What’s in a name? More than you know…

Baby 1 It happens every December and January, we take a look back at the year that was and focus our eyes towards what the New Year could bring.

One of the things ready to come out in mass production is the compilation of lists. The top-10 whatever of 2015. While most of these are frivolous and used for click-bait on the internet sometimes the can be fun, funny, and informative. It’s a formula so routine a New Year without them would be a shock to the system.

I find myself skipping over most of these lists to dive deeper into the vast abyss of the internet. A top-10 list only stands to slow me down. However, there is one exception that I always make sure to take a gander at, baby names.

Ever since I read Freakanomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, my mind has a different way of processing a name. While it might seem names can set you up for a future of success, in fact, it’s the opposite, your name says more about where you came from. A name offers a deeper insight into where the parents and their life situation than it says about where the child is going to end up.

If you want more details and specifics, make sure to read Freakanomics, but the basic pattern is this: When a name becomes popular amongst high-income, highly-educated parents, it trickles down the socioeconomic ladder. For example, in 1990 the names Lauren and Madison started out as names used by the upper end of the socioeconomic spectrum. By the new Millennium it was one of the top-10 names overall. Names like Heather and Amber started as a high-end name in 1980 and twenty years later found themselves among the low-end names.

Once a name becomes popular on a national scale, those on the high-end start looking for something new. Eventually it becomes so common that low-end parents start to abandon it as well and go looking for names already broken in by those at the top of the socioeconomic ladder. That’s how names are cycled.

It all revolves around the idea of parents wanting to set their children up for long-term success. If a name is associated with success, it’s more likely to be duplicated.

About those baby lists mentioned at the beginning, on December 10, Spectrum Heath released their annual top-10 baby name list. To date, the Family Birthplace at Butterworth Hospital as delivered over 8,550 babies – more than any other hospital in Michigan.baby2

Where will these names be in 10 years? We’ll have to wait and see.

Some quick observations from 2014 to 2015:

•    Olivia holds onto the top spot for girls
•    Elizabeth, Evelyn, and Natalie came in at sixth, seventh, and eighth after not making the list in 2014
•    Abigail, Avery, Ella and Nora rounded out the top-10 in 2014 but failed to make the list in 2014

•    Liam bumped up from fourth to first for guys
•    Levi surged up to second after not appearing on the list in 2014
•    Noah took a tumble from first to seventh while William went from third to unranked

Spectrum’s top 10 names for girls in 2015

  1. Olivia
  2. Ava
  3. Emma
  4. Charlotte
  5. Sophia
  6. Elizabeth
  7. Evelyn
  8. Natalie
  9. Harper
  10. Isabella

Top 10 names for boys in 2015

  1. Liam
  2. Levi
  3. Oliver
  4. Carter
  5. Jackson
  6. Mason
  7. Noah
  8. Owen
  9. Henry
  10. Grayson

Spectrum’s list from last year:

Top 10 girls in 2014

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Ava
  4. Charlotte
  5. Harper
  6. Sophia
  7. Abigail
  8. Avery
  9. Ella
  10. Nora

Top 10 boys in 2014

  1. Noah
  2. Mason
  3. William
  4. Liam
  5. Caleb
  6. Oliver
  7. Carter
  8. Henry
  9. Benjamin
  10. Jackson