Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beliebte Vornamen 2010 (Popular First Names 2010)

Continuing in one of this blog's old traditions, I present to you a comparison of the most popular first names for babies born in the year 2010 in Germany and the United States.

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 2010 was Isabella. However,  it comes in at a lower position when multiple spellings of names are combined. I painstakingly combined spellings myself using the downloadable list of every name used at least five times, and present here my adjusted list of most popular names. Go to the SSA site for the original, with each spelling 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.  This source combines multiple spellings of the same name, but I show only one spelling here. If you've got another source, let me know about it!

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

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

1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Olivia
4. Chloe
5. Emily
6. Emma
7. Madison
8. Abigail

9. Ava
10. Addison
11. Kaylee
12. Hailey
13. Madelyn
14. Riley
15. Zoe
16. Lily
17. Mia
18. Natalie
19. Layla
20. Makayla

1. Aiden

2. Jayden
3. Jacob
4. Kaden
5. Michael
6. Jackson
7. Ethan
8. Alexander
9. William
10. Noah
11. Daniel
12. Mason
13. Christopher
14. Anthony
15. Joshua
16. Matthew
17. Elijah
18. Caleb
19. Brayden
20. Andrew

Names that are very popular in both Germany and the United States: Mia, Emma, Lilli/Lily, Emilie/Emily, Sophia - Noah

Which lists/names do you prefer?


  1. I prefer the German names. I think there are too many manufactured (for lack of a better word) names on the American lists.

  2. I agree about the "manufactured" American names (Aiden, Kaden, Jayden, Braeden...). Any idea of why Leon & Leonie are so popular in Germany?

  3. To mu uneducated ear, those German boy names seem awfully American. Where are the classic German names? Werner? Otto? Fritz?

  4. I'm no expert, but certainly Aidan is a classic name. It's Gaelic. I like my names a bit more classic, but I'm boring that way. I particularly like that both Max and Moritz are on the German list.

  5. There are so many Biblical names on the German boys list this year.

    I am not a fan of giving nicknames e.g. "Ben". Name your child "Benjamin" for heaven's sake and just call him Ben. (Not that I can stand what happens to the j in German, oh well.)

  6. I just checked out the twin names list - and my favorites are on it again. Fourteen sets of twins born last year will have to make it through life as London and Paris and 16 will have to survive the unfortunate Heaven/Neveah pairing that should result in a call to child services as far as I am concerned. *reads further* Lordy, there is also a Haydon. Why, why why?

  7. Jan: Not sure about Leon & Leonie. Leon is also pretty popular in the UK (but not top 20). I think the sounds are just in style. The US seems to be trailing on the Leon thing.

    Julie: A lot of European countries are going toward a more international mean at the expense of more traditional names. I wouldn't say any of the German names are American though, just international.

    G: Everyone has their own definition of classic. I would never call Aidan manufactured, but I wouldn't say it was an American classic, since it was never in the top 1000 until the mid-90s or so. I'd reserve classic for the few, the proud, the ones that never drop out of the top 1000 - like James. But lots of people use the term classic to mean any name with a meaningful origin and long history (SOMEwhere), which Aidan definitely has!

    Annona: The city and country names always surprise me with their popularity! The US seems to be going through a not-nicknamey phase nowadays so everyone does pick Benjamin over Ben there (there are some nicknames that are popular though), but many countries here are on a different page. (See: Alfie and Ellie in the UK.) I think the US collective consciousness is still recovering from the 50s when people wrote diminutives like Ricky right on the birth certificate.

  8. I'm with annonamoose. Child abuse pur.

    Doesn't Germany have laws against naming your child something stupid? Or are those gone now?

  9. Jul - I think you are talking about Namen Recht - or the law that says you have to name your child a name that has already been used in Germany. As a foreigner that had a child who was born here, we chose not to use Namen Recht (which you can also do if you don't qualify for a German passport)

    annonamoose - LOL!!!!!!

    Personally, I find the American names to be quite creative. Of course this creativity can be carried too far but overall, American names are often unique.

    Freakonomics had an interesting chapter or 2 on naming trends and their socio-economic influences. Have you read that one CN? (do I even have to ask?) :)

  10. Fascinating list! I'm in Australia but I must say the American list is very similar to the current Australian trends. I'm a local and my husband is German (we used to live in Heilbronn, not all that far from Heidelberg) and so when we named our little boy 15 months ago we tried to pick a name that would "sound OK" to Australians and Germans, and eventually settled on Ruben (but not the common English spelling of Reuben which would be pronounced differently in Germany). Not on any top 20 lists but it seems to suit him!


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