Monday, September 3, 2012

Charlotte: An example of an early comeback name?

In the name-enthusiast community, it's often been said that for a name to come back in style it has to wait until the prior cohort group it was popular with has died out. On the other hand, there are some counter-examples of that. Another one that is certainly experiencing an earlier-than-expected comeback is Charlotte. As you can see, its prior peak was in the 1940s which originally put the name in the same time period as for example Barbara or Patricia, both of which have yet to show any sign of returning. As recently as the 1990s Charlotte was clearly locked in fashion limbo along with those other at-the-time middle-aged names, but then in recent years the name has really spiked back up, and there's a good chance when the 2012 stats come out next May we'll see Charlotte at the highest the name's ever been on record. So what's behind the revival? I'm not sure, but it may have to do with the fashionable (for both genders) nickname Charlie. What do you think?


  1. That's really interesting - just goes to show you can't rely on every generalised statement about names; there's probably an exception to all of them.

    Here Charlotte actually dropped out of use during the 1940s (I suspect that, like Emma, it was seen as "too German" during and after the war).

    It's very much a revival from the 19th century, the last time it was Top 100.

    Here it began skyrocketing in popularity in the 1980s, and has already peaked.

    I wonder if Charlie may have stopped it going higher, as parents are no longer choosing Charlotte to have Charlie as the nickname, they're going straight for Charlie?

  2. It's those "exception to the fashion cycle rules" names that I find fascinating. Another example is Laura, a name that is popular on 30-40 year old women that first peaked around the turn of the 20th century when Emma was first popular. Based on predictable cycles, Laura should be popular on babies NOW, but since it saw a revival in the 1970s its in decline.

    As for Charlotte, I think the nickname Charlie may have helped as well as being a character on "Sex and the City". As for myself, I fail to understand the appeal of Charlotte. It's not one of my favorites. I prefer Colette.