The research is in and Sofia is the reigning queen of baby names.
According to baby name expert Laura Wattenberg, Sofia and its variation Sophia are the top baby names in nine countries, including Mexico, Slovakia, Russia and Italy. The moniker is also the second or third most popular choice for parents in 20 other countries, including Canada and the U.S.
To determine the most popular baby name in the world, Wattenberg collected baby name statistics from 49 different countries. The expert then determined that Sofia was number one worldwide thanks to its ability to transcend borders.
“It just blew me away that so many different languages and cultures would arrive at the same sound at the same time,” she told Live Science. “I guess that really says something about the way culture is transmitted today.”
Sofia is an attractive moniker meaning “wisdom.” It has a playful, but sophisticated sound and is easy to pronounce in many languages. But despite all its positive qualities, Wattenberg says it’s hard to pinpoint why it’s suddenly exploding.
“I can point to qualities that would seem to make this name desirable,” she said. “The hard part is saying why it wasn't just as desirable a generation ago.”
Wattenberg notes that cross-cultural names such as Mary, John and Mohamed have strong familial and religious ties. However, as parents move away from tradition and classic names, baby monikers become driven by parents’ personal tastes.
Explaining Sofia’s popularity, Wattenberg said: “While it is a name with religious history behind it, its popularity is a phenomenon of fashion, not faith.”
And despite its sudden rise to the top, Wattenberg warns the moniker might not be number one for long. “Just the fact of tracking what the top 100 baby names are makes people competitive,” the expert explained. “Everyone is trying to avoid the number-one name, because they think that's too ordinary, so names rise and fall faster than they used to.”
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