Everyone knows that naming a baby is serious business. This moniker becomes the calling card of your pride and joy for it’s entire life. Choosing the perfect name for you bundle of joy used to be much easier – as a majority of parents went with what was popular at the time.
But studies are showing that more and more parents today are abandoning tired and true faves like Sarah and Michael, and instead infusing their own tastes into their child’s name.
A new analysis of name statistics suggests that the meaning conveyed by a baby’s name – that is, what a name tells others about the parents’ tastes and background – has ramped up significantly over the last 25 years as baby names have become more diverse and numerous.
Author of the book “The Baby Name Wizard” and creator of the website BabyNameWizard.com, Laura Wattenberg, said “Parents are putting a much higher premium on distinctiveness.”
Wattenberg points out that in the 50s, half the babies born had the most common 25-50 names. Today, those once top names are given to fewer and fewer babies.
If you have 10 guesses to get somebody’s name today there’s almost no chance you’ll get it,” Wattenberg told LiveScience. “But 100 years ago, if you guessed the top 10 names you’d have a really good chance” of guessing correctly.
So yay parents, for giving your child a unique name, right? Not necessarily. With these increasingly odder names comes a much heavier social implication.
The more diverse naming styles become, the more we are going to read into somebody’s name. Names communicate so much, because they often embody parents’ values and tastes, as well as dreams and ambitions for their child.
So how did names evolve to favor uniqueness over popularity?
Well, folks, you’re staring at it. The Internet has played a major role in name changing trends. With so much access to information, parents can communicate outside their immediate social sphere and really add diversity in choosing names.
Names never had to be unique. But today your name is often the first way and sometimes the only way people know you.
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