Monday, September 9, 2013

G Names: Then and Now

Over history, have American parents favored the soft or hard G sound for their children? I have put together the G names that have been in the Top 100 since 1880, and created a chart showing which names have been on top in each decade. And as an attempt to show things visually, I have also highlighted the names that begin with the hard G sound...

1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
Garfield George George George Gene Gary Gary Gary Gary Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel
George Grover Gerald Gerald George Gene Gene George George Gary Gary Garrett Garrett Gavin
Grover Guy Glenn Gilbert Gerald George George Gerald Gerald George George George Gavin Grayson
Guy   Guy Glenn Gilbert Gerald Gerald Glenn Glenn Gerald Gregory Gregory    
      Gordon Glenn Gilbert Glenn Greg Greg Gregory        
        Gordon Glenn Gordon Gregory Gregory          
          Gordon Gregory              
Georgia Georgia Genevieve Genevieve Genevieve Gail Gail Gail Gail Gina Gina Gabrielle Gabriella Gabriella
Gertrude Gertrude Georgia Georgia Geraldine Geraldine Geraldine Glenda Gina     Grace Gabrielle Gabrielle
Gladys Gladys Gertrude Geraldine Gertrude Gertrude Glenda Gloria Gloria       Genesis Genesis
Grace Grace Gladys Gertrude Gladys Gladys Gloria           Gianna Gianna
    Grace Gladys Gloria Gloria             Grace Grace
      Grace Grace Grace             Gracie  

Glancing at the chart, it seems as though the hard G outnumbers the soft G. After actually counting, 13 of the 16 boy names and 9 of the 15 girl names that appear in the Top 100 begin with a hard G. There doesn't seem to be any pattern in the preference over time, other than the disappearance of the soft G in the top boy names in recent years. Looking at the chart in its entirety though, you can see a definite bell curve for both genders. There has been a gradual increase and decrease in popularity of G names over time, with one sharp jump for girls from the 1990s to the 2000s.

Additional observations:

The appearance of Gina in the 1980s column should have an asterisk next to it, as it only appeared in 1980. From 1981 through 1989, there were no girl names that started with G in the Top 100. Also, from 1964 until 1980, Gina was the only girl G name in the Top 100.

With the staying power of George, there has never been a time when the Top 100 was without a boy G name. George fell out of the top after 1992 and was also the last soft G boy name on the list.

Garfield is a one-hit-wonder. It appeared in the Top 100 in 1881, the year after James Garfield became President and the year of his death (he was in office for only 200 days before being assassinated). Grover's popularity between 1884 and 1893 is probably due to another president, Grover Cleveland, who was in office from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897 (I guess the thrill of the name died down during his second term).

Grace fell out of the Top 100 after 1938 only to reappear in 1995 after a 56-year absence.

There are a few boy/girl correlations for G names in the Top 100: Gabriel/Gabriella and Gabrielle, George/Georgia, and Gerald/Geraldine.

Other G names that haven't already been mentioned and appear in the current Top 500 are: Giovanni, Gael, Grant, Gage, Greyson, Giselle, Gabriela, Graham, Griffin, Gunner, Giuliana, Gemma, Grady, Gia, Gerardo, Gideon, Guadalupe, Gustavo, Gianni, and Gunnar.

What is your favorite G name? Do you see any of these Top 500 rising to the Top 100 soon? Do you see any of the older names coming back?


1 comment:

  1. You know I have a soft spot for G names. I hated my name as a kid, but now I love it!


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