Top most popular baby names in Australia in 2008
Jack continues to cement its popularity in the 2000s as the top boy’s name for the seventh time in the last nine years – second only to Joshua in 2000 and 2003 (another popular 'J' name). While it is also Jack's fifth consecutive year at #1, this year (unlike previous years) the nearest rival William came in a relatively close second (150 behind). Even closer is this year's new #1 for girls. With Ella now dropping down to #6 after topping the list for the last two years, this year Mia edged out close contender Chloe by just 48 babies!
Further to the top ten lists, biblical names are well-represented among the boys (e.g. Joshua, Thomas and Ethan) whereas girls are more likely to be given names of European origin (e.g. Chloe, Isabella and Emily). So what does this all mean and what does it tell us about contemporary naming trends among Australia's new parents?
#1 Boys' and Girls' Names, 2008 - State by State
In 2008, in addition to compiling the national top 100 baby names lists, McCrindle Research conducted a survey examining the attitudes and approaches of Australian parents to this very thought-provoking process. The results show the three most important considerations with baby naming to be the sound, the spelling and anticipating any possibilities for future teasing.
On sound, we see that Australian parents now strongly favour softer names for girls by showing a preference for names ending in a vowel sound. Today this trend accounts for 90 per cent of the top ten girl's list, compared with just 30 per cent in 1910. Conversely, the dominant blueprint for branding boys is the firmer-sounding consonant suffix. This too is a more established and consistent long-term trend, accounting for anywhere between 70-100 per cent of the top ten boys' names over the last century.
Top 100 Boys and Girls' Names, 2008 - Number of Occurences (syllables)
Further contributing to the sound of any given first name is the number of syllables involved. Looking at the latest top 100 lists, the number of syllables featured in a name peaks at two for both boys and girls (accounting for 63% and 53% of the top 100 names respectively). This is, however, where the similarities end. Again, we see a clear difference with softer, florid tendencies among females as Australian girls are over two times more likely than boys to have a name consisting of three or more syllables (40% and 18% respectively). Meanwhile, approximately 5 in 6 boys (82%) are bestowed with names comprising less than three syllables, making them almost three times more likely than girls to own a single-syllable first name (19% and 7% respectively).
Though it may come as little surprise to many people, these findings confirm a solid Australian trend: registering baby names that are undoubtedly gendered. Indeed, only one of the 20 names featured in both of the top ten lists is occasionally adopted as a unisex option (Riley) while the remaining 19 were not interchangeable between the sexes. Even Olivia (#7) and Oliver (#8), while being spelt similarly, are of different syllable lengths and are from surprisingly different origins (Latin and Scandinavian/Old German respectively). This is rather fitting as the McCrindle Research survey found that 2 in 5 parents actively admit to choosing children's names on the basis that they were either distinctly male or distinctly female.
What about the flipside of the coin? If you're among the 1 in 4 parents (or parents-to-be) that consciously steers clear of these more common names simply because of their current popularity, you may well be wondering about the alternatives. One such option undertaken by a significant number of parents is to spell an already popular name with a more emphasised phonetic spelling (eg Mickayla, Jaedyn). Depending on which state you live in, this practice may be assisted the use of apostrophes or hyphens (e.g. Me-a, Thai-son, Ty'Ana and Al'Bert).
Failing an altered spelling, there are the countless other names in baby name books, dictionaries and websites (read by at least 75% of today's parental population) as well as those inspired by celebrities (e.g. Sienna, Scarlett, Isla, Angelina, Harrison, Ashton). Perhaps you have your own baby naming technique? Whether it's randomly picking names out of a hat or patrolling graveyards for inspiration, best wishes to all parents-to-be on finding one that's just right for you.
More useful links:
See the most popular baby names in Australia in 2009
See the most popular baby names in Australia in 2010
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