If you haven’t already, be sure to read my Mother’s Day post (there’s a giveaway)!
I think one of the things I loved the most about the Social Security Administration releasing the 2016 name stats last Friday was seeing how excited Abby from Appellation Mountain was! That morning on Facebook she revealed how she’d been refreshing the SSA site all morning in hopes they’d finally updated it … then when they did she pretty immediately posted a video of her talking about the results (she mentioned some names I’ve had discussions about recently, like Matteo and Shepherd), and has posted a couple great articles analyzing the results:
I also really enjoyed these from the Baby Name Wizard:
And found this one (also from BNW) really interesting:
Laura starts out by saying, “At first glance, this wholesale retreat from a familiar name may seem to be a rejection of Jenner’s new public identity,” which was exactly what I would assume it to be, but I also appreciated that she pointed out, “The name was sliding out of fashion, and it’s easiest to move the public in a direction it’s already heading.” She also makes the good point that, “The name itself was the story, announced with a flourish in a ‘Call Me Caitlyn’ magazine cover, the choice of name debated and analyzed” — a million percent yes! — but then argues, “The result was inevitable Caitlyn fatigue,” which I strongly disagree with. I would characterize the fact that the name was already “sliding out of fashion” as name fatigue; I would describe what happened in the wake of Caitlyn Jenner (which Laura herself called a “wholesale retreat”) as name train wreck. Take a look at these numbers:
This screenshot is from the newest statistics, and they’re listed in order of greatest amount of decrease to least amount of decrease, so these four names were the four biggest drops of all the girls’ names in use in the U.S. I was amazed to see this! I mean, all four of those variants were well into the top 1000 (except Kaitlynn, which was hovering on the line), and all four dropped out of the top 1000 in one year.
To be fair, I tried to find the decrease stats from last year, to see if this isn’t as big a deal as it looks like to me, and found a post Nancy had done that showed Isis as the biggest loser in 2015, having dropped 1065 spots, but in the top ten biggest decreases were also Annabell (500 spots), Anabel (500 spots), Anabella (333 spots), and Anabelle (272 spots), which I thought were good parallels for the Caitlyn names, since they were also four variants of the same name, and all dropped similar amounts to the Caitlyn names — in fact, not to get all math-y, but I did the math and the four Caitlyn names dropped a cumulative 1787 spots (averaging 446.75 each), while the Annabell names dropped a cumulative 1605 spots (averaging 401.25 each). This might not seem like anything except that Nancy noted, “nearly every single variant of Annabelle was negatively affected by the horror film Annabelle, released in late 2014.” So Caitlyn’s no Isis, but had a similar effect as a horror movie. Oh dear.
(For the record, I still love the name.)
(There are also other variants of both names lower down in the decrease list, I just focused on those in the top ten.)
(Also interesting in light of our Damien discussion is that until now I hadn’t heard a whisper of that horror movie, despite having freely and frequently suggested Annabel(le) to parents on the blog and in private consultations.)
I’m also not sure I agree with this point, which I’ve seen a lot of other people say as well: “Finally, consider that the Caitlyn gazing out of that famous magazine cover was 65 years old. Caitlyn became popular as a fresh, youthful twist on Catherine and Kathleen. The new standard-bearer for the name helped age it in a hurry.” I just don’t see the name Caitlyn as having aged at all, I still see it as a young-ish name that is now worn by a 67 year old, which is as jarring to me as hearing other names that were similar in popularity to the Caitlyn names during the Caitlyn names’ peak (1990s), like Lindsey and Kristen, on a grandmother. Do you agree?
Otherwise, I took a look through the rest of the changes (changes in increase as well as decrease, and those that stayed the same), which I found to be the most interesting part of the statistics, and didn’t find anything as interesting as Aranza and Mon(t)serrat of 2014 except for Mercy for the girls — it’s no. 21 on the list of girls’ names that rose the most, having increased 222 spots from out of the top 1000 to well in it (new no. 731) and all I think is: Jubilee Year of Mercy! 😍 Zaylee also increased 177 spots to no. 813 (which may be due to St. Zelie?), and Regina, Rosemary, Juniper, Clementine, Mabel, Colette, Edith, Siena, Livia, Adelaide, Aurora, Helen, Felicity, and Gianna caught my eye from those names that increased in popularity.
For the boys Augustine went up 87 spots to no. 728, Santiago went up 21 to no. 106 (what? I had NO idea it was that popular!), and Thaddeus, Matthias, Conrad, Fisher, Gilbert, Bennett, George, Oliver, Henry, Jasper, Harold, Oscar, and Roman (which is new to the top 100) all jumped out at me as well.
On the decrease list, Guadalupe, Madeleine, Lola, Catherine and Katherine and Kate, Genevieve, and Mary stood out to me for girls, and Blaise, Mohammed, Damien (though still a top 300 name) and Damian (though still not too far from top 100), Myles, and Jude for boys.
Also Sylvie is up while Sylvia is down, which seems right to me based on where the collective taste seems to be at the moment. Do you agree?
Did any of the rest of you wait on pins and needles for this new info? Did you find anything exciting or disappointing? Any other thoughts/analyses?