Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…
Abhinandan: Multiple babies born in India in March of 2019 were named Abhinandan following the release of mustachioed IAF wing-commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan. (India Times)
(And, on March 4th, Pizza Hut India offered free pizza to anyone named Abhinandan.)
Audrey Claire: A baby girl born Pennsylvania in April of 2019 was named Audrey Claire after Philadelphia restaurant Audrey Claire. (The Inquirer)
Brady: A baby girl born in New Hampshire in February of 2019 (on Superbowl Sunday) was named Margaret Carter Brady, second middle name in honor of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. (WMUR)
Camden and Maxwell: Twin baby girls born in North Dakota in February of 2019 were named Isla Camden and Eloise Maxwell — middle names in honor of their late brothers, Camden and Maxwell, who’d died in a car accident a year earlier. (Today)
Danielle: A baby girl born in Blackpool, England, in mid-2018 was named Danielle after nurse Danielle McLardie, who had cared for the mother during a pregnancy-induced bout of sepsis. (BBC, via Clare’s Name News)
Desai: A baby boy born in Oklahoma in January of 2019 was named Desai after obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Sneha Desai, who delivered the baby. (KXII)
Gopay: A baby boy born in Indonesia in February of 2019 was named Gopay after Go-Pay, an Indonesian e-payment platform. The parents received Go-Pay credit from the parent company, Go-Jek, as a gift. (Coconuts Jakarta)
Henderson: A baby boy born in England in February of 2019 was named Henderson, nickname Hendo, “after Sheffield’s famous Henderson’s Relish!” (The Star)
Logan: A baby girl born in Saskatchewan in June of 2018 was named Logan Humble in honor of Logan Boulet, who was killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, which the baby’s mother had witnessed. (CBC)
Margaret: A baby girl born in Nairobi, Kenya, in March of 2019 — just after her mother had started a 2km “pregnancy walk” hosted by the Beyond Zero campaign — was named Margaret after First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, founder of the campaign. (Evewoman)
Miraj: A baby boy born in Rajasthan, India, in February of 2019 — minutes after IAF fighter jets carried out the Balakot airstrike — was named Miraj after the jets: Dassault Mirage 2000s. (Mumbai Mirror)
And, finally, a pair of pop-culture influenced names that made headlines:
Which boy names increased the most in popularity from 2015 to 2016? And which ones decreased the most?
The U.S. SSA likes to answer this question by analyzing ranking differences within the top 1,000. I prefer to answer it by looking at raw number differences, and to take the full list into account. So let’s check out the results using both methods…
Boy Names: Biggest Increases, 2015 to 2016
1. Kylo, +2,368 spots — up from 3,269th to 901st
2. Creed, +370 spots — up from 1,352nd to 982nd
3. Benicio, +356 spots — up from 1,331st to 975th
4. Adonis, +307 spots — up from 701st to 394th
5. Fox, +288 spots — up from 1034th to 746th
6. Kye, +281 spots — up from 984th to 703rd
7. Hakeem, +256 spots — up from 1,161st to 905th
8. Shepherd, +242 spots — up from 1,105th to 863rd
9. Wilder, +238 spots — up from 961st to 723rd
10. Zayn, +222 spots — up from 643rd to 421st
Kylo was influenced by the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
Creed and Adonis were influenced by the movie Creed (2015).
Hakeem was influenced by the TV show Empire (2015-). So was Bryshere, which debuted last year.
Wilder could have been influenced by either Gene Wilder or by boxer Deontay Wilder, or both. (Or neither.)
Zayn was influenced by British singer/songwriter Zain “Zayn” Malik.
1. Mateo, +1,516 baby boys — up from 5,010 to 6,526
2. Oliver, +1,340 baby boys — up from 11,635 to 12,975
3. Bryson, +1,239 baby boys — up from 3,094 to 4,333
4. Lincoln, +1,094 baby boys — up from 5,982 to 7,076
5. Benjamin, +899 baby boys — up from 13,670 to 14,569
6. Grayson, +735 baby boys — up from 7,887 to 8,622
7. Theodore, +723 baby boys — up from 4,136 to 4,859
8. Greyson, +704 baby boys — up from 3,591 to 4,295
9. Leo, +678 baby boys — up from 4,582 to 5,260
10. Maverick, +675 baby boys — up from 2,265 to 2,940
Other names that saw raw number increases in the 200+ range included Owen, Sebastian, Ezekiel, Lucas, Ezra, Leonardo, Santiago, Conor, Gael, Everett, Rhett, Jameson, Killian, Tobias, Arlo, Easton, Finn, Rowan, Elias, Asher, Calvin, Thiago, Bodhi, Legend, Lukas, River, Elliot, Harrison, Roman, Adriel, Paxton, Julian, Ace, Josiah, Waylon, Messiah, Nash, Ellis, Matias, George, Barrett, Connor, Wade, Kyrie, Milo, Amir, Bennett, Elliott, Silas, Matteo, and Axel.
Rowan is rising quickly for both boys and girls right now.
Kyrie, which was once given primarily to girls, is now being given primarily for boys thanks to basketball player Kyrie Irving.
Boy Names: Biggest Decreases, 2015 to 2016
1. Jonael, -475 spots — down from 921st to 1,396th
2. Aaden, -239 spots — down from 784th to 1,023rd
3. Triston, -230 spots — down from 957th to 1,187th
4. Freddy, -222 spots — down from 993rd to 1,215th
5. Yaakov, -213 spots — down from 992nd to 1,205th
6. Braeden, -203 spots — down from 792nd to 995th
7. Chace, -202 spots — down from 935th to 1,137th
8. Brantlee, -176 spots — down from 777th to 953rd
9. Gannon, -173 spots — down from 533rd to 706th
10. Robin, -171 spots — down from 969th to 1,140th
The name Jonael got a lot of exposure in 2015 thanks to 11-year-old Puerto Rican singer Jonael Santiago, who won the 3rd season of La Voz Kids, which aired from March to June. It didn’t get as much exposure in 2016, which accounts for the drop in usage.
1. Logan, -1,697 baby boys (12,897 to 11,200)
2. Jacob, -1,498 baby boys (15,914 to 14,416)
3. Jayden, -1,455 baby boys (11,518 to 10,063)
4. Mason, -1,399 baby boys (16,591 to 15,192)
5. Ethan, -1,291 baby boys — down from 15,049 to 13,758
6. Aiden, -1,271 baby boys (13,429 to 12,158)
7. Alexander, -1,186 baby boys (14,507 to 13,321)
8. Jackson, -1,032 baby boys (12,242 to 11,210)
9. Brandon, -1,024 baby boys (5,100 to 4,076)
10. Blake, -951 baby boys (4,220 to 3,269)
Unlike Rowan, Blake is falling on the boys’ list, but rising on the girls’ list. In fact, the graph (right) makes a gender switch look inevitable. This is not something I would have anticipated a decade ago, before the emergence of Blake Lively.
Other names that saw raw number drops in the 200+ range included Landon, Caleb, Gavin, Anthony, Christopher, Andrew, David, Parker, Colton, Jase, Hunter, Brody, Brantley, Gabriel, Jonathan, Jordan, Tyler, Kevin, Nathan, Joshua, Carter, Daniel, Joseph, Dylan, Christian, Noah, Angel, Brayden, Iker, Chase, Nicholas, Austin, Dominic, Camden, John, Ayden, Michael, Colin, Bryan, Riley, Kyle, Hayden, Bradley, Nathaniel, Jake, Samuel, Luke, Cayden, Evan, Zachary, Steven, Kaden, Cooper, Marcus, Ryan, Tristan, Bryce, Ryder, Micah, Brady, Bentley, Kaleb, Levi, Alex, Conner, Jeremy, Isaac, Ian, Gage, Brian, Kayden, Jaden, Carlos, Sean, Jeremiah, Abel, Devin, Adrian, Giovanni, Garrett, and Adam.
Jase has seen a dramatic rise and fall over the last few years: big gains in 2012 and 2013, followed by big losses in 2014, 2015, and now 2016.
Similarly, Iker was on the rise for a while, with partcularly big leaps in 2011 and 2012, but usage is now on the wane.
Do you have any other explanations/guesses about any of the names above? If so, please leave a comment.
(In 2015, the big winners were Oliver and Riaan, and the big losers were Jase and Arnav.)
Yardley: In June of 2015, a pair of Baltimore Orioles fans welcomed a baby girl. They named her Yardley, after Camden Yards. (Their first child, a son, is named Camden.)
Pixie: In May of 2015, an English baby girl was born 3 months premature, weighing just 1.1 lbs. She was named Pixie “because of her tiny size.”
Calder: In September of 2015, Canadian Olympian Meaghan Mikkelson gave birth to a baby boy. She and her husband chose the name Calder with the help of Twitter users. Calder — as in the Calder Trophy and the Calder Cup — can be traced back to Frank Calder, first President of the National Hockey League.
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:
Here’s another “biggest changes” analysis, but this one is for the England and Wales boy names. (We looked at the girl names yesterday.)
The tables below include two versions of each list. On the left are the top raw-number differences, taking all names into account. On the right are the top ranking differences, taking only the top 1,000 names (roughly) into account.
Biggest Increases in Popularity
Raw Numbers (all names)
Rankings (top 1,000)
Oscar, +1,222 babies
Greyson, +1388 spots
Buster and Abubakr [tie], +517
Jeffrey and Brax [tie], +499
I think the rise of Oscar can be attributed, at least in part, to Oscar Pistorius. Can you think of explanations for any of the other names? (I’d especially like to know what gave Buster a boost.)
Biggest Decreases in Popularity
Raw Numbers (all names)
Rankings (top 1,000)
Riley, -1,703 babies
Rylan, -577 spots
A lot of Ry- and Ri- names took hits last year. Is the sound falling out of the favor? What do you think?
Top Debut Name
Fewer than 3 baby boys got the name in 2012, but 12 baby boys were named Gurfateh in 2013. (But keep in mind that I only have the full England and Wales baby name lists going back to 2007.)