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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Amber

Number of Babies Named Amber

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Amber

Top 50 Nature Names for Baby Girls

Nature is waking up again! Let’s celebrate by checking out which nature names are the most popular for baby girls right now. Ironically the top 50 list below includes all the seasons except for “Spring,” but it does feature lots of springtime things: flowers, birds, trees…

nature names, girl names, top 50, baby names,

For this list I stuck to names that are also correctly spelled English words. This means that I skipped names that are non-English words (like Stella and Luna) and alternative spellings of words (like Brooke and Briar). I should also mention that several of the above (including Rowan, Robin, and Clementine) do have more than one etymology to choose from.

Here are links to the popularity graphs:

1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50
Lily
Violet
Hazel
Autumn
Ruby
Willow
Jasmine
Jade
Ivy
Rose
Daisy
Summer
Iris
Olive
Rowan
Amber
River
Ember
Aspen
Sage
Magnolia
Meadow
Wren
Ivory
Laurel
Sky
Clementine
Dahlia
Juniper
Raven
Holly
Savanna
Rosemary
Winter
Crystal
Azalea
Pearl
Jewel
Heather
Robin
Diamond
Poppy
Opal
Sunny
Coral
Emerald
Clover
Pepper
Sapphire
Amethyst

Which nature name(s) do you like best?

P.S. Nature names that didn’t quite make the top 50 included Stormy, Zinnia, Sandy, and Acacia.


Names in the News: Cubs Edition

Chicago Cubs logoA couple of weeks ago, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in dramatic fashion (with a score of 8-7 in the 10th inning of the 7th game).

So will we see a rise in the number of babies with Cubs-inspired names (like Wrigley) this year? Probably! Here are some recent examples:

  • Wrigley – Katie Stam Irk (a former Miss America) and her husband Brian welcomed a baby boy several days before the final game of the series. After the Cubs emerged victorious, they named the baby Wrigley Oliver.
  • Wrigley – “Bachelorette” couple Chris Siegfried (a former Chicago Cubs relief pitcher) and his wife Desiree welcomed a baby boy in October and named him Asher Wrigley.
  • Faith Victory – Chicago parents Jason and Kristy Amato welcomed a baby girl in October and named her Faith Victory.
  • Clark and Addison – Cubs fans Scott and Amber McFarland welcomed boy-girl twins in late June and named them Clark (son) and Addison (daughter), “after the iconic intersection outside Wrigley Field.”

The names Clark and Addison were also given to a pair of male-female red panda cubs born at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo last year.

And here’s the most impressive set of Cubs-babies I’ve seen so far: A generation ago, Cubs fanatics Julie and Ralph Dynek named their five children Addison (son), Clark (son), Sheffield (son), Grace Waveland (daughter), and Ivy Marie Wrigley Diamond (daughter). The first four were named after the four streets that surround Wrigley Field, and the fifth was named after the field’s famous ivy-covered brick outfield wall.

And don’t forget this 2007 baby named Wrigley Fields. (Visitors who commented on that post mentioned three more Wrigleys, an Addison, and a Clark.)

Have you encountered any other Cubs-inspired baby names lately, either in the news or in real life?

Sources: ‘Wrigley’ is becoming a popular baby name among celebrities, Couple who met on ‘The Bachelorette’ gives baby Cubs-inspired name, Family Fandom: Cubs Fever Prompts Baseball Baby Names, Chicago Cubs Fans Charmed by Twins, Addison and Clark, Cubs fans hit streets for baby names, Announcing Names for Our Red Panda Cubs

Popular Girl Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

The ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names in the girl’s top 20 is about the same today as it was 100 years ago, though the ratio did change a bit mid-century.

(In contrast, there’s been a steady increase in the number of Biblical-origin names among the top boy names.)

Here’s the color-coded table — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and several borderline names (which I counted as non-Biblical) are in the orange cells:

Popular girl names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular girl names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Abigail, Anna, Betty (via Elizabeth), Chloe, Danielle, Deborah, Debra, Elizabeth, Hannah, Isabella (via Elizabeth), Janet, Jean, Joan, Judith, Judy, Julie, Lillian (via Elizabeth), Lisa (via Elizabeth), Lois, Marie, Marilyn, Mary, Mia (via Maria), Michelle, Nancy (via Anne), Rachel, Rebecca, Ruth, Sandra (via Alexander), Sarah, Sharon, Stephanie, Susan, Tammy (via Tamar/Tamara)
  • Non-Biblical names: Alexis, Alice, Alyssa, Amanda, Amber, Amelia, Amy, Angela, Ashley, Aubrey, Avery, Barbara, Brenda, Brianna, Brittany, Carol, Carolyn, Catherine, Charlotte, Christina, Christine, Crystal, Cynthia, Diane, Donna, Doris, Dorothy, Edna, Ella, Emily, Emma, Evelyn, Florence, Frances, Gladys, Grace, Harper, Heather, Helen, Irene, Jennifer, Joyce, Karen, Kathleen, Kayla, Kelly, Kimberly, Laura, Lauren, Linda, Lori, Louise, Madison, Margaret, Marjorie, Megan, Melissa, Mildred, Natalie, Nicole, Olivia, Pamela, Patricia, Rose, Shannon, Shirley, Sofia, Sophia, Taylor, Tiffany, Victoria, Virginia
  • Borderline names:
    • Ava (could be based on the Germanic root avi or the Biblical name Eve)
    • Jessica (literary invention, but Shakespeare may have based it on the Biblical name Iscah)
    • Samantha (possibly inspired by the Biblical name Samuel)

Again, feels pretty weird to put overtly Christian names like Christina and Christine in the non-Biblical category, but oh well.

Here are the year-by-year tallies:

Year Top 20 names
given to…
# Biblical # Non-Biblical
1914 31% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1924 31% of baby girls 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
1934 32% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1944 35% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1954 34% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1964 24% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1974 24% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1984 26% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1994 19% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2004 14% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2014 12% of baby girls 5 (25%) 15 (75%)

Just like with the boy names, though, there’s a big difference between the 1914 and 2014 sample sizes — 31% and 12%. So let’s also look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 31% of female births.

By my count, last year’s top 100 girl names were about a quarter Biblical, three-quarters non-Biblical:

Biblical names (27) Non-Biblical/Borderline names (73)
Isabella (via Elizabeth), Mia (via Maria), Abigail, Elizabeth, Chloe, Addison (via Adam), Lillian (via Elizabeth), Hannah, Anna, Leah, Gabriella, Sadie (via Sarah), Sarah, Annabelle, Madelyn (via Magdalene), Lucy (via Lucius), Alexa (via Alexander), Genesis, Naomi, Eva, Lydia, Julia, Khloe, Madeline (via Magdalene), Alexandra, Gianna (via Joanna), Isabelle (via Elizabeth) Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Emily, Madison, Charlotte, Harper, Sofia, Avery, Amelia, Evelyn, Ella, Victoria, Aubrey, Grace, Zoey, Natalie, Brooklyn, Lily, Layla, Scarlett, Aria, Zoe, Samantha, Audrey, Ariana, Allison, Savannah, Arianna, Camila, Penelope, Claire, Aaliyah, Riley, Skylar, Nora, Hailey, Kaylee, Paisley, Kennedy, Ellie, Peyton, Caroline, Serenity, Aubree, Alexis, Nevaeh, Stella, Violet, Mackenzie, Bella, Autumn, Mila, Kylie, Maya, Piper, Alyssa, Taylor, Eleanor, Melanie, Faith, Katherine, Brianna, Ashley, Ruby, Sophie, London, Lauren, Alice, Vivian, Hadley, Jasmine

Faith, Grace, Angela, Nevaeh, Natalie…all technically non-Biblical.

27%-73% is remarkably similar to both 25%-75% (smaller 2014 sample) and 30%-70% (1914 sample).

So here’s the question of the day: If you had to choose all of your children’s names from either one group or the other — Biblical names or non-Biblical names — which group would you stick to, and why?

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2014

According to data from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in Ireland in 2014 were Emily and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily, 619 baby girls
2. Sophie, 468
3. Emma, 441
4. Grace, 408
5. Ava, 404
6. Ella, 398
7. Amelia, 388
8. Mia, 370
9. Lucy, 369
10. Aoife, 364
1. Jack, 786 baby boys
2. James, 695
3. Daniel, 638
4. Conor, 581
5. Sean, 526
6. Adam, 493
7. Luke, 437
8. Noah, 434
9. Harry, 398
10. Charlie, 389

In the girls’ top 10, Mia replaces Sarah. (Also: Grace rises from 9th to 4th while Aoife falls from 6th to 10th.)

In the boys’ top 10, Luke and Charlie replace Ryan and Michael.

Of all the girl names in the current top 100, the ones that saw the biggest increases from 2013 to 2014 were…

  • Evie, Amber, Sadie, Annie and Ailbhe (in terms of rank change)
  • Sadie, Olivia, Amber, Evie and Lily (in terms of number of babies)

Of all the boy names in the current top 100, the ones that saw the biggest increases from 2013 to 2014 were…

  • Ollie, Peter, Isaac, Danny, Billy and Lorcan (in terms of rank change)
  • David, Luke, Callum, Peter and Ciaran (in terms of number of babies)

Kayden, the boy name that saw the biggest rank-change increase from 2012 to 2013, was one of the names that dropped out of the top 100 in 2014.

Here are the 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2007 rankings for Ireland.

Source: Irish Babies’ Names 2014 (CSO)

The Baby Name Ember

the baby name ember

Anyone who’s ever sat beside a dying campfire late at night knows how mesmerizing the embers can be. That shimmering orange-red glow that grows alternatively brighter and dimmer depending on the wind…it’s hard not to imagine that it’s somehow breathing, somehow alive.

Author Cormac McCarthy expressed this idea (albeit in a much more eloquent/macabre way) in his book Blood Meridian:

The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them.

Powerful imagery, isn’t it?

An ember is a smoldering piece of coal, wood or other carbon-based material left over after a fire. Embers stay hot for a long time — so hot that they can be used to rekindle a fire hours after the flames are put out. By extension, the plural form is also sometimes used to refer to “slowly dying or fading emotions, memories, ideas, or responses still capable of being revived.”

The modern word ember, which has existed since the 14th century, was derived from the Middle English eymere, which in turn came from the Old English æmerge, which ultimately came from an unrecorded Indo-European word that referred to burning.

So has the word ember ever been used as a baby name?

Yes. In fact, you might be surprised by how popular the baby name Ember has become lately. Here’s a running tally of the number of U.S. baby girls named Ember so far this century:

  • 2013: 519 baby girls named Ember [rank: 558th]
  • 2012: 506 baby girls named Ember [rank: 576th]
  • 2011: 421 baby girls named Ember [rank: 669th]
  • 2010: 326 baby girls named Ember [rank: 824th]
  • 2009: 309 baby girls named Ember [rank: 886th]
  • 2008: 201 baby girls named Ember
  • 2007: 222 baby girls named Ember
  • 2006: 176 baby girls named Ember
  • 2005: 160 baby girls named Ember
  • 2004: 143 baby girls named Ember
  • 2003: 127 baby girls named Ember
  • 2002: 98 baby girls named Ember
  • 2001: 90 baby girls named Ember
  • 2000: 68 baby girls named Ember

Ember has been used as a personal name in the U.S. since the 1800s, though usage remained rare until the 1970s. By the end of that decade, a few dozen baby girls were being named Ember every year. Usage kept creeping upward over the following decades until the name really started taking off in the mid-2000s. In 2009, Ember became one of the 1,000 most popular girl names in the nation — something that would have been hard to predict a mere 10 or 15 years ago.

The states with the most people tend to have the most babies named Ember. In 2013, for instance, there were 56 Embers born in California, 45 born in Texas, and 27 born in Florida. But several states don’t quite follow this pattern:

  • New York, the 4th most populous state, welcomed only 11 Embers.
  • Utah, the 33rd most populous state, welcomed an impressive 18 Embers. (The name has long been trendy in Utah, having debuted on Utah’s state-specific baby name list way back in 1975.)

Though the name isn’t traditionally associated with a gender, and the SSA data shows that a handful of baby boys have indeed been named Ember recently, the vast majority of babies being named Ember are girls.

Which reminds me of a sound-alike nature name also used mainly for girls that was quite trendy several decades ago: Amber. Amber saw peak usage during the second half of the ’80s, but usage has been cooling off since then. Ember, on the other hand, is just heating up (pun intended!). Could Ember be the new Amber, I wonder?

What do you think of the baby name Ember?

UPDATE, 5/9/2015: The 2014 names were just released. Ember was given to 729 baby girls and 10 baby boys last year. Ember is now ranked 435th for girls.

Image: Adapted from Aljamer SM.BOUALAM by Mohamed Boualam under CC BY-SA 4.0