Monday, January 03, 2011

What People Name Their Kids in Berkeley

One pleasant surprise upon moving to Berkeley: Our neighborhood is awash in toddlers.

Including us, four families have moved to this block in the past year — all with children age 3 or under. And another recent arrival is pregnant. That means Elliot is going to have lots of playmates. (It also means we're gentrifying and/or ruining the neighborhood, which used to be older, more African-American and working-class.)*

For me, it's fascinating to discover what people name their kids. And since we're only days away from having to choose a new name ourselves, I love to gather data.

Here are the names of the toddlers we've encountered in the neighborhood:
Orlando
Oren
Zoe
Olive
Banneker
Harlow

No Jacobs! In fact, other than Zoe, none of the names ranks higher than 400th nationally. (The Olivia variant of Olive, though, is very popular — No. 3 in the U.S. and No. 1 in the U.K.)

I'd also say Elliot is a pretty good fit for this name environment (maybe a bit less eccentric than some, but it still feels Berkeley-ish).

Incidentally, the Bay Area's first baby of 2011 was born at Berkeley's Alta Bates hospital. Her name? Azaria.

*It's worth noting that we helped wreck our last neighborhood, which not too long ago was almost exclusively gay, male and childless.