How much does popularity matter?

After 10 weeks since finding out we are having a girl and scouring name sites and forums, I have FINALLY found a name I really love! Yay! BUT … [name]Even[/name] though it’s only ranked at #179 for 2008, by all accounts it is ready to seriously skyrocket to the top 10 within the next 5 years or so. sigh I’m so bummed. As a general rule, I try to avoid names in the top 100, but I didn’t realize how popular this one was until after I fell in love with it. Now I don’t know what to do. Is the popularity of a name a big issue for you? If you have a child with a popular name, does it bother you to always meet children with the same name? Is she in school with a bunch of other kids with the same name? Does it bother her? Does hearing the name so often take away some of its charm? Help! Thanks!

[name]May[/name] I ask what the name is you had chosen? (just curious) I actually have an 8-year-old daughter named [name]Emily[/name]. And when we were choosing names for her, I was concerned about the popularity of the name, but since my husband and I liked the name so much, and it flowed well with our LN, we decided on [name]Emily[/name] [name]Catherine[/name]. Now, she is in 2nd grade, and is the only [name]Emily[/name] in her class! Who would have thought? There are, however, a lot of [name]Emma[/name]'s, and [name]Emily[/name] tells me she is glad we picked her name, because it is such a pretty name. We are glad we picked it too, since [name]Emily[/name] really “fits” her! I hope this helps.

#179 for 2008 is [name]Lila[/name]. It’s a very beautiful name, and one that does really seem to be taking off. I think if you love it, you should use it. BUT, there are two problems: 1) increasing popularity might mean your daugter often runs into others with her name; and 2) because this name is likely to become very popular very quickly, without history of uber-popularity, it’s rise into the top 10 for a few years and then subsequent fall may make it one of those names that by the time she’s 30, everyone will know by her name exactly how old she is (something that is NOT true with a name like [name]Julia[/name] or [name]Emily[/name]). Think of how you immediately know the approximate age of someone named [name]Jennifer[/name] or [name]Linda[/name].
If I were you, I’d go with [name]Delilah[/name], nn [name]Lila[/name], to avoid all of this.

[name]Hi[/name]! Here’s what I said on another thread with the same topic:

For me, I’m not as bothered by the popularity of boys’ names as I am by the popularity of girls’ names (I mean, I still love [name]Henry[/name], [name]Oliver[/name], and [name]Nathaniel[/name], for example), but even when it comes to girls’ names, if I love a name, that’s more important to me than popularity ([name]Elizabeth[/name] comes to mind). (And popularity is different than trendiness. Classic but popular names, such as [name]Elizabeth[/name], have staying power, while trendy names don’t.)

[name]Even[/name] more important to me than popularity charts though, is how often I’ve personally heard the name, and whether or not I still love it despite hearing it often. For example, [name]Annabelle[/name]/[name]Annabel[/name] is getting more popular, but I have yet to meet even one [name]Annabelle[/name]/[name]Annabel[/name], so it still feels fresh to me. By the same token, there are less popular names than [name]Annabelle[/name]/[name]Annabel[/name] that I’ve heard a lot (I mean, A LOT), so they don’t sound as fresh to me as the more popular [name]Annabelle[/name]/[name]Annabel[/name].

I once wrote on here that I love gummy bears, but if I eat too many, they lose their appeal to me, and I don’t want anymore. Names are the same way to me. If I hear a name too often, it stands a good chance of losing its appeal. [name]Sophia[/name] comes to mind. It was an aunt’s name and I still think it’s beautiful, but I’ve heard it so often that I now can’t see myself using it. :frowning: (I’d use it as a middle, though.) But like I said, I still love [name]Elizabeth[/name] despite hearing it so often, so I guess it just depends on the name.

Another factor is meaning: I love personal meanings, and if a name has personal meaning to me, that’s more important to me than the name’s popularity, provided I still love the name despite hearing it over and over.

Now that I think about it, I guess popularity only bothers me if I’ve heard a name so often that it no longer appeals to me. (Trendiness, on the other hand, bothers me all the time.) :slight_smile: If you have a name you love, despite its popularity, I think that’s a great thing, and it would be a shame to let it go.

Plus, popularity can be unpredictable. All it takes is one celebrity to use an obscure name, and the next thing you know, it’s popular! It seems like no name is truly safe (aside from [name]Dorcas[/name] or Mulva). :slight_smile:

(Sorry for writing so much!) :slight_smile:

Good luck!

(And in case you’re interested in that thread, here’s the link:

Good luck!

I am having a similar problem, DH and I like [name]Lillian[/name] but it is more popoular than I would like. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure you add all the spellings of the name together to find out how popular it really is. Maybe you don’t want multiple spellings as it will be misspelled often? Here is a great site that has this all done for us:
    [name]Lila[/name] is at #179 in the overall SSA list but add together spellings and it is at #93. ([name]Lila[/name], [name]Lyla[/name], [name]Lilah[/name]) Also think about sound-alike names, will it get confused with [name]Lily[/name], [name]Leah[/name], or [name]Layla[/name]?

  2. There is a much wider variety in girl names now than there ever was before. Here is what I do to get a grasp on how popoular a name really is: Look up the SSA list for 2008 and include the # of babies given that name. So for [name]Lila[/name], it is #179 and had 1,836 babies with that name. Now I look up the list of girl names (including # of births) for 1980, the year I was born. Now find what name has about 1,836 births. It corresponds to [name]Bridget[/name], with 1,830 babies with that name. Now think about how many people you knew named [name]Bridget[/name], there was ONE in my class of 315 students. I don’t remember any others in my school of 1200 students (although there may have been one or two more). So, not as bad as it seems!

  3. In 1980 the top name was [name]Jennifer[/name] with 58,370 babies with the same name! In 2008 [name]Emily[/name] was the top name but only 18,587 babies were named [name]Emily[/name], a huge difference. I don’t think we will have the [name]Jennifer[/name] problem again any time soon!

  4. Popularity is one thing and trendyness is another. [name]Elizabeth[/name] and [name]Julia[/name] are very popular names and have been for a long time because they are classic. But when a name becomes popoular for a short time, such as [name]Brittany[/name], then goes away it is easy to “date” that person and know how old they are. [name]How[/name] classic is your choice? [name]Track[/name] it’s popoularity over time to get an idea. Did it come out of nowhere and head straight to the top? Then maybe it will fall just as quickly in a few years.

  5. When you are around town or at the zoo/park etc. keep your ears peeled for the name you have picked. Have you heard it a lot? A few weeks ago I saw a little girl named [name]Ruby[/name] at a store, she was not well behaved and very bratty, it has somewhat turned me off from this name. Although if [name]Ruby[/name] was my favorite name I could probably get over it.

I hope this helps, I ask my self these questions too. But I think ulitmately the most important thing is finding a name you and your husband love and find fitting for your child. Good luck!

I will have to admit that popularity of a name does bother me. I only feel this way for girls names and not the same for boys. One of our favorite girls names is [name]Olivia[/name]. I was so in love with this name until I looked it up and saw that is was #6 in 2008. My heart literally sunk, I was so disappointed. In [name]California[/name] where I live [name]Olivia[/name] was #11 in 2008, not as bad as #6 but in 2007 it was #16. The fact that this name is on the fast move up to the top bothers me even more. A name may not seem that popular sitting at #230 but if the year before it was #426, I’d be really concerned it was going to be a trendy name and lose it’s appeal fast.

I have a daughter named [name]Mia[/name] and her name is quite popular. It was #32 when he named 5 years ago. I was a little concerned then about it’s popularity but didn’t think it would ever be on the brink of being in the top 10. Here in [name]CA[/name] [name]Mia[/name] is actually #7, more popular than [name]Olivia[/name]. :confused: My daughter has only just started school so she hasn’t had to tack on her last initial and become [name]Mia[/name] C. for the rest of her school life, at leas yet. We’ve met a few [name]Mia[/name]'s but not many.

My other daughters name is [name]Kira[/name] sits at # 251, the [name]Keira[/name] spelling is #123. I feel like we’ve crossed more paths with other “[name]Kira[/name]'s” than we have with [name]Mia[/name] even though there is quite a difference in popularity. This could also be due to the fact that they are 6 years apart and [name]Kira[/name] has had her name out there longer.

My husband asks me if I’d love the name [name]Olivia[/name] if I didn’t know how popular it was. Honestly, I really do love [name]Olivia[/name] and wish I was oblivious to it’s popularity. I guess being one of the MANY [name]Lisa[/name]'s born in '70’s has made me want my daughters to have more uncommon names (sorry [name]Mia[/name]). We didn’t look up popularity when we named [name]Kira[/name], we just loved the name and so [name]Kira[/name] she became. They both love their names and I’m happy for that.

If your heart truly loves a name I would say use it. I think either way you could regret choosing a popular name or regret not using a name you love because it’s too popular.
My husband eventually gave into my ultimate favorite name…[name]Lydia[/name] (#120) so I’m not as sad about not using [name]Olivia[/name].

Thank you for the replies, and giving me so many things to consider!

Sorry I didn’t list the name in the OP. I was trying to get opinions just about popularity without letting people’s personal views of the name [name]Lila[/name] get in the way. But, of course, it’s easy to look up what #179 on the SSA website is, so I guess that wasn’t the best plan. Ha! :slight_smile:

I’ve definitely considered the classic/trendy thing, but [name]Lila[/name] seems to be both. It’s definitely a ligit name that has a history, so that makes it a classic. But it is also rising very quickly after being out of use for a long time, so that makes it trendy.

Oh, and that namenerds site where it combines all the spellings of a name is awesome! I’ve been looking for something like that, so thank you for posting it!


I just wanted to say quickly that I have a [name]Sophia[/name]. She is four, so the year of her birth her name was not quite as popular as it now, but we named her in full awareness of its rising popularity. It did give me pause, and we batted around some other names, but in the end, I thought I’d be sad everytime I heard/saw the name, knowing that we had passed it up, and I figured that I’d be seeing it a lot! So in a funny sort of way, its popularity actually worked for it. Anyway, I still adore her name and its meaning and the way it looks on paper–honestly, my only regrets that we didn’t make a less common choice arise when I hear others trashing the name as overused. But this doubt reflects my own self-image (worries that I’m uncreative and unfashionable in having chosen so fashionably) more than it does my actual feelings about her name.

We haven’t really run into all that many Sophias, but when we do, I still feel my [name]Sophia[/name] carries her name uniquely well.

Anyway, this is obviously just my experience, and your feelings might be completely different. It might help to imagine how you’d feel if you named your daughter something else, and you ran into a [name]Lila[/name] . . . Would you feel envious? But again, this might be just how my mind works.

You could also try to be more unusual with her middle . . .

Best wishes! (For what it’s worth, I think [name]Lila[/name] is lovely.)

[name]Hi[/name] -
I am with all of you who posted about popularity. I tried VERY hard to find names for my daughters that were not common and did not require them to use our last initial. (For some reason, I am not as concerned about the popularity of a boys names. As others have stated, I only care if it is CLASSIC.)
I was the only [name]Lesley[/name] growing up and there was only one other during HS.
That said, all this karma has come to bite me. I named my first daughter a name in the mid 300s in 2003 and my second daughter a name in the high 400’s in 2006. There is another girl with my daughter’s grade with her name! And two more (different years) in my neighborhood. And I hear it at our town pool all the time! The SSA list is [name]WAY[/name] off.
So, bottom line, if you like a name and want to hear it on your daughter, use it. I am beyond getting worked up about it because I can not control what other people name their kids.
Good luck!!

Also remember to check the popularity by state for where you live. It only goes to the top 100 by state but sometimes there are big differences by state. For example [name]Ethan[/name] and [name]Olivia[/name] are the #1 names in the state where I live.

Very true indeed. You must live in Oregon. I live in [name]CA[/name] and love [name]Olivia[/name] and know that it is #1 there, my upstairs neighbor.