My name is Jenny because my parents didn’t believe in “trendy” names back when they selected it, more than a dozen years after its popularity peaked in the U.S. They must’ve thought they were doing a solid job of staying classic, instead of naming me after, say, a celebrity — something like Sissy or Demi. But, according to some new statistics from scientist-blogger David Taylor, my parents, like most people, seem to have misunderstood what exactly makes for a trendy name.
By charting name popularity via chromatographs — graphs that indicate the speed at which something reaches its peak volume (or in this case, its peak popularity) versus its volume/popularity overall — Taylor effectively quantifies “name trendiness” and flips common notions of it upside down. Or, more basically, his charts show that if you think people name their babies Bodhi, Kahleesi or Paisley — some of the past year and a half’s most popular names — for the sake of relevance, you should probably reconsider all of the Jasons you know.
Jason was, in fact, the trendiest male baby name since 1880 by Taylor’s estimation, while Linda took the crown for female names. Taylor compared the trendiness of the name Linda with other names thought to be hyper-trendy, Catina and Deneen, to show that the latter two look more like little blips when you consider these trends over time.
As Taylor points out, there’s still no real way to define trendiness scientifically or officially, but his charts do seem like a start. It’ll be interesting to see which of today’s most popular names stay trendy over time (or, see you in 30 years, Bella).
(h/t Vocativ, prooffreader)