The Naming of Babies

14:40 Pippa Ainsworth 0 Comments

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has announced their list of baby names for England and Wales in 2012. Obviously Little Miss was born last year so I was curious to see how popular her name was. I'm something of a stats geek, I love a good list of numbers so the baby names data is always of interest, but more so when I've had a child born that year.

I was part of a friendly debate on Twitter this morning regarding the names and popularity. There was a feeling that it didn't matter how popular a name is, if you like it you should use it. I absolutely agree but, if I'm honest I wouldn't choose a name in the top ten for any, hypothetical future children. I have strong memories of a few popular names from my primary school. There were four Kellys in my class, they were consistently know by their 'forename surname' for example 'Kelly Brown, Kelly Jones, Kelly Smith, Kelly White (not their real names). This was necessary to differentitate between them. We had two boys who had exactly the same name as each other, including middle name, who were forever known as Big Mark and Little Mark. I believe this turned a little confusing in High School when the 'little' one grew and surpassed the 'big' one by about four inches.

When we named Bud* we did look at the ONS lists for 2009 and we chose a name that we both loved and one that was inside the top 35 with just over 2200 born. I thought that was OK, chances were that there wouldn't be another in his class. Obviously lots of other parents felt exactly the same way as we did as, in 2010 it rocketed up the charts, in to the top 20 and over 3000 of them born. I don't think he's going to be the only one in his class now! The name has increased in popularity in 2011 and 2012 and it's now in the top 15. Obviously, on the one hand it shows that we chose a lovely name that so many people love but I'm shocked at how quickly a name can increase in popularity. Before Bud came along I only knew of one other person 'in real life' with his name, now I know around six, including the sons of a friend and a cousin (don't get me started!) I've noticed his name is starting to appear on the personalised gifts you can buy in souvenir shops so at least he'll escape the 'I can never get anything with my name on' moan that I always used to torment my parents with. I suppose the people who chose Isla last year will be going through something similar as that name has rocketed from 238 to inside the top 10 in just a year!

With Little Miss we have chosen better, in the popularity stakes anyway. Her name is consistently around the top 100, this year just inside it, last year just outside. It seems to have quite stable numbers of people choosing it. We've met a few people who share her name and they have been of all ages, which I hope means it is timeless and classic.

What do you think? Have you given your children a popular name or a more uncommon one? Does it matter to you how many other people share your name or that of your children?

*You all know that Bud and Little Miss aren't their real names? Right?