Names are not fashion statements and they do not have inherent value; but, while most people spend a lifetime responding to a name someone else chose for them, their names still have implicit associations in our culture and carry many meanings. Baby name fads have always fascinated me because they do not have a clear source. Famous people with popular names do not fully explain the reason that some names achieve such astonishing popularity within the space of a generation. It’s not as if parents are communicating with one another en masse to choose names for their children, and even if they did, most people would not knowingly choose the most popular name for their child because that isn’t as ‘special.’ The most popular names of each generation end up becoming associated with that span of time, giving names extra connotations. How old is Maude? Susan? Steven? Olivia? Marvin? I’ve linked the Social Security database of baby names which is fun to explore.
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