Names Blog

Articles about names and naming.

Can you tell if a name will become popular?


Dear Jennifer,

Like many others, I’ve had baby names picked out since I was a kid–well, one, actually: the name Cadence for a girl. I love it! And it wasn’t very popular when I decided it was my favorite. Now, it seems to be getting more and more popular. Even a main character in the TV Show Nashville, Juliette, named her baby Cadence!

So my question is: will Cadence eventually become too popular, like Emma and Olivia? Is there any way to tell? I’m not getting preggo anytime soon, I just want to know whether I should abandon my dream.


M in Vegas

Dear M,

There are some ways to know if a name is “trending” by looking at its trajectory on both the Popularity charts and the Social Security birth charts. The difference between the two is that our charts are calculated from our users’ favorite name lists. And since our users are pregnant–or like you, thinking about becoming pregnant–our charts actually predict the birth name trends by 1-3 years.

So one way to tell if a name is becoming super-popular is by how quickly it’s rising on the charts. If a name hits the top 100 names at rank 99 and the following year jumps to #50, then #20, then it most probably will hit the top 10 soon. That’s what’s called “Rising with a Bullet” from the old record chart days.

According to the Social Security baby name charts, which are actual named babies in the U.S., the name Cadence hit #199 in 2007 and has been dropping in rank ever since. In 2016 it was down #376. So I checked the last 5 years of stats in the database, and found the name Cadence has dropped from #135 in 2012 to #247 in 2016.

So my informed guess is that despite the Nashville connection, the name will not become super popular anytime soon.

Hope that cheers you up!


U.S. Birth Trends for the name Cadence

U.S. Birth Trends for the name Cadence