We know what the top names in the country were last year, but what about the top names in each state? Here’s the list, released just yesterday by the SSA. I’ve also included each state’s most popular unique names (i.e., names that only appeared in the data for that particular state).
Meghan was the fastest rising girls’ name, moving 701 spots to number 703 from number 1,404 in 2017. This jump speaks to the popularity of Meghan Markle, an American who joined the royal family when she married Prince Harry in 2018. Tune in next year to see how newborn Archie influences Moms and Dads in 2019. The name Archie actually reappears in the top 1,000 in 2018 for the first time since 1988, and he will likely continue climbing up the list after the latest royal news.
Winter is coming for “Game of Thrones” fans. The name Yara voyaged 314 spots from number 986 in 2017 to number 672 in 2018 on the girls’ side. Followers of the hit HBO show know this probably is due to Yara Greyjoy, a character on the popular series.
For the boys, Genesis is the fastest rising name for 2018, shuffling his way 608 spots to number 984 from number 1,592 in 2017. There has been a resurgence of classic names in the top 10 baby names in recent years, so perhaps Genesis is a harkening back to the classic English rock band led by Phil Collins. Speaking of Genesis, award winning Grammy singer and coach on “The Voice,” Alicia Keys named her son Genesis after his birth.
The name Fiona — coined during the 18th century by Scottish poet James Macpherson, who based it on the Irish word fionn (“white, fair”) — is relatively common in the U.S. these days. Rank-wise, it’s been hovering around 200th place for the last few years.
But — like Siobhan, Maeve, Bronwen, and many other Celtic names — it didn’t arrive with the immigrants. Instead, it was introduced to America later on, via pop culture.
Fiona first popped up in the data in 1942, and it stuck around for several years:
1944: 7 baby girls named Fiona
1943: 19 baby girls named Fiona
1942: 9 baby girls named Fiona [debut]
What boosted it onto the charts that initial time?
The movie The Gay Sisters, which came out in August of 1942. The main characters were the three Gaylord sisters/heiresses: Fiona, Evelyn, and Susanna. Fiona, the eldest sister, was played by popular actress Barbara Stanwyck (birth name Ruby Catherine Stevens). The film didn’t do well at the box office, but it clearly had an impact on expectant parents.
The movie was based on the book of the same name by Stephen Longstreet. Longstreet was also the writer behind Stallion Road, which was similarly made into a movie and introduced audiences to a woman named Rory (traditionally a male name) later in the ’40s.
Just remember that the SSA data doesn’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t reflect reality all that well.
Same format as usual: Girl names on the left, boy names on the right. Numbers represent single-year decreases in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, usage of the girl name Mary dropped by 146 babies and usage of the boy name William dropped by 1,008 babies.
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and will write about others in the future. In the meanwhile, feel free to beat me to it! Comment below with the backstory on the fall of Shirley in the late ’30s, Linda in the early ’50s, etc.