Federal statistics on baby names highlight profound differences between males and females.
The ten most popular names for boys are highly traditional, and half of them are Biblical (Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Noah and Daniel), while the most popular names for girls are far more exotic and trendy, with Isabella, Sophia, Emma, Olivia and Ava leading the way. Only one of the top female names (Abigail) is from the Bible.
For men, fashion in names resembles fashion in clothing: changing only subtly over the years, but for women there’s more emphasis on the flashy and stylish. Going back to the Bible, the Hebrew word for “male” is zachar- the same root as the word for “memory.” It’s the traditional male obligation to connect past and future that explains why we pass fathers’ family names—as well as first names—down through the generations.