Society is much more interested in baby names these days than in decades past.
One way to visualize the rising interest is the bar graph at right, which shows how the number of New York Times articles mentioning “baby names” has increased drastically from the 1970s to the 2010s.
So what’s fueling the rise? It’s a mix of factors, but I’d say the main answer is the Internet, which gives us both quick access to tons of name-related information (including popularity rankings for many different regions) and a convenient place to talk/gossip/vent about names.
Speaking of the Internet, though, here’s an curious twist. While the general interest in names has risen, the number of people in the U.S. searching for “baby names” via Google has decreased:
This probably reflects an evolution in search practices. I think, more and more, people are searching for specific information (“definition of Emily,” “5-letter girl names”) as opposed to general topic areas like “baby names.” But who knows…do you have a different theory?