In case you haven’t noticed, odd baby names are in (I sometimes like stating the obvious). According to an article forwarded to me by Catherine Sherman in Yahoo News, “parents are choosing less common names for kids, which could suggest an emphasis on uniqueness and individualism.”
The study published in the Social Psychology and Personality Science journal, points to a broader change in culture as the culprit responsible for this new trend in names; and they don’t paint this movement in the greatest of light either. The study analyzed over 300 million baby names and determined the popularity of various names. Here are some results that they found:
- 40% of boys received names from a list of about 10 most popular in the 1880s. Today only 10% of boys receive names considered most popular.
- 25% of girls received names from the top 10 most popular names in 1945. Today only 8 % receive names considered most popular.
The study indicates that Baby Boomers are responsible for a large part of the shift toward more unusual names, but they also point to increasing immigration rates having an impact on names as well. One of the study’s authors, Jean Twenge, of San Diego State University, notes that individualism can have some positive effects on a culture such as increased tolerance for minority groups. However, taken too far, individualism can lead to narcissism. “It remains to be seen whether having a unique name necessarily leads to narcissism later in life,” Twenge said. “If that unique name is part of a parent’s overall philosophy that their child is special and needs to stand out and that fitting in is a bad thing, then that could lead to those personality traits.”
According to an article in The USA Today, some of the top unique baby names of late are: Samara, Kale, Damari, and Kenley. Have you seen some unique names recently? What do you think about this trend toward individualism and names?