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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Apollo


Posts that Mention the Name Apollo

The Ephemeral Marpessa

marpessa dawn, actress
© 1959 Ebony

The baby name Marpessa was a mere one-hit wonder in the data, back in 1960:

  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 8 baby girls named Marpessa [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The inspiration was a half-black, half-Filipino actress named Marpessa Dawn. She was American, but spent most of her adult life in Europe.

It was her starring role in the 1959 Portuguese-language film Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus) that brought her to the attention of American audiences. The film was based on the ancient Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, but set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. The film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in mid-1959, the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1960, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign-Language Foreign Film in 1960.

But Marpessa wasn’t able to capitalize on this brief period of fame, so she (and her name) soon fell out of the spotlight.

Marpessa’s name, like her most memorable film, has ancient Greek roots. The mythical Marpessa in Homer’s Iliad was an Aetolian princess who had been seized from her mortal lover Idas by the sun god Apollo. The name, accordingly, is based on an ancient Greek verb meaning “to seize.”

Do you like the name Marpessa? Would you use it?

Sources:

  • “America’s Dawn Comes Up in France.” Life 14 Mar. 1960: 57-59.
  • Nelson, Eric. The Greek Tradition in Republican Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Image: Ebony, Nov. 1959 issue

Babies Named for Instagram Filters?

instagram, filters, baby names

I started posting on Instagram recently. Though I haven’t used the filters much, seeing them in the app reminded me of something: Babycenter.com claimed, back in late 2015, that Instagram filter names were influencing baby names. And the clickbaity claim was (of course) picked up by various media outlets: Time, People, Vanity Fair, US Weekly, TechCrunch, Mashable, etc.

But the BabyCenter.com folks (who still think Gollum is a baby name, amazingly) weren’t basing their claims on any sort of real-life baby name usage data. They were apparently just making assumptions based on their own website metrics.

In any case…it’s now 2019, and we do have access to usage data for 2015 (not to mention 2016, and 2017). So let’s use this data to determine whether or not their claim is true.

I analyzed the data for 44 names in total: 43 from filters — most current, several retired — plus the name “Lux,” which technically refers to a photo enhancement tool, not a filter. Zeroing in on usage from 2010 (the year Instagram was launched) to 2017, I noticed that…

  • 28 filter names did not see higher usage as baby names:
    • 20 had no SSA data to work with (1977, Crema, Charmes, Clarendon, Dogpatch, Early Bird, Gingham, Ginza, Hefe, Inkwell, Lo-Fi, Mayfair, Nashville, Poprocket, Skyline, Slumber, Stinson, Sutro, Toaster, X-Pro II)
    • 6 saw a decrease in usage (Aden, Brannan, Brooklyn, Kelvin, Reyes, Sierra)
    • 2 saw little/no change in usage (Ludwig, Rise)
  • 16 filter names did see higher usage as baby names:

So which, if any, of the 16 names above increased in usage because of Instagram?

Some of them, like trendy Hudson and Willow, were already on the rise by 2010. So it’s hard to know if these names were influenced at all by recent pop culture, let alone the app specifically. (Though that Juno-jump does seem significant.)

Others are associated with more than just a filter. Vesper was a Bond Girl, for instance, and Juno was a movie. So, even if Instagram was a factor, it was one of several. (BabyCenter.com’s original write-up from 2015 doesn’t even acknowledge this, e.g., “The Instagram-inspired name Lux…”)

In terms of filters actually influencing names, I think the strongest case can be made for Amaro. It wasn’t already on the rise in 2010, it did become more popular in the Instagram era, and the filter itself (as opposed to the Italian liqueur after which the filter was named) does seem to be the primary pop culture association these days.

On the other hand, Clarendon — despite being the first filter you see inside the app and, accordingly, the most-used filter overall — saw no corresponding uptick in usage on birth certificates, which is telling. (Though perhaps “Amaro” hits a stylistic sweet spot that “Clarendon” misses.)

My verdict? I’d say it’s possible that a handful of Instagram filters influenced real-life baby name usage…but I definitely wouldn’t declare that naming babies after filters was/is some sort of “hot trend,” as BabyCenter.com did.

What are your thoughts on all this? Have you ever met a baby named after an Instagram filter?

Sources: Hottest baby name trends of 2015, Photoshop Actions for Instagram’s “Lost” filters, Five New Filters – Instagram, Instagram adds new Lark, Reyes, and Juno filters, Instagram Introduces New Filter, The 10 Most Used Instagram Filters, Study: The most popular Instagram filters from around the world

Names in the News: Eclipse, Searyl, Luuuke

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…

Apollo: A baby boy born in the Canadian town of Kelowna at the start of the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, was named Niall Apollo — Apollo after the Greek god of the sun. (Castanet)

Charles: A baby boy born in Missouri in October of 2016 with the help of St. Charles County ambulance district paramedics was named Charles. (Fox 2)

Chepkura: A baby girl born in Kenya on August 8, 2017, while her mother was at a polling station waiting in line to vote, named Chepkura. In Swahili, kura means “ballot” or “vote.” (BBC)

Eclipse: A baby girl born in South Carolina on the day of the solar eclipse was named Eclipse Alizabeth. (The State)

Garavi, Sanchi, and Taravi: Triplet baby girls born in Gujarat in September of 2017 were named Garavi, Sanchi, and Taravi after India’s Good and Services Tax (GST), introduced by PM Narendra Modi on July 1. (India Times)

GST: A baby born in Rajasthan in the wee hours of July 1, 2017, was named GST. (Indian Express)

Harvey: A baby boy born in Texas in August of 2017 amid the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey was named Harvey. (Washington Post)

Kessel: A baby boy born in Pittsburgh in May of 2017 was named Kessel after Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel. (NHL)

Jetson: A baby boy born on June 18, 2017, aboard a Jet Airways flight from Dammam to Kochi was named Jetson after the Indian airline. (The Asian Age)

Justin-Trudeau: A baby boy born in Calgary on May 4, 2017, to a Syrian refugee family was named Justin-Trudeau in honor of Canada’s prime minister. (CTV News)

Luuuke: A baby boy born in North Carolina in July of 2017 was named Cameron Luuuke after Carolina Panthers players Cameron Newton and Luke Kuechly. “[W]hen Kuechly is performing well on the field, the crowd screams “Luuuuuuuuke,” which is why the family has spelled their son’s middle name using three u’s.” (Fox 46)

Lyric: A baby girl born on March 19, 2017, to A. J. McLean of the vocal group the Backstreet Boys was named Lyric. (People)

Mangala: A baby girl born in India in January of 2017 aboard a Mangala Express train en route from Mangalore to Jhansi was named Mangala. (Indian Express)

Nicole: A baby girl born in late 2015 at just 27 weeks in an emergency C-section was named Hadley Nicole – Nicole after delivery nurse Nicole Kenney. (WIVB Buffalo)

Noah Harvey: A baby boy born on August 29, 2017, “while Tropical Storm Harvey was raging across his hometown of Beaumont, Texas” was named Noah Harvey. (Deseret News)

Pajero Sport: A baby boy born in Indonesia in April of 2017 was named Pajero Sport after the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV because “we just happen to be fans,” said the father. (Coconuts Jakarta)

Pasley: A baby girl born in Minnesota in June of 2017 was named Shirah Pasley Yang — middle name in honor of Jane Pasley, the organ donor whose kidney was received by Kari Yang, Shirah’s mother. (Pioneer Press)

Searyl Atli: A baby born in Canada in November of 2016 “could be the first in the world to not have a gender designation.” The baby’s gender-neutral first and middle names are Searyl and Atli. (BBC)

Starla: A baby girl born in Colorado on August 2, 2017, in a car on the way to the hospital was “named Starla because of her dramatic entrance.” (Denver7)

Storm: A baby girl born in Miami in September of 2017, as Hurricane Irma approached the region, was named Nayiri Storm. (Weather Channel)

Syria: A baby girl born in Moscow in November of 2015 was named Syria “after her father’s military assignment destination.” (Moscow Times)

Most Popular U.S. Baby Names of 2016

baby names, popular, 2016, US

According to the Social Security Administration, Emma and Noah were the most popular baby names in the United States in 2016.

Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names:

Girl Names
1. Emma, 19,414 baby girls (same rank as in 2015)
2. Olivia, 19,246 (same rank)
3. Ava, 16,237 (up from 4th)
4. Sophia, 16,070 (down from 3rd)
5. Isabella, 14,722 (same rank)
6. Mia, 14,366 (same rank)
7. Charlotte, 13,030 (up from 9th)
8. Abigail, 11,699 (down from 7th)
9. Emily, 10,926 (down from 8th)
10. Harper, 10,733 (same rank)

Boy Names
1. Noah, 19,015 baby boys (same rank as in 2015)
2. Liam, 18,138 (same rank)
3. William, 15,668 (up from 5th)
4. Mason, 15,192 (down from 3rd)
5. James, 14,776 (up from 7th)
6. Benjamin, 14,569 (up from 10th)
7. Jacob, 14,416 (down from 4th)
8. Michael, 13,998 (up from 9th)
9. Elijah, 13,764 (up from 11th)
10. Ethan, 13,758 (down from 6th)

Emma and Noah were also the #1 names in 2015 and in 2014.

Elijah replaces Alexander (now 11th) in the boys’ top 10. No replacements in the girls’ top 10.

Here’s more from the SSA’s press release:

Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 1,000 are Kehlani and Kylo.

Kehlani rose 2,487 spots on the girls’ side to number 872, from number 3,359 in 2015. Perhaps this can be attributed to Kehlani Parrish, a singer/songwriter who was nominated for a Grammy in 2016. She was named an artist to watch and clearly new parents agree her star is rising. Kehlani collaborated with Zayn Malik, the former One Direction star and current solo artist, on a song in 2016. The name Zayn also made the boys fastest riser list.

The force was strong for Kylo in 2016 as he soared 2,368 spots for the boys, from number 3,269 in 2015 to number 901. Kylo Ren, the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia and the grandson of Darth Vader, was a character in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Perhaps Kylo can continue to harness the force and climb even higher in the coming years.

The second fastest riser for girls was Royalty. The royal family likely had something to do with this increase in popularity, or the 2015 World Series champions, the Kansas City Royals, may have influenced parents-to-be.

For boys, it was Creed. This could be attributed to the return to the silver screen of America’s favorite boxer Rocky Balboa in the 2015 movie Creed, where Rocky trains and mentors Adonis Johnson Creed, the son of his late friend and boxing rival, Apollo Creed. The name Adonis just happens to be the number four fastest riser on the list for boys.

Regarding Royalty, the inspiration was much more likely R&B singer Chris Brown. His daughter Royalty, born in mid-2014, was featured on the cover of his album Royalty, released at the end of 2015.

More analysis coming soon!

Source: Emma and Noah Remain Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2016

Popular Baby Names in British Columbia, 2015

According to data released on December 30th by British Columbia’s Vital Statistics Agency, the most popular baby names in the province in 2015 were Emma and Oliver.

Here are British Columbia’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names
1. Emma, 258 baby girls
2. Olivia, 256
3. Emily, 183
4. Sophia, 173
5. Ava, 163
6. Chloe, 159
7. Charlotte, 155
8. Abigail, 150
9. Amelia, 140
10. Ella, 133

Boy Names
1. Oliver, 217 baby boys
2. Ethan, 206
3. Liam, 203
4. Benjamin, 201
5. Lucas, 193
6. Alexander, 183 (tie)
7. Jacob, 183 (tie)
8. Mason, 177
9. William, 173
10. Hunter, 169

On the girls’ list, Emma replaces Olivia as the #1 name and Ella replaces Lily in the top 10.

On the boys’ list, Oliver replaces Ethan as in the top spot and Alexander and Hunter replace Noah and Logan in the top 10.

BC Vital Statistics also attempted to come up with rankings that combined variant spellings:

Girl Names (spellings combined)
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Sophia/Sofia
4. Emily/Emilee/Emilie
5. Amelia/Emelia/Emilia

Boy Names (spellings combined)
1. Jackson/Jaxon/Jaxson
2. Lucas/Lukas
3. Oliver
4. Ethan
5. Liam

But combining spellings isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. For instance, if “Amelia” is combined with “Emilia” (which is actually in the Emily family) then why wasn’t “Alivia” combined with “Olivia”? That would boost Olivia/Alivia into the #1 spot. And should “Eva” go with “Ava,” since they’re occasionally pronounced the same way…?

Here are some names from the other end of the rankings, each used just five times in 2015:

  • Girl Names: Anahat, Avreet, Bronwyn, Calla, Clementine, Deanna, Gaia, Harseerat, Jayla, Karis, Lynn, Mae, Mehar, Mirabelle, Ocean, Sailor, Senna, Sahej
  • Boy Names: Andrei, Apollo, Boaz, Brighton, Cory, Dorian, Elio, Fergus, Haroon, Indy, Jimmy, Jodh, Luciano, Nigel, Pasha, Stellan, Trent, Viraj

The news release also mentioned that the top names of 2016 would likely be Olivia and Lucas (according to data covering the year up to December 12). Here are the 2014 rankings.

For more Canada-specific baby name rankings, check out the Canadian name rankings subcategory.

Sources: British Columbia’s top baby names for 2015, Baby’s Most Chosen Names in British Columbia, 2015