The latest baby name trend looks to the '80s for inspiration. According to data released by the Office for National Statistics, a growing number of parents in the UK are choosing hyphenated first names for their kids.
Last year, 1,200 baby girls in England and Wales were given double-barreled names, which is a huge increase compared to 260 in the year 2000. Likewise, the number of baby boys given hyphenated names is now ten times as great as it was in the 1990s, sitting at 328!
While these monikers have a number of variations, the most popular include Amelia-Rose, Lily-May and Billie-Jo. Additionally, combinations using the name Rose have become the most prevalent. Esmae-Rose, Dolly-Rose and Summer-Rose are just a few examples.
Previously, this baby name trend peaked in the 80s when monikers such as Marie-Jo, Sarah-Jane and Lisa-Marie were commonly heard. While the reemerging trend might seem outdated now, US-based names expert Laura Wattenberg says, “It is one of a couple of ways in which UK naming trends are charting their own direction from the rest of the English-speaking world.”
According to Wattenberg, this baby name fad is distinctly British and has not yet caught on in North America or Australia.
The reason we’re seeing this trend re-emerge is because parents view these names as status symbols. “Anything with involving a dash I think people think of as being sort of posh,” says Peter York, a commentator on British class trends. According to York, a generation ago, these names were mainly used by the upper middle class.
Another reason for their popularity is simply because parents want their kids to have a unique and individual name. “I think there is pressure to stand out,” says Dr. Jane Pilcher, a sociologist and name expert from Leicester University. “This enables people to do that without going down the route of really wacky first names.”
In the past, a handful of celebrities have also followed this trend, which may have inspired new parents. Johnny Depp, for instance, named his daughter Lily-Rose and Kate Moss named her daughter Lila-Grace.
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