Monday, May 14

Initial Thoughts on the 2011 SSA List

Ladies and gentlemen, the top 10 for 2011!

I haven't finished my morning coffee yet, and I'm already typing. What's the only thing that could possibly motivate me in my pre-caffeine state? The release of the 2011 SSA list, that's what. 

Here are some initial thoughts, starting off with then names I mentioned in my predictions post.

I was right about the emergence of Flynn as a top 1,000 presence — it debuted at #946 on the boy list. As I mentioned, in 2010 it was given to just 81 baby boys, and I said it needed to be used around 200 times to rank within the top thousand. 208 babies did the job!

Adele had a huge rise, predictably, going from #909 to #627. That's big news.

I thought Cullen, Nola and Willa would see popularity rises, but they actually fell. Willa was most surprising here, since I feel like I hear it quite often. Maybe a rise for next year? It went from #954 to #991, almost off the list entirely.

I thought these would rise, and they did — Kellan (just 2 spots), Harper (entering the top 100 very solidly at #54, up from #118 in 2010), Leo (from #192 to #167), Luca (10 spots, I predict an even bigger rise for next year), Ruby (4 spots) and Willow (from #289 to #202)

Some other interesting tidbits — 


Aviana — debuted on the list at #762, a nice first-time spot for the name used by actress Amy Adams for her daughter, born in May 2010. Its similarity to top 10 mainstay Ava and its popular "-ana" ending surely add to its appeal

Beatrice — has been rising since 2009 and rose to #707 from its position at #836 for 2010

Esme — fell 60 spots to #921. I'm surprised but glad, as I'd prefer this one to remain a little bit obscure. Maybe Twilight didn't give it enough staying power, after all

Juniper  debuted at #970. I know one, born in 2009, and am not surprised to see it's gained popularity since then. Another name that made its debut is Temperance (at #941), most likely due to TV show Bones and the books it's based on

Saanvi  also making its debut was intriguing Saanvi, a name of questionable Sanskrit background (it may mean "follow along/one who follows" and refer the to goddess Lakshmi) which appeared at #844

Some other girl-name risers that caught my eye are Mae (jumped more than 100 spots to #803 after first appearing in 2010), Pearl (rising since '09, currently at #814, sure to rise even higher for 2012), Sawyer (also first appeared in 2010, currently at #719) and mysterious Zuri, which leapt from #980 to #854. Anyone know why?


Bowen — Owen's in the top 50, but Bowen just debuted at #723. Maybe due to Modern Family actress Julie Bowen?

Cassius — an up and downer, in 2009 Cassius rounded out the list at #1000. It disappeared in 2010, but is back in fighting form at #876 for 2011

Channing — I was curious about this one, which debuted at #645 in 2010, probably because of the rise to fame of actor Channing Tatum. It fell, though, to #672 for 2011

Kohen — here's one to watch. Kohen debuted at #995, but that's not all. Variant spelling Coen, also made its debut, at #974. Cohen is currently #336, up from #360 in 2010. Combine all that and you have one trendy, trendy choice

Maxton — debuted at #949. I've heard this one around a couple times, but was surprised to see it rank. A longer "Max" choice, definitely fits the requirements fast-rise potential

Otto — happy to see that Otto's getting some love, debuting at #930. It hasn't ranked since 1974!

Vihaan — this one caught my eye right away. It debuted at #932 and a good quick Google indicates that a potential reason for this is that he's the nephew of popular Indian actress Aishwarya Rai. Wow!

Winston — Winston's been up and down in the 700-800 range for the past 10 years, but it's a personal favorite and I'm glad to see it's up this year, to #742 from #882 in 2011

On a personal note, Ottilie did not appear anywhere in the rankings of the "beyond the top 1,000" names, meaning it was used 5 times or less in 2010. Phew! And while Rowan rose on the boy list (from #327 to #309) it dropped on the girl list (from #493 to #535). Variant spelling Rowen also rose on the boy side, from #988 to #848, but does not rank at all, for girls.

So much name-nerd fun today! 


  1. Isn't Zuri prominent in that new Disney show Jessie? That said, it's only recently made its debut, so has it really had enough time to make an impact?

  2. Woo, go Otto! I can't find any reason for his popularity, I wonder why?


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