American baby names are getting increasingly unique.
In 1950, just 5 percent of babies had names outside of the 1,000 most popular, according to Wait But Why. In 2012, that went up to 27 percent.
But what should you name a kid, if not John, Paul, or Yoko? As Polly Mosendz finds at Bloomberg, more and more baby name consultants are springing up to help you name that child.
New York’s My Name For Life will run you a couple hundred dollars. But others are way more.
The Switzerland-based consultancy Erfolgswelle — which started out branding of organizations — has moved into branding humans. The firm charges over $29,000 to name a child. Beyond finding the right name for a child, Erfolgswelle says that it will create the right name — with just the right rhythm and history to suit your scion.
Given how loaded of a choice a baby’s name is, it makes sense that a market would spring up.
Just look at the research.
Names are a filter for race. One psychology study found that résumés with white-sounding names are rated as more employable than black-sounding ones.
And they say a lot of about class: another study found that subbing a “kz” for “x” (like Alekzandra over Alexandra) happens entirely within lower-class families, and it correlates with the likelihood that a child will be held back. A British study has found that people with high-class names (Eleanor, in particular) are more likely to end up at posh Oxford University than a Jade, Oliver, or Simon.
Gender plays a role too: boys with traditionally feminine names like Courtney or Ashley are more likely to have behavioral problems in school, and girls with traditionally masculine names (like Jordan) are more likely to go into science.
There is one commonality among names, regardless of how rare they are. No matter what, they’ll get it wrong at Starbucks.