Wednesday, May 8

The 2012 SSA Name List: Names To Watch

Quick! Name these eggs ...

It's that time of the year, name-lovers — the 2012 statistics from the Social Security Administration are due to be released at the end of this week. The top 10 is looking to see some changes. Is this the year Jacob will end its 12-year reign as the #1 boy name? Will a new girl name, like Ella, enter the top 10 for the first time? I'm very interested to see what shifts around at the top of the lists, but of course my real interest is farther down the rankings. What new names might appear? Which names will make big, unexpected leaps, like pop-culture influenced Isla and Aria did last year? 

Here are the names I'll be looking for — 

Archer — Archer first appeared on the list in 2009, and had risen all the way to #447 by 2011. TV show Archer might have put it on the radar for new parents in 2012, and it has an obscure, poetic feel that appeals to people looking for something hip but not "weird." I'd look for it to rise into the 300s, at least

Atticus — I've been seeing this one around more often. All at once old-fashioned and modern-sounding (and of course there's the literary connection, always nice) I'd love to see it rise from its current spot at #462. It's been gaining popularity steadily since it first appeared on the list in 2004, so it'll be interesting to see if that trend continues

Beatrice/Beatrix — classic clunky beauty Beatrice appeared on the list in 2006 after falling off after a very long decline that started in the 1920s. (It was most popular in 1910, when it rose all the way to #36!) But it made a jump from #836 to #707 in 2011, and I'm wondering if something similar happened this year. Beatrix is not in the top 1,000, but I wouldn't be surprised if the spunkier variant follows suit and makes a debut appearance in 2012

Bennett — Bennett has made an uneven but overall steady rise since the early 1990s, and made big jumps in 2009, '10 and '11. It's currently at #239 and I think its rise will continue

Camden — Camden was probably the biggest "celebrity baby" name of 2011, and that is always an indication of an imminent popularity rise. It's currently at #160 and I wonder if it'll crack the top 100 this year

Clementine — though this sweet French beauty hasn't been on the list since 1953, I have been hearing it quite often in both real-life and online-naming circles. Understandably, since it's such a beautiful choice. I wonder if this is the year it'll sneak into the top 1,000 — I'd love to see it there

Declan — Declan made an almost 100-spot jump in 2011, going from #274 to #177. I definitely expect it to rise again. I'm surprised it doesn't rank higher, since it appeals to people looking for an accessible Irish boy name that isn't already heard everywhere, like Connor or Aidan

Gemma — this one first appeared in the top 1,000 in 2008, and by 2011 had risen all the way to #356. I'm curious to see if it gains more popularity, since it's very popular/bordering on dated in the UK

India — India had been on the decline since 2001 and fell out of the top 1,000 in 2010. I have a  namey-feeling that it might have a little more life left in it, though, and could make a little comeback this year

Ivy — okay, so Blue might never be a popular name, but Ivy has a chance. I mean, it's been in the top 1,000 since 1880! It's already pretty high-ranking, sitting at #266. I wonder if this is its year to make a big leap

Olive — Olive reappeared in 2007 at #989 after leaving the list in 1950. It's currently at #416 and I'd love to see it rise even higher this year

Lincoln — another old-timer, Lincoln's been on the list since at least 1880. It broke into the top 500 in in 2005 and is currently at #178. I expect a continued rise, but the question is  — how high will it go? I don't know if I can see it in the top 100, but it wouldn't surprise me

Rayna — this one jumped from #900 to #869 in 2011, not a huge jump, but when you factor in the popularity of its variants — Reyna at #730, Raina at #736 and Reina (#979 in 2010), plus the fact that it's the name of a popular TV character, I think it's definitely an interesting one to keep an eye on


Here are some names that entered the top 1,000 last year. I'll be looking closely at them to see if they rise or fall in 2012 —

Adele (actually entered in 2010 but had a huge jump from #909 to #627 in '11 — is that sustainable?)

Bowen/Kohen (also Cohen/Coen, already on the list)
Mae (same as Adele, entered in '10 but had a big jump the next year)

I predict big jumps for Adelyn, Aria, Charlotte, Ezra, Finn, Harper, Isla, Leo, Liam, Luca, Oliver, Pearl, Penelope, Ruby, Scarlett, Willa, Willow and Xander/Zander.

My guesses for new appearances in the top 1,000 are Boden, Forrest, Lachlan, Lucien, Magnus and Thiago for boys, and Addie, Astrid, Aurelia, Everly, Maren, Naya and Wren for girls.

Okay, that's all folks — I'm ready for namer-Christmas! 

1 comment:

  1. This is an exciting time to be a baby name nerd. I can't wait to see how your predictions pan out!


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