Friday, May 08, 2009

Beliebte Vornamen 2008 (Popular First Names 2008)

I mentioned a bit ago that name nerdery was nigh, and here it is! As in the previous two years, here's a comparison of the most popular names for the newly born in the United States and Germany in 2008.

A bit on the sources: The US Social Security Administration collects first name data and releases it on their website every year. However, multiple spellings of the same name are not combined, therefore the list isn't entirely what it seems. Per the SSA data, the most popular name given to baby girls in 2008 was Emma. But it comes in at a lower position when multiple spellings of names are combined. I combined spellings myself and present here my adjusted list of most popular names. Go to the SSA site for the original, with all spellings of a name listed separately. Combining spellings is a subjective practice so everyone's mileage may vary.

Germany does not collect official first name data. I usually use this hobbyist source, but there are other lists out there that are not exactly the same. If you've got another source, let me know about it!

(Number in parentheses = number of variant spellings included in Germany top 500 / US top 1000, if more than 1.)

1. Hannah (2)
2. Leonie (2)
3. Lea (2)
4. Lena
5. Mia
6. Anna
7. Emilie (2)
8. Lara
9. Laura
10. Sarah (2)
11. Emma
12. Lilli (3)
13. Marie
14. Lina
15. Maja (2)
16. Johanna
17. Sophie (2)
18. Nele (2)
19. Sophia (2)
20. Amelie

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

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

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


  1. Aiden, Jayden, and Cayden — all in the top 10. What do you think the source of that is? Or are those three actually not related and it's just coincidence?

  2. Your table actually has 3 columns, so when you made the 2nd column wide, it pushed the 3rd all the way over to the right, squishing the names.

    Change width="225" to width="25" and you should be fine.

    BTW, thanks for this post, I love the way you combine the name variations. It's much more useful that way.

  3. Cliff: It's no coincidence! Notice also that between the three of them there are 29 variant spellings in the top 1000 alone - so not counting even weirder spellings that weren't in the top 1000 (usually if there are 200 or fewer babies with a name it doesn't make the cut). And, this doesn't include other rhyming names which aren't listed here but were in the top 1000 - 7 spellings of Braden, 2 spellings of Hayden, 2 spellings of Zaiden, this point I start wondering if naming laws could save us from our sorry selves. Aidan (a real Irish name) still sounds like a relatively fresh name since most Americans with the name starting popping up within the last 15 years or so. But, your average American namer is so painfully, painfully desperate to be different...but not too different. Hence, rhyming and respelled names proliferate. And we haven't even brought all the others into discussion: Grady, Brady, Brody, Grody (wait maybe not that last one) - Kayla Layla Kaylee Jaylee Haylee Kylee Miley Marley Carly Harley...let's just stop now.

    Mike A: Thanks!! Three years of this mess and finally it's fixed. :)

  4. "But, your average American namer is so painfully, painfully desperate to be different"

    Ha ha, love it. :)

    Great work on this list -- really puts things into perspective!

  5. The rhyming thing is crazy weird. And I am definitely naming my first kid Grody.

  6. I just checked Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Malia and didn't see a big jump in any, which kind of surprised me.

  7. Nancy: Thanks! Wish they put a combined version in the news.

    Jul: Oh noes, you stole my favorite name!

    Mary: You might like this post -

  8. And yet again, my name is nowhere near the top ten...


    You might find this interesting.

  10. Dru: I can see it coming around in another few years :)

    Arashi: Thanks for the link! I read the Wired Science blog normally but right now I'm 30 posts behind so I missed this!


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