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:

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.