Popularity of the Baby Name Simon

A reader named Sara tells me she had a baby boy in March and named him Simon. She asks:

I was wondering if you know how this name is trending, as I see it on a lot of name blogs/websites but not in wide use (yet). Thanks!

Let’s check out the numbers:

  • 2011: 1,345 baby boys given the name Simon (rank: 256th)
  • 2010: 1,363 (250th)
  • 2009: 1,328 (260th)
  • 2008: 1,344 (261st)
  • 2007: 1,348 (258th)
  • 2006: 1,413 (240th)
  • 2005: 1,310 (252nd)
  • 2004: 1,299 (254th)
  • 2003: 1,418 (235th)
  • 2002: 1,394 (242nd)
  • 2001: 1,268 (259th)
  • 2000: 1,248 (263rd)

Looks like usage has stayed relatively stable so far this century, and I don’t know of any reason it might suddenly pick up.

My guess is that Sara feels like she’s seeing the name Simon a lot because she’s already used it for her son, so that makes her more tuned-in to it. She’s more likely to notice it when reading a baby name blog/site, and more likely to remember having seen it later on.

But who knows–maybe Simon really is being discussed more often than expected online. I haven’t noticed this, but has anyone else?


8 thoughts on “Popularity of the Baby Name Simon

  1. I personally haven’t noticed any buzz surrounding this name. It’s probably all in her head. 1,300 babies makes it a common name, but hardly overused.

  2. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was expecting and mentioned that she was thinking about using Simon. My thought at the time was, “Oh, that’s so popular.” I too feel like I see/hear it a lot more that the numbers would support. Maybe it’s just the import of celebrities (Simon Cowell, Simon Baker) that makes the name seem to be everywhere.

  3. “Maybe it’s just the import of celebrities (Simon Cowell, Simon Baker) that makes the name seem to be everywhere.”

    I think that’s an astute observation.

    That’s probably why I always am surprised to see Rupert so far down on the U.S. list, even though I’m often hearing about either Rupert Murdoch or Rupert Everett. (Or Rupert Grint, to a lesser extent.)

  4. This is sort of related, but today I was looking at the popularity of some of my favorite names in 2011 as compared to 1911. I was surprised to find that several vintage names, even a few of the classics, are more popular today than they were in 1911.

    A few surprises: Charles, Franklin, James, Clementine, Cora, Louisa

    I thought it might be an idea of something for you to look at in a few of your posts: are “vintage” names really that vintage?

  5. Now to answer the question. I frequent Nameberry and haven’t noticed Simon being mentioned any more or less than any other name.

  6. “I thought it might be an idea of something for you to look at in a few of your posts: are “vintage” names really that vintage?”

    That’s a fantastic idea for a post, or series of posts. Thanks!

  7. “are “vintage” names really that vintage?”

    It’s an interesting idea, but you would need to be careful to look at the right years, and that names which seem “vintage” actually are. Some people are surprised, for instance, that Old Testament names like Abigail, Hannah, Joshua, Ethan, though they may have been colonial favorites, were in fact NOT popular one hundred years ago, and that Sophia was never a particularly common name in the US until the 2000s.

    “I was looking at the popularity of some of my favorite names in 2011 as compared to 1911. I was surprised to find that several vintage names, even a few of the classics, are more popular today than they were in 1911. A few surprises: Charles, Franklin, James, Clementine, Cora, Louisa”

    In the US, all of these names were vastly more popular in 1911 than 2011. James, for instance, was given to ~4.1% of baby boys in 1911 and only ~0.65% of boys in 2011. Clementine and Louisa ranked in the 400s in 1911 but were not even in the top 1000 in 2011. Of course, if you live in the UK or elsewhere the stats may be very different.

  8. Diane, great points!

    Another thing to think about…

    To be considered “vintage,” a name needs to be strongly associated with the past.

    To do this, it needs to do more than simply rank well on baby name charts from, say, 100 years ago.

    It also needs to go through a period of disuse. (Or lesser usage, more accurately.) This is what really cements a name to the past.

    For example: Elizabeth, Anna, Mildred and Dorothy were all top-10 names in 1911.

    Elizabeth and Anna have stayed popular until today.

    Mildred and Dorothy have not.

    So Mildred and Dorothy are the “vintage” names in this group, b/c we associate them with the first half of the 1900s (roughly).

    [With this in mind, a few of the names that have come up so far — James, Charles, maybe others — can’t quite be called “vintage,” as their usage has been relatively stable over the last century.]

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