Oh, Baby! Female names for 2020 are U’nique

When last we met – if you can call one person writing and another reading an actual meeting – I was discussing the more intriguing and downright weird names Albertans gave their baby boys in 2020. This week, let’s look at the distaff side. 

There were fewer girls than boys born in 2020 (25,160 vs. 23,870), but girl parents managed to come up with 1,000 more original names (more than 7,200 total) than boy parents. This is not to say that the parents of girls are more creative. Olivia was the top girl name for the eighth year in a row! I didn’t think Olivia de Havilland would have such enduring popularity. 

In the top 10 list, there is something about names that end in the letter A that appeals in female names, Six of the top 10 (Olivia, Emma, Ava, Sophia, Amelia, Isla) end in A. Starting with A is also hugely popular – more than 1,000 were registered – including one Andee, seven Andi, seven Andie, three Andy and one An-Di. 

What else did I find? 

Well, there is a disturbing, if entirely Canadian trend towards naming children after American places or people. There were 65 girls named Brooklyn, and 13 Brooklynn, five Dallas, 10 Dakota, a Daytona, an Indiana, 31 Kennedy, three Memphis, four Tennessee (there was also a boy Tennessee) an Albany and an Arizona. Not a single Saskatoon or even a Dildo. 

Just like boy names, a lot of parents opted to add extraneous X’s or Z’s to their girl names – Daxleigh, Daxlynn, Dazzlyn, Dezja, Haxstyn, many variations on Izabel, Jaxlyn, Jaxyn, Jax, Jerzey, Kayzlee, Khaelix, Kinzley, Kynzlee, Lexxin, 10 named Lennox, Nyx, and Slyzee (which I hope is not pronounced Sleezy).

Multiculturalism plays a role in many names, I assume. There were 16 different names that started with Olu, often with a great many letters following. I’ve never seen the name Asees before, but 27 babies got that name. A little research shows a very popular Indian singer named Asees Kaur, so maybe that’s the source. 

I’ve noticed a trend in names that is of personal interest. When our son Blake was born 30 years ago, there were zero girls given the name Blake; even 10 years ago, there were only seven. But this year, there were 49 girls named Blake (and 12 named Blayke), and only 40 boys. Blake has gone from a strictly male name to a majority female name. Sorry, son, we didn’t see this coming.  

Names that were common in my childhood, particularly in my home, are almost gone. I have four sisters with nice names – Diane, Suzanne, Renee and Teresa – that are near extinction (the names, not the girls). Only four girls were named Teresa, three Renee, one Suzanne, and not one Diane. Not one! Does nobody remember Princess Diana anymore?  

Of course, no list of names would be complete without a look at some of the more, shall we say, unique names. Or should I say U’nique, which is a name. 

Will Arrow live the straight and narrow?

I’d hate to think that Duke would have to put them up.

Baby – a real name, I assure you – kind of limits her growth potential as an adult (do you want a financial planner named Baby?)

Birdie sounds kinda flighty.

Blaze might have a career path already set out for her, perhaps at a “gentlemen’s club”. Maybe she could work with Candy? Or perhaps Dream? 

Goddess has a lot to live up to, and never stop smiling, Happiness.

I assume the parents of Fallon are big late night TV fans.

I guess Fanta is better than the likely second choice, Orange Crush.

Female (yes, a real name) limits her future gender options.

Milky better have a nice complexion.

I have no idea what to make of NBF, and why were 30 girls named Not? 

And finally, I can only assume that the parents of Mayhem didn’t have access to a dictionary.  

By Maurice Tougas

Maurice Tougas is a lifelong Albertan, award-winning writer and reporter, and a former MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.

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