From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Muhammad makes list of top 10 baby names in the U.S. for first time
By Amy Graff, SFGATE Updated 12:28 pm PST, Tuesday, December 3, 2019
… Revealing a rise in Arabic names, Muhammad and Aaliyah made the top 10 for the first time, replacing Mason and Layla.
Now, you might say: “Well, that doesn’t mean much. It’s just that Muslims always name their sons Muhammad.”
But is the fact that a huge fraction of Muhammadens are named Muhammad reassuring? Or is it indicative that Islam tends to take up a lot of space in the brains of Muslims?
I’m out of touch with baby name trends. I hadn’t known that “Layla” was so popular.
It’s interesting how pop music-derived names lag decades behind the hits. Dylan became a huge boy’s name about 25 years after Bob Dylan became famous. Layla took 40+ years after Eric Clapton’s song.
White Americans strike me as having pretty good taste in baby names: they don’t jump on some new celebrity’s name, they pick their grandpa’s favorite FM track for their daughter’s name.
Here are the current top 10 baby girl names:
Hard to argue against the top 3, which are lovely to the ear and redolent of fine culture.
Sophia has roots in the ancient Greeks, in the delightful heroine of Fielding’s Tom Jones, and in Sophia Loren (now 85 — girls’ names tend to go out of fashion when their most prominent examples hit middle age, then come back into fashion as they reach old age.)
Olivia is a Shakespearean heroine and is redolent of Olivia de Havilland of Gone With the Wind, who is now 103 and still suing. (She won a landmark lawsuit against the monopsonistic employment contracts of the Hollywood studios in 1943, making her the Curt Flood of movie stars, if Curt Flood had won his lawsuit against baseball). The Norman surname de Havilland was doubly glamorous in mid-Century Anglo-America because Olivia’s cousin Geoffrey de Havilland’s firm built a famous warplane and the ill-fated first jetliner.
Emma is a Jane Austen heroine.
Ava is too dependent upon one’s opinion of movie star Ava Garner, as is Mia and Mia Farrow. I like Amelia, and nobody dislikes the doomed aviatrix.
Isabella is a lovely name and is associated with Columbus’ patroness. Riley is too tomboyish.