How popular is the baby name Ben 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 Ben.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ben


Posts that Mention the Name Ben

Can We Separate Jemima from “Aunt Jemima”?

Last Wednesday, the Quaker Oats Company announced that it would be terminating the Aunt Jemima brand as we know it. Here’s part of the company’s statement:

Aunt Jemima brand is removing its image from packaging and changing the brand name. This step is in line with PepsiCo’s journey toward racial equality, and the evolution will help carry the 130-year-old brand into the future.

Thursday and Friday, the companies behind Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s, Cream of Wheat, and Eskimo Pie followed suit with similar announcements.

I’m very happy about all of this, but I’m particularly interested in the end of Aunt Jemima, because that brand is inextricably linked with a distinctive first name. In fact, I’d guess that, for the vast majority of Americans, the first thing they think of when they hear or see the name “Jemima” is Aunt Jemima syrup.

So now I have some questions for you…

Do you think the name’s strong association with the brand — which was established in 1889 and well-known by the mid-1910s — dissuaded parents from using Jemima as a baby name during the 20th century? (And, if so, do you think the usage of Jemima could possibly be seen as a gauge of racism in the U.S.?)

baby name jemima popularity graph

Once the brand name changes, how long before the name’s association with a racial stereotype finally fades away?

Could the Biblical name Jemima (Hebrew for “dove”) ever become a trendy American baby name (à la Gemma, Delilah)?

Sources: Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Cream of Wheat review branding after Aunt Jemima announces name change, Aunt Jemima – Wikipedia, Dreyer’s to drop “derogatory” Eskimo Pie name after 99 years

Popular Baby Names in Malta, 2018

Speaking of Malta…according to The Malta Independent, the most popular baby names in the country in 2018 were Emma and Noah.

Here are Malta’s top 3 girl names and top 3 boy names of 2018:

Girls Names

  1. Emma
  2. Mia
  3. Valentina

Boy Names

  1. Noah
  2. Luca
  3. Liam

In the girls’ top three, Mia and Valentina replace Ella and Amy, but Emma remains on top. In the the boys’ top three, Noah doesn’t just replace Ben, but supplants Luca, the #1 boy name of 2017.

(I wish I could publish full top 10 lists, but Malta’s National Statistics Office stopped updating its Naming Babies page after releasing the 2014 rankings.)

Source: Top three baby names in 2018

Cuban Baby Named Barbara Benita

Andres holding Barbara Benita
(Bettmann / Getty Images)

A few days ago we talked about Cuban refugee babies whose names were associated with the Mariel boatlift, but here’s an even earlier Cuban refugee baby name I haven’t written about yet: Barbara Benita.

She was born in a small open boat fleeing from Cuba in late April, 1964. Her father, a farmer named Andres Mejias, was quoted as saying: “I never dreamed of delivering a baby, especially at sea running from my country.”

The family was picked up by H.M.S Tartar about 13 miles south of Marathon, Florida.

The baby was named Barbara for the Cuban saint of thunder because it was rainy during the night, and Benita for the British naval officer on the Tartar who first spotted the refugee group. Mr. Mejias said he knew only that the officer’s first name was Ben.

In the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería, Saint Barbara was syncretized with Shango, the Yoruban god of thunder and lightning, fire, and war.

Source: “Cuban Refugee Gives Birth in Small Boat at Sea.” Toledo Blade 30 Apr. 1964: 1.

Popular Baby Names in Switzerland, 2018

According to data from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the most popular baby names in Switzerland in 2018 were Emma and Liam.

Here are the country’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2018:

Girl Names

  1. Emma, 504 baby girls
  2. Mia, 445
  3. Sofia, 342
  4. Lea, 325
  5. Elena, 319
  6. Emilia, 307
  7. Mila, 301
  8. Anna, 299
  9. Laura, 277
  10. Lena, 275

Boy Names

  1. Liam, 446 baby boys
  2. Noah, 443
  3. Leon, 344
  4. Luca, 332
  5. Elias, 326
  6. Gabriel, 324
  7. Matteo, 313
  8. Louis, 301
  9. Ben, 281
  10. David, 265

In the girls’ top 10, Elena, Mila, and Laura replace Lina, Lara, and Nina.

In the boys’ top 10, Louis replaces Samuel.

Here are the top baby names within each of Switzerland’s main language groups:

  • German speakers (63% of the population)
    • Top 3 girl names: Mia, Emma, Lea
    • Top 3 boy names: Noah, Leon, Elias
  • French speakers (23%)
    • Top 3 girl names: Emma, Alice, Eva
    • Top 3 boy names: Liam, Gabriel, Arthur
  • Italian speakers (8%)
    • Top 3 girl names: Sofia, Alice, Emily
    • Top 3 boy names: Leonardo, Liam, Alessandro
  • Romansh speakers (less than 1%)
    • Top girl name: Chiara, Clara, Emilia, Gianna, Hanna, Joana, Lana, Lara, Lena, Lenia, Lia, Mara (at least a 10-way tie)
    • Top boy name: Alessio, Laurin, Liam, Men (4-way tie)

In 2017, the top names in the country overall were Emma and Noah.

Sources: Vornamen der Neugeborenen – Swiss Federal Statistical Office, Not a Heidi in sight: The most popular Swiss baby names in 2018 – The Local