The United States has always been a plethora of origins, races, and cultures. The diversity of cultural backgrounds has affected children’s upbringing, family traditions and the way of life over the last few centuries. In most cases, ethnic origin dictated the school you would attend, the friends you would have, what language would being spoken at home, what name your parents gave you and what you would probably name your own child one day. Well, that cozy routine is about to change.
Have you realized how many Latino names you’ve encountered recently? According to Belly Ballot, a social media baby naming website, there is a new trend emerging across the United States – yes, Latino names are definitely in! The website has been tracking pregnant couples, gathering information about soon-to-be parents’ choices of baby names and came with a shocking prediction – in Fall 2013 through 2014, Latino names will not only be favored by Hispanic parents, but surprisingly, by white/Caucasian couples. The latest data show that white couples around the US are naming their children with Latino names and this trend will continue to rise.
Where does this phenomenon come from, you might ask? Why do white parents choose Hispanic names that have nothing to do with their origin and social identity? The reason is actually simpler than you would think: parents just want their children to assimilate more easily. America has seen a large demographic change in the last few decades and Hispanic culture is quickly growing. It seems that in many localities over the country, Caucasian parents are starting to feel they might become a minority sooner or later. By giving their child a Latino name, they are paving the way for this eventuality, making it easier for their children to fit into the Hispanic community in the future. Their children’s friends will be Hispanic, their teachers will be Hispanic, one day their bosses will be Hispanic; the multicultural effect on those children will be overwhelming. So if you think about it, trying to break the ice with a Latino name doesn’t sound like a completely paranoid idea after all.
To be perfectly honest, Latino names in the United States have been hitting the popularity charts for a while now: names like Sofia, Mia, and Olivia are already ranking the highest every year. According to real-time voting data, there is now a flood of other Latino names amongst Caucasian couples, including these:
Personally, I’m not sure the name Miguel itself can protect your child from social isolation, just as much as I don’t think somebody can’t blend in as Henry or Elizabeth. Contrary to what people might think, names do not create our personalities – we still create them ourselves. Whether we agree with it or not, though, fairly soon Latino names might take the lead in white families.
Lucie Strachonova Wisco was born and raised in the Czech Republic. She holds Master’s Degrees in Education and Psychology, and English Language and Literature. She currently works as Editor for BabyNames.net, discussing names from around the world.