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Cohen's new book cited in article on Deseret News

Today's most popular baby names reflect a trend toward individuality, not continuity

Once the most popular girls’ name in America, the name “Mary” has all but disappeared from the list of most popular baby names. Emma, Olivia, and Sophia top today’s list, while Mary has dropped to number 146. MPRC Faculty Associate Philip Cohen says this has less to do with the secularization of society than it does with the nation’s obsession with individuality. In the days when Mary topped the charts, “It was not an idea to have an original or interesting or fashionable name. If you go back even farther, in some families, people would have two sons named John, in case one of them died. Individuality was not celebrated,” Cohen said. Today, people have more of a preference for names that seem unique or interesting—like Emma, a formerly unpopular name that has recently cycled to the top once again.

Philip Cohen's new book, The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change takes a fresh approach to the sociological study of family life and includes interactive graphics and integrated workshops for undergraduate students.

Read the story in the Deseret News

Find out more about Cohen's new book

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