How popular is the baby name Elvis 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 Elvis.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Elvis


Posts that Mention the Name Elvis

Name Quotes #74: Chandler, Snehalatha, Teddy Jack

From the TV show Friends, a quote from character Chandler Bing:

You know, I can handle it. Handle’s my middle name. Actually it’s the, uh…the middle part of my first name.

From Cosmopolitan, a quote about the name of Cardi B’s sister Hennessy:

Yes, she’s named after the alcohol and yes, the story’s amazing.

While Bacardi is not Cardi B’s real name, Hennessy is most definitely her sister’s original moniker. Why? Because her father showed up drunk on Hennessy when she was born and insisted on naming her after his drink of choice.

From Rolling Stone, a quote about a baby named after a Gary Busey character:

[Leon] Russell’s son Teddy Jack, who was named after a Busey character from a regional TV show he performed on named Teddy Jack Eddy, produced Busey’s new project, his first solo release.

From the book Welty: A Life in Literature (1987), a quote from author Eudora Welty:

When I first began writing I didn’t realized the importance of names. I would just name characters anything. And then I realized how much it mattered, for cadence, and, for example, how families name their children in a kind of pattern, you know, everybody’s name beginning with B.

From the book Here at The New Yorker (1975) by Brendan Gill:

Indeed, there are writers remembered not for their novels but for their names: Mazo de la Roche, Ouida, Warwick Deeping.

From WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio, a quote about the history of Phalanx Station:

Phalanx Station was named after the local Trumbull Phalanx Company, which was not a business but a utopian community. […] It failed but the name remained. It became Phalanx Station after a railroad led the community southeast to Jefferson County, Ohio in the late 19th century. That failed, too, but again the name remained.

From Stuff.co.nz, a quote about a bright orange seagull with a fitting name:

Staff at the Buckinghamshire, England [animal] hospital say the gull somehow got curry or turmeric all over his feathers, which prevented him from flying properly. The bird, named Vinny after the popular Indian dish Vindaloo curry, put up a fight but eventually let the staff scrub his feathers.

From Best Life, a quote about Waverly, one of the most common town names in America:

Many of the 18 places in the United States called Waverly are named after Sir Walter Scott’s 1814 novel, Waverley. Not only is Waverly, Nebraska…named after the novel, but many of the city’s street names were also taken from characters within it.

(Here are more of the places named Waverly.)

From NDTV in India, a quote about names in the family of MA Sneha, the Tamil Nadu woman who is officially caste-less and religion-less:

In a country where a person’s name can denote his/her caste or religion, Sneha and her husband K. Parthibaraja have named their three daughters with a mix of Buddhist, Christian and Muslim names – Aadhirai Nasreen, Aadhila Irene and Aarifa Jessy.

[…]

Sneha’s two younger sisters have Muslim and Christian names – Mumtaj Suriya and Jennifer.

“My father-in-law PV Anandakrishnan and mother-in-law Manimozhi are both advocates, and belonged to different castes. They were rationalists and Leftists. Sneha was named after a Telangana girl Snehalatha died in police custody,” Parthibaraja told IANS.

The initials before Sneha’s name – MA – denote the first letter of her parents’ names.

From Vox, a quote about celebrities trying to trademark names:

The biggest celebrities started registering trademarks for their names around the same time publicity rights and likeness rights came into play, Clark says. One of the first pop stars to protect her name and likeness was Madonna in the 1980s, and one of the most influential trademark cases involving a celebrity name was the 1998 battle between Elvis Presley’s estate and a dive bar in Houston called The Velvet Elvis. (It is now called The Velvet Melvin.)

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2018

pop culture baby name game 2018

It’s Elvis Presley’s birthday* — that means it’s time to kick off the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!

So how do you play the game? Simply brainstorm for baby names that could have gotten a boost in usage in 2018 thanks to the influence popular culture: movies, music, television, social media, video games, sports, politics, products, trends, etc.

Here are some names we can start with:

  • Araminta – movie, Crazy Rich Asians character
  • Astrid – movie, Crazy Rich Asians character
  • Avicii – music/news, the late Swedish DJ Avicii
  • Banks – celebrity baby (Hilary Duff)
  • Billion – celebrity baby (Rick Ross)
  • Braven – movie, Braven
  • Canon – celebrity baby (Stephen Curry)
  • Cardi – music, rapper Cardi B
  • Carson – sports, Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (particularly in PA)
  • Carvena – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Chadwick – movie, Black Panther actor
  • Chevel – TV, The Voice contestant
  • Chicago – celebrity baby (Kim Kardashian & Kanye West)
  • Coco – movie, Coco
  • Cress – TV, Black Lightning actor
  • Crew – celebrity baby (Chip & Joanna Gaines)
  • Cullinan – car, Rolls-Royce Cullinan
  • Doria – news, royal wedding (Doria Ragland)
  • Dua – music, singer Dua Lipa
  • Elanese – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Ella Mai – music, singer Ella Mai
  • Garrix – music, DJ Martin Garrix
  • Gio – celebrity baby (Adam Levine)
  • Grayson – news, winter storm Grayson
  • Havana – music, song “Havana”
  • Hayes – celebrity babies (both Jessica Alba and Meghan King Edmonds)
  • Joji – music, singer Joji
  • Jumanji – movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Kaavia – celebrity baby (Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union)
  • Kane – music, singer Kane Brown**
  • Karamo – TV, Queer Eye expert
  • Keala – music/movie, singer/actress Keala Settle (“This Is Me”)
  • Kiki – music/dance, “In My Feelings” challenge
  • Mahomes – sports, Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
  • Majeste – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Maquia – movie, Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
  • Meghan – news, royal wedding (Meghan Markle)
  • Mera – movie, Aquaman character
  • Miles – celebrity baby (John Legend & Chrissy Teigen)
  • Nafessa – TV, Black Lightning actress
  • Nakia – movie, Black Panther character
  • Osaka – sports, U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka – suggested by elbowin
  • Qira (Qi’ra) – movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story character
  • Rami – movie, Bohemian Rhapsody actor
  • Ramirez – video game, Fortnite character (female)
  • Reileen – TV, Altered Carbon character
  • Sharaya – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Shuri – movie, Black Panther character
  • Storm – movie, A Wrinkle in Time actress
  • Stormi – celebrity baby (Kylie Jenner)
  • Swae – music, rapper Swae Lee
  • Takeshi – TV, Altered Carbon character
  • T’challa – movie, Black Panther character
  • True – celebrity baby (Khloe Kardashian)
  • Tully – movie, Tully
  • Velar – car, Range Rover Velar
  • Venom – movie, Venom
  • Villanelle – TV, Killing Eve character
  • Wade – movies, both Ready Player One and Deadpool 2 characters
  • Xolo – Web TV, Cobra Kai actor
  • Yanny – news, the Yanny/Laurel audio clip – suggested by elbowin
  • Zhavia – TV, The Four: Battle for Stardom contestant
  • Zaytoven – music, producer Zaytoven
  • Zaxai – TV, The Voice contestant
  • Zazie – movie, Deadpool 2 actress

What other names should be on this list? Let me know by commenting below. And don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence!

I’ll post the game results in May of 2019, a few days after the SSA releases the 2018 baby name data.

If you don’t want to miss the results post, just subscribe to NBN in some way so that you’ll be notified once it’s out.

*Elvis would have been 84 today.
**The first baby born in Richland County, OH, in 2019 was named after Kane Brown.

The Rise of Deborah

deborah kerr, 1947, magazine
Deborah Kerr, cover of Time, early 1947

Right on the heels of Cheryl, the baby name Deborah skyrocketed in usage during the late ’40s and early ’50s:

  • 1952: 49,808 baby girls named Deborah [rank: 4th]
  • 1951: 42,060 baby girls named Deborah [rank: 4th]
  • 1950: 29,067 baby girls named Deborah [rank: 7th]
  • 1949: 19,208 baby girls named Deborah [rank: 15th]
  • 1948: 11,245 baby girls named Deborah [rank: 30th]
  • 1947: 5,838 baby girls named Deborah [rank: 62nd]
  • 1946: 2,470 baby girls named Deborah [rank: 119th]
  • 1945: 1,464 baby girls named Deborah [rank: 161st]
  • 1944: 1,293 baby girls named Deborah [rank: 168th]

It peaked at 2nd place (behind Mary) in 1955.

Deborah, based on the ancient Hebrew word for “bee,” had already been on a slow and steady rise. So what fueled the explosion?

I’d say the one-two punch of actresses Deborah Kerr and Debra Paget.

Scottish-born Deborah Kerr, who had been in films since the early 1940s, didn’t became one of the biggest names in Hollywood until later in the decade. (Her surname rhymes with car; MGM cleverly came up with the line, “Kerr rhymes with star.”)

Kerr ended up in some of the most financially successful movies of the era, such as King Solomon’s Mines (1950), Quo Vadis (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953), and The King and I (1956) with Yul Brynner.

Denver-born* Debra Paget, a starlet of the 1950s, also appeared in some big films such as the top-grossing movie of the decade, The Ten Commandments (1956). The same year she appeared opposite Elvis Presley in Love Me Tender (1956).

Though many variants of Deborah were being used around that time, Debra saw particular success, thanks to Paget. In fact, Debra surpassed Deborah in usage for five years in a row:

Year Debra usage Deborah usage
1961 22,153 [rank: 13th] 24,095 [rank: 10th]
1960 26,737 [rank: 8th] 25,265 [rank: 10th]
1959 31,371 [rank: 7th] 19,553 [rank: 9th]
1958 35,520 [rank: 6th] 32,940 [rank: 7th]
1957 42,734 [rank: 4th] 40,062 [rank: 6th]
1956 48,299 [rank: 2nd] 47,830 [rank: 4th]
1955 50,541 [rank: 4th] 52,314 [rank: 2nd]
1954 45,894 [rank: 6th] 54,685 [rank: 3rd]
1953 36,856 [rank: 7th] 52,188 [rank: 3rd]
1952 26,832 [rank: 9th] 49,808 [rank: 4th]
1951 17,074 [rank: 18th] 42,060 [rank: 4th]

(Interesting fact: One of the babies named for Debra Paget was future actress Debra Winger, born in 1955.)

The occupational surname Paget, a diminutive form of the word page (a “youth employed as a personal attendant to a person of rank”), was also appearing in the SSA’s data as a girl around this time. It debuted in 1948, the year Debra Paget appeared in her first film, Cry of the City.

Which spelling do you prefer, the traditional Deborah or the streamlined Debra?

I prefer...

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Sources: Deborah Kerr – Wikipedia, Debra Paget – Wikipedia, Page – Online Etymology Dictionary

*These Rams were installed in Denver three years after Debra was born.

Popular and Unique Baby Names in Iowa, 2016

I love that the Social Security Administration releases so much baby name data to the public. But I’ve always had mixed feelings about that 5-baby threshold for inclusion. (Due to privacy concerns, the government doesn’t release names given to fewer than 5 babies per gender, per year.)

Part of me appreciates the threshold. For instance, I like that it adds significance to the pop culture debut names I’m always posting about, as these names had to hit a certain minimum level of usage in order to register in the data.

But the other part of me? The other part just really, really wants to see those rare/crazy names at the bottom of the list.

So I get excited when I find U.S. data from an official source that does go down to single-instance usage. Up until recently, I only knew about Sonoma County and Los Angeles County, but recently I discovered that Iowa (an entire state!) also releases down-to-1 baby name data. Yay!

But before we get to the rare names, let’s look at the state of Iowa’s top baby names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 203 baby girls
2. Emma, 181
3. Charlotte, 158
4. Harper, 156
5. Ava & Evelyn, 148 each (2-way tie)
6. Amelia, 125
7. Nora, 123
8. Sophia, 112
9. Addison, 101
10. Grace, 96

Boy Names
1. Oliver, 197 baby boys
2. Owen, 178
3. William, 174
4. Wyatt, 170
5. Henry, 165
6. Liam, 159
7. Noah, 149
8. Benjamin, 148
9. Jackson, 144
10. Lincoln, 123

  • In the girls’ top 10, Addison and Grace replace Avery.
  • In the boys’ top 10, Benjamin and Lincoln replace Mason and Elijah.
  • In 2015, the top two names were Emma and Liam.

(The SSA rankings for Iowa are similar, but not exactly the same. One notable difference on is that the SSA ranks Grayson 10th on the boys list, and puts Lincoln down in 13th.)

And now for the rarities!

Iowa’s website offers interactive baby name usage graphs that include all names bestowed at least once from 2000 to 2016. Here’s a sampling:

Rare baby names in Iowa (2000-2016 total usage)
Girl Names Boy Names
Arabia (1)
Bishop (1)
Currency (1)
Dream (3)
Eros (1)
Fairy (1)
Gatsby (1)
Heritage (1)
Irish (5)
Jasper (1)
KeyEssence (1)
Lisbon (1)
Michigan (1)
Nirvana (3)
Orchid (1)
PairoDice (1)
Qy (1)
Reminisce (1)
Scully (1)
Tear (1)
Unity (4)
Veruca (1)
Windy (2)
Xanadu (1)
Yawh (1)
Zinnia (1)
Arcade (1)
Banksy (1)
Cactus (1)
Denali (2)
Elvis (18)
Fonzy (1)
Galaxy (1)
Helium (1)
Indigo (2)
Jeep (3)
Kal-El (3)
Lightning (1)
Mowgli (1)
Notorious (1)
Opttimus (1)
Player (1)
Quest (3)
Racer (3)
Sanctify (1)
Tavern (1)
Universe (1)
Vegas (1)
Winner (4)
Xyn (1)
Young-Sky (1)
Zealand (1)

If you decide to dig through the data, leave a comment and let me know what you spot!

And if you’re friends with any expectant parents in Iowa, tell those lucky ducks that they have access to full sets of baby name rankings for their state. Either send them a link to this post or to one of the pages below…

Sources: Top Baby Names – Iowa Department of Public Health, Baby Names Popularity Over Time – Iowa Department of Public Health

Name-Song Tournament: 1950s & 1960s (Elite 8)

name-song tournament

Elvis has left the building! The one Elvis song in this tournament — “(Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame” — didn’t not survive the Sweet 16 round. But a couple of lesser known songs have made it to the Elite 8: “Eddie My Love” by one-hit wonders The Teen Queens and “Ride on Josephine” by Bo Diddley. Will they be able to hang on?

Over the next three days, we’ll narrow it down to the 4 top contenders. Here are the match-ups:

Group 1

Eddie My Love” (1956) by The Teen Queens vs. Barbara Ann” (1961) by The Regents

Which song is better? (1 of 4)

  • "Eddie My Love" by The Teen Queens (62%, 8 Votes)
  • "Barbara Ann" by The Regents (38%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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Group 2

Hit the Road Jack” (1961) by Ray Charles vs. Johnny B. Goode” (1958) by Chuck Berry

Which song is better? (2 of 4)

  • "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry (67%, 10 Votes)
  • "Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles (33%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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Group 3

Lucille” (1957) by Little Richard vs. Peggy Sue” (1957) by Buddy Holly and The Crickets

Which song is better? (3 of 4)

  • "Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly and The Crickets (75%, 9 Votes)
  • "Lucille" by Little Richard (25%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 12

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Group 4

Ride on Josephine” (1960) by Bo Diddley vs. Runaround Sue” (1961) by Dion

Which song is better? (4 of 4)

  • "Runaround Sue" by Dion (73%, 8 Votes)
  • "Ride on Josephine" by Bo Diddley (27%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 11

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…Polls for this round close on Sunday night. The Final 4 round starts on Monday morning.