Parents More Inventive with Girl Names than with Boy Names

According to Dr. Alexander Bentley of University College, London, parents are more creative when choosing baby girl names than when choosing baby boy names. In his study of U.S. baby names several years ago, he found an average of:

  • 2.3 new female names for every 10,000 baby girls born and
  • 1.6 new male names for every 10,000 baby boys born.

Bentley theorized that “in a society where family names are inherited patrilineally, parents feel constrained by tradition when it comes to choosing first names for their sons.” With daughters, on the other hand, parents may feel less restricted.

One of Bentley’s other findings was that creative name frequency is also dependent upon time period. For instance, more new names popped up in the 1970s and the 1990s than in the 1980s.

Source: Girls have more novel names than boys, 5/04


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