In addition to individual names growing and shrinking in popularity, certain larger trends can change in baby names as well. This includes the first letter of names.
The widget above shows an animated history of letter popularity since 1950. If you click "alphabetical" you can see the exact order rank of all letters over the last 65+ years.
For instance, the letter A was the first letter of about 3.6% of all names in 1950 but now accounts for 13.9%. Maybe parents want their child to be on the top of the attendance sheet that is set in alphabetical order? Or maybe last would be better to stick out, as the letter Z has gone from the first letter in 0.04% of all name to 1.53%.
In order for a letter to change in popularity it needs a whole collection of names to shift in popularity, not just one. The name Emma is the most popular name for girls but it accounts for about 1% of girl names and 0.5% of all names. While it's growth has helped E grow it is just a part of a larger trend. There are a few exceptions to the individual name rule. Mary used to account for 3% of all girl babies which has hurt the letter M, although more names have taken its place.
In 2017 the most popular letters were A, J, M, E and L. The least popular were F, Y, X, Q, and U.
We at the Baby Name Institute think this topic is so interesting we made a second widget. We've really outdone ourselves! While the widget above is good for seeing rank compared to other letters, it is not great for seeing the change in one letter over time. The widget below is better for that.
Babies Named Benjamin Born Per Year
Created by BabyNameInstitute.com
Top 50 Names
Since 1950 the following 13 letters have grown in popularity: A, E, H, I, K, L, N, O, Q, U, X, Y, and Z. That means B, C, D, F, G, J, M, P, R, S, T, V, and W. Many of these letters have had their moments of glory so it is very possible that within a few years any letter could see a comeback.
We plan to do more research on the letter topic so please follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to catch our upcoming blog posts.