Does popularity matter?

Well, the Office of National Statistics released the latest report on names yesterday. Here on Nameberry, there’s a lovely post on the homepage which I will link:

It got me thinking: Many of my favourite names have shot up in the last year. [name]Eliza[/name], [name]Harriet[/name] and many more. Does popularity matter to you? Would you still use a name if it was popular?

For me it matters to an extent, like I would probably not use a name in the top 10 or 20 like [name]Noah[/name] or [name]Freya[/name] which I love because I don’t want my kids one of 3 or 4 little [name]Freya[/name]'s or [name]Noah[/name]'s in class or at work. I never shared a name at school & I like it that way. I would use names in the bottom end of the top 100 like [name]Elijah[/name] & [name]Lydia[/name] because they are still unusual yet familiar.

For me it depends on the trend too, is the name consistantly popular? Is it gaining popularity really quickly or losing it? In the end I will pick a name I love because you don’t know what’s round the corner. A celeb may have a baby with the exact same name the following day & shoot up the popularity of it.

Popularity would be a consideration for us because we have a super common last name, so I don’t want my kid to be one of, say, 10 [name]Olivia[/name] [name]Jones[/name] that she knows. That said: my husband has a fairly traditional and therefore fairly common first name, and he’s never complained about it, and the mix-ups that he’s had were few and kind of funny. So while I don’t think I’d use a name on the top 10 or top 20, I also wouldn’t let popularity stop me from using a name I really, really loved.

Also- there are so many things we can control about a name- rhythm, flow, spelling, meaning, etc.- but popularity and public image really isn’t one of them. Stuff just happens- the name could jump 100 places on the list, people with that name could become overnight celebrities, people might use that name for a character in a book or a sit com. We can predict, but we can’t guarantee that our kid will grow up to be the only Domyneeque [name]Jones[/name] that she knows.

It depends - if I were born now as [name]Amelia[/name] I don’t know if I would like it as much because it is so popular now and [name]Jones[/name] is very common as a surname. I’ve already had mix ups with another [name]Amelia[/name] [name]Jones[/name]! Then again, I love my name and the meaning suits me down to the ground and as it meant a lot to my family, I think I love it even more. I would definitely use a name if it was reasonably popular but maybe not if it was in the top 10 unless it meant a lot to me or if I was honouring someone. Besides, if its popular it means obviously lots of people like it and you must have good taste!! :slight_smile:

It doesn’t bug me as much as it seems to bug most people here. (I do think it’s funny that the Americans here tend to love names that are very popular in [name]Britain[/name], but not as much in the US). I wouldn’t go out of my way to pick a common name, but I wouldn’t go nuts picking one that no one else my kid ever meets will have.

I think the obsession over being unique ends up hurting parents who happen to be in love with a name that happens to be popular. Popular does not equal ugly or unusable. There are SO many threads here where someone says “I’ve loved [name]Sophia[/name] since i was a little kid and it’s my grandmother’s name, but is it usable b/c its in the top 10?” It’s stupid that these posters feel guilty for liking names that are common right now. And on the other end, you have people so desperate to be different that they end up saddling their kids with something awkward/weirdly spelled/gender-bending/whatever, without really comprehending how it affects the kid in the future.

At the end of the day, parents first priority should be what they love; if that happens to be [name]Emma[/name] or [name]Jacob[/name], that should be ok with everyone, including the most ardent name nerds here.

I don’t really have a problem with popularity. [name]Sophia[/name], [name]Emma[/name], [name]Jacob[/name], and the like are lovely names, which is probably why so many people like them. The only issue for me is that most of these names have been used by family or close friends. But if [name]Isabelle[/name] has been your favorite name for years, don’t discount it just because other people like it, too. We have a daughter named [name]Grace[/name] and haven’t met any others. It’s pretty high up there, but It isn’t very popular where we live. On the other hand, we know two little boys named [name]Cosmo[/name]. If you pick a name just because it isn’t high on the list, it doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed that your child will be the only one with that name.

The exact same thing has happened to me! I’m also from the UK, and [name]Mila[/name]/[name]Milena[/name] have both gone quite a lot higher up the list this year! I don’t think popularity would deter me from using a name (after all, I do love [name]Grace[/name]) but it is something I’d consider, especially with a common surname.

It is definitely an issue for me. I was one of 5 or so in my classrooms growing up. I don’t want a weird name or go out of my way to find something that I will never hear again, but I want my kids to have their own name.

I have a fairly common name, [name]Laura[/name], for my generation – I’m a tad bit younger than most Lauras. Going through school I never had another class with a [name]Laura[/name]. As an adult I do have a few friends named [name]Laura[/name] but really it’s no big deal.

Just being high on the list doesn’t bother me. Suddenly hearing the name everywhere does seem to detract from it some. A name like [name]James[/name] that has been consistently popular was easier for me to use than a popular name that has been out of circulation for a bit and then rages back in.

If I [name]LOVE[/name] a name, then nothing is gonna stop me from using it!! The only thing that might stop me is if someone I know has a baby right before me and gives their child the name I liked. For example, a few months before my son was born, another couple I was friendly with and who were due with twins right before I was, announced that they were considering using [name]Elisha[/name] and [name]Elijah[/name] for their babies names. Since [name]Elijah[/name] was the ONLY name I would even consider for my own son, I started freaking out, because I thought they’d accuse me of name stealing or something, and quickly went on a search for other boys names I liked. In the end, though, it turned out okay, because they named their twins [name]Taylor[/name] and [name]Tyler[/name] and I was free to use [name]Elijah[/name]…which I did happily.

I am a [name]Jennifer[/name] and always thought I’d want to name my kids something different. But when it came to naming an actual child rather than just fantasying I found only the more timeless classics worked for me. Anything too out there felt like I was trying to hard. I would stay away from the top ten but I find that in my area I meet more kids named outside of the top 100 than in the top 20 so it seems like it backfires!

For me it matters to an extent. I’d try not to use names that were in the top 30, because I grew up in a class with three [name]Hannah[/name]'s in it, and I’ve known so many (going by [name]Hannah[/name] H didn’t thrill me much either). That being said, I quite liked having a friend with the same name as me, but there were so many people with my name that it was just confusing when the teacher tried to talk to one of us.
If there was a name that I loved in there though (like [name]Oscar[/name] <3) then I might consider using it, despite it’s popularity (I’m in the UK). It all depends what the trends are when I actually come to having children though, and what names I like then. I’m hoping that’s at least five to six years away yet, though before would be a welcome surprise.

No, it doesn’t. I think that name popularity is over exaggerated among name nerds and expectant parents. [name]Even[/name] the top choices ([name]Jacob[/name], [name]Sophia[/name], [name]Harry[/name], [name]Amelia[/name]) are not as popular as the top choices of 10 years ago. I did the math once, and what I discovered was that it will be rare to have two children in a classroom with the same name let alone 5 or 10 as some people seem to think. Combining rhyming names and alternate spellings might be a different story, though. I still highly doubt there would be five in one classroom.

If you love a name, you should use it regardless of popularity. Having a popular name will not doom your child to a life of confused identity or make them any less of an individual. [name]Just[/name] remember that they will always be your [name]Eliza[/name] or your [name]Harriet[/name], not to be mistaken for all of those other little Elizas and Harriets running around. :slight_smile:

If I really love a name, I won’t let popularity stop me from using it. But a name being in the top 10, or even in the top 20, does dissuade me from wanting to use it. When we were trying to come up with a name for my daughter, we considered [name]Ava[/name] Coppelia. I LOVED it. But [name]Ava[/name] was in the top 10 the prior year, and I knew she’d end up being [name]Ava[/name] L. throughout school. I was named [name]Nicole[/name] in the early 80’s, and there were ALWAYS 2 or 3 [name]Nicoles[/name] in my classes. I was always [name]Nicole[/name] P. in school, and it drove me nuts. Plus, people hear the name now and it seems dull and dated. People can immediately pinpoint that I was likely an 80’s kid.

A name doesn’t have to be unheard of, but for me, having a name that’s out of the top 100 is ideal.

All that matters to me is that my husband and I love the name. If it happens to be outside the top 1000 or in the top 100 we will still use it if we love it. I would probably make exceptions for the top 10 names though. I grew up with a friend named [name]Ashley[/name] and since the name was so popular in the 80’s and early 90’s she had to deal with multiple [name]Ashley[/name]'s in different classes. It got so annoying at one point when she was the third [name]Ashley[/name] in one class with the same initial for their last name. She was [name]Ashley[/name] R 3, and she did hate it. It isn’t that way anymore though, because there are more names being used.

I don’t know, my son has had multiple Sophias, Emilys and Jacobs in his classes. Some may have alternate spellings, but especially with [name]Sophia[/name], there are still a lot of them out there.

That is true, especially with the name [name]Sophia[/name]. My sister in law wants to name her baby if it is a girl [name]Sophia[/name] and I really want to advise her not to because of how many there are. She is so set on it though.

It doesn’t particularly matter to me. If a name is very popular in my area I’ll avoid it, but if its popular nationally it doesn’t bother me.

For me, popularity is directly related to how much you love a name.

If you’re so-so and it’s #2, I say steer clear.
If you’re so-so and it’s not in the top 2000, maybe steer clear.
If you adore it, use it no matter the popularity (unless it’s cruel of course :slight_smile: I don’t care how much you love Hitler, it’s not usable.)

Popularity is an issue for me. I was a [name]Meghan[/name] in the 80s and I lived in a fairly small town. I was one of 5 [name]Megan[/name] variants in my kindergarten class and we were in school all the way through high school together (by the time we graduated there were 10 in a class of 175). I was [name]Meghan[/name] “R” and I hated it!