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Monday, April 11, 2011

Baby Naming Issue: Will Stella Get Too Popular?

Kinsey writes:
we are having our second child soon and want your opinion on the name we are 95% set on. we have a 19 month old named Joseph Hank, he goes by Hank. this baby is a girl and we have decided we love the name Stella Rose, to mainly go by just Stella. Rose is my mom's maiden name, and her mother is my only living grandparent left, so we really like this for the middle name. The part I would like your advice on is -- Stella. when i was pregnant with Hank, we didn't have ANY girl names that we both loved. actually not any that we even liked. so, when we found out this baby is a girl, we started to wonder if we'd ever find a girl name we both loved. after LOTS of ideas, i suggested Stella (i've always loved it) and my husband was pretty much hooked from the beginning. my questions to you--is it too popular? is it going to be too popular in a few years, like when she starts kindergarten? do you have another suggestion that you like better with Hank? we LOVE hank and stella together, but i want to make sure we aren't missing something better. i have a unique name, especially the spelling--Kinsey--and i love that Hank is not weird or out there, but still not that common. we want the same for her! help!

ps. we have a LARGE group of friends and family with kids the same age as ours, and i'm a teacher, and i've never personally met another stella. and if it wasn't for facebook i wouldn't know two of my sorority sisters named their baby that either ;-) but that also makes me nervous that it's too popular. what do you think?!

thank you!

Let's start with the chart from the Social Security Administration:

(click it to see it bigger)

When there's a little blue "a" in the slot, that means the name wasn't in the Top 1000 that year. So for the name Stella, we have a name that was very, very uncommon, and then went from #907 to #126 in a dozen years---a rapid rise.

We won't have the 2010 data until next month, and we won't have the 2011 data until a year after that, but if you'd had a baby named Stella in 2009, she'd be sharing the name with .1267% of the baby girls her same age---or roughly 13 Stellas per 10,000 baby girls. An uncommon name.

Whether it will become more popular is anybody's guess. Ella and names ending in -ella are in favor right now; some parents who love the name Ella but want something less common may head for Stella. It may even be that by the time your Stella is in kindergarten, the name will be given to more like 1 in 100 baby girls, as the name Isabella (the #1 most popular girl name in the U.S.) is now. Or it may be that the St- (reminiscent of Stephanie and Stacy and less-used currently) will keep it from rising too high, and it'll find its level at around #50, or #100, or #75, or even dropping back down to #150, and never get any higher than that.

If it DOES get significantly more popular, your girl will still be ahead of that group: her class will have the same percentage of Stellas in it as the year you gave her the name. But if you're looking for something that will stay as uncommon as the name Kinsey, I don't think Stella is a safe bet: it hits the current name preferences too solidly, and it's already so far ahead.

But you both love it, you agree on it even though you can't find others you agree on---you may want to go with the name that's a little more common than you'd like, rather than choosing one you like less. It depends on how important the uncommonness is for you, and what you're willing to trade to get it.

You could also consider naming her Stella Rose but calling her Rose, as you call your son Hank: Joseph is #16 and Hank is #970; Stella is #126 and Rose is #352. Hank and Rose is an adorable sibling pair.

Name update! Kinsey writes:
i wrote in to you way back in april about whether or not the name we loved for our little girl was too popular or not...well, after MUCH consideration and NO luck finding anything we loved as much, we stuck with our first choice and sweet Stella Rose was born on July 15th! even though we might run into another Stella eventually, I LOVE her name too much to care! And my mom is thrilled that she is carrying on her maiden name, Rose, as well. Thanks for your help!


Kas said...

I love the name Stella i think its beautiful ive never met any other little girls named Stella!

I have a 2 yr old named Ava. When i found her name in a baby book that was it i stopped looking i loved it!! Even though it is really common i couldnt find any other name that i loved as much! when people ask her name and I say Ava i always get "my niece is Ava" or "my grand daughter is ava" but i dont care cause i love her name and wouldnt change it!! and i believe if you love the name Stella as much as you say you do it wont really matter at the end of the day! but i dont think Stella is anywhere near as common as Ava!

Stella Rose is a lovely name i say use it!!

All the best xx

Patricia said...

Excellent analysis of the popularity of Stella: in 2009 only about 13 Stellas per 10,000 baby girls compared to the popularity of the #1 name Isabella - 1 in 100 or 100 per 10,000.

Stella Rose is lovely, and as Swistle illustrated, Stella is not overly popular. You and your husband both love the name (and no other name comes close). Stella Rose goes well with Joseph Hank. It sounds like Stella Rose is the PERFECT name for your baby girl.

Best wishes!

beyond said...

Yes, I think that Stella is going to become at least a bit more popular in the coming years, but I don't think that should stop you. I don't know any girls named Stella, apart from one of my friend's daughters who must be over 10 by now.
I suppose another possibility would be to name her Estelle (unranked, not in the top 1000) and call her Stella?
Bottom line for me is... I think Stella is beautiful, you LOVE it, it's great with Hank... go for it.
Good luck!

Christine said...

I love the name Stella. And the only one I've ever met is my great aunt who's in her 70s. If the popularity is the issue maybe Camille or Camila?

Good luck!

Bethtastic said...

I vote for you to use Stella. It's beautiful, you love it, it's great with Hank. Done. :)

Advice that Swistle has given in the past may be a good thing to try now... If you think of naming her something else, are you disappointed? Because if you'd be disappointed to NOT have your daughter named Stella, clearly, that's her name. Popular or not.

Congrats on the new little addition on her way!

Mrs S said...

Stella is a wonderful names! Stella and Hank are adorable together. I really hope you use it!

More name ideas if still needed....Audrey, Lucy, Ruby,
Hazel, Willa or Iris.

Anonymous said...

I think if you use Stella you aren't going to have people go, "Oh, wow! I never would have thought of that name! So fresh!" I also don't think you are going to get, "Oh jeez, ANOTHER Stella?!"

Stella is rising, but I think of it like the currently rising Isla. Rising at an alarming rate, but I think the funky spelling will keep it from becoming the next Isabella. I agree with Swistle's, that the "St-" beginning will sway a lot of people away from it because it takes away a lot of the cutesy, girliness that makes Bella and Emma and Ava so popular today.

In the end, though, even if it DOES get super popular, it is the name you both LOVE! How rarely does that happen? I would totally use it!

StephLove said...

Even though they are very different styles, I think both Stella and Kinsey go well as a sibling name for Hank and with the middle name Rose.

So what it comes down to is how important it is to you to have a very uncommon name. Stella's not super popular, I only know two (ages 8 or 9 and 6). It sounds like Stella is the one you really like best, so my recommendation would be to go with that.

Anonymous said...

If you love Stella, use Stella!

kimma said...

I grew up being one of three Kims in my grade at school (1980s), so I am sensitive to a name being too popular and I honestly don't think you will ever have that problem with Stella. In the year I was born 56,000 (#1) girls were named Jennifer, in 2009 only 22,000 (#1) were named Isabella. There's a lot more diversity these days.

So, if you both love the name Stella I would use it. I'm sure later in life she'd rather hear that you chose her name because you loved it than because it wasn't too popular and you liked it just well enough.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I don't think it will break the top 10. Even if it does, as Swistle has mentioned before on this site, the most popular names nowadays aren't going to be a "Jennifer" situation from the '80's (where there were 3 in each class).

I think it's a lovely name, you both love it and it goes well with your son's name. Go for it!

FWIW, I live in a state with LOTS of babies born and I only know of one Stella among my group of friends and acquaintances.

Catherine said...

I love Stella too and since it's Latin for star, that makes it even lovelier (more here
Stella Rose definitely sounds like it goes with her big brother Hank.

Susan said...

I love the name Stella Rose and agree with the others, use it if you and your husband love it.

If you want more suggestions, a similar name but less common is Arzella. Nickname could be Zella or Ella. Hank and Zella or Hank and Rose. My grandmother was named Arzella Mae and she had a sister named Estella. Arzella is a common name in earlier generations of my family, but I've never met anyone else with that name.

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

My 3 month old is Stella Rose! People are always telling us what a lovely name she has and so far we haven't met any other little ones named Stella in our area. I say go for it!

Ginny said...

I work at a play gym for little kids, and I've seen two Stellas come through in the last three years. (For comparison, I've seen about six Olivias and even more Sophias and Isabellas.) I think Swistle's analysis is about right: it's a trendy name, in the sense of "a lot of people right now think it's a great name, and it's risen from obscurity to the top 200," but I don't know that it's going to be mega-popular. My guess is that a Stella born in 2011 will meet other people with her name fairly regularly, but there's not going to be one in every class.

Benjamin the Great said...

Our Stella Rose is now 15 months old, and I don't care how popular the name Stella gets. It's still a gorgeous name!

Chrissylove said...

Can't believe I found you!! My older son is named Joseph & goes by Joseph. My daughter is Stella! Born in 2005. Joseph is named after my grandfather & Stella is named after my husband's grandmother. Both were much loved grandparents. I can tell you she is the ONLY Stella in her entire elementary school. And people always tell me it's a beautiful name. Sometimes we call her Stelli as well. I love it!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the name Stella and I actually just came across this because I was searching for its popularity. It's very early in my pregnancy and I have no idea what I'm having yet but I have a very strong feeling it will be a girl. When I was pregnant with my son I had a very strong feeling he was a boy and could only come up with boys named. Anyway I am really loving Stella as a name for my child should my feeling prove's my husbands grandmothers name and June for the middle name which is my grandmothers name. However, before reading your post I really was leaning toward Rose for the middle name, but my neighbors daughter's middle name is Rose.

Anonymous said...

My name is Stella (marie) or Stella Maris in Latin, I've only come across a handful of Stellas in my lifetime, so go ahead and call your baby this, it's quite unique. xxx

Stella said...

My name is Stella (Marie) or Stella Maris in Latin (means star of the sea!) I've only come across a handful of Stellas in my lifetime,I was born in 1961, so go ahead and call your baby this, it's quite unique, good luck. PS, I live in Glasgow so not sure how the name compares to your country. xxxx

Stella said...

....meant to say my dad chose the name, he heard a song called Stella by Starlight. xxx

Swistle said...

Stella- Here in the U.S., it's the 73rd most popular girl name in the country.

Stella said...

73rd, eh, think it's about 200 or so in UK, my children are Emma, Josh and Beth, understand Beth and Josh are quite popular in the US but not Emma, so much, wondered if the couple did call their baby Stella, I just noticed the comments were from a year ago!

Swistle said...

Stella- Yes, at the bottom of the post is an update and a picture of the baby!

Emma is #3 in the U.S.

Stella said...

Thanks, I didn't have all the comments on the page expanded, so saw the update. Glad they decided to call her Stella, she looks so sweet. Emma is #3, that's a surprise, probably as Rachel in Friends called her baby that.

Ebeth said...

Lovely choice! And i love the name Hank too! My daughter Stella Grace is 11 in February and I worried back in 2001/2002 that the name would get ridiculously popular ... But went with it all the same, as I had always loved it and my husband was also a fan. Stella met another another Stella just once, a puppeteer who came to the school who was in her 30s but otherwise, no other Stella sightings yet, 11 years and counting! I do think that regionality / urban plays in ... we are relatively rural but i imagine if you live in nyc there may be more kids with this name. we live in the land of isabellas and avas etc.

Stella is our oldest, and we have ended up with a mixture of uncommon and much more common names for our other 4 kids ... And generally just went with names we loved. Stella has 3 little brothers - Ramsay, Grayson and Liam (latterly now ridiculously popular ... Sigh), as well as a little sister Matilda.

Wishing you well with little Stella!