7 Surprises from 2011’s Top 1000 Baby Names

Stay tuned for my commentary on the 2011 top baby names for Monday. In the meantime, these findings seemed interesting.

The fickle nature of 2011 name trends leads to surprises in the top 1000:

  • These names are still not in the top 1000: Cecily, Clementine, Philippa (or Pippa), Louisa, Linus and Rufus.
  • Being a murderous vigilante title character has not hurt Dexter one bit. Dexter has been rising at a rapid clip since 2006. It was the 15th fastest rising boy name in 2011, rising 70 spaces from #454 to #384.
  • I’m surprised Eloise jumped 80 places from #529 to #449. I thought Eloise would go up some, but not that much.

On the other hand, I thought Adelaide, Matilda, and Theo would climb more dramatically than they did. These names climbed at a respectable pace, but since I’ve heard them extensively on name blogs, and lower ranking names tend to see bigger increases/decreases, I expected much bigger jumps from them.

  • Adelaide climbed only 27 places from #434 to #407.
  • Matilda climbed only 30 places (from #799 to #769).
  • Theo climbed only 48 places (from #915 to #867).

Some findings were expected. Here are some of my theories that were vindicated:

  • Archer, Declan, Atticus and Nico were among the fastest rising boy names.
  • Milo didn’t rise as quickly as some other names, but still jumped a bit by 61 places from #422 to #361.
  • Mila, Olive, June, Parker, and Gemma were among the fastest rising girls.
  • Braden, Braeden, and Braiden all fell.
  • Cadence and Kadence, among the fastest risers almost a decade ago in 2004, were among the fastest fallers. These names were the flavor of 2004.

Some of the most interesting activity happened at the bottom of the top 1000. These findings do not show up on the Social Security administration’s popularity change ranking table because these names were outside the top 500 in 2010 and 2011:

  • Beatrice increased nearly 130 places from #836 to #707, and
  • Felicity increased nearly 100 places from #765 to #666.

Readers: How did your favorites fare in 2011? Were there any surprises?

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  1. Katybug says:

    It is quite surprising that Linus’s pop culture association (the Peanuts character with the security blanket) seems to hold him back but Dexter’s does not. Or it just could be that Dexter’s more fashion-forward with the x in the middle and occupational surname vibe. The -s ending names are making headway but are not what I would consider popular yet.

    I think Matilda is one of those names that “hip” parents consider but don’t use fearing that it will become mega-popular. So it doesn’t.

    • I also considered that Matilda seems to be one of the go-to Hollywood baby names, like Ava was in the 90’s. I was expecting Matilda to soar. I think you might have a good theory with some names not becoming popular now because parents fear they will become popular.

  2. Katybug says:

    And I am shocked about Louisa too. My son’s name (Conrad) has been in the lower tier of the the top 1000 for decades, but name-nerd darling Louisa hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1969. From my non-scientific review of name message boards, I would have thought the opposite was the case.

  3. i just had a friend who had a baby girl and named her Olive. I hate that name honestly. Love to eat em but don’t want to use the name. Ironically it was my grandmother’s middle name. She was born in 1916. I don’t know why the name rubs me the wrong way because I loved my grandmother but the name…just annoys me.


  1. […] Angela of Upswing Baby Names: These names are still not in the top 1000: Cecily, Clementine, Philippa (or Pippa), Louisa, Linus […]

  2. […] based on what I read, un-popular names seem to be a trend.  Reader comments from the 7 Surprises from 2011′s Top 1000 Baby Names speculated that some names, such as Adelaide and Matilda may have been slightly hurt by their […]

  3. […] the top 1000 baby names for 2011 were announced, I eagerly began my research, hoping to prove some hypotheses. One hypothesis was […]

  4. […] Looking at these numbers, you can see why I was surprised these four names had not yet reached the top 1000 in 2011. […]

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