After a year of very little change to the top baby name lists for boys and girls in 2015, we wanted to know if we are in for change in 2016. So we looked into our crystal ball – and then consulted an actual expert, demographer and social researcher, Mark McCrindle – to find out what we can look forward to in 2016.
Here’s what the top baby naming trends will be in 2016:
Trend 1: The hundred-year return
After spending over a decade near the top of the list, Mark predicts that William, Jack and Jackson have all peaked and will now begin their slow decline into out-of-fashion obscurity. He says, “These names have been around so long, it’s easy to think that they’ll always be popular. But if you look at the list, you’ll see that neither John, David or Anthony made it into the Top 100. It would have once seemed unbelievable that John wouldn’t be on the list at all”.
There is, in fact, a ‘Hundred-Year Return’ theme taking place, with many of the top names of today also among the top names a century ago, while names of a few decades ago have fallen out of favour.
Trend 2: The royals are the ultimate celebrities
We can thank the birth of Princess Charlotte last May for bumping Charlotte up to top spot on the girls list in 2015. In fact, the naming of royal babies has a direct and demonstrable effect on the popularity of names in Australia. But Mark says that they are the only celebrities that seem to have any influence. “Australians are looking inwards and at the past when choosing names,” he says. “They are looking to their own grandparents’ generation rather than choosing trendy celebrity names.”
Trend 3: Your name is your brand
After a long spell of crazily-spelled names, parents are returning to spell-it-like-it-is naming options for practical reasons. Mark explains, “These days your name is your Twitter handle, it’s your email address and your Facebook profile. You don’t want the spelling of your name to be an obstacle. You want to get your mail so you need a name that isn’t too creatively spelled”.
Trend 4: Gen Y are surprising us
With Gen Y now well and truly in the baby game, we might have expected to see a shift towards more creatively spelled and trendy names – but this just isn’t happening. In fact, Gen Y parents are choosing even more conservative names than their own parents.
Mark says, “Despite the fact that Gen Y is known for throwing out the old ways and adopting more creative solutions to problems, what we are seeing is that they are actually choosing very traditional names; ones that reference the past. They are thinking long-term and choosing names that offer pathways and opportunity for their children”.
Trend 5: The vowels have it
Soft-sounding girls’ names will continue to rise, with names starting or ending in the A sound being particularly popular. In fact, only three names in the Top 20 don’t end in a vowel sound – Charlotte, Harper and Grace.
Trend 6: Consonants for the boys
Strong and sensible boys’ names starting or ending with an N or R are dominating the list and will continue to rise in popularity.
Trend 7: Biblical influence
Noah and Ethan have long been popular biblical names for boys – as were Mathew, Mark, Luke and John for previous generations – but parents are now choosing more obscure biblical names for their offspring.
Mark says, “Whether they’re choosing names that they know have a biblical reference, or choosing the name just for the name, the fact is that there are a number of less well-known biblical names on both lists. We have Eli, Levi and Elijah for the boys; and Abigail, Phoebe and Chloe for the girls”.
Trend 8: Girls are girls and boys are boys
With only one name (Charlie) to appear on both the boys and girls lists, Mark says, “It seems that there is a clear demarcation between the sexes when it comes to naming them. With the breaking down of gender roles, perhaps parents feel there is less need to choose a name that is interchangeable between boys and girls”.