Friday, March 27, 2009

In Defense of Aidan

"You must hate Aidan!" I've had that reaction from more than one person after I told them that I write a blog about baby names and trends.

But I don't. I actually love the name Aidan. It's Irish, it has a good meaning and it's a strong name without being an overused classic (I know, James is an overused classic, I admit it).

Aidan didn't appear over night, in the 1990s it was at 311, with Aiden at 860. However by 1996 Aidan had shot up to 166 with Aiden trudging along at 474. By 2007 Aidan had peaked at 54 and Aiden surpassed it by landing at 27 on the Social Security baby names list. I won't even start with the Adans/Aydans/Aidyns. If you put them together it's still only at 40.5 on the chart, right between Evan and Isaac.

I used to think that Aidan only exploded after Sex and the City's Aidan but the charts don't back up my theory. My new theory is pretty simple: people like Irish names. With the mini explosion of Conners and Ryans in the '90s people looked for similar names that weren't as popular with their playgroup. The 2000s have been more open to foreign and unique names. Ava is a far cry from Amanda, which was the sixth most popular name of the 1990s.

I've belonged to several playgroups and messageboards in the last few years (Michigan, Florida, Alabama) and the majority of the members are +/- five years from me. I also have at least 15 friends with sons named Aidan/Aiden. I have no data other than my opinion but it seems to me that the under 30 year old moms tend to go for Aidan while the 40+ moms tend to go for George.

So I don't hate Aidan. If anything I think Aidan has helped jumpstart a new era of babynaming--we hardly bat an eye when we hear about baby Finn, Isla or Kieran. How could anyone hate Aidan after listening to the name said with an Irish accent?

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