I love a good list and I especially love a top baby name list! I've always been a name nerd and I love watching the trends on naming babies change - or stay stable - through the years. In fact, one of my most popular posts this year was about Nova Scotia inspired baby names (read it here).
Today the list of top baby names was released and I have some thoughts on how it should or should not affect your baby naming decision process.
When I was naming my kids I remember feeling much stress about not wanting to pick a name that was "too common" so s/he wouldn't be one of five in his/her class, but also not wanting to pick something that was so unusual that no one could spell it or pronounce it. I thought this feeling was unique, but, after talking to other parents, it turns out that this name philosophy seems to be the overwhelming goal of most parents.
When I starting digging into the local naming stats (YES, I told you I was a name nerd, proved it now) I discovered something interesting. In Nova Scotia, the top baby name of any given year is only bestowed on about 50-70 kids. When you think about it, that's across the WHOLE province, only 50-70 kids means that it's not all that likely that even the top five boys or girls names will have another one in their class.
To test this theory, I pulled the top five Nova Scotia baby names from my daughter's birth year and my son's to see how many they knew with those name.
For her (she's six years old and in grade one) - the number in brackets are how many babies in total received those names that year.
GIRLS: Olivia (60), Ava (59), Emma (53), Lily (53), Abigail (48)
BOYS: Liam (76), Benjamin (73), Ethan (70), Jacob (70), Logan (58)
From this list, there is a Ben and a Jacob in her grade at school, but none of the girl names. In fact, none of the top ten girls names are in the forty or so kids in her grade, and no other boy names, and she knows a few with those names outside of school but has never known multiples of these names at the same time (i.e. no Olivia A., Olivia B., Olivia C. situation).
For my son, these are the top five names of his birth year (he will be starting primary next year so I went by kids in his preschool or other programs):
GIRLS: Olivia, Ava, Emma, Emily, Lily
BOYS: Liam, Noah, Ethan, Hunter, Benjamin
He has friends named Liam, Ethan, and Lily, but otherwise he's never known any kids with the rest of the names and, same deal, also doesn't know any kids with the other names in the top ten or any multiples of those names.
The message I get from all this is that the odds are slim in Nova Scotia that even if your child has a popular name that they will be one of several in their class. Currently the children in programs with my kids with more than one name are unusual names that are surprising to have doubles (including hers!!! She is one of two in her Sparks program despite my efforts, sigh).
So, basically, it seems there's no beating the system by studying the popular names. Go with what you love and you'll never regret it (even if they do end up being one of five in their class...it worked out, sort of, for the Heathers).
The most popular names of 2017
All that being said, the list is still fun to look at and there were some new names on it this year including Hannah, Zoey, Avery, and Sadie for the girls and Alexander, Lincoln, Grayson, Jaxon and Thomas for the boys.
Following are the top baby names of the 7,646 registered births in Nova Scotia for 2017 (quoted from the Nova Scotia Registry of Vital Statistics on December 28, 2017) with the number of babies in brackets following it:
Olivia (53), Charlotte (49), Scarlett (38), Sophia (38), Ava (37), Emma (35), Abigail (34), Evelyn (33), Amelia (32), Ella (31), Claire (29), Hannah (29), Lily (29), Avery (27), Chloe (27), Zoey (26), Sadie (24), Ellie (23), Emily (23), Isabella (23).
William (60), Benjamin (52), Liam (44), Oliver (44), Lincoln (43), Jack (42), Noah (42), Logan (41), Lucas (41), Owen (38), James (37), Ethan (36), Hunter (36), Alexander (34), Carter (32), Grayson (32), Emmett (30), Jackson (30), Mason (30), Jaxon (29), Thomas (29).