Parents get serious about baby names in tough year

Thu Dec 4, 2008 12:24pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Babies Zuma Nesta Rock and Bronx Mowgli, you're in the minority. Most parents abandoned unusual names for their children, opting instead for traditional names, according to a U.S. survey.

The top boy's name for the year remained Aiden, followed by Jayden, Ethan and Jacob with classic names like Matthew, Jack, Michael, Alexander, Daniel and William all featuring in a list of the top 50 most popular names.

The list, compiled from thousands of baby name entries on the specialist baby website, found that Emma replaced Sophia as the top girl's name followed by Isabella and Olivia with Sarah, Elizabeth and Anna also popular.

With the United States consumed by politics all year, presidential names also made a return, such as Madison, Taylor, Kennedy for girls and Jackson and Tyler for boys.

Linda Murray, editor-in-chief of, said there was a clear trend for people to choose more serious, old fashioned, classic names, reflecting the tougher times.

"Times have changed and people are taking the world more seriously, affected by what is going on the world," said Murray.

"Even before the economic crisis we've had high gas and food prices all year and people have struggled. Our nation is at war. We have conflict in the world. It is a serious time in American life and it is affecting decisions about naming children."

When parents were asked in the online survey what they wanted a name to represent, the most important qualities for boys were strength, kindness and compassion compared to strength and individuality last year.

For girls it was kindness, compassion, intelligence and strength compared to femininity and individuality last year.   Continued...