Top Baby Names for 2009

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

I don't know about you but I've been kind of horrified to see both my kids' names in the Top 10 Baby Name slot for quite a few years now. According to the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Riley entered the list in 2007 at number 6 and has remained strong since. I thought I was using such a cool, unique name back in mid 2002 when we chose our son's name. Now every man and his son (and daughter) is cool and unique.

Don't even start me on Ella. A long, long-time Ella Fitzgerald fan, naming our daughter Ella in the year 2000 was a given - I had plotted this name forever and was horrified when both Annette Beining and Kelly Preston named their daughters Ella in the preceding months before our own Ella was born in July 2000.

Alas, I knew my secret was now out, and sure enough, the name became an overnight winner and entered the Top 10 in 2003 at number 9, rising steadily and peaking at number 2 in 2007.

But enough of my woes. Although I love love love the name, I'm kind of glad Prince Jack has finally been toppled from his five-year perch atop the Number One baby name slot – replaced by King William, in a hark back to a Medieval past. Not since the 1910s has William been so popular, with a decided dip in the 1970s. It was the 1990s that the name began gaining strong favour.

Of Germanic origin and meaning ‘will, helmet, protection’, William first became popular in the English language after the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Its popularity has remained strong since the Middle Ages, and its Irish form – Liam – has also gained modern popularity.

Lachlan, Cooper, Joshua, Oliver, Riley and the perenniel Thomas remained in the top 10 with newcomer Ethan slipping in from eleventh place and outsider Noah leaping from thirteenth to take the number 8 spot.

For girls, Isabella (my god-daughter!) took reign for 2009, ousting former front-runner Mia to fourth place. Chloe remained in second place followed closely by Charlotte, which leapt from seventh place to third. Charlotte was also popular in the early 1900s, and virtually lost all footing through the 1940s. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the name returned to favour.

Isabella, a Hebrew name which means ‘God is my oath’, followed a similar pattern to Charlotte – losing popularity from the 1940s until the 1990s where its popularity shot up overnight, levelling in 2005, then steadily rising through the past four years to take poll position.

In keeping with Australia’s affection for names of yore, Amelia entered the top 10 in 2009, bumping Ava out of the running. Amelia was popular at the turn of the 20th Century and began gaining popularity in the late 1960s, experiencing a major leap between 2000 and 2004.

Olivia, Sophie, Emily and Ella remained solidly in Top 10 place along with modern fave Sienna, which was virtually unheard of in Australia until the mid 1980s and rapidly rose in 2005 (figures: NSW Government).

Following are the 2009 Top Ten Names list. Numbers in brackets indicate last year’s standing.

William (2)
Jack (1)
Lachlan (3)
Cooper (5)
Thomas (7)
Joshua (4)
Oliver (8)
Noah (13)
Riley (6)
Ethan (11)

Isabella (3)
Chloe (2)
Charlotte (7)
Mia (1)
Olivia (5)
Emily (4)
Ella (6)
Sienna (8)
Sophie (9)
Amelia (11)

For a fascinating picture of the history of names in NSW for the past century, head to the NSW Government website for a fantastic interactive graph that allows you to enter any name and see an instant outline of its popularity since the early 1900s.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

too funny - close to USA names - boys more so than the girls! TB

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