Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Berkeley as a Baby Name

Years ago, I wrote about the plague of Berkeley misspellings (even by people who work for the city). Pro tip: Keep adding E's until you think you have enough, then add another.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

My discussion yesterday of geographic baby names (and their creative spellings) got me thinking: What's the most popular way to name your kid Berkeley? And is it more common as a boy's name or a girl's name?

So I did a little digging, using 2013 data from the Social Security Administration.

Number of girls named:
Berkley: 231
Berkeley: 84
Berklee: 39
Berkleigh: 22
Berklie: 15
Burklee: 10
Burkley: 7

Number of boys named:
Berkley: 50
Berkeley: 21
Burkley: 5

As you can see, Berkeley is far more common as a girl's name (something that's typical of geographic names).

It's also been growing more popular in recent years.

(Click to enlarge.)

Sadly, the "real" Berkeley spelling ranked second for both boys and girls to Berkley. (For what it's worth, Berkely is a bona fide town in five states, including Michigan. It's also a neighborhood in Washington, D.C., and Norfolk, Va.)

At least Berkeley beats out Berklee, which — despite being the name of a prestigious music college in Boston — is clearly an eccentric spelling. (The school's founder created it by flipping around his son's name, Lee Eliot Berk.)

They only get worse from there on in.

Burkley? No, thanks.

UPDATE: I should note that Berkeley Breathed, the creator of "Bloom County," is probably the most famous Berkeley. Still, his real name is Guy (Berkeley is his middle name) and apparently he goes by "Berke."