How popular is the baby name Alexa in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Alexa and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Alexa.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Alexa

Number of Babies Named Alexa

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Alexa

Biggest Changes, Baby Girl Names, 2017

Which girl names increased the most in popularity from 2016 to 2017? And which ones decreased the most?

There are a few different ways to answer this question. The SSA, for instance, likes to look at ranking differences within the top 1,000. And I like to augment their list by looking at raw number differences across all the data.

So let’s look at increases first…

Girl Names: Biggest Increases, 2016 to 2017

Rankings

1. Ensley, +1,461 spots
2. Oaklynn, +1,072
3. Dream, +840
4. Oaklyn, +749
5. Melania, +720
6. Emberly, +616
7. Octavia, +435
8. Paisleigh, +364
9. Yara, +352
10. Kehlani, +347

Melania was influenced by the First Lady. Dream was influenced by the latest Kardashian baby.

Raw Numbers

1. Luna, +1,657 babies
2. Mila, +1,123
3. Amelia, +1,047
4. Bella, +957
5. Nova, +748
6. Camila, +704
7. Elena, +685
8. Kinsley, +669
9. Everly, +616
10. Aurora, +590

Camila might have been influenced by Camila Cabello (“Havana ooh na-na…”).

Other names that saw raw number increases in the 300+ range included Raelynn, Willow, Amara, Isla, Samara, and Leilani.

And now let’s check out decreases…

Girl Names: Biggest Decreases, 2016 to 2017

Rankings

1. Julianne, -263 spots
2. Wendy, -243
3. Milania, -241
4. Montserrat, -225
5. Nathaly, -225
6. Jayden, -204
7. Jessa, -201
8. Tenley, -198
9. Aryana, -184
10. Ciara, -183

Looks like Melania stole a lot of attention away from Milania in 2017.

Raw Numbers

1. Sophia, -1,281 babies
2. Emily, -1,211
3. Abigail, -1,196
4. Madison, -1,167
5. Sofia, -1,027
6. Mia, -978
7. Alexa, -883
8. Riley, -788
9. Brooklyn, -774
10. Lily, -769

Alexa was no doubt adversely affected by the prevalence of Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa.

Other names that saw raw number drops in the (negative) 300+ range included Kylie, Natalie, Taylor, Morgan, Piper, Trinity, and Harper.

Do you have any explanations for the name movement above? If so, please comment!

Sources: Change in Popularity, SSA, Emma and Liam Top Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2017


Name Quotes #53: DeVante, Ella, Buffalo

Time for some name quotes!

From a Movie Pilot interview with John Knoll, who came up with the name for Rogue One character Jyn Erso:

“My youngest daughter is Jane, and my wife is Jen, so [Jyn] is sort of mashup of them. And growing up my aunt was Aunt Ginny, [short] for Virginia, so there’s a little bit of that, too. It’s a mix up of a lot of my favorite women in my life.”

[Do you think Jyn will debut in the SSA data in 2017?]

From an A.V. Club review of the Black-ish episode “The Name Game,” in which characters argued about the name DeVante:

Dre’s point that names like Matthew, David, and Kevin don’t mean anything to him is fair. He wants to name his son after the actual culture and people he grew up around, and he hates the fact that when “something is black the world thinks that it’s bad.” Appeasing white culture with a name that has no cultural signifiers creates the type of internalized hatred that causes characters like Ruby and Charlie to respond so negatively to black names.

From a Telegraph essay by Sophia Money-Coutts about how absurd names build character:

But it’s enormously character building, being given an absurd name. It teaches you fortitude and tolerance because you will have to explain it 73 times a day. No use in labelling your children as George and Amal Clooney have just done. They’ve called their twins Ella and Alexander. I mean, they’re all right. Ella will probably grow up to be a florist or a yoga teacher and Alexander sounds like he might sell houses in Fulham. But what is life if you don’t grow up justifying your name to everyone you meet? Being called something silly means you can never take yourself too seriously.

From a Seattle Times article about what it’s like to share the name Alexa with the Amazon device:

Even though she’s never been on the receiving end of any commands or jokes, [Alexa] Wakefield remembers her first reaction to Alexa being, “How are they [Amazon] sort of allowed to use somebody’s name, like a more common name, as something like a robotic command,” she says, “It seems like a little bit of a violation.”

Later, she adds, “It’s placing your name in a subservient manner.”

These days, Wakefield says she’s learned to “look on the bright side.” “It’s sort of a feeling of pride,” she says, “Like a person named Alexa is very helpful!”

From a Cup of Jo post about offbeat middle names:

My friend gave her baby the middle name “Swift” because her labor was so quick.

Our friends chose the middle name “Buffalo” for their son because it was his dad’s nickname growing up. “It took my husband nine months to convince me,” my friend told me. “Then, in the middle of the night after signing the birth certificate, I had a mild panic attack at the hospital. Now I love it.”

From a Science of Us post about why it’s so hard to remember someone’s name:

There is a very simple reason why it’s so easy for the names of new acquaintances to slip right out of your head within moments of being introduced: Names are kind of meaningless. Memory experts say that the more pathways back to a memory you have, the easier it becomes to retrieve that memory, and this just doesn’t often happen naturally with names.

[…]

Sure, there may be family history or a great deal of sentimental meaning behind a person’s first name, but when you meet someone at a party, there’s no readily apparent reason why this guy should be named Mike and that guy should be named Max.

From an interview with CUNY business school student Janeflora Henriques:

When I was born, my oldest sister (who was a difficult child) insisted I be named “Florence” after a movie actress she idolized. My sister threatened consequences if I weren’t. On the other hand, the tradition of my tribe dictated that I be named after my dad’s eldest sister. Fearing whiplash from in-laws, my mother was wary to skip naming me after my aunt. At the same time, my mother was concerned about a daughter who said she would have nothing to do with me if I weren’t named Florence. So my mother shortened my aunt Jennifer’s name to “Jane” and Florence to “Flora” and gave me both.

From a Guardian article about extinct Hyoliths and their “helens”:

We all tend associate certain qualities to people’s names, usually on the basis of people we have known. Helen, for example, is a very sensible name. I associate it with practical, dependable people I have known. You can rely on a Helen. A quick look at the ONS data for girls’ names in England and Wales tells me that it reached a high point of number 8 in the list of baby names in both 1964 and 1974. It’s also the technical term for a hyolith appendage: a hyolithid has a pair of helens. I think this is utterly brilliant. The original paper from 1975 says “We term these … structures helens because the word has no functional connotations, and they were first described under the generic name Helenia by Walcott”. Really? Or did they know a Helen?

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.

Biggest Changes in Girl Name Popularity, 2016

Which girl names increased the most in popularity from 2015 to 2016? Which ones decreased the most?

The SSA likes to answer this question by analyzing ranking differences within the top 1,000. I like to answer it by looking at raw number differences that take the full list into account. So let’s check out the results using both methods…

Girl Names: Biggest Increases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, girl names, more popular

Rankings

1. Kehlani, +2,487 spots — up from 3,359th to 872nd
2. Royalty, +618 spots — up from 1,150th to 532nd
3. Saoirse, +465 spots — up from 1,448th to 983rd
4. Ophelia, +396 spots — up from 976th to 580th
5. Aitana, +368 spots — up from 917th to 549th
6. Itzayana, +356 spots — up from 1,125th to 769th
7. Alessia, +348 spots — up from 1,175th to 827th
8. Kaylani, +301 spots — up from 1,056th to 755th
9. Avianna, +298 spots — up from 751st to 453rd
10. Nalani, +294 spots — up from 1,280th to 986th

Kehlani and Kaylani were influenced by singer/songwriter Kehlani Parrish. (Kehlani was the top debut name of 2015, and variant Khelani debuted impressively in 2016.)

Royalty was influenced by the R&B singer Chris Brown, whose daughter (b. 2014) and 7th album (2015) were both called Royalty.

Saoirse was influenced by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan — perhaps specifically by those American talk show appearances in which she talked to the hosts (Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Colbert, etc.) about how to pronounce her name. Plus there was that widely circulated Ryan Gosling quote on the same topic (“It’s Ser-sha, like inertia”).

Alessia was influenced by singer/songwriter Alessia Cara.

Raw Numbers

1. Adeline, +1,700 baby girls — up from 2,403 to 4,103
2. Charlotte, +1,649 baby girls — up from 11,381 to 13,030
3. Riley, +1,390 baby girls — up from 5,720 to 7,110
4. Adaline, +971 baby girls — up from 902 to 1,873
5. Amelia, +864 baby girls — up from 9,838 to 10,702
6. Luna, +849 baby girls — up from 2,796 to 3,645
7. Emilia, +804 baby girls — up from 2,215 to 3,019
8. Camila, +765 baby girls — up from 5,271 to 6,036
9. Nova, +754 baby girls — up from 1,518 to 2,272
10. Evelyn, +708 baby girls — up from 9,352 to 10,060

Adeline and Adaline were influenced, at least initially, by the movie The Age of Adaline (2015).

Other names that saw raw number increases in the 200+ range included Eleanor, Teagan, Kinsley, Scarlett, Everly, Quinn, Aria, Remi, Harper, Penelope, Thea, Claire, Rowan, Hazel, Ruby, Blake, Aurora, Ivy, Harley, Eloise, Willow, Elena, Josephine, Alice, Blakely, Saylor, Nora, Leia, Iris, Margot, Isla, Freya, Samara, Joy, Zara, Eliana, Joanna, and Malia.

Girl Names: Biggest Decreases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, girl names, less popular

Rankings

1. Caitlin, -542 spots — down from 609th to 1,151st
2. Caitlyn, -462 spots — down from 598th to 1,060th
3. Katelynn, -402 spots — down from 652nd to 1,054th
4. Kaitlynn, -381 spots — down from 994th to 1,375th
5. Neriah, -344 spots — down from 943rd to 1,287th
6. Bryanna, -276 spots — down from 783rd to 1,059th
7. Kiley, -275 spots — down from 898th to 1,173rd
8. Yaritza, -271 spots — down from 935th to 1,206th
9. Denise, -210 spots — down from 993rd to 1,203rd
10. Kaelyn, -203 spots — down from 521st to 724th

caitlyn jenner, magazine coverCaitlin, Caitlyn, Katelynn, and Kaitlynn, were negatively influenced by Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner), who appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair in mid-2015 with the headline “Call me Caitlyn.”

This reminds me of what happened a few decades ago to Hillary — another name that was strongly associated for a time with a female who wasn’t conforming to gender norms. Perhaps tellingly, the name Bruce wasn’t hit nearly as hard. Jenner did fall of the charts, though.

Raw Numbers

1. Sophia, -1,311 baby girls — down from 17,381 to 16,070
2. Alexa, -1,289 baby girls — down from 6,049 to 4,760
3. Madison, -1,090 baby girls — down from 10,072 to 8,982
4. Emma, -1,001 baby girls — down from 20,415 to 19,414 (…but still the #1 name overall)
5. Aubrey, -869 baby girls — down from 7,376 to 6,507
6. Isabella, -852 baby girls — down from 15,574 to 14,722
7. Emily, -840 baby girls — down from 11,766 to 10,926
8. Kylie, -753 baby girls — down from 4,149 to 3,396
9. Alexis, -744 baby girls — down from 3,406 to 2,662
10. Abigail, -672 baby girls — down from 12,371 to 11,699

Other names that saw raw number drops in the 200+ range included Kaitlyn, Avery, Allison, Alyssa, London, Kaylee, Sofia, Katelyn, Kimberly, Zoey, Mia, Chloe, Kendall, Taylor, Sadie, Khloe, Mackenzie, Hannah, Peyton, Addison, Samantha, Ashley, Olivia, Gabriella, Brianna, Lauren, Anna, Brooklyn, Morgan, Jocelyn, Sydney, Natalie, Victoria, Makayla, Zoe, Hailey, Payton, Brooke, Annabelle, Trinity, Keira, Adalyn, Jordyn, Kayla, Molly, Audrey, Faith, Madelyn, Lillian, Caitlin, Caitlyn, Makenzie, Paige, Aaliyah, Paisley, Nevaeh, Elizabeth, Amy, and Jessica.

Interesting how certain like-names went in opposite directions last year. Leia, Alessia, and Adaline rose; Leah, Alyssa, and Adalyn fell.

Do you have any other explanations/guesses about any of the names above? If so, please comment!

(In 2015, the big winners were Alexa and Alaia, and the big losers were Isabella and Isis.)

Sources: Change in Popularity from 2015 to 2016, Emma and Noah Remain Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2016

Popular Baby Names in Sonoma County, CA, 2015

Sonoma_CountyAccording to Sonoma County’s data site SoCo Data, the most popular baby names in 2015 were Ava and Olivia (tie) and Mateo and Daniel (tie).

Here are the county’s top 5 girl names and top 5 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Ava and Olivia (tie), 28 baby girls
2. Camila, 25
3. Isabella, Mia and Emma (3-way tie), 23
4. Charlotte and Sophia (tie), 21
5. Alexa, 20
1. Mateo and Daniel (tie), 28 baby boys
2. Jackson, 27
3. Sebastian, 25
4. Benjamin, 24
5. Julian, Jayden and Noah (3-way tie), 22

In 2014, the top names in the county were Emma and Logan.

Of the 1,204 girl names bestowed last year, 811 (67%) were used just once. A smaller proportion of the 919 boy names — 549 (60%) — were bestowed once. Here are a few of those single-use names:

Unique Girl Names Unique Boy Names
Amarilla, Antimony, Edelweiss, Ember, Fanny, Lluvia, Lovely Estrella, Mae Pearl, Magnolia, Nkirote, Reminisce, Rosalene, Rurapenthe*, Summit Attimus, Banyan, Cypress, Cyprus, Destry, Ernestor, Fogatia, Iknav, Montgomery, Mercury, Orion, Quintil, Thornhill, Zinley

*Looks like Rurapenthe is based on “Rura Penthe,” the name of a planetoid used as a Klingon penal colony (!) in the Star Trek universe. Its name is a nod to Rorapandi, a penal colony island in the Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). Rorapandi was invented by Disney; it did not appear in the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870).

Source: SoCo Data

Name Quotes #41 – Gaenor, Ransom, O’Shea

Now that Fridays are for Five-Name Friday posts, let’s bump the Name Quote posts over to Mondays, shall we?

Here’s the latest batch…

From the novel The Notorious Miss Lisle (1911) by Mrs. Baillie Reynolds:

“The notorious Miss Lisle had the most weird Christian name you ever heard of — let’s see now, what was it? Not Guinevere, nor Gwendolen — Oh, yes, I have it. Gaenor! G, a, e, n, o, r! Did you ever hear such a name as that?”

From “Do Weird Baby Names Indicate Selfishness Or Love? Yes” by Joy Pullmann of The Federalist:

Our first child has a rather weird name. Ransom is a genuine, old name, but the effects of choosing it actually made me determined not to make such an ethereal pick again. I’ve finally joined my husband on the plain-vanilla baby names bandwagon, just as everyone.s getting off it.

[…]

Our son’s name means a great deal to us because it in fact does signal our family’s ties to something greater than even each other. It’s an enduring mark of gratitude for a faith that kept me from killing a child I didn’t want. That faith and that child ransomed me from selfishness (or at least some selfishness). So it may be and is indeed likely that other people’s children, whatever their names, can and have performed similar acts of mercy even just by existing. And how would an onlooker know whether an unusual name signifies parental self-absorption or self-sacrifice?

They wouldn’t. But, all the same, our next baby will have a meaningful name that other people have heard before.

From “Why Google’s smart assistant doesn’t have a name like Siri, Alexa, or Cortana” by Jillian D’Onfro of Business Insider:

Assistant’s lack of personality was quite intentional, according to Jonathan Jarvis, a former creative director on Google’s Labs team.

[…]

“We always wanted to make it feel like you were the agent, and it was more like a superpower that you had and a tool that you used,” he tells Business Insider. “If you create this personified assistant, that feels like a different relationship.”

For that reason, Assistant likely won’t be telling you jokes or serving up sassy responses, either.

We also heard while at I/O that Google didn’t want to give its assistant a gender or make it seem too American.

From “The Difficulty of Names” by Mami Suzuki of the blog Tofugu:

My name “Mami” (pronounced mommy) is a good example of this. Mami is quite a common name in Japan and mostly means “true beauty” or “true”, but in English, it just sounds like mother. Therefore, I always feel embarrassed when I introduce myself, because I have to say, “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Mami.” It’s pretty strange, isn’t it? “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Mother. Say my name.” Even my teachers and my bosses have to call me Mommy!

From “Bye-bye Berlin: Wheels for name change set in motion 100 years ago” about the Ontario town of Kitchener (formerly Berlin):

Meanwhile, 100 years after it was nixed, the Berlin name is enjoying a bit of a minor renaissance in Kitchener.

Two businesses prominently featuring the name have opened in recent months: The Berlin restaurant and the Berlin Bicycle Café.

Andrea Hennige, the restaurant manager at The Berlin, says the name was chosen with an eye toward the area’s history.

“It’s a nod to the people who settled the area, who probably laid the bricks in this building,” she said in an interview.

Town residents voted to drop the name Berlin in 1916, during WWI. The name change ballot included the following options: Adanac (Canada spelled backwards), Benton, Brock, Corona, Keowana, and Kitchener. Speaking of ballots…

From “Maine”s GOP governor, veto record-holder, names new dog Veto” in The Seattle Times:

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the state’s all-time veto champion, has named his new dog Veto.

LePage, who has earned renown for exercising his veto pen on bills he didn’t like, adopted a Jack Russell terrier mix from a shelter.

[…]

LePage chose the name Veto because his pet “is the mascot of good public policy, defender of the Maine people and protector of hardworking taxpayers from bad legislation,” his spokesman Peter Steele said.

Steele joked that the governor is going to train the dog to deliver vetoes from his office to legislative leaders.

From “Why There Are So Many More Names for Baby Girls” by Chris Wilson in TIME:

“The culture is much more accepting of out-there girls’ names,” says Matthew Hahn, a professor of biology and informatics at the University of Indiana who co-authored a 2003 study comparing baby name trends to evolutionary models. “The same goes for inventing new names.” For example, some formerly male-dominated names become predominantly female names, like Lindsey and Mckenzie, but it rarely goes the other way.

“The inventiveness in girl names has always led the boys,” says Alex Bentley, a professor in comparative cultural studies at the University of Houston and a co-author of the 2003 study, though he notes that, in the past decade, the rate at which people invent new boy names has caught up with the rate for girls.

From “Ever Wonder How Ice Cube Got His Name? Here’s Your Answer” by Angela Watercutter in Wired:

“My brother, he’s about nine years older than me, he used to have all kind of women calling the house and I would try to get at them,” the man known to the IRS as O’Shea Jackson says in this Google Autocomplete interview. “He got mad at that and said he was going to slam me in the freezer one day, and turn me into an ice cube. I said, ‘You know what? That’s a badge of honor.'”