The name game

Given my general lack of knowledge and interest in popular culture that appeals to people of child-bearing age, I’m generally unaware of what leads people to pick out names for babies these days. All I know is nobody names their kids “Bob” anymore and I’m not sure we’re better off because of it.

The Social Security Administration released the top names for Minnesota babies today. Here are the top 20.

Popularity for top 100 names in Minnesota for births in 2010

Rank Male name Number of
Female name Number of
1 Mason 406 Ava 384
2 Ethan 343 Olivia 375
3 William 332 Sophia 372
4 Owen 322 Isabella 316
5 Logan 315 Emma 302
6 Jack 299 Abigail 266
7 Samuel 297 Ella 259
8 Jacob 296 Addison 246
9 Jackson 283 Grace 212
10 Carter 273 Emily 200
11 Benjamin 268 Avery 198
12 Noah 262 Chloe 196
13 Evan 261 Elizabeth 192
14 Gavin 255 Lillian 192
15 Alexander 248 Lily 180
16 Henry 248 Amelia 175
17 Isaac 234 Anna 172
18 Liam 230 Evelyn 170
19 Andrew 224 Claire 169
20 Caleb 224 Alexis 161

Some names stand the test of time better than others. My twin brother’s name is William. And there he is at #3. Robert is barely on the list at #86Jack is a great name and it fairly represents the old-timers. Henry does, too, although I’m not sure why. Nothing against Henry but when I think of Henry I think of this:

Girls’ names honor the past, and have in Minnesota for some time. Gone are Brittany and Jennifer, while Abigail, Olivia, and Emily remain the favorites. Ten years ago, Emily was the most popular name in the state.

That’s too bad for Emily, says Jennifer Griffin, author of the book, “Bring Back Beatrice.” Name a kid Emily, she says, and your kid will spend her childhood with a last initial.

“I am nobody’s only Jennifer,” Griffin told the Chicago Tribune. “I can never call somebody and say, ‘Hi, this is Jen,’ except for my husband.”

She should’ve been named Bob.

  • Jim Shapiro

    “Given my general lack of knowledge and interest in popular culture that appeals to people of child-bearing age…”

    Now Bob, Picasso was still playing the ” I suppose we should come up with a name” game at the tender age of 70. 🙂

  • Mary

    For the record I know baby Bob born last year, so it’s there, it’s just rare… I find it interesting that 10 of the male names end in “m” or “n” and 9 female names end with an “a”. And my own 2 year old twins fit this profile, but none of these names…And 15 of the girl names start with a vowel.

  • Susan

    I grew up with a few other Susans, but there are enough nicknames for us we never had to resort to initials.

    I named my son Henry 10 years ago after a favorite great-uncle. I never thought his name would break the top 20. Although he is still the only Henry in his grade.

  • Jennifer

    Not only am I a Jennifer, but I am a Jennifer from Minnesota with a common Scandanavian last name. That’s caused me to spend my life not only with a last initial, but with a middle one as well.

  • Cara

    I desperately wanted to name my youngest (now 18) Catherine. My husband nixed it. He wanted Ashley. As you can tell, we were faaar apart.

    She ended up Sarah. And on her 10-12 year old soccer team, there were 5 variations of Catherine but no other Sarah. IOh, and two Emilies.

  • Kassie

    I’ve got a great name. I know a couple people with it (though people younger than me it is more popular) and everyone has heard of it, but I’m the only Kassie around most of the time.

    The hard part is the damn spelling. I go by Kassie, with a K. That’s a little different. But my real name is Kasandra. That’s with a K and only 1 s. My email address has Kasandra in it, but people spell it wrong, or try to send to Kassie, all the time. It bounces back. And they blame me for it.

    My name was spelled with 2 Ss in school until the 3rd grade. It was spelled with 2 Ss on my HealthPartners card until I was at least 25 and Hennepin County recently spelled it wrong when assigning me the sole ownership of my home.

    In other words, spell your kids name traditionally and consistently. It will benefit everyone.