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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Dwight

Number of Babies Named Dwight

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Dwight

Soviet Leader Influenced U.S. Baby Names in 1959

Nikita Khrushchev, 1959Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Soviet Union for over a decade during the early Cold War (from 1953 to 1964).

Between the time the U.S.S.R. launched Sputnik in 1957 and sent Yuri Gagarin on the first manned space flight in 1961, Khrushchev became first Soviet head of state to visit the U.S.

Upon the invitation of president Dwight Eisenhower, Khrushchev and his family flew to Washington, D.C., on September 15, 1959. They visited New York, California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania before flying back to Moscow on the 27th.

Though Khrushchev famously never made it to Disneyland, he did manage to make an impression upon expectant parents:

Year U.S. girls named Nikita U.S. boys named Nikita
1961 39 21
1960 56 25
1959 44 19 [debut]
1958 16 unlisted
1957 13 unlisted

The baby name Nikita had appeared on the U.S. charts as a girl name before, but in 1959 it showed up for the very first time as a boy name.*

These days the usage of Nikita is about equal for males and females — 93 baby girls and 92 baby boys got the name in 2015. But there was a spike in female usage in 1985, thanks to the song “Nikita” by Elton John. (American radio listeners similarly interpreted Luka as a girl name a couple of years later.)

The name Nikita can be traced back to the Ancient Greek word for “victor,” niketes, which is based on the more familiar word nike, meaning “victory.”

And eight years after the name Nikita debuted, another Russian arrival, Svetlana Stalina, showed up and added yet another Soviet-inspired baby name to the mix…

Sources: Nikita Khrushchev – Wikipedia, Timeline: Nikita Khrushchev’s Trip Itinerary
Image: © TIME

*To debut on the SSA’s baby name list, a name has to be given to least 5 babies of one gender or the other within a single calendar year.

Mamie Eisenhower’s Middle Name

Mamie Eisenhower, wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower, was born Mamie Geneva Doud in 1896 to John and Elivera Doud of Iowa. She was the second of four daughters.

Lovely Lake GenevaWhere did her middle name come from? Her mother was a fan of the popular song “Lovely Lake Geneva,” written by Charles B. Holmes and published in 1885.

Mamie’s older sister was named Eleanor. Her younger sisters were Eda Mae and Mabel Frances, but her father was “so disappointed that he had not yet had a son that he nicknamed his two younger daughters “Buster” and “Mike,” respectively.” They were known as Buster and Mike their entire lives.

Source: Eisenhower, Susan. Mrs. Ike: Portrait of a Marriage. Sterling, Virginia: Capital Books, 2002.

Eisenhower’s Mom Tried to Avoid Nicknames

Dwight D EisenhowerDwight D. Eisenhower’s mom didn’t like nicknames.

The future president, who was born in 1890, was going to be named “David Dwight Eisenhower” — David for his father, Dwight for evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody — until Mrs. Eisenhower realized that David would inevitably be shortened to Dave.

It was the contraction of Edgar’s name to Ed and another brother’s name from Arthur to Art that inspired Mrs. Eisenhower to try to forestall the cognomen of Dave for the son who was to lead the Allied armies in the second world war.

So she reversed David and Dwight.

But it made no difference. Dwight’s boyhood friends started called him “Little Ike” (because his older brother Edgar was called “big Ike”) and Ike stuck.

(Eisenhower biographer Stephen Ambrose tells a different story. He says Mrs. Eisenhower reversed the order of the names because she wanted to avoid the confusion of having two Davids in the family.)

Weirdly, I have three other posts about Eisenhower: Do You Like Ike, Were Babies Named After Sputnik, and Pakistani Baby Named After Eisenhower.


  • “Mother of ‘Ike’ Shuns Nickname, Gets It Anyway.” Sarasota Herald-Tribune 15 Jun. 1945: 2.
  • Smith, Jean Edward. Eisenhower in War and Peace. New York: Random House, 2012.

Do You Like Ike? (Or Dwight? Or Eisenhower?)

Dwight D EisenhowerTaylor, Tyler, Madison, Jackson…sure, they’re presidential surnames, but if you met a kid with one of these names you wouldn’t assume that he/she was named for a former commander-in-chief.

Not so with Eisenhower.

The one and only time Eisenhower made the SSA’s baby name list was the year Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president (the first time):

  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: 5 baby boys named Eisenhower [debut]
  • 1951: unlisted

And the SSDI reveals that at least four more people have been named Eisenhower — two were born in the ’40s, one in ’53, and one in the ’70s.

The name Dwight became more popular during the 1950s as well:

  • 1959: 1,595 baby boys named Dwight
  • 1958: 1,695 baby boys named Dwight
  • 1957: 2,024 baby boys named Dwight
  • 1956: 2,368 baby boys named Dwight
  • 1955: 2,150 baby boys named Dwight
  • 1954: 2,036 baby boys named Dwight
  • 1953: 2,689 baby boys named Dwight
  • 1952: 2,405 baby boys named Dwight
  • 1951: 2,049 baby boys named Dwight
  • 1950: 1,813 baby boys named Dwight

And let’s not forget Eisenhower’s famous campaign slogan, “I Like Ike.” His nickname — typically short for Isaac, but in this case based on the first syllable of his surname — also got a boost:

  • 1959: 52 baby boys named Ike*
  • 1958: 56 baby boys named Ike
  • 1957: 76 baby boys named Ike
  • 1956: 68 baby boys named Ike
  • 1955: 77 baby boys named Ike
  • 1954: 76 baby boys named Ike
  • 1953: 110 baby boys named Ike
  • 1952: 90 baby boys named Ike
  • 1951: 61 baby boys named Ike
  • 1950: 55 baby boys named Ike

And people still like Ike — in 2010, 59 boys were named Ike (coming down from a spike in 2008, courtesy of Hurricane Ike.)

*Here’s one more baby Ike from 1959.

Poll Results – Coolest Presidential Name is Lyndon

A total of 157 people voted in the Coolest Presidential Name poll. Here are the results:

I wasn’t too surprised that Lyndon and Ulysses claimed the top two spots. Lyndon, as Cathy points out, fits well with “today’s naming trends.” And Ulysses, as Camilla notes, might be appealing because it “isn’t a surname-as-first-name” like the other names on the list.

Next poll, coming up!

UPDATE, 11/2013: The first Presidential Name poll closed a long time ago, but I’ve just opened up a second one in the original post – go vote!

Poll – Coolest Presidential Name?

With the election coming up, I thought I might try a “presidential” theme for this poll. Which one of the following (rather unusual) presidential forenames is your favorite?

Even better: Would you consider giving any of the above to one of your own children? Which one(s)?

UPDATE, 11/2013: Here are the original results, but let’s try a brand new poll! Vote below:

Which do you prefer?

View Results

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