The UBN Watch List was born when I found myself mentioning in posts that I was adding certain names to my personal watch list. From there I decided to make my personal watch list public.
Here’s what the UBN Watch List names have in common:
- They are mostly outside the U.S. top 300 (most are outside the top 1000)
- They all have a special style.
Beyond what these names have in common, there are a three types of Watch List names:
1. Names that are obviously going places.
First Year Example: Atticus
Between 2010 and 2013, the birth numbers for Atticus have grown almost 65% from 442 to 727. Its growth in the past year has slowed down some, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Atticus.
Second Year Example: Hattie
This powerhouse name has seen its birth numbers nearly double in just two years between 2011 and 2013 from 253 to 502.
2. Names that seem like they should be more popular.
First Year Example: Effie
Surprisingly, its birth numbers have remained steady each year since 2010. There have been 145 Effie’s born in total from 2010 to 2013.
Second Year Example: Lachlan
Lachlan is doing better than Effie in terms of birth numbers and has even seen a slight increase in births since being added to the Watch List.
However, Lachlan has a style that suggests it should have Atticus-level success, and its birth numbers don’t even come close. In 2013, there were 199 Lachlan’s born, which places Lachlan in the U.S. top 1000 for the first time at #991.
3. Names that don’t have obvious appeal, but have potential.
In other words, names I like that no one else does. : )
First Year Example: Ferdinand
There were only 87 Ferdinand’s born between 2010 and 2013, and this isn’t surprising. But Ferdinand has historic significance, familiarity, and a cute nickname: Ferdie. All of these qualities combine to make Ferdinand a great choice for a modern baby.
Second Year Example: Geraldine
Yes, Geraldine may seem a bit clunky to some, but underneath that clunky exterior, I see an artsy glamour.
I see Geraldine as an unexpected alternative to fashion-favorite, Josephine. Or even a more subtle alternative to another favorite, Madeline because of the shared a, d, and line-ending. However, I admit, Josephine and Madeline have some cute nicknames while Geraldine does not.
The lack of nicknames may explain why Geraldine’s revisit to the top 1000 in 2011 was short. In 2013 Geraldine saw a decrease in births and left the top 1000. The mainstream may not be ready for Geraldine.
This year there are a whole new list of names, some of them expected, some of them unexpected, and all of them stylish in their own way. For the first time, some Watch List names were submitted by UBN email followers who signed up for the report.
The Third Year Watch List also gives an update on Watch List names for the past, including the examples above.
And here’s another surprising outcome for a First Year Watch List name:
Philippa should have gone places. It was a 2011 “Name of the Year” due to Philippa (Pippa) Middleton, and one of Freakonoimcs predicted top names of 2015 (that list was created in 2005).
Philippa’s birth numbers more than doubled in 2011 but, when there were only 25 births the year before, the increase is hardly significant. After 2012, Philippa’s growth stagnated, and even went down slightly in 2013.
Philippa is an example of how high expectations can backfire or—in this case—lead to a related name’s success.
The real winner is the diminutive, Pippa, which more parents are using as a given name. Here are Pippa’s birth numbers for the past few years:
- 2010: 16
- 2011: 69
- 2012: 105
- 2013: 78
Pippa’s births multiplied between 2010 and 2012 and then dipped a little in 2013. Perhaps 2013 could signal a decline for Pippa or perhaps the drop is only a temporary retreat. Only time will tell. Either way, Pippa’s birth numbers surpassed Philippa’s in 2013. There were only 43 Philippa’s—just a little over half the number of Pippa’s.
UBN email followers who signed up for the Watch List report get to see which names could be the next Atticus, Hattie, Effie, Lachlan, Ferdinand, Geraldine or Philippa.
If you already signed up for one of the earlier Watch List Reports, you should have already received the Third Year report in your email.
If you aren’t signed up, submit your email address below to get updates, and share some names you are watching. Your personal watch list names could end up in the next Watch List Report. As a Watch List subscriber, you will automatically get future Watch List Reports, unless you unsubscribe.
Happy name watching!
*Update: As Paige pointed out, I misspelled the Little Mermaid’s name, Ariel. It seems I confused it with the font. Oops. Ariel is not one of the Watch List names; it is used as a comparison to one of the names. I have fixed the spelling and slightly revised the conclusion. If you sign up for the report now, you will get the correct spelling. If you signed up earlier, you should have gotten a link with the corrected spelling.