Thursday, November 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Presidential Names #2

Today's post is a continuation of Presidential Names #1, from about two weeks ago. The first post focused on names pre-SSA data - can we see a jump in names trends based on the sitting Commanders-in-Chief?

#545 - Hayes
An early last-name-turned-first-name, Hayes started on the charts at #708, then shot up and down after President Hayes left office in 1881. It's definitely got a highbrow sound and classic feel, with an albeit lackluster meaning - "hedged area". Still, it could work well as a more traditional response to trendy Hayden or Hayley

#306 - Arthur
It seems to me that Arthur has been an established first name for so long that a simple president wouldn't influence its popularity. Arthur, meaning "bear", topped out at #14 in the 1880's, 1890's and 1900's, but it's been decreasing since the 1940's. It just skyrocketed up the charts in the UK, however, so it won't be too long before Arthur is back on top!

#381 - McKinley
Oddly enough, McKinley's steep rise for boys stopped when the president took office in 1901, then plateaued and dove. For girls, McKinley began rising through the 1990's, as an alternative to McKenzie or McKayla. McKinley has been in the news recently - Mount McKinley will be officially renamed Mount Denali

#594 - Wilson
An excellent alternative to the well-loved William, Wilson did get a boost between 1913 and 1921 - Woodrow Wilson's years in office. Wilson has been on the decline for awhile, but with dozens of namesakes and an American sound, I think it's a great choice. 

#961 - Truman
Meaning "loyal one", Truman today is more often associated with writer Capote or Will of Will & Grace. The first president after twelve years of FDR, Harry Truman brought on a jump of almost 200 places in 1945, but began declining steeply right after. Though it's got a great nickname - "True" - it's still a little clunky. 

#54 - Kennedy
Kennedy briefly appeared on the boy's list in the 1960's, but skyrocketed for girls starting in the mid-90's. Why so long after JFK? I'm on the hunt for reasons - the name didn't make the list until 30 years after his death, and started halfway up the list before climbing. If you've got a theory or factoid about Kennedy, let me know in the comments!

#587 - Nixon
Interestingly enough, Nixon is only on the list because of its popularity in Utah, where it's at #85. It jumped on the scene in 2011, over 10 years after Richard Nixon's death. I think the closeness to Jackson, Nolan and Nicholas may be why. 

#883 - Ford
Ford is on the list this year for the first time since 1951. The solid single-syllable sound, masculine feel, and trend towards brand names may be the culprits. Ford could make a standout middle name, or honor a familial namesake.

#27 - m - Carter; #785 - f - Carter
Carter is an example of what happens when a president isn't so well liked - when Jimmy Carter was president, the fairly stable name dropped off the list completely, only to return in full force when Carter left office. For boys, it follows the occupational trend, as well as being the name of many pop culture characters. Girls often get the names second - Carter entered the girls' list in 2013

#106 - f - Reagan; #999 - m - Reagan
Reagan was used a few times for girls in the 1970's, but didn't catch hold of the list until the early 1990's on either side - perhaps as a response to the Clinton presidency? (Just a theory). On the boy's side, Reagan has stayed in the lower ranks, while it's been climbing for the girls, peaking in 2012.

#923 - Clinton
Clinton began dropping in the 1990's during the presidency, perhaps due to the current trend of uniqueness - when your child's name is in the news everyday, it seems to lose its personality. Clinton is currently plateauing at the bottom of the list, and with the upcoming elections, it may fall out of use for awhile.

What do you think? Are there names you think should be included? Would Obama make a good first name? Tell me in the comments!

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