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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Bella

Number of Babies Named Bella

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Bella

Top Dog Names in New York City, 2015

yorkshire terrier, dog names NYC
Gucci? Chanel?
According to the New York City Department of Health, Bella and Max were the most popular names for licensed dogs* in New York City in 2015.

Here are NYC’s top female dog names:

  1. Bella (…vs. 69th for baby girls in NY state, 2015)
  2. Lola (…267th)
  3. Lucy (…88th)
  4. Daisy (…271st)
  5. Coco
  6. Princess
  7. Molly (…128th)
  8. Chloe (…14th)
  9. Luna (…129th)
  10. Sophie (…77th)

And here are NYC’s top male dog names:

  1. Max (…vs. 85th for baby boys in NY state, 2015)
  2. Rocky
  3. Charlie (…236th)
  4. Buddy
  5. Lucky
  6. Teddy
  7. Toby (…760th)
  8. Jack (…23rd)
  9. Oliver (…32nd)
  10. Milo (…270th)

Uniquely popular names by breed include Snoopy for beagles, Tyson for boxers, Lulu for French bulldogs, Chico for chihuahuas, Frank for dachshunds, Dolly for poodles, Mugsy for pugs, Snow for Siberian huskies, and Chanel and Gucci for Yorkshire terriers.

On this map of unique dog names by neighborhood I see Baci (bah-chee, Italian for “kisses”), Boomer, Brutus, Frankie, Katie, Mochi, Ollie, Penelope, and Taz.

For less common NYC dog names, check out the dog names by frequency of occurrence page. Mousing over the bubbles I see 4 Tictacs, 3 Zombies, 2 Orbits, and 1 Chopstick.

Sources: Health Department Announces 2015’s Most Popular Dog Names, And the most popular dog name in New York is…

*The 84,000+ licensed dogs represent about 20% of all the dogs in NYC.


Top Dog and Cat Names in Toronto, 2015

dog and cat, grassCharlie and Max were the two most popular names for both licensed dogs and licensed cats living in the City of Toronto in 2015.

For dogs, of the more than 11,300 names on the list, these 10 were the most common:

  1. Charlie, 678 dogs
  2. Max, 560
  3. Bella, 515
  4. Buddy, 480
  5. Molly, 463
  6. Maggie, 416
  7. Bailey, 402
  8. Lucy, 376
  9. Coco, 369
  10. Daisy, 364

Over 7,300 of the dog names were used just once. Here are some of the funnier/punnier examples:

  • Barkley, Barksdale, Riley Barker, Wendel Bark
  • Dogma, Snoop Dog
  • Arcanine
  • Muttley, Muttley Crue
  • Paw-Prints, Paws, Pawsy
  • Pooches, Poochie, Poochy
  • Lolly Pup
  • Ruffy, Ruffas, Woodruff
  • Scallywag, Wagner, Wags, Tommy Wags
  • Woof, Woofie, Woofy
  • Nymeria (from Game of Thrones)

For cats, of the more than 7,900 names on the list, these 10 were the most common:

  1. Charlie, 174 cats (…though, technically, the top name for cats was actually “no name”)
  2. Max, 157
  3. Molly, 150
  4. Tiger, 140
  5. Lucy, 133 (tie)
  6. Smokey, 133 (tie)
  7. Bella, 130
  8. Shadow, 115
  9. Lucky, 111
  10. Tigger, 107

About 5,400 of the cat names were used just once. Some examples:

  • Battlecat, Stratacater
  • Coco Declaw, Heath Declaw, Riley Declaw, Zoey Declaw
  • Cleokatra, Kat Middleton, Kat-Mandu, Eartha Kat, Genghis Khat
  • Meowl, Meowlodie, Meowth
  • Stephen Pawk, Timmy Paws
  • Hypurr, Jaspurr, Peppurr, Purrcilla, Purriwinkle, Purrl, Purrscilla, Thumpurr
  • Grumpy (as in Grumpy Cat)

Sources: Licensed Dog and Cat Names – City of Toronto, Charlie and Max top Toronto lists of popular pet names

Popular Baby Names in Alberta, 2015

According to data from the government of Alberta, the most popular baby names in the province in 2015 were Olivia and Liam.

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

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia, 294 baby girls
2. Emma, 275
3. Emily, 252
4. Sophia, 205
5. Ava, 201
6. Chloe, 179
7. Ella, 167 [tie]
7. Abigail, 167 [tie]
9. Avery, 155
10. Amelia, 142
1. Liam, 301 baby boys
2. Noah, 256
3. Ethan, 233
4. Benjamin, 221
5. Lucas, 218
6. William, 217
7. Oliver, 209
8. Mason, 203
9. Logan, 196
10. Alexander, 193

In the girls’ top 10, Chloe, Avery, and Amelia replace Isabella, Charlotte, and Hannah.

In the boys’ top 10, Mason and Alexander replace Jacob and Carter.

Baby names that were bestowed only once last year include…

Unusual Girl Names Unusual Boy Names
Alastrine, Anarchy, Annayancy, Archa, Black-Feather, Breitling, Christivie, Costandina, Daylight, Drolma, Eallaf, Ehhuphoe, Esquire, Everra, Frozenda, Heledana, Isabeau, Jupiter, Kah, Loklyee-Snow, Lúthien, Mercyfavor, Mixx, Mornin-Starr, Mraeven, Nations, Nelanora, Obsolete, Oromia, Ovee, Patvabelle, Pluriana-Bella, Razbee, Reznor, SaQueira, Soda, Starlight, Sparrows, Surrender, Tayt-Lynn, Temperley, Uairirira, Umnia, Vhylix, Wynstelle, Xyrelle, Yeabkal, Yllethea, Yvriellebon, Zarabeen, Zayabella Ararso, Athanasius, Axtion, Bayou, Boxuan, Bry, Calyx, Clifflen, Coho, Den-Mark, Denzworth, Dezus, Eero, Eisenhower, Fnan, Fortress, Frotan, Galvin, Igloiel, Indus, JMaxx, Jomonosi, Kenardo, Knoll, Knoxin, Larxaniel, Memo, Mercer, Mugsy, Nazarus, Nexland, Nimona, Nuno, Nusetor, Okooc, Orges, Parx, Poncho, Psalmer, Qumbi, Ray-Pio, Reacher, Rook, Ryxer, Sky-Light, Sleem, Snowden, StylesJunior, Turbo, Uzuvira, Vanderjak, Vince-Gil, Wen-Ray, Wrightkin, Yngwie, Yogi, Zackharry, Zaylex, Zyller

Finally, here’s a link to Alberta’s top names of 2014.

Source: Frequency and Ranking of Baby Names by Year and Gender

Should We Name Hurricanes to Maximize Donations?

hurricaneIn 2008, psychologists Jesse Chandler, Tiffany M. Griffin, and Nicholas Sorensen published a study showing that people who shared an initial with a hurricane name were over-represented among hurricane relief donors. So, for instance, people with R-names donated significantly more than other people to Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (This is an offshoot of the name-letter effect.)

A few years later, marketing professor Adam Alter came up with an interesting idea: Why not use this knowledge to try to maximize donations to hurricane relief efforts? He explained:

In the United States, for example, more than 10% of all males have names that begin with the letter J-names like James and John (the two most common male names), Joseph and Jose, Jason, and Jeffrey. Instead of beginning just one hurricane name with the letter J each year (in 2013, that name will be Jerry), the World Meteorological Organization could introduce several J names each year. Similarly, more American female names begin with M than any other letter–most of them Marys, Marias, Margarets, Michelles, and Melissas–so the Organization could introduce several more M names to each list.

I think his idea is a good one overall. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, but could potentially benefit many hurricane victims.

I would go about choosing the names differently, though.

Repeating initials multiple times within a single hurricane season would be unwise, for instance. It would cause confusion, which would undermine the reason we started naming hurricanes in the first place (“for people easily to understand and remember” them, according to the WMO).

But optimizing the name lists using data on real-life usage? That would be smart.

I might even try optimizing based on demographics. Baby boomers are particularly generous donors, so maybe we should choose letters (or even names) with that generation in mind?

The baby boomers were born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, so here are the top initials for babies born in 1956 (60 years ago):

Top first letters of baby names, 1956, U.S.

Here are two possible lists of hurricane names using the above letters. I stuck with the WMO’s conventions: 21 names total, alternating genders, and no retired names.

Mid-century style Modern style
Janice
Danny
Rebecca
Martin
Cindy
Scott
Lori
Kenneth
Brenda
Patrick
Theresa
Gerald
Angela
Eugene
Wanda
Vincent
Nancy
Howard
Francine
Ira
Olga
Jasmine
Dominic
Rylee
Matthew
Charlotte
Sebastian
Lucy
Kingston
Bella
Preston
Trinity
Grayson
Ava
Eli
Willow
Victor
Nora
Hunter
Fiona
Isaac
Olivia

And here’s another point: we wouldn’t want to assign these names in order. While the official hurricane season lasts a full six months — June to November — most hurricane activity happens in August, September and October:

Number of Tropical Cyclones per 100 Years (NOAA)

To really optimize, we’d want to reserve the top initials/names for the stronger mid-season hurricanes, which tend to do the most damage. So we could start the season using mid-list names, then jump to the top of the list when August comes around and go in order from that point forward (skipping over any mid-list names that had already been used).

What are your thoughts on assigning hurricane names with disaster relief in mind? Do you think it could work? What strategy/formula would you use to select relief-optimized hurricane names?

Sources: In the “I” of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donations, Smart Hurricane Names: A Policy Intervention that Costs Almost Nothing but Should Attract Billions of Dollars in Aid, Tropical Cyclone Programme – WMO
Image: Tropical Cyclone Climatology – National Hurricane Center – NOAA

P.S. While J, D and R were the top initials 60 years ago, today’s top initials are A, J and M.

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 Dog Names in Lancaster County, PA, in 2014

According to data from the Lancaster County Treasurer’s Office, the most popular dog names in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 2014 were Bella, Molly and Buddy.

Here are Lancaster County’s top 50+ dog names of 2014:

1. Bella, 578 dogs
2. Molly, 576
3. Buddy, 551
4. Daisy, 545
5. Max, 456
6. Maggie, 418
7. Bailey, 351
8. Lucy, 336
9. Sophie, 289
10. Rosie, 286
11. Chloe, 278
12. Sadie, 263
13. Toby, 250
14. Charlie, 246
15. Tucker, 241
16. Jack, 236
17. Rocky, 231
18. Buster, 228
19. Ginger, 225
20. Bear, 223
21. Harley, 222
22. Cooper, 221
23. Lily, 216
24. Riley, 209
25. Zoey, 202 [tie]
26. Abby, 202 [tie]
27. Duke, 200
28. Shadow, 197
29. Teddy, 193
30. Lucky, 183
31. Rusty, 181
32. Misty, 180
33. Jake, 179
34. Princess, 177
35. Roxy, 174
36. Gracie, 169 [tie]
37. Lady, 169 [tie]
38. Sandy, 165
39. Lilly, 163
40. Dixie, 151 [tie]
41. Trixie, 151 [tie]
42. Cody, 147 [tie]
43. Coco, 147 [tie]
44. Penny, 145
45. Mia, 143
46. Pepper, 140
47. Zoe, 137
48. Hunter, 134
49. Sammy, 132
50. Bandit, 131 [tie]
51. Ruby, 131 [tie]

The names above account for nearly a quarter of the 51,000 dogs registered in Lancaster County in 2014.

As usual these days, a lot of the trendiest dog names also happen to be trendy baby names.

Source: Top dog names in Lancaster County: No Fido or Levi

The Alpha-Quad Name Battle

battle alpha quads

Years ago I posted about a set of all-girl quadruplets born in Canada in 2007. They had alphabetical names: Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia.

More recently, I discovered a set of all-girl quadruplets born in the Philippines in 1963, on New Year’s Day. They had similar names — Adelia, Bella, Celia and Dina. (Sadly, I don’t think any of them survived.)

Which set of alphabetical quadruplet names do you prefer? Why?

I prefer...

View Results

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Source: “Quads Arrive; That Makes 10.” Miami News 2 Jan. 1963: 5B.