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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Denise

Number of Babies Named Denise

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Denise

Biggest Changes in Girl Name Popularity, 2016

Which girl names increased the most in popularity from 2015 to 2016? Which ones decreased the most?

The SSA likes to answer this question by analyzing ranking differences within the top 1,000. I like to answer it by looking at raw number differences that take the full list into account. So let’s check out the results using both methods…

Girl Names: Biggest Increases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, girl names, more popular

Rankings

1. Kehlani, +2,487 spots — up from 3,359th to 872nd
2. Royalty, +618 spots — up from 1,150th to 532nd
3. Saoirse, +465 spots — up from 1,448th to 983rd
4. Ophelia, +396 spots — up from 976th to 580th
5. Aitana, +368 spots — up from 917th to 549th
6. Itzayana, +356 spots — up from 1,125th to 769th
7. Alessia, +348 spots — up from 1,175th to 827th
8. Kaylani, +301 spots — up from 1,056th to 755th
9. Avianna, +298 spots — up from 751st to 453rd
10. Nalani, +294 spots — up from 1,280th to 986th

Kehlani and Kaylani were influenced by singer/songwriter Kehlani Parrish. (Kehlani was the top debut name of 2015, and variant Khelani debuted impressively in 2016.)

Royalty was influenced by the R&B singer Chris Brown, whose daughter (b. 2014) and 7th album (2015) were both called Royalty.

Saoirse was influenced by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan — perhaps specifically by those American talk show appearances in which she talked to the hosts (Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Colbert, etc.) about how to pronounce her name. Plus there was that widely circulated Ryan Gosling quote on the same topic (“It’s Ser-sha, like inertia”).

Alessia was influenced by singer/songwriter Alessia Cara.

Raw Numbers

1. Adeline, +1,700 baby girls — up from 2,403 to 4,103
2. Charlotte, +1,649 baby girls — up from 11,381 to 13,030
3. Riley, +1,390 baby girls — up from 5,720 to 7,110
4. Adaline, +971 baby girls — up from 902 to 1,873
5. Amelia, +864 baby girls — up from 9,838 to 10,702
6. Luna, +849 baby girls — up from 2,796 to 3,645
7. Emilia, +804 baby girls — up from 2,215 to 3,019
8. Camila, +765 baby girls — up from 5,271 to 6,036
9. Nova, +754 baby girls — up from 1,518 to 2,272
10. Evelyn, +708 baby girls — up from 9,352 to 10,060

Adeline and Adaline were influenced, at least initially, by the movie The Age of Adaline (2015).

Other names that saw raw number increases in the 200+ range included Eleanor, Teagan, Kinsley, Scarlett, Everly, Quinn, Aria, Remi, Harper, Penelope, Thea, Claire, Rowan, Hazel, Ruby, Blake, Aurora, Ivy, Harley, Eloise, Willow, Elena, Josephine, Alice, Blakely, Saylor, Nora, Leia, Iris, Margot, Isla, Freya, Samara, Joy, Zara, Eliana, Joanna, and Malia.

Girl Names: Biggest Decreases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, girl names, less popular

Rankings

1. Caitlin, -542 spots — down from 609th to 1,151st
2. Caitlyn, -462 spots — down from 598th to 1,060th
3. Katelynn, -402 spots — down from 652nd to 1,054th
4. Kaitlynn, -381 spots — down from 994th to 1,375th
5. Neriah, -344 spots — down from 943rd to 1,287th
6. Bryanna, -276 spots — down from 783rd to 1,059th
7. Kiley, -275 spots — down from 898th to 1,173rd
8. Yaritza, -271 spots — down from 935th to 1,206th
9. Denise, -210 spots — down from 993rd to 1,203rd
10. Kaelyn, -203 spots — down from 521st to 724th

caitlyn jenner, magazine coverCaitlin, Caitlyn, Katelynn, and Kaitlynn, were negatively influenced by Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner), who appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair in mid-2015 with the headline “Call me Caitlyn.”

This reminds me of what happened a few decades ago to Hillary — another name that was strongly associated for a time with a female who wasn’t conforming to gender norms. Perhaps tellingly, the name Bruce wasn’t hit nearly as hard. Jenner did fall of the charts, though.

Raw Numbers

1. Sophia, -1,311 baby girls — down from 17,381 to 16,070
2. Alexa, -1,289 baby girls — down from 6,049 to 4,760
3. Madison, -1,090 baby girls — down from 10,072 to 8,982
4. Emma, -1,001 baby girls — down from 20,415 to 19,414 (…but still the #1 name overall)
5. Aubrey, -869 baby girls — down from 7,376 to 6,507
6. Isabella, -852 baby girls — down from 15,574 to 14,722
7. Emily, -840 baby girls — down from 11,766 to 10,926
8. Kylie, -753 baby girls — down from 4,149 to 3,396
9. Alexis, -744 baby girls — down from 3,406 to 2,662
10. Abigail, -672 baby girls — down from 12,371 to 11,699

Other names that saw raw number drops in the 200+ range included Kaitlyn, Avery, Allison, Alyssa, London, Kaylee, Sofia, Katelyn, Kimberly, Zoey, Mia, Chloe, Kendall, Taylor, Sadie, Khloe, Mackenzie, Hannah, Peyton, Addison, Samantha, Ashley, Olivia, Gabriella, Brianna, Lauren, Anna, Brooklyn, Morgan, Jocelyn, Sydney, Natalie, Victoria, Makayla, Zoe, Hailey, Payton, Brooke, Annabelle, Trinity, Keira, Adalyn, Jordyn, Kayla, Molly, Audrey, Faith, Madelyn, Lillian, Caitlin, Caitlyn, Makenzie, Paige, Aaliyah, Paisley, Nevaeh, Elizabeth, Amy, and Jessica.

Interesting how certain like-names went in opposite directions last year. Leia, Alessia, and Adaline rose; Leah, Alyssa, and Adalyn fell.

Do you have any other explanations/guesses about any of the names above? If so, please comment!

(In 2015, the big winners were Alexa and Alaia, and the big losers were Isabella and Isis.)

Sources: Change in Popularity from 2015 to 2016, Emma and Noah Remain Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2016


Where Did the Baby Name Toosdhi Come From?

Toosdhi from To Catch a ThiefThe baby name Toosdhi debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1969:

  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: 7 baby girls named Toosdhi
  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: 5 baby girls named Toosdhi [debut]
  • 1968: unlisted

Where did it come from?

It’s not a variant of Tuesdee, which happened to debut the same year.

Instead, Toosdhi is one of the dozens of baby names that debuted thanks to minor television characters (e.g. Ibe, Alethea).

In Toosdhi’s case, the character was featured on a single episode of the late ’60s TV show It Takes a Thief.

In “To Catch a Roaring Lion,” which first aired on the very last day of 1968, main character Alexander Mundy (played by Robert Wagner) is sent to the fictional African country of Zambutiko to recover a set of ancient scrolls. In Zambutiko, Mundy meets Toosdhi Mboto (played by Denise Nicholas). After introducing herself, Toosdhi spells out her unique name:

“I’m Toosdhi.”

“Well, this is the first time that Monday’s ever going to follow Tuesday.”

“As with your name, it’s spelled differently. T-o-o-s-d-h-i. Toosdhi Mboto. My identification.”

“I don’t think I can read this out here, the sun is so bright. Why don’t we go to some dark spot, with rum in it.”

“I will be your personal guide while you’re here, Mr. Mundy.”

“You can call me Al.”

The name made a second appearance on the national list in the early ’70s, likely because of reruns, but hasn’t been back since.

Source: It Takes a Thief – Season 2, Episode 12: To Catch a Roaring Lion – TV.com

Gaiety Girl Names – Ellaline, Florence, Moya

Gaiety Girl Camille Clifford
Camille Clifford
Before there were Follies girls, there were Gaiety Girls.

These were showgirls appearing in Edwardian musical comedies at London’s Gaiety Theatre during the 1890s.

There’s no definitive list of all the Gaiety Girls, but here are a few of them:

  • Alice Delysia
  • Billie Carleton – birth name Florence
  • Blanche Massey
  • Camille Clifford – birth name Camilla
  • Cicely Courtneidge – birth name Esmerelda
  • Connie Gilchrist – birth name Constance
  • Constance Collier – birth name Laura
  • Denise Orme – birth name Jessie
  • Dorothy Minto
  • Eleanor Souray
  • Ellaline Terriss – birth name Mary (Ellaline was her middle name)
  • Evelyn Laye – birth name Elsie
  • Florence Smithson
  • Gaby Deslys – birth name Marie-Elise-Gabrielle
  • Gabrielle Ray
  • Gertie Millar – birth name Gertrude
  • Gina Palerme
  • Gladys Cooper
  • Irene: Irene Desmond, Irene Richards
  • Jessie Matthews
  • Jose Collins – birth name Charlotte
  • Kitty Gordon – birth name Constance
  • Lily Elsie – birth name Elsie
  • Mabel: Mabel Love, Mabel Russell
  • Mamie Watson
  • Marie Studholme – birth name Caroline
  • May: May Etheridge, May Gates
  • Moya Nugent
  • Olive May
  • Phyllis Dare
  • Rosie Boote – birth name Rose
  • Sylvia: Sylvia Grey, Sylvia Lillian Storey
  • Zena Dare – birth name Florence

Which of the above names do you like best?

Sources: Gaiety Girls – Wikipedia, Gaiety Girls exhibition – National Portrait Gallery
Image: Camille Clifford – National Portrait Gallery

Cosby Show Baby Names – Vanessa, Keshia, Phylicia…

cosby showRemember The Cosby Show?

The ground-breaking ’80s sitcom focused on the Huxtables, a well-off African-American family living in New York City. It starred Bill Cosby as Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable.

The show ran from mid-1984 to mid-1992 and was the top-rated program in the nation for 5 consecutive seasons.

And it influenced a whole bunch of baby names, such as…

Vanessa & Tempestt

Vanessa, the second-youngest Huxtable child, was played by Tempestt Bledsoe. The baby name Vanessa saw its highest-ever levels of usage during the years the show was on:

  • 1989: 6,955 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 50th)
  • 1988: 7,515 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 41st)
  • 1987: 7,345 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 43rd)
  • 1986: 7,367 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 43rd)
  • 1985: 7,562 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 42nd)
  • 1984: 7,153 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 45th)
  • 1983: 6,383 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 49th)

And the baby name Tempestt debuted on the charts the year after the show premiered:

  • 1990: 70 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1989: 98 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1988: 72 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1987: 87 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1986: 78 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1985: 36 baby girls named Tempestt [debut]
  • 1984: unlisted
  • 1983: unlisted

The name Tempest also got a boost during the last half of the ’80s.

Rudy & Keshia

Rudith “Rudy” Huxtable, the baby of the family, was played by Keshia Knight Pulliam. The baby name Keshia entered the top 1,000 for the very first time the year after the show premiered:

  • 1990: 385 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 594th)
  • 1989: 496 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 479th)
  • 1988: 398 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 547th)
  • 1987: 483 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 457th)
  • 1986: 511 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 426th)
  • 1985: 321 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 596th)
  • 1984: 96 baby girls named Keshia
  • 1983: 64 baby girls named Keshia

The name Rudy also rose in usage, and the variant spelling Rudi debuted on the charts in 1985.

Phylicia

Huxtable mother Clair was played by actress Phylicia Rashād. The baby name Phylicia entered the top 1,000 for the first time two years after the show premiered:

  • 1990: 257 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 787th)
  • 1989: 265 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 744th)
  • 1988: 286 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 679th)
  • 1987: 290 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 649th)
  • 1986: 213 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 789th)
  • 1985: 122 baby girls named Phylicia
  • 1984: 13 baby girls named Phylicia
  • 1983: 7 baby girls named Phylicia

Theo & Malcolm-Jamal

Theo, the middle Huxtable child (and the only male in the family besides Cliff) was played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The baby name Theo almost tripled in usage the year after the show premiered:

  • 1990: 66 baby boys named Theo
  • 1989: 75 baby boys named Theo
  • 1988: 77 baby boys named Theo
  • 1987: 75 baby boys named Theo
  • 1986: 85 baby boys named Theo
  • 1985: 76 baby boys named Theo
  • 1984: 23 baby boys named Theo
  • 1983: 26 baby boys named Theo

Usage of the baby name Malcolm also began to rise in the mid-’80s, and the baby name Malcolm-Jamal (rendered Malcolmjamal by the SSA, which leaves off hyphens) debuted on the baby name charts two years after the show premiered:

  • 1990: unlisted
  • 1989: unlisted
  • 1988: 5 baby boys named Malcolm-Jamal
  • 1987: unlisted
  • 1986: 5 baby boys named Malcolm-Jamal [debut]
  • 1985: unlisted
  • 1984: unlisted
  • 1983: unlisted

(Where did actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner get his name, btw? He was named after civil rights activist Malcolm X and jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal.)

So now here’s the question: Does The Cosby Show beat Family Ties in terms of impact on the baby name charts? Cosby clearly affected a greater number of names, but is that enough to offset the massive rises of both Mallory and Alex?

P.S. Did you know that Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy Huxtable were loosely based on Cosby’s real-life kids Erika, Erinn, Ennis, Ensa, Evin?

Baby Names Inspired by Prince

prince album controversy cover
Prince’s 1981 album Controversy

I recently read something about Prince and Apollonia, and it reminded me I hadn’t yet blogged about Prince and Apollonia. So here we go…

Prince

Prince — his real first name — was born in Minnesota in 1958. His full legal name is Prince Rogers Nelson. The “Prince Rogers” part comes from his father, who was a jazz musician with the stage name Prince Rogers (real name: John Nelson).

Prince’s albums started coming out in the late ’70s: For You (1978), Prince (1979), Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and so forth.

Did Prince’s musical career affect the usage of the baby name Prince?

Yes:

  • 1986: 150 baby boys named Prince
  • 1985: 195 baby boys named Prince
  • 1984: 206 baby boys named Prince
  • 1983: 167 baby boys named Prince
  • 1982: 137 baby boys named Prince
  • 1981: 146 baby boys named Prince
  • 1980: 131 baby boys named Prince
  • 1979: 92 baby boys named Prince
  • 1978: 73 baby boys named Prince
  • 1977: 59 baby boys named Prince
  • 1976: 65 baby boys named Prince

Usage of the name Prince, which had been relatively steady for decades, started to rise right away. It hit a high point in 1984, the year Purple Rain (both the album and the movie) came out. After that, usage declined. (Perhaps Prince had become a little too famous at that point?)

Apollonia

Speaking of Purple Rain the movie…it earned Prince’s co-star Apollonia Kotero (born Patricia Apollonia Kotero) a Razzie nomination for “Worst New Star” in 1984.

Apollonia was part of a girl group, Apollonia 6, that Prince had put together. (Their one single, “Sex Shooter,” was also featured in Purple Rain and nominated for a Razzie.)

Did Apollonia influence the usage of the baby name Apollonia?

Yes:

  • 1988: 15 baby girls named Apollonia
  • 1987: 29 baby girls named Apollonia
  • 1986: 53 baby girls named Apollonia
  • 1985: 67 baby girls named Apollonia
  • 1984: 28 baby girls named Apollonia
  • 1983: unlisted

The name had charted a few times before, back in the early 1900s, but Prince’s protégé Apollonia put it back on the map in 1984. She also gave variants Apolonia and Appollonia a boost.

Vanity

Speaking of girl groups with the number 6 in their names…Vanity 6 was another female trio put together by Prince. It was nearly the same as Apollonia 6, but had a different lead singer: Denise Katrina “Vanity” Matthews.

Vanity left the band in 1983 after just 2 years, but continued putting out music as a solo artist during the ’80s.

Did Vanity influence the usage of the baby name Vanity?

Yes:

  • 1989: 102 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1988: 116 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1987: 89 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1986: 76 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1985: 103 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1984: 45 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1983: 56 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1982: 5 baby girls named Vanity [debut]
  • 1981: unlisted

Vanity debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1982 and its peak year was 1988.

Camille

Did you know Prince had a female alter-ego named “Camille” for a time?

In fact, Camille was going to be the name of a 1986 album by his alter-ego Camille, but the project was scrapped. (The songs were going to be sung with altered vocals.)

If the album Camille had come out that year, though, what affect do you think it would have had on the trajectory of the baby name Camille?