As the decades change, so do our preferences for the names we give our children. Looking at the list of most popular Spanish baby names over the last century, it's clear that children in Madrid and Barcelona don't have the same names their grandparents did — and for a country steeped in tradition, that's a pretty big deal.
As BabyCenter explained in a thoughtful report, the turn of the 20th century saw little variation in baby-naming; right up through the 1950s, the names José, Antonio, Manuel, and Francisco occupied the top four spots on the list, while girls were overwhelmingly named María, María Carmen, Carmen, Josefa, and Dolores. Toward mid-century, the tide slowly started to turn, with double names like María Teresa, José Luís, Ana María, and Miguel Angel becoming trendy. The transition to democracy in Spain following the 1975 death of dictator Francisco Franco brought still more changes on birth certificates, and the list has become increasingly more varied ever since.
True, the baby-name shift in Spain hasn't been as dramatic as it has over here. American babies have gone from the Clarences, Berthas, Walters, and Idas of the 1880s to today's popular Noah, Liam, Emma, Sophia. You probably won't find many little Psalms and Chicagos romping around Málaga, but you will see a lot of interesting regional names in Spain, according to the Spanish language learning site Don Quixote. In Galicia, Anxo and Antía are popular; Markel and Ane are big in the Catalan region. In the Canarian area, Airam and Naira are tops with parents.
Below are the top 20 most favored baby names in Spain today. They're all so beautiful, maybe they'll stick around for a while and become the next long-standing tradition.