Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Generally I take name popularity lists compiled by non-government sources (e.g. babynames.com) based on what their members like and/or choose for their children with a grain of salt. However, there is one that I have noticed appears to indicate some clues to upcoming trends: The BabyCenter list, based on what their members have named their babies. Except for the very low-ranking names, they have enough members to level out the "noise" that occurs when the data sample is small. In addition, their graphs tend to more or less follow the trends in the population at large; since their data is up-to-the-present (unlike the SSA whose data does not come out until May of the year following the one in question) the BabyCenter stats often give a clue as to where names will be heading over the next year or two. In addition, comparing a name's rank between the BC and SSA lists gives a clue on the cultural groups most using the respective name: In-style names tend to rank higher on the BC list, while names more commonly used in immigrant families tend to rank lower.