Sunday, September 6, 2015

Popularity Equivalents

I know, we see it all the time: "Oh, I love Sophia, but it's the most popular name!" Name-nerds know of course that the popular names of today are hardly equivalent to Jennifer or Jessica from our generation, but still, that "#1" label is intimidating.
So, how popular are our kids' names really?
Obviously this will vary a bit based on region and personal experience, but here are a few "milepost" names from 2014, and their popularity equivalents for some previous years (based on percentage, since the birth rate fluctuates, and as we'll find, rankings aren't necessarily indicative ;) )


2014 name & rank
2000 equivalent
1995
1990
1985
1980
1975
1970
Noah (#1)
David (#16)
Alexander (#21)
Kevin (#23)
Steven (#24)
Thomas (#25)
Timothy (#22)
Matthew (#24)
Daniel (#10)
Noah (#27)
Christian (#28)
Adam (#32)
Aaron (#33)
Aaron (#34)
Paul (#29)
Ronald (#29)
Joseph (#20)
Hunter (#35)
Dylan (#34)
Richard (#35)
Sean (#38)
Nathan (#36)
Kenneth (#35)
Patrick (#33)
Aaron (#50)
Luis (#49)
Alex (#47)
Austin (#55)
Shawn (#55)
Edward (#52)
Bradley (#52)
Dennis (#46)
Camden / Tristan (#100)
Spencer (#98)
Isaac (#98)
Jesus (#90)
Luis (#85)
Brent (#84)
Billy (#84)
Jimmy (#86)
Jonas (#500)
Walker (#426)
Felipe (#413)
Keenan (#391)
Kent (#349)
Julius (#352)
Dan (#369)
Jonathon (#354)
Sutton / Garrison (#1001)
Khalid (#783)
Thaddeus (#756)
Uriel (#687)
Wilfredo (#632)
Heriberto (#637)
Kim (#631)
Sonny (#582)








Emma (#1)
Hannah (#2)
Sarah (#5)
Jennifer (#8)
Melissa (#11)
Michelle (#10)
Lisa (#8)
Melissa (#7)
Charlotte (#10)
Anna (#22)
Alyssa (#27)
Laura (#29)
Andrea (#33)
Shannon (#29)
Karen (#27)
Christina (#35)
Aubrey (#20)
Hailey (#35)
Olivia (#39)
Kristen (#42)
Christine (#44)
Christine (#41)
Crystal (#43)
Debra (#47)
Sarah (#50)
Makayla (#67)
Briana (#74)
Brooke (#70)
Meghan (#63)
Lindsay (#71)
Kristin (#74)
Laurie (#88)
Jasmine (#100)
Kelly (#111)
Meghan (#112)
Haley (#108)
Carrie (#96)
Sabrina (#113)
Vanessa (#115)
Annette (#128)
Evie (#501)
Taryn (#448)
Shawna (#425)
Celeste (#398)
Jackie (#388)
Melisa (#405)
Sherrie (#406)
Tabatha (#401)
Kai (#999)
Shaylee (#830)
Magdalena (#772)
Deja (#746)
Peggy (#697)
Sunshine (#703)
Sandi (#702)
Candi (#655)


So here's how it works: in 2014 Emma was given to about an equal percentage of girls as Hannah was in 2000; Sarah was in 1995; Jennifer was in 1990, and so on. You may also notice an interesting phenomenon--while the popular names today are less common than in previous generations, less popular names are actually more common. A name ranked at #1000 in 1980 would have been given to fewer children than the #1000 name today.
And unfortunately, this does not take alternate spellings into account, so a name like Aubrey, which has a few different spellings, probably actually corresponds to a slightly more common name in the past. Likewise, 2014 Sarah is only equivalent to Makayla in 2000--that doesn't include Michaela or Mikayla or Micaela.

If you wish to look up a certain name, the whole spreadsheets are here.
Yeah, I only did every 5 years, 1970-2000, because a) it's a lot of data & I'm lazy, and b) I figured most people on the internet interested in name trends were born between those years. ;)