Hey baby! What’s in a name

Earlier this year we published a story on the most popular 2014 baby names based on data from BabyCenter, a website that caters to expecting parents. It covers about 1 in 8 newborns.

Nothing wrong with that, but the names tend to skew white and trendy. We won’t have the complete 2014 list until spring, when the Social Security Administration publishes its own list, based on near-universal infant registration for SS numbers.

This is a baby. He was born in 2013 but he does not have a trendy name.
This is a baby. He was born in 2013 but he does not have a trendy name.

A comparison of 2013 top 10 boys’ lists shows, in order:

— BabyCenter: Jackson, Aiden, Liam, Lucas, Noah, Mason, Jayden, Ethan, Jacob, Jack.

— Social Security: Noah, Liam, Jacob, Mason, William, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, Jayden and Daniel.

There’s less difference for popular girls’ names. Sophia/Sofia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella and Mia rule both lists.

Is that because boys’ names tend to be less trendy? Or parents who choose more traditional names don’t bother to register on this website? In any case, we’re left with a subtly white-centric view of the nursery. Outside of the top names, the lists diverge sharply, especially for traditional names. And BabyCenter’s list is missing several Hispanic names in the top 100, like Angel, Jose, Luis and Juan.

You can also see this in names that moved up the most, according to the SSA list: more ethnic-sounding names such as Jayceon and Castiel for boys, and Daleyza and Freya for girls.

And not for nothing, the names of the Data Team members are past the bubble: All of our names have been losing popularity since at least 2000. Our trendiest member: Paul, who last broke the top 100 (at number 100) 14 years ago.

—Jodi Upton and Paul Overberg

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