A female name of Greek origin has ranked number one across nine countries.
According to naming expert Laura Wattenberg, who conducted a recent analysis, the Greek name Sofia (or Sophia) has managed to rank number 1 in parents’ preferences in nine different countries including Russia, Italy and Mexico. It also rates as second or third choice for parents in 20 different countries, while in the United States it is the third most popular name for little girls.
“It just blew me away that so many different languages and cultures would arrive at the same sound at the same time,” Wattenberg told Live Science.
“I guess that really says something about the way culture is transmitted today.”
The name Sofia, which means ‘wisdom’ in Greek, has always been fairly popular within the Greek culture and populations but it never previously appeared to be as popular in the rest of the world.
Ms Wattenberg attributes the name’s popularity to reasons such as meaning and pronunciation, although she still can’t explain why ‘Sofia’ has risen so suddenly and is now in the top 25 names for the two-thirds of countries (mainly America and Europe) that keep similar statistics.
“The hard part is saying why it wasn’t just as desirable a generation ago.”
Wattenberg explained that although there is no right or wrong way to pick a name for a child, there is the tendency from young parents to use names somewhat different and unique that sound more ‘stylish’, while religion and faith-based names seem to be gradually taking the back seat in parents’ preferences.
Naming a child is for most parents a very important task. The name Sofia is trending at the moment but – like anything – this might change over time. It might be worth looking at other research published on http://www.familyeducation.com, where the 100 most popular names are given.
The Greek names that have made it on to the list might come as a surprise to some, with the name Zoe ranking 22, Ariadne at number 31, followed by Penelope (42), Lydia (84) and Alexandra (92).
For those who like the more traditional names, a different survey in the USA, which shows the 100 most popular given names for male and female babies born during the last 100 years (1915-2014), has unsurprisingly ranked the Greek names Eleni (number 20) and Maria (number 51).
Although there can be a great deal of difference from one culture to another in how names are given to babies, the truth is that over time, certain names are popular in certain areas at different times in history for varying reasons.
Whether it comes down to family connections, personal heroes or religious backgrounds, the giving and receiving of a name is an event of major importance for most parents and should not be taken lightly, as it follows a child for the rest of their lives.