The Decentralization Revolution Proceeds Apace (Changing Baby Names Edition)


Here are the top 10 most-popular baby names for boys and girls in 1950:

1. James / Linda
2. Robert / Mary
3. John / Patricia
4. Michael / Barbara
5. David / Susan
6. William / Nancy
7. Richard / Deborah
8. Thomas / Sandra
9. Charles / Carol
10. Gary / Kathleen

Here's the same list, updated in 2007:

1. Jacob / Emily
2. Michael / Isabella
3. Ethan / Emma
4. Joshua / Ava
5. Daniel / Madison
6. Christopher / Sophia
7. Anthony / Olivia
8. William / Abigail
9. Matthew / Hannah
10. Andrew / Elizabeth

What's most impressive is how the top baby names, like the top-selling records or most-watched TV shows or you-name-it, command less and less in terms of market share:

The diversity in U.S. baby names has exploded since the 1950s. Back then, a quarter of all boys and girls got one of the top 10 baby names, according to Laura Wattenberg, author of "The Baby Name Wizard" (Broadway, 2005). In recent times, the top 10 names account for only one tenth of all baby names, Wattenberg writes. Her blog has an interactive tool that displays the historical popularity of thousands of names from the 1880s to now.

More here.

My favorite, probably misheard, baby name: In the late 1990s, in a park in Huntsville, Texas I swear I heard a mother call her son Darvon. Given that Huntsville is a prison town (indeed, a death-chamber town) filled with a large substance-abuse community, that made some sense to me.

reason on the glorious and liberating proliferation of just about everything here.

Update: Commenter Kevrob points the way to the Bad Baby Name Site.