How popular is the baby name Gatsby 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 Gatsby.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Gatsby


Posts that Mention the Name Gatsby

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-inspired 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 replaced Avery.
  • In the boys’ top 10, Benjamin and Lincoln replaced 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 of rare baby names in Iowa (2000-2016 usage):

Girl NamesBoy 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

Update, 2020: The above links no longer work; here’s an updated link to the Iowa baby names.

Top girl-name debuts of 2015

The music-inspired name Kehlani was the top debut name for baby girls in 2015.

In order for a rare baby name to debut on the Social Security Administration’s annual baby name list, it has to be given to at least 5 U.S. babies of either one gender or the other within a given year.

Of all the girl names that debuted in 2015, the following were the most popular:

1. Kehlani, 48 baby girls
2. Dayelin, 34
3. Abrish, 29
4. Alahia, 22
5. Hazelgrace, 22
6. Brave, 17
7. Nadyalee, 17
8. Hoorain, 15
9. Aitanna, 14
10. Aithana, 14
11. Aytana, 14
12. Brexley, 14
13. Jeshia, 14
14. Averyrose, 13
15. Absalat, 12
16. Kassiani, 12
17. Ovi, 12
18. Viyona, 12
19. Charlestyn, 11
20. Ditya, 11
21. Kylierae, 11
22. Mansirat, 11

And a handful from the 10-and-under group: Tanvika, Espn (it arrives for girls, finally!), Heavenlyjoy, Wylder, Yemariam, Carver, Edelweiss, Gloricely, Darasimi, Elshaddai, Ezoza, Maggiemae, Zeppelyn, Amitis, Anthem, Moxley, Wellesley, Witten, Gatsby, Skyland, Adorable, Brizleth, Lameese, Ludovica, Maleficent (Maleficent!), Maori, Stellaluna, Vaiga, Vydia.

Where do the names above come from? Here are a few explanations:

  • Kehlani – from Kehlani Parrish (stage name Kehlani), American R&B singer.
  • Hazelgrace – from Hazel Grace Lancaster, a character from The Fault in Our Stars (2014).
  • Nadyalee – from Nadyalee Torres, Puerto Rican model, finalist on Nuestra Belleza Latina 2015.
  • Hoorain – from celebrity baby Hoorain, born in July of 2015 to Pakistani actors Ayeza Khan and Danish Taimoor.
  • Aitanna, Aithana, and Aytana – from celebrity baby Aitana, born in August of 2014 to Mexican actors Alessandra Rosaldo and Eugenio Derbez.

Can you come up with explanations for any of the others?

Here are the boy name debuts, and here are the top girl name debuts of 2014.

U.S. Baby Names 2015: Popular baby names, Top girl-name debuts, Top boy-name debuts, Biggest changes in girl name popularity, Biggest changes in boy name popularity, Top first letters, Top lengths

Name quotes #22: Jasper, Tyrone, Blaze

Madonna quote

From a 1991 Vanity Fair interview with Madonna Ciccone:

I sometimes think I was born to live up to my name. How could I be anything else but what I am having been named Madonna? I would either have ended up a nun or this.

[Madonna, who was named after her mother, went by the nickname Nonni as a child.]

From “Quick Tip: Naming Your Children” by Sharon Beesley:

So, here’s my advice I tell everyone: One of the best ways to avoid having your kid share a name with a classmate is to browse through these personalized towels/bedsheets/backpacks in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Despite how much you might love the name, if you see it in the catalog, your kid will have a higher risk of name repeat. Sadly, if I could go back to the PBKids catalogs in 2005, I would see Ella monogramed on every pillow. Same with my boys in 2007. Look! There’s some left over Owen baskets they are still using. Do you see your kids name in some of the items in the current catalog? Prepare yourselves.

From “Why I Gave My Daughter a Black Name – Despite the Perceived Consequences” by Dara Tafakari Mathis:

Racism doesn’t play by the rules. Black parents cannot win the respectable name game in America.

Black people are discriminated against primarily because we are Black; our names are just a scapegoat. For example, “Tyrone” has come to stand for a “stereotypical” Black man. But did you know that the name Tyrone is Irish in origin? A name doesn’t have to be “creative” or “ghetto” to be Black; it just has to be Black long enough. And as soon as we make something “Black,” the cycle of discrimination begins afresh.

From “An Open Letter to the Hipster Babies of Hipster Parents” by Nicole Leigh Shaw:

You’ll look cool sporting a binkie with a handlebar mustache though, because you’ll have a name to match your level of sardonic suckling. Yes, hipster babies, your names will be either gender neutral or plucked from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Nothing goes better with your ‘stachifier than an alpaca-hair blankie and the name Myrtle or Gatsby. Have fun at the independent coffee house where you’ll meet up with Zelda and Jasper in your vintage pram that makes even Mary Poppins say, “Practically perfect in every way.”

If your folks take the gender-neutral name route, then on paper some of your names will prompt people to wonder, “Is that a boy or a girl?” It’s all fine and good to choose Jane or Bob, but today’s babies are sporting the sweetest little genderless names, like Harper and Riley. If you’re lucky, you’ll be born to real envelope pushers. Maybe you’ll be named Person or Human!

From “11 Colors You’ve Probably Never Heard Of” at Mental Floss:

2. COQUELICOT

Originally another word for poppy, coquelicot is the flower’s orange-tinted red color. (It also sounds like a celebrity baby name.)

[Here’s what coquelicot looks like!]

From an article about the nuns of St. John the Divine, the inspiration behind the BBC show Call the Midwife:

Between 80 and 100 babies were born each month in the eight-mile square district of Poplar. “If there’s one thing I’ll say about East End mums, it’s that they love their kids,” adds [Sister] Christine. “In the 100 years we were there, just one baby was abandoned on our doorstep. We cared for him before the police came. They named him John Divine.”

[Speaking of Call the Midwife…the convent in the show, Nonnatus House, is named for St. Raymond Nonnatus. His nickname Nonnatus, Latin for “not born,” refers to the fact that he was born by Caesarean section because his mother died while giving birth to him.]

From “Week 35: Never share your baby names” by Nicole Dubé of CTV News Winnipeg:

My husband and I have kept our boy and girl name choices on the DL because we want the special privilege of introducing our first joint venture (a.k.a. child) to the world with as much pomp and circumstance as we can muster. Plus, we love surprises.

Well the other day while chatting with friends about what people are calling their kids these days, our boy name came up and got slammed!

I couldn’t hide my horrified reaction, thinking “Great, back to the drawing board!”

But my husband surprised me by saying he liked hearing the negative reaction because it didn’t change his emotional connection to our choice.

Name crisis averted, but lesson learned: Keep mum on baby name talk!

From an article about the best names from the 2014 MLB Draft by Dakota Gardner of MLB.com’s Cut4:

If you name your child “Blaze,” he’s destined for one of only two career paths: baseball pitcher or American Gladiator.

[In case you’re wondering, Blaze is indeed an American Gladiator name.]

Pop culture baby name game, 2013

pop culture baby name game 2013

Every year on Britney Spears’s birthday (December 2) we start another round of the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game.

What is the Pop Culture Baby Name Game, you ask? Good question! It’s not a “game” really, but more of a group brainstorm. We try to guess which baby names became more popular during the year thanks to pop culture — music, movies, television, sports, politics, current events, products, etc.

I’ve searched for all the 2013 predictions we’ve made so far (in posts & comments) and listed them below. I also threw in a few more possibilities — mostly celebrity baby names. So here’s what we’re starting with:

  • Ace – Jessica Simpson’s baby boy, born in June
  • Armand or ArmieLone Ranger actor Armand “Armie” Hammer
  • Axl – Fergie’s baby boy, born in August
  • Bailey (per skizzo) – Grey’s Anatomy baby
  • Benedict (per Rita) – Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Bilbo (per elbowin) – The Hobbit character
  • Cressida or Cressie – Prince Harry’s girlfriend Cressida “Cressie” Bonas
  • Cricket – Busy Philipps’s baby girl, born in July
  • CypherAfter Earth character
  • D’Ussé – Jay Z-endorsed cognac
  • Elon – Tesla founder Elon Musk
  • Evanora (per skizzo) – Oz the Great and Powerful character
  • Everly – Channing Tatum’s baby girl, born in May
  • Evo (per elbowin) – Bolivian president Evo Morales
  • FantineLes Mis character (especially since the Oscars)
  • Finley (per skizzo) – Oz the Great and Powerful character
  • Francesco, Francis, Francisco – Pope Francis, elected in March
  • Gatsby (per skizzo) – movie The Great Gatsby
  • George – Kate and William’s royal baby boy, born in July
  • Harley (per skizzo) – Iron Man character
  • KitaiAfter Earth character
  • Ladar (per elbowin) – Lavabit owner Ladar Levison
  • Lincoln – movie Lincoln
  • Lula – Bryan Adams’s baby girl, born in February
  • Luna – Penelope Cruz’s baby girl, born in July
  • Macklemore – rapper Macklemore
  • Malala – young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai
  • Marnie – Lily Allen’s baby girl, born in January
  • Milan – Shakira’s baby boy, born in January
  • Minaj – singer Nicki Minaj
  • Neymar (per Rita) – Brazillian football player Neymar
  • North or Nori – Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby girl, born in June
  • Philomena – movie Philomena
  • Quvenzhané (per Rita) – child actress Quvenzhané Wallis
  • Rainbow – Holly Madison’s baby girl, born in March
  • Robin (per Rita) – singer Robin Thicke
  • Snowden – NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
  • Tesla – Tesla cars
  • TessanneThe Voice contestant winner Tessanne Chin
  • Thatcher (per Rita) – Margaret Thatcher, died in April
  • Theodora (per skizzo) – Oz the Great and Powerful character
  • Turbo – movie Turbo
  • Wendy – Texas politician Wendy Davis
  • Winnie – Jimmy Fallon’s baby girl, born in July
  • Yeezus or Yeezy – Kanye West album Yeezus
  • Zoella – beauty blogger Zoella

Wanna play? Tell me in the comments which baby names you think got a boost from pop culture in 2013. Don’t forget to mention the reason.

I’ll post the results of the game after the SSA updates the national baby name data in May. If you don’t want to miss the results post, subscribe to the blog!

Previous rounds of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game: 2012, 2011 #1, 2011 #2, 2010

Is the name Cressida about to get a boost?

The royal family has given me a lot to blog about in the last few years — Pippa in 2011, Jubilee in 2012, the royal baby name (twice!) in 2013…

So will the royal-inspired baby name of 2014 be Cressida?

The gossip sites are telling me that Prince Harry and his girlfriend, socialite Cressida Bonas, may marry next year. Apparently Harry met Cressie (as friends call her) via cousin Eugenie.

Where does the name Cressida come from?

We know it from Shakespeare’s play Troilus and Cressida (1602). Cressida is a medieval form of the Greek name Chryseis, which Shakespeare would have known from Homers’ Iliad. In the Iliad, Chryseis (as her name indicates) was the daughter of Chryses, whose name was derived from the ancient Greek word chrysos, meaning “gold” or “golden.”

How are Cressida and Cressie doing on the charts right now?

  • The baby name Cressida has appeared on the SSA’s list a handful of times, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s, but no more than 8 Cressidas have ever been born in a single year. It was last listed in 1990.
  • The baby name Cressie has had better luck, though it was more popular during the 1910s and 1920s than it is today. It was last listed in 1987.

If Harry and Cressie marry next year, do you think the royal wedding will popularize the name Cressida in the U.S.?

(And if they don’t, do you think there’s a chance the name could become trendy anyway thanks to the third Hunger Games film, due out in late 2014?)

Source: Prince Harry planning to marry Cressida Bonas, friends say

Other predictions so far for 2013: D’Ussé, Lincoln, Cypher, Elon, Macklemore, Elon, Malala, Gatsby, and more.