By MARY WARD
You might need to sit down, because this is a lot to take in.
New research from the US shows parents in 2011 are twice as likely to name their daughter ‘Nevaeh’ (‘Heaven’ backwards), as they are to call their daughter ‘Mary.’
My name is Mary.
And this makes me sad.
Because this figure isn’t just hippy parents or hipster parents whom, by chance, happened to complete a survey at their farm co-op AGM. No. This stat is for parents throughout the whole of the US.
The forecast for us ‘Mary’s Down Under doesn’t look much better.
I started kindy in 1999. I was the only ‘Mary’ in my whole primary school, which was a pretty mean feat given that it was a 600-strong Catholic primary in what is widely considered to be Sydney’s bible belt. If there were ‘Mary’s about, they would have been there. But they weren’t there. Because there weren’t any. (And, for the record, there still aren’t. My sister just finished Year 6 at the same school. Still not another ‘Mary’ in sight.)
In fact, since 1980 Mary has failed to make the top 100 baby names in Australia.
It’s all a far cry from 1930, when ‘Mary’ was the 6th most popular name in the country. ‘Mary’ sat smugly in the top 10 or 20 until the mid 1900’s, when between 1960 and 1970, ‘Mary’ dropped from the 27th most popular name to the 73rd.
Dropping from 6th most popular name to not even making the top 100? My people are an endangered species!
In all seriousness, if no one is calling their child ‘Mary’, what are they calling them? The average NSW kindy class of 2017 will have fewer Marys than:
- Siennas (the 8th most popular girls’ name with 489 ‘Sienna’s born in 2011)
- Islas (the 22nd most popular girls’ name with 228 ‘Isla’s born in 2011)
- Scarletts (the 24th most popular girls’ name with 226 ‘Scarlett’s born in 2011)
- Addisons (the 51st most popular girls’ name with 131 ‘Addison’s born in 2011)
- Indianas (the 77th most popular girls’ name with 90 ‘Indiana’s born in 2011)
Now, this isn’t the part of the article where I just take cheap digs at parents who call their daughters ‘Mack a la’ or ‘Xandanah.’ Frankly, parents can call their kids whatever they please. But, this IS the part of the article where I ask: do you really think that anyone calls his or her daughter ‘Isla’ because it is a common name?
No. Of course they don’t. Parents name their daughters ‘Isla’, or ‘Addison’, or ‘Indiana’ with an understanding that these names are unique. The only problem is that, nowadays, if they were after unique, they’d be better off with ‘Mary.’