Sunday, May 11, 2008

Beliebte Vornamen 2007 (Popular First Names 2007)

Happy Mother's Day! This weekend also happens to be Christmas for American name nerds, who get to finally see the official statistics from the US Social Security office on what the most popular first names given to babies born in the previous year were. There wasn't too much shake-up this year in the top 20, although there was some weirdness in the top 1000. For instance, Miley came from somewhere below #1000 up to #278. The hell? Don't call your kid this, people; it's not even a real name.

Germany unfortunately doesn't collect official first name data so we have to rely on some hobbyists to collect it and put it on the internet instead. It's probably not terribly accurate - the sampling seems to really miss the enormous Turkish population, for one thing. But, it's all we've got, so let's check out the differences in popular names between the two countries!

(In order to compare, I took the liberty of editing the US list to combine multiple spellings of the same name. This isn't done in the US statistics because it's a difficult and subjective exercise, but it's done in Germany, so I will do it for the US, too. It shakes things up a bit for names that are popular in multiple spellings! So, don't be alarmed that my list doesn't match the official one. If you added up the Sophias and Sofias, you'd get these same results.)

sp. = number of spellings appearing on the popularity lists available, if more than 1

1. Hanna (2 sp.)
2. Leonie (2 sp.)
3. Lena
4. Anna
5. Lea (2 sp.)
6. Lara
7. Mia
8. Laura
9. Lilli (3 sp.)
10. Emily (2 sp.)
11. Sara (2 sp.)
12. Emma
13. Neele (2 sp.)
14. Marie
15. Sophie (2 sp.)
16. Johanna
17. Julia
18. Maja (2 sp.)
19. Lisa
20. Lina

1. Leon
2. Lucas (2 sp.)
3. Luca (2 sp.)
4. Finn (2 sp.)
5. Tim (2 sp.)
6. Felix
7. Jonas
8. Luis (2 sp.)
9. Maximilian
10. Julian
11. Max
12. Paul
13. Niklas (2 sp.)
14. Jan
15. Ben
16. Elias
17. Jannick (5 sp.)
18. Phillip (3 sp.)
19. Noah
20. Tom

1. Sophia (2 sp.)
2. Emily (5 sp.)
3. Isabella (3 sp.)
4. Madison (4 sp.)
5. Olivia (3 sp.)
6. Emma
7. Ava
8. Hailey (9 sp.)
9. Abigail (5 sp.)
10. Kaitlyn (8 sp.)
11. Brianna (5 sp.)
12. Addison (5 sp.)
13. Hannah (3 sp.)
14. Sarah (2 sp.)
15. Elizabeth (2 sp.)
16. Ashley (4 sp.)
17. Natalie (5 sp.)
18. Alyssa (3 sp.)
19. Jasmine (6 sp.)
20. Madeline (8 sp.)

1. Aiden (10 sp.)
2. Jayden (10 sp.)
3. Jacob (2 sp.)
4. Michael (2 sp.)
5. Christopher (4 sp.)
6. Ethan (2 sp.)
7. Joshua
8. Daniel
9. Matthew (2 sp.)
10. Anthony
11. William
12. Nicholas (4 sp.)
13. Alexander (2 sp.)
14. Andrew
15. Caden (10 sp.)
16. Christian (3 sp.)
17. David
18. Joseph
19. Jonathan (4 sp.)
20. Noah

Comments? Opinions?

And a quick name story: It bugs me that people in the US sometimes name their daughters Lorelei. It's a pretty word, but they're essentially naming their kid after a giant rock that is famous because it's caused a lot of boating accidents. I think it would be a bummer of a thing to find out about your name when you learn to read and look it up. Anyway, I asked some Germans about this. They admitted it's not used as a given name in Germany, but they would find it acceptable on an American, because "Americans just use all kinds of strange names anyway, oder?". (One time I picked up a German name book here and saw "Danniebelle" listed as an "American" name.) So, Lorelei-as-first-name fans, I guess you're off the hook, since Americans have been written off as having bad taste from the start. ;)

Here's last year's post on this topic!

US Social Security Administration (with spellings combined by me and an Excel spreadsheet)


  1. It just can't be true that Christian/Christof/Krist something because it seems that 20% of German men I meet are either named that or Andreas (and I can't tell why that's a German name).

  2. Some Kindergarten class walked by me in the Altstadt last week - all with their names written on their caps.

    Seriously, while I can still understand "Xenia" somewhat (parents were LEXX fans maybe?)... well, "Ephteria" and "Malgoretha" are something entirely else.

    Altogether, with the boys list for the German names, not much surprise there. Jonas, Lukas, Felix have all been favourites for like the last 20 years.

  3. G: The list here is only for 2007 births, so all those Christians and Andreases you meet aren't counted! There is probably data somewhere on that same site for ALL first names and not just first names on newborns!

    Kato: Xenia? Ephteria? Was this a Greek Kindergarten?? (I don't know WHAT Malgoretha is.)
    Male names seem to cycle more slowly than female ones, at least that is true in the US, so it might be here too. (Just like anything else in fashions - fickle with female stuff, more stodgy with male stuff.)

  4. Nah, even with girl's names - the "L Group" (Lena, Lea, Lisa, Louise, Lana, Laura, Lina etc) is something that will almost always make up like 50% of the Top 10.

    Malgoretha is Polish, usually as "Malgorata" there.
    Xenia was a pretty widespread name a couple years ago.

    Xenia is 148th in the list you linked btw, just behind Ina.

    Seriously disturbs me, that list, especially for the lower-ranked stuff. At our generation, Sonja (236th), Anja (219th) or Nadine (223th) are the far more common German girls' names.
    Definitely not as messed up stuff as Leoniiiiiii (2nd) or Miiiiiiaaaa (7th).

    (omg, i can already hear mothers screaming for their little girls like that)

  5. Actually in the 70s it looks like there weren't any L names in the top; but they sure are obsessed with that letter now!
    You might be sick of Mia and Leoni but they sure are better than some of the junk on the US list. :/

  6. The variant (sp?) drive me crazy, but by that I mean substituting y's for i's to be "special" not valid international differences (Nicolas sp., Nikolas ger.) Both in English and in German and I not wild about giving your child a diminutive as a given name - e.g. Ben, Tom, Tim, Julie.

    re: Lorelei
    I am sure the people using the name are referring to the Rhine Maiden and not the rock itself, and although luring men to their deaths may not necessarily be something you want to connect with your daughter, I suppose it's no worse than naming her Hellen.
    (I also love the Pogues song of that name- again, not a positive reference :) ).

  7. Annonamoose, I agree with you about the variants. They can be quite confusing when a name has 5 or more popular variants, as is always the case with a few popular names. I also don't care for diminutives as full names, though they are very popular in Europe at the moment. Some are better than others - Tim as a full name is better than Timmy as a full name - but in both cases I don't see a compelling reason not to just go straight for Timothy.

    I agree about the intentions people have in using Lorelei, but I stand by my statement that it's a rock, since the rock was called that before the poem was written and the girl was just named after it. And even if that weren't the case, still. Rock that causes accidents bad, mythical girl that causes accidents bad. I think if the name came from somewhere else originally - like if they named the maiden Caroline or something - then it would be ok, but Lorelei is pretty singular.


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