The Top Baby Name Rises, 1881 to Today

top baby name rises by year

Many years ago, I published a list of the top debut baby names. A few years after that, I posted a list of the top one-hit wonder baby names.

So today let’s check out another fun set of “top” names: the top rises. The names below are those that increased the most in usage, percentage-wise, from one year to the next according to the SSA data.

Here’s the format: girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the percentages represent single-year jumps in usage. (For example, from 1880 to 1881, usage of the girl name Isa grew 240% and usage of the boy name Noble grew 333%.)

  • 1881: Isa, 240%; Noble, 333%
  • 1882: Clementine, 300%; Clarance, 300%
  • 1883: Malissa, 243%; Alf, 150%
  • 1884: Belva, 1220%; Grover, 532%
  • 1885: Phebe, 220%; Bryant, 200%
  • 1886: Felicia, 180%; Thornton, 240%
  • 1887: Ossie, 240%; Aubrey, 240%
  • 1888: Bennie, 250%; Thurman, 414%
  • 1889: Diana, 233%; Grady, 267%
  • 1890: Easter, 238%; Isaiah, 215%
  • 1891: Lutie, 200%; Colonel, 217%
  • 1892: Lollie, 271%; Pierce, 340%
  • 1893: Annabell, 240%; Lindsay, 320%
  • 1894: Versie, 320%; Alvie, 233%
  • 1895: Glenn, 283%; Alma, 220%
  • 1896: Vernice, 217%; Hobart, 744%
  • 1897: Sigrid, 200%; Roswell, 183%
  • 1898: Manila, 1386%; Dewey, 606%
  • 1899: Tula, 280%; Rogers, 220%
  • 1900: Rosia, 480%; Wilber, 417%
  • 1901: Dellie, 180%; Kermit, 183%
  • 1902: Lolita, 420%; Judge, 260%
  • 1903: Rafaela, 280%; Jordan, 250%
  • 1904: Amber, 314%; Adelbert, 260%
  • 1905: Orma, 300%; Armand, 222%
  • 1906: Ena, 456%; Sheldon, 240%
  • 1907: Lota & Tula, 240%; Quincy, 183%
  • 1908: Bernetta & Nila, 260%; Taft, 288%
  • 1909: Laverna & Nevada, 267%; Toney, 300%
  • 1910: Cleopatra, 240%; Arturo & Sammy, 283%
  • 1911: Maryellen, 280%; Vincenzo & Wyman, 320%
  • 1912: Marina, 420%; Woodrow, 1423%
  • 1913: Carroll, 263%; Rosendo, 320%
  • 1914: Lucyle, 280%; Irvine, 333%
  • 1915: Zudora, 460%; Charlton, 320%
  • 1916: Aldena, 291%; Tatsuo, 850%
  • 1917: Liberty, 617%; Masami, 338%
  • 1918: Kazuko, 320%; Quentin, 567%
  • 1919: Verbie, 300%; Belvin, 360%
  • 1920: Marcene, 386%; Harding, 718%
  • 1921: Elwanda, 1860%; Gareth, 560%
  • 1922: Carley, 320%; Colie, 340%
  • 1923: Eris, 1313%; Coolidge, 820%
  • 1924: Janeth, 517%; Phyllis, 260%
  • 1925: Murlene & Normalee, 260%; Estell & Unknown, 214%
  • 1926: Ileana, 633%; Jarrell & Lenoard, 240%
  • 1927: Charmaine, 825%; Lindbergh, 867%
  • 1928: Jeannine, 1147%; Hoover, 522%
  • 1929: Dorla, 800%; Davey, 889%
  • 1930: Arlayne, 317%; Derl, 1060%
  • 1931: Marlene, 745%; Colbert, 280%
  • 1932: Harlene, 270%; Delano, 1057%
  • 1933: Sharleen, 425%; Delano, 289%
  • 1934: Adriana, 283%; Kelvin, 360%
  • 1935: Norita, 1171%; Darwyn, 458%
  • 1936: Shelba, 2667%; Lonzie, 320%
  • 1937: Deanna, 2009%; Tyrone, 788%

The SSA data isn’t perfect, but it does get a lot better in the late 1930s, because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data” (SSA). Now, back to the list…

  • 1938: Danielle, 878%; Dion, 355%
  • 1939: Brenda, 308%; Hall, 280%
  • 1940: Scarlett, 743%; Clemmie, 257%
  • 1941: Jerilyn, 1250%; Rulon, 250%
  • 1942: Michal, 1520%; Macarthur, 2740%
  • 1943: Shaaron, 456%; Suzanne, 240%
  • 1944: Dorinda, 568%; Kennedy, 280%
  • 1945: Lauren, 709%; Dorian, 220%
  • 1946: Jacalyn, 740%; Cornel, 533%
  • 1947: Jolinda, 388%; Brock, 364%
  • 1948: Sharman, 275%; Kevan, 260%
  • 1949: Lorry, 360%; Hanson, 240%
  • 1950: Vallorie, 717%; Brion, 400%
  • 1951: Krystal, 588%; Denise, 350%
  • 1952: Pandora, 1100%; Corby & Wilhelm, 240%
  • 1953: Angelique, 1157%; Shane, 392%
  • 1954: Sheree, 756%; Dain, 360%
  • 1955: Sabrina, 711%; Davy, 509%
  • 1956: Venetia, 543%; Cheyenne, 680%
  • 1957: Tammy, 1591%; Tammy, 467%
  • 1958: Keely, 1100%; Bret, 680%
  • 1959: Torri, 411%; Efrem, 963%
  • 1960: Lisha, 1096%; Stephon, 1200%
  • 1961: Marisol, 481%; Parrish, 1460%
  • 1962: Penne, 447%; Chance, 350%
  • 1963: Tamiko, 1440%; Tal, 617%
  • 1964: Deneen, 7191%; Temple, 420%
  • 1965: Fontella, 880%; Branden, 340%
  • 1966: Tabatha, 9900%; Heath, 1070%
  • 1967: Anisa, 1600%; Garrison, 320%
  • 1968: Coretta, 2485%; Dustin, 778%
  • 1969: Lalena, 640%; Jeromy, 514%
  • 1970: Shiloh, 540%; Jermaine, 3320%
  • 1971: Ashli, 1900%; Jermaine, 494%
  • 1972: Catina, 9033%; Demond, 3920%
  • 1973: Cicely, 1827%; Caine, 780%
  • 1974: Nakia, 16100%; Rashad, 1100%
  • 1975: Rasheda, 988%; Jamaal, 688%
  • 1976: Rhiannon, 1713%; Seneca, 1429%
  • 1977: Shawntae, 686%; Lavar, 5480%
  • 1978: Aja, 3407%; Dequan, 988%
  • 1979: Renada, 780%; Yoel, 525%
  • 1980: Genese, 1920%; Rayshaun, 440%
  • 1981: Krystle, 1623%; Cavin, 833%
  • 1982: Jere, 1000%; Colt, 1620%
  • 1983: Ciji, 2950%; Remington, 657%
  • 1984: Santana, 3467%; Ryne, 424%
  • 1985: Kayleigh, 2914%; Jaymes, 769%
  • 1986: Kyrie, 3180%; Orry, 789%
  • 1987: Janay, 1168%; Jareth, 400%
  • 1988: Whitley, 916%; Nico, 860%
  • 1989: Audriana, 3467%; Alexande, 4917%
  • 1990: Alannah, 1583%; Tevin, 4569%
  • 1991: Tanairi, 820%; Devante, 1356%
  • 1992: Darian, 703%; Jalen, 3980%
  • 1993: Coraima, 4320%; Savon, 2457%
  • 1994: Aaliyah, 6495%; Romario, 1940%
  • 1995: Iridian, 1845%; Tristin, 747%
  • 1996: Alanis, 1047%; Json, 880%
  • 1997: Yulisa, 2729%, Ennis, 620%
  • 1998: Jazsmin, 960%; Denilson, 900%
  • 1999: Tionne, 1100%; Sincere, 647%
  • 2000: Litzy, 1189%; Elian, 2413%
  • 2001: Nevaeh, 1111%; Jaheim, 5440%
  • 2002: Lashanti, 2060%; Omarion, 8260%
  • 2003: Azeneth, 1913%; Andon, 2200%
  • 2004: Betzaida, 1233%; Jakwon, 1260%
  • 2005: Mikalah, 1906%; Talan, 2130%
  • 2006: Bethzy; 2636%; Dereon, 1217%
  • 2007: Jaslene, 9920%; Leonidas & Renner, 700%
  • 2008: Dayami, 3464%; Barack, 940%
  • 2009: Baya, 1020%; Dhani, 520%
  • 2010: Collins, 1557%; Bentlee, 733%
  • 2011: Thaily, 1400%; Neymar, 900%
  • 2012: Cataleya, 2182%; Long, 740%
  • 2013: Daleyza, 1055%; Jaiceon, 1057%
  • 2014: Aranza, 1297%; Jameis, 720%
  • 2015: Vail, 700%; Rhydian, 667%
  • 2016: Kehlani, 571%; Kylo, 580%
  • 2017: Westlynn, 600%; Oseias, 1080%
  • 2018: Maleni, 950%; Atreus, 1888%

(Did you catch all the doubles? Tula, Delano, Tammy, Jermaine, and Davey/Davy.)

I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and I plan to write about many of the others. In the meanwhile, though, feel free to beat me to it! Leave a comment and let us know what popularized Dorla in 1929, or Lauren in 1945, or Dustin in 1968, or Kayleigh in 1985, or Talan in 2005…


23 thoughts on “The Top Baby Name Rises, 1881 to Today

  1. THIS LIST! So amazing.

    Fontella, 1965 = Singer Fontella Bass; Her big hit “Rescue Me” released in 1965
    Sigrid, 1897 = could it be Sigrid Arnoldson, the Swedish opera singer? The year doesn’t line up perfectly with her career – she was active before + after – but it seems possible
    Danielle, 1938 = French actor Danielle Darrieux starred in The Rage of Paris with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
    Dorinda. 1944 = Irene Dunn’s character in A Guy Named Joe, a 1943 movie starring Spencer Tracy
    Lauren, 1945 = Has to be Bacall, right? The date lines up with her big screen debut in 1944
    Sabrina, 1955 = The Audrey Hepburn movie from 1954, titled Sabrina, with a scene explaining the name’s poetic origins
    Coretta, 1968 = Coretta Scott King, wife of MLK, assassinated in 1968

    Okay, stopping now … this is addictive!

  2. Yes! It’s fun to scan the list and reflexively know exactly what the reason for the increase was.

    1940 – Scarlett, GWTW premiered Dec 1939
    1945 – Dorian, The Picture of Dorian Gray
    1958 – Keely Smith, singer/actress, big screen debut was Thunder Road and she also had a hit record that year That Old Black Magic
    1961 – Parrish, Troy Donahue’s character’s first name and name of the film
    1981 – Krystle, Dynasty’s first season
    1988 – Whitley, A Different World, first season

    2005 – Talan was the name of one of the people on a reality show about Laguna, CA. Not sure which show but a friend’s daughter was a bit obsessed with those shows, so I heard the name far more than anyone should. Every time I heard “Talan” it made me think ‘talon’ so it’s been stuck in my memory ever since.

    But others really do need some explaining… Clemmie (1940), Vallorie (1950), Caine (1973), Cavin (1981).

  3. Thanks Ellyn! Talan was one I hadn’t figured out yet, so thanks especially for that one. :)

    Vallorie was a comic strip character — I’ve written a post about it, but the post is scheduled for 2025 (!)…I’ll move it up to mid-next month so you can have the details.

    I’ll also mention that I did this analysis by hand — one spreadsheet per year. It took a while, but the benefit is that I now have lists of all the rises (and drops) for every single year. So if anyone wants more info on the rises/drops for a particular year, just let me know.

    Update (3/14/19) – Here’s the Vallorie post!

  4. Lauren in 1945 I believe was due to the actress Lauren Bacall making her hollywood debut the year before, and her marriage to iconic actor Humphrey Bogart in 1945 probably helped too.

  5. Alanis in 1996, Aaliyah in 1994 are obviously from the artists, as is Barack in 2008. Rhiannon in 76 is Fleetwood Mac. Kylo in 2016 is the Star Wars movie. Bentlee was from Teen Mom. Vail is savannah Guthrie’s daughter. Dereon is Beyoncé’s clothing line that started in 2006. A lot of African American names seem to be in there too so maybe their style is more socially influenced.

  6. Thanks for the info about Vallorie! i look forward to learning more.

    Rulon (1941) Rulon Wells was a leader of the LDS church and died in 1941.
    Pandora (1952) Ava Gardener starred as Pandora Reynolds in ‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman’,
    Romario (1994) was the top soccer/footballer that year and his team, Brazil, won the World Cup.
    Cataleya (2012) the main character in the movie Colombiana, played by Zoe Saldana.

  7. Thanks, Skizzo and Liz!

    @Ellyn – That Rulon rise in 1941 was one that I wasn’t even aware of before putting this post together. (The next-highest boy-name rises from 1941 were Denzel, Delford, Arville, and Hamp.)

  8. 1999 is a bit of a two-fer. Both Tionne and Sincere are connected to the film “Belly” which was released in November 1998.

    Sincere was the name of the lead character in the movie. He was played by the rapper Nas. Sincere’s girlfriend was named Tionne and was portrayed by Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins.

    Belly didn’t do particularly well at the box office or get great reviews, but it definitely had an impact on some of those who did see it.

    Now I’m going to try to find out about Arville …

  9. Jaslene – 2007 – Jaslene Gonzalez won America’s Next Top Model in 2007
    Leonidas – 2007 – from the main character in the movie 300 (2007)
    Collins – 2010 – main character in The Blind Side (2009), based on a real person
    Dustin – 1968 – Dustin Hoffman appeared in his breakout role in The Graduate in 1967
    Bryant – 1885 – I want to say this is related to William Jennings Bryan, who was a big advocate in the free silver movement during this era and ran for President in 1886.
    Kermit – 1901 – after Kermit Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt’s young son. First year Teddy was in office.
    Harding – 1920 – after Warren Harding
    Iridian – 1995 – it looks like a spanish-language singer named Iridian came out with her debut album in 1994
    Coraima – 1993 – after Coraima Torres, who starred in a popular telenovela that ran from 92 – 93.
    Dorinda – 1944 – two possible sources. A 1944 novel named Dorinda, although I’m not sure how popular it was. The more likely source was a 1943 film called A Guy Named Joe starring Spencer Tracy. The female love interest is named Dorinda.
    Kyrie – 1986 – a song by the band Mr. Mister which hit number 1 on the top 100 in March 1986.
    Parrish – 1961 – 1961 film Parrish with Troy Donohue playing the lead character named Parrish
    Tamiko – 1963 – a 1962 film titled A Girl Named Tamiko

  10. Remington – 1983 – TV Show Remington Steele debuted in 1982
    Jalen – 1992 – after basketball player Jalen Rose
    Tevin – 1989 – Tevin Campbell’s debut single reached the top of the R&B Charts in 1989
    Omarion – 2002 – singer Omarion of R&B group B2K
    Deanna – 1937 – coincides with the debut of actress Deanna Durbin
    Tyrone – 1937 – this has to be related to actor Tyrone Power. I think he debuted around this time as well.
    Angelique – 1953 – from the film The Mississippi Gambler
    Sheree – 1954 – actress Sheree North began her tenure at 20th Century Fox, with Fox planning to use her as a replacement for Marilyn Monroe
    Jermaine – 1970/1971 – 1970 was the year the Jackson 5 really took off
    Jamaal – 1975 – basketball player Jamaal Wilkes
    Rashad – 1974 – pro football player who converted to Islam and changed his name to Ahmad Rashad early in his career in 1973
    Caine – 1973 – I think this relates to David Carradine’s character in the TV show Kung Fu, which ran from 1972 to 1975 and inspired a couple sequels/spin-offs.
    Savon – 1993 – Ice Cube played a character named Savon in the 1992 film Trespass
    Jameis – 2014 – after football player Jameis Winston
    Rayshaun – I can find SO many births for Rayshaun/Rayshawns in 1979 & 1980. This one has me stumped! I need an answer for it!
    Ennis – 1997 – Bill Cosby’s son Ennis Cosby was murdered that year
    Betzaida – 2004 – Latin pop singer who debuted in 2004
    Tanairi – 1991 – there was a popular Puerto Rican telenovela entitled Tanairi that began airing in 1985. It looks like Telemundo acquired the rights for broadcast around 1990/1991, so that’s probably where it made the jump.
    Denilson – 1998 – Brazilian soccer player
    Alannah – 1990 – singer Alannah Myles
    Cicely – 1973 – actress Cicely Tyson
    Cheyenne – 1956 – the popular TV show Cheyenne debuted in 1955
    Davy – 1955 – Disney had a five part series on Davy Crockett that aired from 1954 – 1955. This is the series that started the “coonskin cap” craze among children of the decade.
    Shane – 1953 – Western film titled Shane
    Marlene – 1931 – debut of Marlene Dietrich
    Ileana – 1926 – Princess Ileana of Romania toured the U.S. that year
    Quentin – 1918 – death of Teddy Roosevelt’s son in the war

  11. Arlayne (1930) – Arlayne Brown was a young sharpshooter who was winning shooting competitions against adults by 1929 when she was 13 or 14. The combination of her skills and age/gender had her making headlines nationwide. She later toured as part of a Wild Wesst show and was in ads for Camel cigarettes.

    Rasheda (1975) Muhammad Ali’s daughter, appeared with her family on the January 1975 cover of Ebony Magazine
    Jamaal (1975) NBA Rookie of the Year Jackson Keith Wilkes became Jamaal Wilkes

  12. I might as well put up a comment regarding the name Oseias (which, I should add, debuted in the SSA data in 2016).
    From my research, the Brazilian telenovela ‘Os Dez Mandamentos’ (The Ten Commandments) popularised the name. I first noticed the rise while I was working on name data from Ecuador where it debuted for the first time in the data’s latest year, 2017, with 167 baby boys recorded with that name over there. There are also rises and debuts for some other names in the Ecuador data as well as the SSA data, Nefertari being one.

  13. Thank you, m4yb3_daijirou! I hadn’t figured Oseias out yet. Very cool that you’re doing a deep-dive into Ecuador’s name data!

  14. This is another mystery I recently discovered: MIllette (F) had less than 5 baby girls in 1966, but 68 in 1967—thus even beating the 1600% of Anisa. The spike went off as fast as it came, but what was behind it?

  15. I know Millette comes from soap opera actress Millette Alexander, but I don’t know why it hit so big in 1967 specifically. (I have a blog post for this one already done, but scheduled for a future date — I’ll reschedule it so that it publishes sooner…)

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