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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Brian

Number of Babies Named Brian

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Brian

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


The Top Baby Names in Maryland in 2011?

Maryland’s Open Data website includes a single table of Maryland baby name rankings (2011) broken down by race/ethnic group. This is cool because New York City does the exact same breakdown, and we happen to have the equivalent NYC baby name rankings (2011). So we ought to be able to compare and contrast the two sets of rankings, right?

Yeah, that’s what I thought…until I started looking more closely at Maryland’s data.

According to the SSA, these were the top 10 boy names in Maryland in 2011:

  1. Mason
  2. Jacob
  3. Michael
  4. Ethan
  5. Ryan
  6. William
  7. Alexander
  8. Noah
  9. Daniel
  10. Aiden (tied for 10th)
  11. Jayden (tied for 10th)

But according to the state of Maryland, the top 10 boy names were quite different:

Rank OVERALL Asian &
Pacific Isl.
Black Hispanic White
1 Aiden Aiden Jaiden Christopher Lucas
2 Christopher Lucas Aiden Anthony Mason
3 Jayden Alexander Christopher John Jackson
4 Mason Muhammed Cameron Alexander Jacob
5 Lucas Ethan Elijah Daniel John
6 Jacob Nathan Jeremy Matthew Aiden
7 Alexander John Michael Brian Alexander
8 Nathan Andrew Isaiah Justin Liam
9 Michael Justin Mason Jaiden William
10 Ethan Jacob Caleb Kevin Ryan

It isn’t totally implausible that Aiden and Jayden might have ranked 1st and 3rd in 2011, but Christopher in 2nd? Maybe if this were a dataset from thirty years ago, but not five years ago. The SSA indicates that Christopher ranked closer to 18th in the state that year.

And what’s with the two different spellings of Jayden/Jaiden?

Plus there are some sizable raw number discrepancies, such as:

  • Aiden: 588 babies (MD data) vs. 281 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Christopher: 584 babies (MD data) vs. 256 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Jayden: 498 babies (MD data) vs. 281 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Mason: 463 babies (MD data) vs. 432 babies (SSA data for MD)

And now the girl names. According to the SSA, these were the top 10 girl names in Maryland in 2011:

  1. Sophia
  2. Olivia
  3. Isabella
  4. Madison
  5. Ava
  6. Emma
  7. Abigail
  8. Chloe
  9. Emily
  10. Elizabeth

According to the state of Maryland, though, the top 10 girl names in the state were these:

Rank OVERALL Asian &
Pacific Isl.
Black Hispanic White
1 Sophia Sophia Chloe Sophia Sophia
2 Isabel Chloe London Emily Isabel
3 Chloe Isabel Layla Allison Abigail
4 Ava Caitlin/Kate Madison Isabel Olivia
5 Madison Hannah Kennedy Ashley Ava
6 Olivia Olivia Aaliyah Angelina Riley
7 Emily Sara(h) McKenzie Natalie Madison
8 McKenzie Abigail Zoe(y) Genesis Emily
9 Abigail Emily Payton Gabrielle McKenzie
10 Riley Lillian/Lily Taylor Kimberly Chloe

Not only does Isabel magically replace Isabella in the Maryland data, but McKenzie and Riley rank 8th and 10th — even though the SSA says they should be closer to 77th (!) and 28th.

Not to mention the raw number discrepancies, such as:

  • Sophia: 503 babies (MD data) vs. 367 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • McKenzie: 325 babies (MD data) vs. 71 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Riley: 298 babies (MD data) vs. 118 babies (SSA data for MD)

Intriguing parallels between the MD data and the NYC data do exist. In both locations, Elijah and Isaiah were in the top 10 for African-American boys only, and London, Aaliyah, and Taylor were in the top 10 for African-American girls only.

But if we can’t trust the data, we can’t draw any meaningful conclusions.

Labels like “Caitlin/Kate,” “Sara(h),” “Zoe(y)” and “Lillian/Lily” suggest that variant names were combined here and there. I suspect this is also what happened with Isabel/Isabella, Sophia/Sofia, Aiden, Jayden, MacKenzie, Riley, and maybe even Christopher (perhaps Maryland merged all the “Chris-” names). What are your thoughts on this?

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2015

According to data from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in Ireland in 2015 were Emily and Jack.

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

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily, 626 baby girls
2. Emma, 449
3. Ava, 421
4. Sophie, 407
5. Amelia, 400
6. Ella, 384
7. Lucy, 379
8. Grace, 367
9. Chloe, 362
10. Mia, 360
1. Jack, 752 baby boys
2. James, 697
3. Daniel, 617
4. Conor, 558
5. Sean, 530
6. Adam, 449
7. Noah, 438
8. Michael, 434
9. Charlie, 399
10. Luke, 382

Here are some quick comparisons between these rankings with the 2014 rankings…

New to the top 10:

  • Girl names: Chloe (replaces Aoife, now ranked 13th)
  • Boy names: Michael (replaces Harry, now tied for 14th with Cian)

New to the top 100:

  • Girl names: Maisie, Annabelle, Mila, Rosie, and Eimear
  • Boy names: Lorcan, George, Daithi, Brian, Edward, and Daire

Biggest increases within the top 100:

  • Girl names (by rank): Mila, Fiadh, Maisie, Annabelle, and Alice
  • Girl names (by raw numbers): Fiadh, Roisin, Robyn, Sadie, and Chloe
  • Boy names (by rank): Ollie, Donnacha, Billy, Tadhg, and Brian/Daire (tied)
  • Boy names (by raw numbers): Oliver, Michael, Fionn, Tadhg, and Finn

And finally, some of the “less common” (non-top 100) baby names mentioned in the CSO’s statistical release:

  • Girl names: Paris, Nelly, Dakota, Kim, Pixie, and Sabina
  • Boy names: Barra, Pauric, Zayn, Gus, Romeo, and Otis

Source: Irish Babies’ Names, 2015

Study Finds Less Name-Based Hiring Bias…Maybe

resumeA recent study by University of Missouri researchers Cory Koedel and Rajeev Darolia found that resumes featuring black-sounding and Hispanic-sounding names were “just as likely to lead to callbacks and job interviews” as those featuring white-sounding names.

The catch?

The study focused on applicant surnames, not first names.

Washington and Jefferson were used to represent African American applicants, Anderson and Thompson to represent white applicants, and Hernandez and Garcia to represent Hispanic applicants.

For the first two groups, forenames were used to signify gender only. Chloe and Ryan were used for the African American applicants, Megan and Brian for the white applicants.

But for the Hispanic applicants, called either Isabella or Carlos, forenames also signified ethnicity.

Why did the researchers do it this way?

Because they wanted to avoid stereotypically black-sounding first names like Lakisha and Jamal, which they felt were too strongly tied to socioeconomic status to get a clear reading on racial bias.

Which is a fair point, though…can surnames alone convey race all that well? Would a hiring manager really assume that an applicant with the surname Jefferson was black while another with the surname Thompson was white?

Though I’d love to see proof that hiring discrimination is on the wane in the U.S., I’m not sure how convincing a surname-focused study can be in this regard. (I do find the part about Hispanic names encouraging, though.)

What’s your opinion?

Sources: Hiring bias study: Resumes with black, white, Hispanic names treated the same, An Updated Analysis of Race and Gender Effects on Employer Interest in Job Applicants (PDF)

Popular Boy Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

How has the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names changed over time (if at all) among the most popular baby names in the U.S.?

This question popped into my head recently, so I thought I’d take a look at the data. We’ll do boy names today and girl names tomorrow.

First, let’s set some parameters. For these posts, “Biblical” names are personal names (belonging to either humans or archangels) mentioned in the Bible, plus all derivatives of these names, plus any other name with a specifically Biblical origin (e.g., Jordan, Sharon, Genesis). The “most popular” names are the top 20, and “over time” is the span of a century.

For boy names, the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names has basically flipped over the last 100 years. Here’s a visual — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and a borderline name (which I counted as non-Biblical) is in the orange cell:

Popular boy names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular boy names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Adam, Alexander, Andrew, Austin (via Augustus), Benjamin, Daniel, David, Elijah, Ethan, Jack (via John), Jackson (via John), Jacob, James, Jason, John, Jonathan, Joseph, Joshua, Justin (via Justus), Lucas, Mark, Matthew, Michael, Nathan, Nicholas, Noah, Paul, Stephen, Steven, Thomas, Timothy, Zachary
  • Non-Biblical names: Aiden, Albert, Anthony, Arthur, Billy, Brandon, Brian, Charles, Christopher, Dennis, Donald, Dylan, Edward, Eric, Frank, Gary, George, Harold, Harry, Henry, Jayden, Jeffrey, Kenneth, Kevin, Larry, Liam, Logan, Louis, Mason, Raymond, Richard, Robert, Ronald, Ryan, Scott, Tyler, Walter, William
  • Borderline name: Jerry (can be based on the Biblical name Jeremy/Jeremiah or on the non-Biblical names Jerome, Gerald, Gerard)
    • It felt strange putting an overtly Christian name like Christopher in the non-Biblical category, but it doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible, so…that’s where it goes.

      Here are the year-by-year tallies:

      Year Top 20 names
      given to…
      # Biblical # Non-Biblical
      1914 40% of baby boys 5 (25%) 15 (75%)
      1924 43% of baby boys 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
      1934 43% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1944 47% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1954 46% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1964 42% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1974 38% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1984 36% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      1994 27% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2004 19% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2014 14% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)

      But there’s a huge difference between sample sizes of 40% and 14%, so let’s also take a look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 42% of male births.

      By my count, last year’s top 100 boy names were half Biblical, half non-Biblical:

      Biblical names (49) Non-Biblical names (51)
      Noah, Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, James, Daniel, Elijah, Benjamin, Matthew, Jackson (via John), David, Lucas, Joseph, Andrew, Samuel, Gabriel, Joshua, John, Luke, Isaac, Caleb, Nathan, Jack (via John), Jonathan, Levi, Jaxon (via John), Julian (via Julius), Isaiah, Eli, Aaron, Thomas, Jordan, Jeremiah, Nicholas, Evan, Josiah, Austin (via Augustus), Jace (via Jason), Jason, Jose, Ian, Adam, Zachary, Jaxson (via John), Asher, Nathaniel, Justin (via Justus), Juan Liam, Mason, William, Logan, Aiden, Jayden, Anthony, Carter, Dylan, Christopher, Oliver, Henry, Sebastian, Owen, Ryan, Wyatt, Hunter, Christian, Landon, Charles, Connor, Cameron, Adrian, Gavin, Robert, Brayden, Grayson, Colton, Angel, Dominic, Kevin, Brandon, Tyler, Parker, Ayden, Chase, Hudson, Nolan, Easton, Blake, Cooper, Lincoln, Xavier, Bentley, Kayden, Carson, Brody, Ryder, Leo, Luis, Camden

      (Christian, Angel, Xavier, Dominic…all technically non-Biblical, despite having strong ties to Christianity.)

      50%-50% isn’t quite as extreme as 70%-30%, but it’s still noticeably more Biblical than 1914’s 25%-75%.

      Do any of these results surprise you?

Everton Fans Have Baby Boy “EFC”

efc-cupcakesReady for another soccer-inspired baby name?

In December of 2012, Katie Brown and her partner Brian welcomed a baby boy at Liverpool Women’s Hospital in Liverpool, England. They’re big fans of Everton Football Club, so they named their son Elliott Francis Cain, initials E.F.C., in honor of the club.

I’m not sure if “Cain” is a middle name or a surname, but while searching for clues I did happen to find a photo of Elliott Francis Cain (EFC) cupcakes. :)

Speaking of yummy things, one nickname for Everton F.C. is “The Toffees.”

Rival team Liverpool, which inspired a pair of Norwegian parents to name their daughter Ynwa back in 2010, goes by “The Reds.”

Source: Mersey mum gives birth to baby blue Elliott Francis Cain on Christmas Day

Did the O. J. Simpson Trial Influence Baby Names?

Kato KaelinToday marks the 19th anniversary of O. J. Simpson’s acquittal.

Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman were murdered on June 12, 1994. The heavily publicized trial began early the next year, and the “not guilty” verdict was handed down on October 3, 1995.

Believe it or not, several baby names saw increased usage in the mid-1990s thanks to the O. J. Simpson murder trial:

  • Arnelle & Arnell, which refer to Arnelle Simpson, O. J. Simpson’s daughter with his first wife.
  • Kaelin & Kato, which refer to Brian Jerard “Kato” Kaelin, the memorable witness who was living on Simpson’s property at the time of the murders. (His nickname comes from the Green Hornet character.)

Here’s how many U.S. babies got each name per year from 1993 through 1997:

Name 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
Arnell (girls) 5 21 13 7
Arnelle (girls) 16 15 28 10
Kaelin (boys) 12 63 121 65 44
Kaelin (girls) 38 89 159 119 120
Kato (boys) 6 10 13 15 6

Does this surprise you at all, or would you have expected it?

(And these aren’t the only baby names to be popularized by murders and/or murder trials. Check out Evelyn, Delmas & Delphin, Rainelle & Rainell and Trayvon.)

Source: O. J. Simpson murder case – Wikipedia