He was born in 2006. When I named him, I knew Noah was a top 30 name, and I knew it was climbing, so I was forewarned, just as you should have been. When the 2006 stats were released, however, I admit had a moment of panic anyway when I saw it had risen to #15. After a couple deep breaths, though, I got my perspective back. I gave my son my favorite name, a name that gives me pleasure just to hear or say it, a name that is meaningful to me...what does popularity count measured against that?
The reality of living with Noah has been nothing like I feared in my worst "OMG! It's popular! I fail at naming!" moments. It was years before we met another one. He's in school now, and--far from being 1 of 8--he's the only Noah in his class. In fact, not a single child's name is duplicated, and there are only 3 kids with top 10 names in class: an Emma, an Ethan, and an Alexander*. For our kids, growing up with a popular name is not going to be like it was a generation ago.
You might think my situation with my Noah doesn't compare to yours with your Noah; there's a big difference between #15 years ago and #5 now, right? Wrong.
Let's look at the numbers:
2006 - Noah ranked at #15 with 16,312 born, representing 0.7454% of births.
2011 - Noah ranked at #5 with 16,719 born, representing 0.8307% of births.
So we're taking 400 more Noahs representing less than a tenth of a single percent of births spread across the entire nation. It doesn't sound like a big difference because it's not. Unless you live in a freak pocket of intense Noah adoration, there's a good chance your experience watching your son grow up with Noah could be very like mine. Sometimes he may be the only one, sometimes he may be Noah Lastinitial. Is that a big deal? To my mind, no. It's certainly not worth regretting using the name I loved.
Final word, if it makes you feel any better--Aiden has so many spellings that, when combined, it's solidly the #1 name. Jayden is the #2. No other names come close. Add in the other rhymes-with-Aidan names, and you get the sort of megatrend that squashes Noah's numbers. Yeah, Noah is trendy, in that it's a currently very popular part of the enduring biblical-names-for-boys trend, but it's no Aiden.
* Correction: Alexander wasn't in the top ten in 2006. So there are two Top Tenners in his class, not 3.
This message was edited by the author on May 16, 2012 at 10:16:40 AM