How popular is the baby name Ashanti 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 Ashanti.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ashanti


Posts that Mention the Name Ashanti

More Top Baby Name Drops

A couple of weeks a go we checked out the list of top raw-number rises in the U.S. baby name data, so today let’s balance things out with the list of top raw-number drops.

Just remember that the SSA data doesn’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t reflect reality all that well.

Same format as usual: Girl names on the left, boy names on the right. Numbers represent single-year decreases in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, usage of the girl name Mary dropped by 146 babies and usage of the boy name William dropped by 1,008 babies.

  • 1881: Mary, -146; William, -1,008
  • 1882: Lulu, -34; Garfield, -78
  • 1883: Mary, -136; William, -911
  • 1884: Mina, -33; Albert, -61
  • 1885: Sarah, -94; William, -853
  • 1886: Nancy, -35; Grover, -361
  • 1887: Minnie, -157; John, -916
  • 1888: Dorothea, -24; Rudolph, -17
  • 1889: Emma, -203; William, -933
  • 1890: Mollie, -53; William, -278
  • 1891: Mary, -375; John, -821
  • 1892: Jennie, -26; Enoch & Irving, -16 each (tie)
  • 1893: Mary, -390; John, -990
  • 1894: Ruth, -286; Grover, -171
  • 1895: Laura, -87; Charles, -155
  • 1896: Jessie, -197; John, -182
  • 1897: Anna, -431; John, -589
  • 1898: Sophie, -49; Hobart, -63
  • 1899: Mary, -1,234; William, -1,314
  • 1900: Manila, -24; Dewey, -154
  • 1901: Mary, -3,572; John, -2,931
  • 1902: Sophie, -45; Manuel, -32
  • 1903: Mary, -211; William, -305
  • 1904: Lillie, -121; Leo, -83
  • 1905: Florence, -94; Alton, -138
  • 1906: Minnie, -173; Theodore, -146
  • 1907: Bessie & Alice, -85 each (tie); Austin, -27
  • 1908: Evelyn, -178; Theodore, -69
  • 1909: Mae, -154; Ernest, -115
  • 1910: Allie, -35; Delmar & Bruce, -24 each (tie)
  • 1911: Annie, -220; Willie, -405
  • 1912: Dessie, -20; Lawyer & Blas, -12 each (tie)
  • 1913: Carrie, -62; Emerson, -28
  • 1914: Tomasa, -27; Woodrow, -547
  • 1915: Juana, -32; Kermit, -79
  • 1916: Mollie, -88; Willard, -476
  • 1917: Edna, -204; Woodrow, -239
  • 1918: Rose, -215; Frederick, -103
  • 1919: Helen, -2,447; John, -3,029
  • 1920: Sophie, -234; Woodrow, -1,033
  • 1921: Gertrude, -449; Willie, -391
  • 1922: Helen, -2,314; Warren, -3,315
  • 1923: Helen, -1,017; George, -321
  • 1924: Elizabeth, -512; Warren, -1,231
  • 1925: Mary, -2,910; John, -1,878
  • 1926: Mary, -2,773; William, -1,358
  • 1927: Helen, -1,582; William, -479
  • 1928: Mary, -3,756; William, -2,360
  • 1929: Mary, -3,361; John, -1,652
  • 1930: Ruth, -1,079; Herbert, -2,187
  • 1931: Dorothy, -3,884; John, -4,026
  • 1932: Betty, -1,688; Robert, -1,255
  • 1933: Mary, -4,381; Robert, -5,052
  • 1934: Dorothy, -761; Franklin, -1,209
  • 1935: Betty, -2,408; Franklin, -1,543
  • 1936: Shirley, -7,202; Donald, -1,025

(From the SSA: “Note that many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.”)

  • 1937: Shirley, -8,337; Donald, -771
  • 1938: Shirley, -3,048; Donald, -1,207
  • 1939: Shirley, -3,320; Robert, -2,630
  • 1940: Shirley, -2,573; Donald, -962
  • 1941: Betty, -1,172; Wendell, -533
  • 1942: Deanna, -408; Billy, -352
  • 1943: Carole, -1,900; Douglas, -3,001
  • 1944: Barbara, -4,242; Robert, -4,008
  • 1945: Mary, -3,184; James, -2,497
  • 1946: Victoria, -280; Victor, -492
    • Top 5 boy-name drops of ’46, in order: Victor, Truman, Franklin, Delano, Roosevelt/Homer (tie)
  • 1947: Carole, -793; Richard, -369
  • 1948: Patricia, -5,144; Richard, -7,570
  • 1949: Linda, -5,192; Ronald, -2,026
  • 1950: Linda, -10,549; John, -1,642
  • 1951: Linda, -6,553; Larry, -1,016
  • 1952: Linda, -6,808; Larry, -2,224
  • 1953: Linda, -5,819; Larry, -3,081
  • 1954: Linda, -5,884; Dennis, -2,860
  • 1955: Mary, -4,830; Gary, -3,499
  • 1956: Deborah, -4,476; David, -4,588
  • 1957: Deborah, -7,778; Gary, -2,286
  • 1958: Cynthia, -8,311; James, -5,502
  • 1959: Debra, -4,166; Michael, -5,209
  • 1960: Debra, -4,626; Richard, -3,619
  • 1961: Donna, -5,468; Richard, -2,432
  • 1962: Mary, -4,163; Mark, -4,234
  • 1963: Linda, -3,754; Mark, -4,150
  • 1964: Lori, -5,280; Mark, -4,073
  • 1965: Mary, -6,709; John, -10,972
  • 1966: Karen, -7,431; John, -6,519
  • 1967: Lisa, -4,483; James, -3,495
  • 1968: Mary, -3,592; David, -3,058
  • 1969: Lisa, -4,494; Timothy, -3,153
  • 1970: Lisa, -6,077; David, -1,953
  • 1971: Lisa, -6,053; David, -8,650
  • 1972: Lisa, -5,357; John, -8,340
  • 1973: Lisa, -4,883; David, -5,267
  • 1974: Lisa, -2,889; Robert, -1,681
  • 1975: Jennifer, -4,926; Brian, -3,864
  • 1976: Michelle, -3,116; Scott, -1,571
  • 1977: Amy, -4,613; Scott, -1,541
  • 1978: Amy, -3,509; Jason, -4,027
  • 1979: Kelly, -1,686; Kevin, -1,373
  • 1980: Melissa, -2,420; Jason, -2,203
  • 1981: Melissa, -3,623; Jason, -6,268
  • 1982: Brooke, -2,183; Jeremy, -2,643
  • 1983: Jennifer, -2,767; Jason, -5,512
  • 1984: Jennifer, -3,784; Jason, -5,167
  • 1985: Jennifer, -7,903; Jason, -3,905
  • 1986: Jennifer, -6,474; Joshua, -4,655
  • 1987: Jennifer, -3,483; Jason, -3,054
  • 1988: Ashley, -4,873; Jason, -3,441
  • 1989: Jennifer, -3,888; Jason, -3,292
  • 1990: Tiffany, -2,555; Adam, -2,216
  • 1991: Brittany, -7,446; Christopher, -5,219
  • 1992: Jessica, -5,047; Michael -6,409
  • 1993: Chelsea, -4,885; Michael, -4,821
  • 1994: Ashley, -4,571; Michael, -5,089
  • 1995: Jessica, -4,175; Michael, -3,060
  • 1996: Jessica, -3,752; Michael, -3,043
  • 1997: Jessica, -3,142; Cody, -2,660
  • 1998: Jessica, -2,816; Christopher, -2,104
  • 1999: Brittany, -1,903; Austin, -2,710
  • 2000: Brittany, -2,760; Austin, -4,824
  • 2001: Hannah, -2,366; Brandon, -2,445
  • 2002: Taylor, -2,220; Jacob, -1,968
  • 2003: Ashanti, -1,983; Austin, -2,850
  • 2004: Hannah, -2,034; Zachary, -1,832
  • 2005: Alexis, -1,503; Jacob, -2,059
  • 2006: Emily, -2,540; Ryan, -1,557
  • 2007: Emily, -2,050; Joshua, -1,664
  • 2008: Hannah, -3,738; Christopher, -2070
  • 2009: Emily, -2,084; Anthony, -2,099
  • 2010: Madison, -2,059; Joshua, -2,219
  • 2011: Isabella, -3,032; Jacob, -1,783
  • 2012: Chloe, -1,361; Jacob, -1,370
  • 2013: Isabella, -1,536; Ethan, -1,494
  • 2014: Sophia, -2,657; Jayden, -1,834
  • 2015: Isabella, -1,523; Jase, -1,459
  • 2016: Sophia, -1,311; Logan, -1,697
  • 2017: Sophia, -1,281; Mason, -1,728
  • 2018: Emily, -1,125; Matthew, -1,747
  • 2019: Emma, -1,655; Logan, -1,911
  • 2020: Harper, -1,686; Ethan, -1,801

I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and will write about others in the future. In the meanwhile, feel free to beat me to it! Comment below with the backstory on the fall of Shirley in the late ’30s, Linda in the early ’50s, etc.

African Nations as Baby Names

biafra
Flag of Biafra

During the ’60s and ’70s, a slew of Africa-inspired baby names debuted in the U.S. baby name data. These included traditional African names (e.g., Abayomi, Ayanna), names taken from African and African-American public figures (e.g., Lumumba, Levar), and — the focus of today’s post — African place names, particularly country names.

Here are all the African country/region/kingdom names I’ve spotted in the SSA data so far. (I didn’t omit Chad, even though it coincides with the English name Chad.)

NameDebut yearPeak usage
Chad191413,400 baby boys in 1972
Tunisia1943 (due to WWII)39 baby girls in 1974
Rwanda19515 baby girls in both 1951 & 1973
Kenya1952894 baby girls in 1973
Sahara1964248 baby girls in both 2006 & 2007
Rhodesia196612 baby girls in 1977
Mali196765 baby girls in 2008
Tanzania196838 baby girls in 1992
Africa196976 baby girls in 1972
Biafra1969 (due to Biafra being in the news; the Biafran War lasted from 1967 to 1970)5 baby girls in 1969; one-hit wonder
Ghana19697 baby girls in 1969
Tanganyika196916 baby girls in 1972
Nubia196983 baby girls in 1969
Ashanti19702,945 baby girls in 2002 (due to the singer)
Uganda197312 baby girls in 1973
Algeria19746 baby girls in both 1993 & 1995
Libya19748 baby girls in 2011
Zaire1974316 baby boys in 2017
Egypt1975266 baby girls in 2017
Nigeria197558 baby girls in 2000
Niger19769 baby girls in both 1976 & 1977
Somalia197743 baby girls in 1993
Zimbabwe1981 (maybe inspired by the Bob Marley song “Zimbabwe“?)5 baby boys in 1981; one-hit wonder
Sudan19825 baby boys in both 1982 & 1995
Eritrea1991 (due to Eritrea being in the news; the Eritrean War of Independence ended in 1991)5 baby girls in 1991; one-hit wonder
Asmara1993 (due to Asmara being in the news; it became the capital of independent Eritrea in 1993)13 baby girls in 2013
Morocco200519 baby boys in 2017

Only five of the above did not either debut or see peak usage during the 1960s/1970s.

Most Popular One-Hit Wonder Baby Names: Girls

one hit wonder girl names

Here are some of the top one-hit wonder girl names of all time, from 1880 to 2012:

  1. Alexandr, 301 baby girls in 1989.
  2. Jacqueli, 157 baby girls in 1989.
  3. Cassandr, 152 baby girls in 1989.
  4. Jacquely, 50 baby girls in 1989.
  5. Meghaan, 36 baby girls in 1984.
  6. Shastelyn, 34 baby girls in 2009.
  7. Charnissa, 32 baby girls in 1974.
  8. Jocell, 31 baby girls in 2011.
    • Aidsa, 30 baby girls in 2007.
    • Madelis, 30 baby girls in 2007.
  9. Yaindhi, 29 baby girls in 2008.
    • Eshanti, 27 baby girls in 2002.
    • Kitzie, 27 baby girls in 1979.
    • Devy, 27 baby girls in 1960.
    • Sarela, 26 baby girls in 2006.
    • Nykeba, 26 baby girls in 1980.
    • Saresa, 26 baby girls in 1974.
  10. Shadava, 25 baby girls in 1983.
  11. Russchelle, 24 baby girls in 1975.
  12. Yoshigei, 21 baby girls in 2006.
  13. Francesc, 19 baby girls in 1989.

If we ignore all the 1989 names — which are only truncated spelling variants caused by the great baby name glitch of 1989 — the real #1 one-hit wonder becomes Meghaan.

Here’s what I can tell you about some of the above: Shastelyn, Jocell, Madelis and Raengel were inspired by Mexican beauty queens; Aidsa and Yaindhi were inspired by the TV show Objectivo Fama; Eshanti was inspired by singer Ashanti; Nykeba was inspired by a mention in Ebony magazine.

Can you come up with explanations for any of the others?

The Demise of the Baby Name Hillary

Hillary Clinton, 1992
Hillary Clinton

A cool post on the 14 most “poisoned” baby names by data scientist Hilary Parker reminded me that I haven’t yet written about the demise of the baby name Hillary. (Or Hilary. Or Chelsea.)

So let’s travel back to 1992 for a minute.

In mid-July, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was selected as the Democratic candidate for the presidency. His wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea were now in the national spotlight.

In early November, Bill managed to beat Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush to become the 42nd president of the United States. Hillary and Chelsea would now stay in the national spotlight.

And in late November, a few weeks after the election, the Miami Herald printed this:

Now that the Clinton women are set to move into the White House, both names are becoming more popular among new parents.

For the first time, Chelsea has cracked the top 10 list of the most popular girl names in Florida. Name expert Leonard R. N. Ashley, a Brooklyn College professor, said he expects Hillary to also catch on.

[…]

The popularity of Chelsea, on the rise long before the presidential pre-teen made her Democratic convention appearance, is likely to get a boost from the first family pedigree, Ashley said.

The “name expert” got it wrong, of course.

Hillary did not catch on. Nor did Chelsea. Both names had been on the rise, but usage dropped significantly after 1992. Here’s the data:

Hillary

graph of usage of baby name hillary
  • 1995: 310 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 686th]
  • 1994: 408 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 566th]
  • 1993: 1,064 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 261st]
  • 1992: 2,521 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 132nd]
  • 1991: 1,789 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 166th]
  • 1990: 1,524 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 192nd]

That’s a 58% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hillary fell so low that it got pushed out of the top 1,000 entirely for two years (2002 and 2003).

Hilary

graph of usage of baby name hilary
  • 1995: 125 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 1,326th]
  • 1994: 145 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 1,210th]
  • 1993: 343 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 651st]
  • 1992: 1,170 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 234th]
  • 1991: 1,149 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 242nd]
  • 1990: 1,216 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 232nd]

A 71% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hilary was out of the top 1,000 by 1994 and hasn’t been back since. (Hilary Parker says the name Hilary is “clearly the most poisoned.”)

Chelsea

graph of usage of baby name chelsea
  • 1995: 6,760 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 47th]
  • 1994: 7,717 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 38th]
  • 1993: 11,288 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 25th]
  • 1992: 16,174 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 15th]
  • 1991: 13,511 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 18th]
  • 1990: 12,782 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 24th]

The drop here isn’t as dramatic — just 30% — but Chelsea was out of the top 100 by 1999. It currently ranks 222nd.

Why?

Why did the name Hillary slip after Hillary Clinton became a fixture in the White House?

Because she violated gender norms — that’s my guess.

Hillary Clinton was a new kind of First Lady. She was a lawyer, a businesswoman, a scholar and an activist. She was the first First Lady with an earned (vs. honorary) post-graduate degree, and the first to have her own professional career.

But, instead of being praised for her intelligence and ambition, she was criticized for it.

Just two months after the inauguration, Anna Quindlen of the New York Times made note of the double standard:

Maybe some of our daughters took notice of how Hillary Clinton was seen as abrasive, power-hungry and unfeminine when to some of us she seemed merely smart, outspoken and hard-working. Maybe they saw the masquerade and recognized intuitively the age-old message about how much more attractive women are when they are domestic, soft, contented, the message aimed over the years at Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Eleanor Roosevelt and many, many others.

To expectant parents, it didn’t matter that Hillary Clinton was smart and successful. They began avoiding the name Hillary in 1993 because the First Lady — the most high-profile Hillary in the nation — was making her name seem “unfeminine.”

Do you agree? Disagree?

P.S. What are the 13 other “poisoned” names? The 9 to drop since the 1960s are Ashanti, Catina, Deneen, Farrah, Iesha, Infant, Katina, Khadijah and Renata. The other four — Celestine, Clementine, Dewey and Minna — are from the 1800s, a time when SSA data wasn’t too reliable.

Sources:

Which Baby Names Are Banned in Portugal?

Wondering which baby names are illegal in Portugal? (Sure you are!) The Portuguese government maintains an 80-page list of baby names–a mix of the permitted and the forbidden. Here are some of the names (and weirdly specific name combinations) Portuguese parents are not allowed to give their babies:

  • Aidan
  • Albuquerque
  • Allan Brett
  • Anouchka
  • Antoinette
  • Argo Demetrius
  • Ashanti
  • Ashley
  • Babilónia
  • Ben-Hur
  • Brunei
  • Bruce
  • Bryan
  • Charlotte
  • Cheyenne
  • Claret
  • Claude
  • Coltrane (jazz musician)
  • Brilhante (Portuguese for brilliant)
  • Britta Nórdica
  • Chianda Kady
  • Dmitri, Dmitriy, Dmitro
  • Do Sorriso
  • Douglas
  • Dylan
  • Farley
  • Faruk
  • Fraternidade
  • Giana Lai
  • Heidi
  • Hendrix
  • Imperatriz
  • Ivanhoe (19th-century novel)
  • Jaiantcumar
  • Jenny
  • Jimmy
  • Jivago (form of Zhivago)
  • Kathleen
  • Kennedy
  • Leeyang
  • Loïc
  • Logan
  • Mabel
  • Magnifica
  • Mar e Sol (Portuguese for sea and sun)
  • Marx
  • Mary Ann
  • Melbournia
  • Nazareth Fernandes
  • Nirvana
  • Olaf
  • Pablo
  • Piombina (Italian town Piombino)
  • Portugal
  • Rihanna
  • Rosa Luxemburgo
  • Samora Machel
  • Sandokan (fictional pirate Sandokan)
  • Satélite
  • Sayonara (Japanese for goodbye)
  • Tamagnini (Italian surname)
  • Trebaruna (Lusitanian deity)
  • Vasconcelos (Portuguese surname)
  • Viking
  • Virtuosa
  • Viterbo (Italian town)
  • Zingara (Italian for gypsy)

Some are foreign names/words, some are locations, some refer to pop culture, and so forth.

Many of the no-no names are simply in the wrong form (according to the government). For instance, parents can use…

  • Aarão, but not Aaron
  • Agata, but not Agatha
  • Baltasar, but not Baltazar
  • Daisi, but not Daisy
  • Dulce do Amparo, but not Dulce Amparo
  • Kévim, but not Kevin
  • Hervé, but not Hervê or Herve (reminds me of the Zöé controversy)
  • Maria de Lurdes, but not Maria de Lourdes
  • Martina, but not Martine
  • Mónica, but not Monique
  • Nuno, or Nuno de Santa Maria, or Nuno do Carmo (Carmelite), but not Nuno Álvares.

To see all the names for yourself, download the Lista de Nomes from the Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado.