That’s not a name!


Interesting article in this week’s NYT magazine about baby names. For a good time waster, check out this site on the subject from the Social Security Administration. There, you can track the popularity of different names over the last 100 years.

And I think I’ve finally put one of my nagging questions to rest. How did the name Madison suddenly become the #2 most popular name among girls? Had anyone heard of this name a few years back? Didn’t Tom Hanks, in fact, point out in “Splash” when Darryl Hannah wanted to name herself after Madison Avenue that Madison was in fact NOT a legitimate woman’s name?

Well, back then it wasn’t. Madison doesn’t show up in the top 1,000 most popular girls’ names until the 1980s, when it was #539. It shot up in the rankings every year after that. (#216 in 1990, to 133 the following year, then 112, then 78, then 53, 29, 15, 10, 9, 7, 3, 2 and, in 2002, 2 again. #1, for the record, is Emily.)

I don’t know if the name’s popularity can be traced back entirely to the cultural impact of “Splash”, but the next generation of kids is definitely gonna miss the joke when that movie gets rerun on cable.

Jerry, for the record, is currently #286, the lowest it’s been in the 100 years on record on the site. It peaked in the 1940’s at #19.

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