Sadder, wiser modern [American] parents

Below, an interesting note about what seems to a North American trend in naming children. How does this compare to naming in other cultures?

Sadder, wiser modern parents

“Drawing on a vast store of baby name statistics, Laura Wattenberg of the Baby Name Wizard website highlights a sea change in the way we name our babies,” says The Boston Globe. “A century ago, we regularly named our children after important people; today, we rarely do. In 1896, for example, William Jennings Bryan lost the presidential election – and yet one in every 2,400 babies born was named Jennings or Bryan, putting both names in the top 300 for that year. William McKinley spawned a wave of McKinleys around the turn of the century. The effect wasn’t confined to politics. … Nowadays, Wattenberg explains, we’re far more cautious about naming our children after famous people. In the past, you could expect a spike in little Roosevelts or Hardings even while the big ones were still in office. Today, we wait until a president’s reputation has been decided; that’s why there are lots of little Reagans and Carters, but relatively few Clintons or Baracks. Similarly, we no longer like naming our kids after present-day celebrities, preferring Ava (fifth last year) to Angelina (86th). We used to indulge in ‘frank, public admiration,’ Wattenberg writes. Since then, we’ve wised up.”

from the Globe & Mail’s “Social Studies” on July 27th, 2011 




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