Why Is “Keniel” Trendy in Puerto Rico?

The name Keniel is curiously popular in Puerto Rico. In fact, Keniel has been one of the top 100 names for baby boys born in Puerto Rico since 2005.

Despite being roughly 100 times larger than PR in terms of population, the U.S. currently has less than half the number of Keniels:

Year # of Keniels born in U.S. # of Keniels born in PR
2015 24
(7 in FL)
66
(ranked 31st)
2014 23
(8 in FL)
74
(ranked 31st)
2013 25
(5 in FL, 5 in PA, 6 in NY)
95
(ranked 18th)
2012 18
(5 in FL)
103
(ranked 23rd)
2011 15
(5 in FL)
94
(ranked 28th)
2010 18
(7 in FL)
65
(ranked 60th)
2009 8 86
(ranked 51st)

The U.S. states with the most Keniels also have particularly large Puerto Rican populations, which isn’t surprising.

We see the same pattern with the double-n version Kenniel:

Year # of Kenniels born in U.S. # of Kenniels born in PR
2015 17
(6 in FL)
not in top 100
2014 13 39
(ranked 83rd)
2013 8 38
(ranked 87th)
2012 6 38
(ranked 96th)
2011 7 39
(ranked 96th)
2010 fewer than 5 not in top 100

And I expect a similar pattern to emerge for Kendriel, which was new to both the U.S. and the PR lists in 2015:

Year # of Kendriels born in U.S. # of Kendriels born in PR
2015 8 41
(ranked 68th)
2014 fewer than 5 not in top 100

I’m not sure what kicked off the trendiness of Keniel in Puerto Rico, if anything. The popularity of Keniel might simply be part of the general trendiness of nontraditional –iel names (like Abdiel, Jadiel, Yeriel, Joniel and Yandiel) in PR lately. Names with –iel endings made up a whopping 17% of PR’s top 100 in both 2010 and 2011.

Do you know what might have kicked off a Keniel trend in Puerto Rico?

Do you like the name Keniel? (Or Kendriel?)

Source: SSA (U.S., Puerto Rico)


2 thoughts on “Why Is “Keniel” Trendy in Puerto Rico?

  1. I wonder if it came about as a result of the proximity to Caneel Bay? Just as parents used other spellings when the had heard the name “Siobhan”, perhaps originally they thought they heard “Keniel” instead of Caneel?

  2. That’s an interesting theory. It’s certainly possible. Though I would expect to see an initiating event (e.g., news story, advertising campaign, TV show) in the late ’90s or early ’00s that “introduced” the name Caneel/Keniel to PR, and so far I can’t seem to find one. (Then again, I don’t have easy access to Puerto Rican media, so I could be missing something.)

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