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What baby naming trends tell us about our culture

Elementary school teacher holds a baby while showing the newborn for the first time to his immigrant mother and her son via Zoom.
Elementary school teacher holds a baby while showing the newborn for the first time to his immigrant mother and her son via Zoom.

It’s not every day that a baby named Sofía Fernanda Dolores Cayetana Teresa Ángela de la Cruz Micaela del Santísimo Sacramento del Perpetuo Socorro de la Santísima Trinidad y de Todos Los Santos is born.

That’s the name given earlier this year to the second child of the 17th Duke of Huéscar in Spain.

While a name that long is rare in the United States, the name Sophia is not.

Last year in the United States, more than 12,000 babies were named Sophia, making it the fifth-most popular choice for baby girls — bested only by Olivia, Emma, Charlotte, and Amelia.

Names contain a lot of information. Mostly, information about the one (or ones) doing the naming; less so about the child’s actual identity.

More parents are feeling the weight of the choice, with many turning to baby name consultants to help them curate a unique name for their child.

What do names and naming trends tell us about our culture? How is America’s penchant for individualism on display in the choices around what and what not we call ourselves and those who come after us?

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

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Lauren Hamilton
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