Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2013

Here are the results of the 2013 pop culture baby name game!

But I’m writing them up a bit differently this year — I’m only focusing on 20 big winners.

How did I choose these 20? First, I eliminated all the names that didn’t see increased usage in 2013. Then I eliminated the names that saw relatively small increases in usage. Then I eliminated the names that saw more or less expected increases in usage, given their trajectories.

That left me with about 20 names that became more popular in 2013 due mainly (in some cases entirely) to pop culture influence.

The links will take you to popularity graphs.

1. Jace

  • Increase: +1,649 baby boys (4,692 to 6,341) and +8 baby girls (36 to 44).
  • Inspiration: “Duck Dynasty” character Jason “Jase” Robertson.
  • Even more impressive, the name Jase increased +3,410 and +13.

2. Lincoln

  • Increase: +1,112 baby boys (2,898 to 4,010) and +28 baby girls (33 to 61).
  • Inspiration: The film Lincoln (2012).

3. Ariana

  • Increase: +816 baby girls (3,568 to 4,384).
  • Inspiration: Singer/actress Ariana Grande.
  • 4,384 baby girls is a new all-time high for Ariana. The previous high was 4,322 baby girls in 2007.

4. Everly

  • Increase: +517 baby girls (287 to 804).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby Everly, daughter of Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan.

5. Kendrick

  • Increase: +472 baby boys (570 to 1,042).
  • Inspiration: Hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar.
  • 1,042 baby boys is a new all-time high for Kendrick. The previous high was 763 baby boys in 1991.

6. Milan

  • Increase: +333 baby boys (151 to 484) and +89 baby girls (382 to 471).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby Milan, son of Shakira and Gerard Pique.

7. George

  • Increase: +194 baby boys (2,328 to 2,522).
  • Inspiration: Royal baby George, son of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

8. Francis

  • Increase: +101 baby boys (429 to 530) and +13 baby girls (44 to 57).
  • Inspiration: The election of Pope Francis.
  • Even more impressive, the name Francisco increased +125.

9. Bruno

  • Increase: +91 baby boys (284 to 375).
  • Inspiration: Singer Bruno Mars.
  • 375 baby boys is a new all-time high for Bruno. The previous high was 353 in 1916.

10. Paul

  • Increase: +78 baby boys (1,939 to 2,017).
  • Inspiration: The death of actor Paul Walker.
  • Walker saw an even bigger increase (+128) but I thought Paul’s rise was more compelling as it went against a decades-long decline in usage.

11. Robin

  • Increase: +48 baby boys (104 to 152).
  • Inspiration: Singer Robin Thicke.

12. Diamond

  • Increase: +41 baby girls (345 to 386).
  • Inspiration: Rihanna song “Diamonds” (2012).

13. Wendy

  • Increase: +37 baby girls (357 to 394).
  • Inspiration: Texas politician Wendy Davis.
  • I’m dying to see how much of Wendy’s increase can be attributed to Texas specifically. The SSA’s state lists haven’t been updated yet, though.

14. Nori

  • Increase: +18 baby girls (11 to 29).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby “Nori” (North), daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
  • 29 baby girls is a new high for Nori. The previous high was 20 in 2009.

15. Primrose

  • Increase: +17 baby girls (17 to 34).
  • Inspiration: Hunger Games (2012) character Primrose Everdeen.
  • Prim, a nickname for Primrose, debuted with 7 baby girls.

16. Marnie

  • Increase: +14 baby girls (13 to 27).
  • Inspiration: “Girls” character Marnie Michaels.

17. Rainbow

  • Increase: +9 baby girls (7 to 16).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby Rainbow, daughter of Holly Madison and Pasquale Rotella.

18. Kitai

  • Debuted with 16 baby boys.
  • Inspiration: After Earth (2013) character Kitai Raige.
  • Cypher, the name of another After Earth character, increased +4.

19. Sansa

  • Debuted with 11 baby girls.
  • Inspiration: “Game of Thrones” character Sansa Stark.

20. Malala

  • Debuted with 9 baby girls.
  • Inspiration: Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

Did any of the above surprise you?

Past PCBNG results: 2012, 2011, 2010.


13 thoughts on “Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2013

  1. I’m surprised at how poorly George and Francis rose. Definitely not poised for comebacks

  2. George and Francis are tough sells in the U.S., style-wise.

    I think if the influence had been closer to home, and a lot cooler, there might be a chance for a comeback. Imagine Beyonce naming a baby boy George, for instance. (She wouldn’t, but just as an example.) That might do it.

    But a pope or a royal? Probably not.

  3. I think if they had a girl, it might’ve done better. I think most “classic” boy names are just so overused, especially in the US. Even if they had a Michael I doubt the name would’ve climbed. However there are several “classic” girl names that could’ve gotten a big royal boost, Eleanor for example.

  4. That’s a good point about boy vs. girl names. I agree — I think a classic/old-fashioned girl name (like Eleanor, Margaret, Alice) would have had a bigger impact than an equivalent boy name (like George).

  5. The state lists were released today, and it doesn’t look like a disproportionately high number of Wendys were born in Texas last year.

    Here are all the states in which the number of babies named Wendy went up from 2012 to 2013:

    NY +12
    CA +8
    GA +5
    NJ +5
    TX +5
    FL +4
    NH +4
    PA +3
    UT +3
    NC +2
    SC +2 (at least)
    IA +2 (at least)
    AZ +1
    CA +1
    MA +1
    OK +1

    (These add up to more than 37 because, in other states, the number of Wendys went down.)

  6. What about Castiel? That name is surely due to the pop culture influence of the tv show Supernatural. It was not in the top 1000 boy names in 2012, but there were 122 babies named this. In 2013 it debuted in the top 1000 at rank 956 with 206 babies named this. That is an increase +84. I was surprised to see this, and to not see it listed in your 20 big winners.

    Or Santana. It came back into the top 1000 for boys in 2013 at 971 after being gone since 2006. Although it had a higher rank in 2006, it increased a bit from 2012, when there were only 162 boys named this versus in 2013 when there were 204, an increase of +42. I guess I see it as pop culture and maybe you weren’t thinking it was.

    Good lord, here in utah there’s a quarterback named Taysom and heaven forbid it, but there were 10 babies named this last year. I rather fear entirely due to him.

    Which reminded me about Jace (or Jase or Jayce, etc) – I think the increase of this name is more due to the ‘alternative to Chase’ trend, way to honor someone without having a junior trend (there are a lot of Jasons now old enough to be fathers or even grandfathers), the nickname as a ‘cool’ first name trend, and the ‘long a sound’ trend (Aidan, Jayden, Jake, Chase, Ace, Jace, etc.)

    There’s Kalel – I suppose it could be a version of Khalil, but I think likely it’s more attributable to Superman. There was a new Superman movie that came out last year with a significant amount of the show focusing on the name. Not only has it not been in the top 1000 for a few years, it came back at a higher rank than before (980 in 2009 – there were 203 born then and only 205 this year, but since no children were named this in 2012 or 2011 and only 174 were born in 2010, it seems like a ‘big winner’ for a pop culture influenced name. Was it because you saw it as predictable since there was a film released? But this was not the case in 2006 with the last Superman film, the jump in births didn’t happen til later.

    Now Penny. I wish the increase were due to just people falling in love again with a simple adorable name for girls (or, if pop culture inspired, let it be from The Rescuers) but there is this tv comedy that seems to be very popular with a character named Penny. There were 250 born last year, and only 230 the year before. An increase of 20 seems big to me, and potentially pop-culture influenced. I wouldn’t have guessed this was a predictable trajectory because there were no Pennys born in 2011 (though there were 5 Pennylanes.) Were you thinking because of the popularity of Penelope this was predictable?

    What about Liv? I always think of it as a Norwegian name and pronounced like the word leave, and it has no pop culture reference for me, but my sister, whenever I mention the name, corrects me and says ‘it’s pronounced like the word live (short i). She says this is due to an actress named this. Is it as I hope, just a reflection of an interest in foreign names, or is it due to the actress, do you think? I find it an unusual name to be in the top 1000 as I’ve only ever met one Liv (not the actress). I guess it could just be like the nickname for Olivia. Hmm. 272 were born in 2013 while only 237 were born in 2012. That’s a big increase, to me, 35 additional Livs.

    279 Freyas. How did that happen? Maybe it’s an interest in mythology or lots of other folks watching Vikings (on the History channel). But I remember that another Thor movie came out last year and I believe she is a character in that movie (do you count it when the pop culture influence is a reflection of something so old like that?) There were only 181 born the previous year. An increase of almost 100. The year before (2011) there was the first Thor movie and there were 205 Freyas born. (the year before that there were only 164 Freyas. the Vikings show is younger than that)

  7. @Dellitt

    There are some Livs around that can inspire parents:

    Liv Boeree, poker player and model (given name Olivia)

    Liv Kristine, symphonic metal singer (from Norway)

    Liv Grete Poiree, biathlet (retired 2006; from Norway)

    —something for everyone. The actress Liv Ullmann has had her biggest success decades ago, it would be a little surprising that babies are named for her just now.

  8. Wow, Dellitt! Lots to think about here.

    You’re right — I probably messed up by not including Castiel, Kalel, Freya, and other names. I did my best picking 20 “big winners,” but I clearly overlooked several names. Sorry about that.

    There might be something to the Jace-Chase thing. Names like Sadie and Silas prove that Duck Dynasty is still a huge influence, though. It’s hard to know how much of Jace’s rise is due to the show and how much is due to sound.

    What an awesome comment. Most of my *posts* don’t even have that much detail. Thanks!

  9. How popular is the name “Axl” (pronounced like an axle in a car? It is the name of the teenage son in the ABC sitcom “The Middle”. His brother is named “Brick”. “Brick” is played by Atticus Shaffer – an unusual name, as well!

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