name data, name popularity, name predictions, name trends, nicknames, popular culture, popular names, surname names, UK name popularity, UK name trends, Upswing Baby Names, US name data, US name popularity, vocabulary names
This follows on from The Top Ten Girls Names of 2028, so if you want to know the methods used, and what this is all about, and whether it’s really the Top 10 of 2028, then go read that first. If you’ve read it, you’ll know I ran into a few frustrations doing the girls names, and if anything, the boys names ended up being even more of a headache.
Angie, the discerning blogger behind Upswing Baby Names, was kind enough to leave me a long and thoughtful comment, which in part wondered whether posting predictions itself could change the future.
For example, a parent worried about a name they like gaining popularity may avoid it, even if the name is currently under-used. Therefore, names tipped to become popular are less likely to actually become popular. (Hmm, if this is true, pick a name that is touted as being popular in the future, because that will scare everyone else off!)
Angie herself, in her article Warning: Your Baby’s Name Could Become #1, notes that the number of popular names is shrinking markedly each decade, and that in effect, the popularity of names is virtually meaningless today. Yet somehow, we worry about it more than ever. Pretty crazy, huh?
Now I didn’t fret myself too much over Angie’s concerns, because I didn’t really imagine many people would read my blog entry, and didn’t think those that did would pay any attention. So I was somewhat disconcerted to see that it had been posted on a parenting forum, in part as an alert that the name a woman had chosen for her daughter, Freya, had been pegged for potential eventual #1 status by yours truly.
Fortunately, at least one of my predictions was proved right, because nobody appeared to pay much attention to me, and several flat-out said I was wrong. (These tended to be the type of people who didn’t think Olivia was popular, because they hardly knew anyone of that name, so their views on name popularity may not be particularly au courant).
The overwhelming advice given was exactly what I would have said myself: Don’t worry about whether a name will be popular in the future, that isn’t something you are able to control, and it would be foolish to avoid using a name you love for fear of what may happen later.
Sage, sane and sensible advice. Follow it!
Current Top Ten
- William #24 in ’95 and #37 for the 1980s (gradual rise up the Top 50)
- Lucas #87 in ’95 and #105 for the 1980s (steady rise into the Top 100)
- Lachlan #26 in ’95 and #75 for the 1980s (steady rise up the Top 100)
- Ethan #61 in ’95 and #323 for the 1980s (precipitious rise into the Top 100)
- Oliver #75 in ’95 and #140 for the 1980s (steep rise into the Top 100)
- Jack #7 in ’95 and #91 for the 1980s (steady rise up the Top 100)
- Noah #161 for the 1990s and in rare use for the 1980s (new name that skyrockets)
- Thomas #6 in ’95 and #27 for the 1980s (gradual rise into the Top 10)
- Joshua #1 in ’95 and #11 for the 1980s (gradual rise to #1)
- Cooper #125 for the 1990s, in rare use in the 1980s (new name that skyrockets)
Isaac is currently #19, and in 2001 he was #40. This is pretty close to William’s stately progress through the Top 50, and as such, I am picking him as the #1 name of the future. It did come as a bit of surprise to me, but it’s the only name that even comes near to matching William’s pattern. When I checked the Top 100 for the US and England/Wales, both of them still have Isaac around where he was for us ten years ago, but making similar progress. The popularity of Isaac may become apparent here earlier due to our smaller population size.
Kai is #83 right now, and he was #105 for the early 2000s. This is an extremely good match with Lucas, almost perfect in fact. Now the question is, will Kai shoot up the Top 100 the way Lucas did? I’m a bit sceptical, because I can’t help feeling that Lucas got quite a big boost from popular culture. I think someone is going to have to produce a TV show with a likeable main character named Kai. Even without such a TV show, it’s clear that Kai is doing very well for himself.
Logan is currently #34, and in 2001 he was #78. That’s not quite a good enough match to please me, but it’s the best I could get. Although the two names sound a bit alike, I don’t think Logan is going to be the next Lachlan, because Logan simply doesn’t mean as much in Australia as Lachlan does; it doesn’t have the same history and resonance. As you can see, it hasn’t climbed as high in the same space of time either. However, Logan is a common place name in Australia, and I’m still tipping it to continue rising.
Chase is currently #85, and he was #407 for the early 2000s. I couldn’t find a name which mimicked Ethan very closely, and Chase was the best I could do. As you can see, he has actually climbed faster than Ethan did, and Ethan was no slouch. If Chase continues at his current rate, he will be Top Ten sooner than 2028. We’ll have to wait and see.
Hugo is currently #90, and he was #143 for the early 2000s. This is a similar pattern to Oliver, but Hugo hasn’t climbed quite as high as Oliver did in the same space of time. However, you can see that he is still making good progress, and looks set to continue. He also has the fashionable OH sound we saw on the girls’ list – although can anyone really believe in a Top Ten which contains both a Harlow for girls and a Hugo for boys? It boggles the mind.
Lucas is currently #2, and ten years ago he was #82. This looks quite similar to Jack’s climb from the bottom of the Top 100 into the Top 10. Jack has of course proved himself a real stayer, and we’ll have to see whether Lucas has similar powers of endurance. I was going to say I doubted it, and then I looked back through the blog and saw I had earlier tipped Lucas to be only just outside the Top 10 in thirty years, based on comparisons with the Top Ten of 1982. So for reasons of consistency, I now feel compelled to say that yes, Lucas will still be in the Top Ten seventeen years later.
7. BENTLEY OR GRAYSON (???)
I knew I was going to hit a horrible snag at some point, and this was the point where that occurred. I needed to find a name that, like Noah in 1995, is around #160 at the moment, but ten years ago, did not even chart. The trouble is, it’s not possible to find that on the present chart, because it’s too new to show up yet. Left struggling in the dark, all I could think of was that since Noah was a name that became popular in the United States before it did here, I would see where Noah was on the US charts in 1995. It had just scraped its way onto the very bottom of the Top 100, after climbing a very brisk 59 places. I had a look at the 2011 US chart to see if there were any names that looked similar to that, which might possibly be around #160 here, and drew a blank. The names on the US Top 100 which climbed the highest last year were Bentley and Grayson, but only 25 places – not even half what Noah managed. Are Bentley and Grayson in the mid-100s here at the moment? I have no idea. If I go down just outside the Top 100, Easton (#102) climbed 43 places, and Jace (#106) climbed 40 places, which comes closer to Noah, but I can’t really see either of them in the mid-100s. I don’t think there is an equivalent to Noah, but without any solid data to draw on, I’m left dangling. Your guess is very much as good (or bad) as mine – and that is all this is, complete guesswork.
Ethan is currently #4, and in 2001 he was #17. That isn’t a perfect match with Thomas, but it does show Ethan moving up the Top 50 into the Top 10, like Thomas. I could have chosen either Oliver or Noah, but the idea of having both Olive and Oliver in the Top 10 seemed ludicrous, and I was quite out of patience with poor Noah by this stage. I also saw that I had earlier tipped Ethan to be a real stayer, so once more felt that I had little choice but to choose him again.
William is currently the #1 name, and in 2001 he was #10. This is virtually a perfect match with long-lasting Joshua, who was #1 in 1995, and #11 for the 1980s. Basically if trends in boys’ names continue as they have been, 30% of the Top 10 in seventeen years will consist of names that are in the present Top 10. I feel as if boys’ names are becoming less conservative and there will be greater change coming in the future, but that may just be wishful thinking on my part.
With finding an equivalent for Cooper, I was in a similar position to finding an equivalent to Noah (ie there would be no data available at this early stage). However, I felt I had more freedom to choose, because Cooper seems to be a name which is much more popular in Australia than anywhere else. Therefore, there was no need to look through overseas data, or do any number crunching – it was just a matter of thinking of a new name which has grown wildly in popularity over the past few years, yet isn’t in the Top 100 yet. I was also hoping it would be an English surname/vocabulary name like Cooper. It really didn’t take much thought to light upon Archer; after reading birth announcements for months, I can see Archer is a name taking off like wildfire, and anyone can see it will be in the Top 100 within a few years or so. Can I see it reaching the Top 10? Yes, easily. It has better nickname options than Cooper, and a more romantic meaning, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it does better than Cooper.
My Tips for Coming Trends
- IE sounds, as in Isaac and Kai
- OH sounds, as in Logan and Hugo
- Hard K sounds, as in Isaac, Kai and Lucas
- S-enders, like Chase and Lucas
- The rise and rise of the surname name for boys
- Stronger influence from the US than from the UK
- The names that are popular now still hanging on and becoming standards