National Edition

Elsa is the latest Disney heroine to spark a naming boom

Published: Saturday, June 28 2014 9:49 p.m. MDT

Updated: Saturday, June 28 2014 9:49 p.m. MDT

Elsa in "Frozen.

Disney

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Preschools in a few years are expected to feature more than a few Elsas, thanks to a surge in new parents naming their daughters after the popular character in "Frozen." It's not the first time that Disney heroines have prompted a naming boom, either.

Taryn Davies of the United Kingdom's Female First reported this week that the world's No. 1 online site for new and expecting moms, BabyCentre, put Elsa on its mid-year baby names chart for its first appearance in the top 100. It came in at 88, a jump of 243 names over last year.

The top five names are Emily, Olivia, Sophie, Isabella and Chloe, according to that list. In America, the top five girl names are Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella and Ava.

“Whilst the film’s popular heroine is called Anna, Elsa offers a more unique name and is also a strong female role model," Sarah Barrett, managing editor of BabyCentre, told Davies.

Quartz reports that names taken from favorite Disney films is nothing new; its own look has found "big historical spikes in the numbers of girls that share a name with Disney heroines right after a new film is released."

Quartz's Nikhil Sonnad created a chart showing how names in America are influenced by Disney.

He writes: "That chart — which uses U.S. Census Bureau data on all girls’ names for which there are more than five births in a given year — includes heroines with relatively uncommon names and from films that were very successful. Wendy skyrockets from 938 girls per million births before the 1953 release of 'Peter Pan,' doubling to over 1,800 over the next decade and continuing to 3,300 in 1967. There weren’t five girls in the country called Mulan in any year before the film of the same name was released in 1998, after which it started accounting for four and eventually seven of every million births. Another big spike happens for Ariel directly after 'The Little Mermaid.'"

Sonnad calls naming trends "unpredictable," but also writes that "the Disney boost looks real and a similar phenomenon might even extend to other popular films and TV shows that have unique character names, like "Game of Thrones."

Figuring out the appeal for adults may not be easy, but The Telegraph's Judith Woods shed some light on the appeal of Elsa and her sister Anna, the two "Frozen" heroines, by asking her own kids what they like about the animated sisters.

She wrote: “'I like Elsa because she has powers,' is the verdict of my younger daughter, Tabitha, who appreciates a strong role model and would watch her all day on a loop if she could. While, of course, wearing her 'Frozen' bracelet and 'Frozen' pendant and rearranging the characters in her 'Frozen' sticker book. ... 'I like Anna because she’s funny. And so is Olaf because he keeps losing bits of his body.'

"All very true. But it’s her sister’s critique that pinpoints exactly why 'Frozen' has captured the planet’s imagination. 'It’s the first Disney cartoon I’ve seen where the heroine isn’t saved by some handsome prince or other,' observes Lily, crisply."

Email: lois@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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