Opinion

Noah?

An editorial from The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — With the primary election now out of the way, the decisions made and the candidates whittled down in number, it’s time to focus on the really important issues that confront us.

Yes, we’d like to talk baby names.

Back the way it used to be, baby names would pretty much be handed down in families. If you had a grandfather or great-grandfather named Everett, chances are a grandson or great-grandson would be christened with that name somewhere down the road.

And a great-grandmother Mary would earn a bouncing baby granddaughter the same name as well.

Of course, that isn’t the case anymore.

The Social Security Administration recently announced its most popular names for babies. And Noah has ended the 14-year run of Jacob.

Among girls, Sophia clocks in at No. 1 for the third straight year.

Personally, we’re OK with naming kids after a Biblical boat-builder like Noah, or even a grandson of Abraham, like Jacob.

But we’re curious as to how families decide how to name a child in the year 2014. We aren’t surprised to find that picking a baby’s name is a big business that’s heavy on analysis.

The rise of Noah highlights a trend toward more smooth-sounding baby names, said Laura Wattenberg, creator of Babynamewizard.com.

“You compare Jacob with all its hard, punchy consonants, versus Noah and Liam, you can really see where style is heading,” Wattenberg said.

She also says that the most popular baby names aren’t nearly as popular as they used to be. For example, just over 18,000 babies born last year were named Noah. In 1950, when James was No. 1, there were more than 86,000 newborns with that name.

About 21,000 newborns were named Sophia last year. In 1950, more than 80,000 were named Linda…

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