the reverse affect on most parents this year. “One of the number one trends will be that parents are going to try to be different,” she says. “People are running away from those popular names lists!” So where will parents turn for a little inspiration? Finding a unique baby name these days can be a bit of a challenge and most experts tend to agree that parents turn to celebrities for inspiration. “It’s hard to find a name that no one in North America is using,” says Wattenberg. “Hollywood spurs name trends. When Angelina Jolie named her son Maddox, it was popular for a year.” Wattenberg is quick to point out the distinction that parents nowadays simply form ideas based on celebrity baby names, as opposed to naming their child after one of their idols. “Celebrities influence us, although it’s not to honour the famous person like we used to,” she says. “They are more likely to pick the name Miley than Madonna.”
Want to find out what the most Canadian popular names were this year? Check out our Top 100 baby names in 2011!