Teri Wilde, a nurse in northern Kentucky, was asked which baby names she’s seen a lot of lately. For boys, she recalled “seeing a lot of “rhyming names” like Brayden, Caden, Aiden and Jaden.” No surprise there. But one of the first girl names she mentioned? Jersey. That answer surprised me quite a bit.
Jersey was originally just a Channel Island, but since then it’s become a type of cloth, a type of shirt, a breed of cattle, a U.S. state, and, via the state, one of the most ridiculous reality TV shows of all time.
Were any of those baby girls in Kentucky named after Jersey Shore, do you think?
Even better, do you think the show, which debuted in December of 2009, had any impact on usage of the name nationally? It’s never been a top-1,000 name — could Jersey Shore change that?
Below is the most recent data we have on Jersey. (The numbers for 2010 will be released later this month!)
- 2009: 221 baby girls, 8 baby boys named Jersey
- 2008: 219 baby girls, 6 baby boys named Jersey
- 2007: 217 baby girls, 11 baby boys named Jersey
- 2006: 225 baby girls, 14 baby boys named Jersey
- 2005: 210 baby girls, 8 baby boys named Jersey
Update, Aug. 2020: Here’s the latest graph for the baby name Jersey. In hindsight, it’s easy to see how the show — which ended up becoming not only MTV’s highest-rated series ever, but a legit pop culture phenomenon — influenced the name’s popularity: sharp drops in usage in both 2011 and 2012.
I’m still not sure why usage rose so quickly in the early 2000s, though…any ideas?