Before our little girl was born, my wife and I spent a lot of time deciding what to name her. We decided to find out the sex of the baby, and so at least we only had to think about girl names. Did you worry about the effect name choice might have, like I did?
I created this graphic of the top 20 baby names of the past 10 years according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. The larger they are, the more often the appeared in the top 20. Click the graphic to view the list by year, or to look up a specific name.
According to an informal survey done by Laura Wattenberg, author of a book entitled The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby, there are certain names that people particularly dislike. Here are the top 5:
|Top 5 Hated Girl Names:
||Top 5 Hated Boy Names:
It seems people often dislike names that cross gender lines, such as when the boy name Addison is used as a girl name. They also tend to dislike names that were popular for a short time, e.g. Brittany or Tiffany, and people don’t like names they can’t spell.
Some parents choose names that when pronounced sound like a common name, but are spelled differently. That may seem cute, but please remember that someday that name will appear on a job or college application, and unconscious biases may well kick in.
Studies show the same thing can happen with so called “linguistically low-status” names. Among white families, Alexandra may be spelled Alekzandra, and for African Americans an example is the use of the prefix “Sha” rather than the more highly regarded “La.”
There are small subsets of people who dislike more ordinary, traditional names. I think a less popular name is fine, even good, but I’d suggest choosing a name that will stand the test of time, and avoid trendy or unusual names. What do you think?
What’s your favorite name? Are there any you don’t like?
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