Quebec’s most and least trendy baby names of the decade

People love talking about baby names, and so the time of year when Retraite Québec announces the most popular names of the year is always a tempting fruit for a journalist looking for a quick story.

Unfortunately, the top five names doesn’t tell us that much. Liam and Olivia have been popular for a while now, and the top five doesn’t change that much year to year. Some journalists go a bit further and look at the end of the list for more unusual names (misspellings, mashed-up names, or words you wouldn’t think of as names), which can be amusing if you can avoid making fun of a name in a language you don’t understand.

Fortunately, Quebec’s open data website has full datasets of first names used since 1980 for boys and girls, so how about we do some more interesting number crunching?

Rather than just look at the most and least popular, I decided to see if I can suss out some trends. So I took the full data set, with almost 400,000 first names, and added a column calculating how many times they were used in the past 10 years versus the past 40 years. Normally this would be about 25%, but many names have gotten much more or much less popular.

A few caveats about these lists:

  • The database only goes back to 1980, so names that had already fallen out of favour by then won’t show up.
  • I’m assuming the database is correct. There may be errors here throwing off the results.
  • The lists are separated by gender because it’s two different data sets. In several cases names have gotten less popular because they’re traditionally associated with the other gender. Combining them would take a while and probably crash my computer.
  • For data entry cleanup reasons, I’ve excluded compound names from these lists (whether they have a hyphen or a space separating them) as well as names that are in the database as just one letter (which I assume are initials incorrectly coded as names). I’ve also set minimums for the number of times a name has to be used to weed out outliers.
  • Since the database does not include accents, I have not included them here.

Good? OK, here we go:

Most trending girls’ names of the decade

Percentage of name use in the past 10 years vs. past 40 (minimum 50 uses overall)

  1. Adaline (100%)
  2. Cataleya (100%) — also Kataleya (100%)
  3. Everly (99%)
  4. Lexie (95%) — also Lexy (93%)
  5. Joury (95%)
  6. Arya (94%) — also Aria (93%)
  7. Nelya (94%)
  8. Evalie (93%)
  9. Olie (92%)
  10. Blake (91%)
  11. Romie (90%)
  12. Octavia (90%)
  13. Elyrose (89%)
  14. Inaya (89%)
  15. Harper (89%)
  16. Esmee (89%)
  17. Lexa (88%)
  18. Maddie (87%) — also Maddy (80%)
  19. Noralie (87%)
  20. Alyss (87%) — also Alyce (80%)

Other notables:

  • Zoey (85%)
  • Mila (85%)
  • Romy (85%)
  • Quinn (84%)
  • Liv (84%)
  • Scarlett (84%)
  • Isla (83%)
  • Zoely (83%) and Zoelie (81%)
  • Livia (82%) and Lyvia (80%)
  • Aby (81%)
  • Ophelia (81%)

Most trending boys’ names of the decade

Percentage of name use in the past 10 years vs. past 40 (minimum 50 uses overall)

  1. Zayn (98%)
  2. Elyam (97%) — also Aylan (92%)
  3. Mayson (97%) — also Maysen (94%)
  4. Jaxson (96%) — also Jaxon (93%), Jackson (87%)
  5. Jax (96%)
  6. Dastan (95%)
  7. Arlo (94%)
  8. Jayce (93%) — also Jace (83%)
  9. Manoe (92%)
  10. Mayden (92%)
  11. Meshilem (92%)
  12. Greyson (92%)
  13. Jayke (91%)
  14. Nate (90%)
  15. Mylan (90%) — also Milann (87%), Milan (85%)
  16. Charlot (90%)
  17. Bentley (90%)
  18. London (89%)
  19. Selyan (88%)
  20. Lyam (88%) — also Liam (76%)

Other notables:

  • Auguste (87%)
  • Kayden (86%)
  • Nolan (84%) — also Nohlan (83%)
  • Logan (83%)
  • Ayden (82%) — also Eyden (82%)
  • Lincoln (82%)
  • Jayden (80%)
  • Hayden (80%)

Disappeared girls’ names

Names unused in the past 10 years (but used at least 100 times from 1980 to 2010). Excludes compound names and single-character names.

  1. Marylene (401) and Marilene (164)
  2. Casandra (217)
  3. Kristin (151)
  4. Cyntia (121)
  5. Daniele (103)

Disappeared boys’ names

Names unused in the past 10 years (but used at least 100 times from 1980 to 2010). Excludes compound names and single-character names.

  1. Ghislain (413) and Ghyslain (174)
  2. Rachel (380)
  3. Chloe (224)
  4. Rejean (187)
  5. Kimberly (148)
  6. Lindsay (133)
  7. Erin (112)

Least trending girls’ names of the decade

Other names used little in the past 10 years vs. past 40 (excludes compound names and single-character names, minimum 100 uses overall).

  1. Karine and Karyne
  2. Annik, Anik, Annick and Anick
  3. Josee
  4. Natacha
  5. Veronique and Veronic
  6. Maryline, Marilyne and Marilyn
  7. Carolyne and Caroline
  8. Sindy
  9. Chantale
  10. Genevieve
  11. Mylaine
  12. Jinny
  13. Chantal
  14. Melanie
  15. Martine
  16. Stephanie and Stefanie
  17. Cinthia and Cynthia
  18. Johannie
  19. Guylaine
  20. Jannie

Other notables:

  • Kathy, Cathie and Cathy (1%)
  • Nancy (1%)
  • France (1%)
  • Cindy (1%)
  • Sylvie (1%)
  • Joannie and Joanie (1%)
  • Pascale (1%)
  • Patricia (1%)
  • Vanessa (1%)
  • Jessica (1%)
  • Dominique (2%)
  • Claudia (2%)
  • Nathalie (2%)
  • Christine (2%)
  • Annie (2%)
  • Sandra (2%)
  • Melissa (2%)
  • Jennifer (2%)
  • Catherine (2%)
  • Isabelle (3%)
  • Sabrina (3%)
  • Audrey (3%)
  • Nadia (4%)
  • Karen (4%)
  • Alexandra (5%)

Least trending boys’ names

Other names used little in the past 10 years vs. past 40 (excludes compound names and single-character names, minimum 100 uses overall).

  1. Sylvain
  2. Jocelyn
  3. Frederique
  4. Regis
  5. Kim
  6. Ashley
  7. Steeve, Steve and Stephane
  8. Kaven, Keaven and Keven
  9. Dominique
  10. Patrice
  11. Guy
  12. Pascal
  13. Yanic, Yanick and Yannick
  14. Jessie
  15. Stacy
  16. Carol
  17. Kimberley
  18. Boby
  19. Francis
  20. Reginald

Other notables:

  • Marion (1%)
  • Dave (1%)
  • Alain (2%)
  • Danny (2%)
  • Francois (2%)
  • Carl (2%)
  • Yves (2%)
  • Sebastien (2%)
  • Eric (2%)
  • Patrick (2%)
  • Martin (2%)
  • Luc (2%)
  • Jonathan (2%)
  • Michel (3%)
  • Mathieu (3%) and Matthieu (4%)
  • Bruno (3%)
  • Kevin (3%)
  • Guillaume (3%)
  • Steven (3%)
  • Frederic (4%) and Frederick (5%)
  • Marc (4%)
  • Benoit (4%)
  • Richard (4%)
  • Yan (4%) and Yann (5%)
  • Pierre (4%)
  • Dominic (4%)
  • Maxime (5%)
  • Jimmy (5%)
  • Andre (5%)

3 thoughts on “Quebec’s most and least trendy baby names of the decade

  1. Michael Black

    I think there used to be a lot more obligation to name someone after a relative. I always wondered why my father and grandfather had “Francis” as a middle name, until I saw my great grandfather’s sister had married someone with Francis as a last name. There was a lot of name recycling in Red River, it makes it hard to follow. My great, great grandfather remarried (after my great, great grandmother died) and his daughter named a daughter after his second wife. But it was also a small place with large families. So there were two Jemima Ross’s, one born with that name, the other marrying into the Ross family.

    Nowadays, people seem to pick a nice sounding name.

    Reply
  2. Kevin

    I agree with Michael. In my family there used to be a naming tradition, but when every adult in Europe was killed in WWII it was forgotten, and only rediscovered when someone started sorting out the family trees in the 80s and 90s.

    Reply

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