Biblical names are out and pop culture is in for America’s newborns – if 2012’s list of most popular baby names are anything to go by.
The once hearty trend of parents naming their babies after Biblical scripture has shown a steady decline in recent years according to an annual baby name report by BabyCenter.com.
What can be gathered in supplement shows a perhaps surprising uptick in inspiration from pop culture such as erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, TV show Downton Abbey and even Apple electronics.
Among names taken from the Bible for 2012 there were just three boys’ names among the list of top 10 – Ethan, Noah and Jacob – while none made the top 10 list for girls.
That’s a stark contrast from 12 years ago when Biblical names dominated the top 10 list, in 2000 it being: Michael, Jacob, Matthew, Joseph, Joshua, and Andrew.
For girls in 2000 it was Hannah, Sarah and Elizabeth.
If any trend can be seen this year one could blame at least one other book Americans are reading right now.
From EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, first name Grey shot up 155 spots. Anastasia rose 43 spots and Elliot – Christian Grey’s brother – went up by 14%.
If any Downtown Abbey fans received visits from the Stork this year, they may be mutually held responsible for an increase in the names Branson (by 32%), Charlie (23%), Elsie (29%), and Daisy (27%). Names Edith, Sybil, Robert, Cora, Isobel and Violet also rose.
Biblical names fall out of favor in US as top 10 boys and girls names revealed
Perhaps further showing the times – contrasting back when actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay musician Chris Martin named their baby “Apple” surprising many who had never heard of the fruit and widespread computer manufacturer used as a name – Apple rose 15% this year.
Adding to the Apple iPhone, iPad, iMac buzz, the name Siri – Apple’s computer generated assistant – climbed by 5% while Mac for boys jumped by 12%.
All three names are still deep down on the list, however, with Apple taking 3,204th place, Siri taking 1,427th, and Mac taking 624.
Musicians Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s uniquely named Blue Ivy Carter also perhaps stirred a rise in names Blue and Ivy which both saw an increase this year – Blue by 51% and Ivy by 27%.
Though Blue is still down on the list hitting 2,571th place, Ivy rose to 157th place.
Among this year’s most popular names, Aiden tops list of top 10 for the eight year in a row while Sophia continues to hold her own among the girls’ 10 for the fifth year running.
A handful of studies found that a name not only reveals clues about a person’s class, education and ethnic origin, it can also influence the bearer of the moniker and the choices they make in life.
Scientists have even drawn conclusions to suggest that people are often drawn to things and people that sound like their own names.
These experts claim that “implicit egotism” is the reason that someone called Dennis might become a dentist or even that a child whose name begins with a B or C may fare worse in school examinations.
A controversial 2007 study linked higher scoring peers to names that begun with A or B.
That a person’s name may be bound to his or her destiny is far from a new phenomenon.
The Ancient Romans promoted the concept “nomen est omen”, meaning “name is destiny”.
Studies have indeed shown that those with more conservative, “Caucasian” names are more successful when submitting resumes for employment.
And a recent poll conducted in Australia revealed that people respond more warmly to colleagues and politicians with names they can easily pronounce.
Yet parents nowadays are putting that much more effort into giving their offspring original names that are largely unfamiliar.
A handful of studies found that a name not only reveals clues about a person's class, education and ethnic origin, it can also influence the bearer of the moniker and the choices they make in life
Though historically names have been passed down through families of gleaned from the Bible, in recent days the tendency has been to think outside the box and consider movies, songs and stories for inspiration.
When Britney Spears rose to fame the slightly altered Brittaney became wildly popular among new parents and recently, thanks to the Twilight series, Isabella has made a comeback.
In 1912, when John and Mary were the top choices in a list of the 200 most popular baby names, 80% of parents would chose from that selection.
But today, about half of all boys and girls born are given names in the current top 200 list.
One study found that 30% of African American girls born in California during the 1990’s were given unique names that they shared with not a single person born in the same year in the same state.
Most surprisingly, however, are the statistics that show how these trends differ across the nation.
According to naming expert Laura Wattenberg, “classic, Christian, masculine” names like Peter and Thomas prevail in the more liberal states whereas an “androgynous, pagan newcomer like Dakota” would not be out of place in a red states.
Dr. Martin Ford of George Mason University, however, believes a name does not stand for much either way.
He explained: “Names only have a significant influence when that is the only thing you know about the person. Add a picture, and the impact of the name recedes.
“Add information about personality, motivation, and ability, and the impact of the name shrinks to minimal significance.”
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