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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Gene

Number of Babies Named Gene

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Gene

The Start of Sierra

The baby name Sierra debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1940.

Back in 1940, the baby name Sierra debuted in the U.S. baby name data rather impressively. It was the top newbie name of the year, in fact.

  • 1942: 13 baby girls named Sierra
  • 1941: 24 baby girls named Sierra
  • 1940: 32 baby girls named Sierra [debut]
  • 1939: unlisted
  • 1938: unlisted

What was behind the debut?

“Sierra Sue,” a song that was a #1 hit in 1940 for Bing Crosby. A version by The Glenn Miller Orchestra also charted the same year. The song was actually an updated version of an older song, written originally by Joseph B. Carey in 1916. It “was probably revived because of the popularity of other western-style songs in the late ’30s.”

And, yes, a large number of the babies named Sierra in 1940 also had the middle name “Sue.” :)

The Spanish word sierra, which refers to a mountain range, can be traced back to the Latin word serra, meaning “saw.”

In November of the next year, a movie called Sierra Sue starring Gene Autry was released. Here’s the scene in which Gene sings the title song:

Decades later, in 1985, usage of the name began to rise rapidly thanks to soap opera character Sierra Estaban from As the World Turns. Sierra was a top-100 name from 1993 to 2004, peaking in 1999 at 49th (just below Jordan, just above Sara).

Do you like the name Sierra?

Sources:

  • Popular Baby Names – SSA
  • Tyler, Don. Hit Songs, 1900-1955: American Popular Music of the Pre-Rock Era. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.

Name-Song Tournament: 1950s & 1960s (Round 1)

Time for another tournament!

A few years ago, we held a fun 1980s name-song tournament. (Come on, Eileen, you must remember!) This year, let’s go back even further — let’s check out songs with names in the titles from the early rock and roll era (late ’50s and early ’60s).

I’ll explain more about the tournament at the bottom of the post. For now, I’ll just forewarn you that each link opens a video in a new page so that you don’t lose your place on this page, which is pretty long.

Group 1

Match Song Song
#1 Denise” (1963) by Randy & the Rainbows vs. Deserie” (1957) by The Charts
#2 Carol” (1957) by Chuck Berry vs. Dede Dinah” (1958) by Frankie Avalon
#3 Fannie Mae” (1959) by Buster Brown vs. Eddie My Love” (1956) by The Teen Queens
#4 Diana” (1957) by Paul Anka vs. Anna (Go to Him)” (1962) by Arthur Alexander
#5 Barbara Ann” (1961) by The Regents vs. Dusty” (1964) by The Rag Dolls
#6 Claudette” (1958) by The Everly Brothers vs. Bobby’s Girl” (1962) by Marcie Blane
#7 Donna” (1958) by Ritchie Valens vs. Donna the Prima Donna” (1963) by Dion
#8 Be-Bop-A-Lula” (1956) by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps vs. Cathy’s Clown” (1960) by The Everly Brothers

Which song is better? (1 of 32)

  • "Denise" by Randy & the Rainbows (56%, 5 Votes)
  • "Deserie" by The Charts (44%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 9

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Which song is better? (2 of 32)

  • "Carol" by Chuck Berry (80%, 8 Votes)
  • "Dede Dinah" by Frankie Avalon (20%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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Which song is better? (3 of 32)

  • "Eddie My Love" by The Teen Queens (88%, 7 Votes)
  • "Fannie Mae" by Buster Brown (13%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 8

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Which song is better? (4 of 32)

  • "Anna (Go to Him)" by Arthur Alexander (56%, 5 Votes)
  • "Diana" by Paul Anka (44%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 8

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Which song is better? (5 of 32)

  • "Barbara Ann" by The Regents (63%, 5 Votes)
  • "Dusty" by The Rag Doll (38%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 8

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Which song is better? (6 of 32)

  • "Claudette" by The Everly Brothers (57%, 4 Votes)
  • "Bobby's Girl" by Marcie Blane (43%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (7 of 32)

  • "Donna" by Ritchie Valens (71%, 5 Votes)
  • "Donna the Prima Donna" by Dion (29%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (8 of 32)

  • "Cathy's Clown" by The Everly Brothers (56%, 5 Votes)
  • "Be-Bop-A-Lula" by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps (44%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 9

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Group 2

Match Song Song
#1 Good Golly Miss Molly” (1956) by Little Richard vs. Katy Too” (1961) by Johnny Cash
#2 Hit the Road Jack” (1961) by Ray Charles vs. Jimmy Boy” (1963) by The Girlfriends
#3 Jacqueline” (1958) by Bobby Helms vs. Just Like Eddie” (1963) by Heinz
#4 Lana” (1961) by The Velvets vs. Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie” (1958) by Eddie Cochran
#5 Hello Mary Lou” (1961) by Ricky Nelson vs. Jim Dandy” (1956) by LaVern Baker
#6 Johnny Angel” (1962) by Shelley Fabares vs. Judy’s Turn to Cry” (1963) by Lesley Gore
#7 Johnny B. Goode” (1958) by Chuck Berry vs. Hats off to Larry” (1961) by Del Shannon
#8 Hey Paula” (1962) by Paul & Paula vs. Jenny, Jenny” (1956) by Little Richard

Which song is better? (9 of 32)

  • "Good Golly Miss Molly" by Little Richard (100%, 6 Votes)
  • "Katy Too" by Johnny Cash (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (10 of 32)

  • "Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles (100%, 6 Votes)
  • "Jimmy Boy" by The Girlfriends (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (11 of 32)

  • "Just Like Eddie" by Heinz (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Jacqueline" by Bobby Helms (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (12 of 32)

  • "Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie" by Eddie Cochran (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Lana" by The Velvets (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (13 of 32)

  • "Hello Mary Lou" by Ricky Nelson (71%, 5 Votes)
  • "Jim Dandy" by LaVern Baker (29%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (14 of 32)

  • "Johnny Angel" by Shelley Fabares (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Judy's Turn to Cry" by Lesley Gore (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (15 of 32)

  • "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry (100%, 6 Votes)
  • "Hats off to Larry" by Del Shannon (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (16 of 32)

  • "Hey Paula" by Paul & Paula (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Jenny, Jenny" by Little Richard (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Group 3

Match Song Song
#1 Lucille” (1957) by Little Richard vs. Oh Rose Marie” (1959) by The Fascinators
#2 Mary Ann” (1956) by Ray Charles vs. Oh Julie” (1958) by The Crescendos
#3 Maybellene” (1955) by Chuck Berry vs. Little Latin Lupe Lu” (1963) by The Righteous Brothers
#4 Nadine” (1964) by Chuck Berry vs. Little Diane” (1962) by Dion
#5 Oh! Carol” (1959) by Neil Sedaka vs. Peggy Sue” (1957) by Buddy Holly and The Crickets
#6 Louie Louie” (1957) by Richard Berry vs. Mickey’s Monkey” (1963) by The Miracles
#7 Marlena” (1963) by The Four Seasons vs. My Girl Josephine” (1960) by Fats Domino
#8 (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame” (1961) by Elvis Presley vs. Long Tall Sally” (1956) by Little Richard

Which song is better? (17 of 32)

  • "Lucille" by Little Richard (100%, 7 Votes)
  • "Oh Rose Marie" by The Fascinators (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (18 of 32)

  • "Oh Julie" by The Crescendos (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "Mary Ann" by Ray Charles (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (19 of 32)

  • "Maybellene" by Chuck Berry (80%, 4 Votes)
  • "Little Latin Lupe Lu" by The Righteous Brothers (20%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (20 of 32)

  • "Nadine" by Chuck Berry (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "Little Diane" by Dion (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (21 of 32)

  • "Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly and The Crickets (100%, 5 Votes)
  • "Oh! Carol" by Neil Sedaka (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (22 of 32)

  • "Louie Louie" by Richard Berry (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "Mickey's Monkey" by The Miracles (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (23 of 32)

  • "Marlena" by The Four Seasons (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "My Girl Josephine" by Fats Domino (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (24 of 32)

  • "(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame" by Elvis Presley (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Group 4

Match Song Song
#1 Venus” (1959) by Frankie Avalon vs. Ride on Josephine” (1960) by Bo Diddley
#2 Sandy” (1959) by Larry Hall vs. Tall Paul” (1959) by Annette Funicello
#3 Sandy” (1963) by Dion vs. Ruby Baby” (1956) by The Drifters
#4 Ronnie” (1964) by The Four Seasons vs. Ruby Ann” (1962) by Marty Robbins
#5 Wake Up Little Susie” (1957) by The Everly Brothers vs. Sally, Go ‘Round the Roses” (1963) by The Jaynetts
#6 Sherry” (1962) by The Four Seasons vs. Susie Q” (1957) by Dale Hawkins
#7 Runaround Sue” (1961) by Dion vs. Venus in Blue Jeans” (1962) by Jimmy Clanton
#8 Sheila” (1962) by Tommy Roe vs. Susie Darlin’” (1958) by Robin Luke

Which song is better? (25 of 32)

  • "Ride on Josephine" by Bo Diddley (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Venus" by Frankie Avalon (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (26 of 32)

  • "Tall Paul" by Annette Funicello (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Sandy" by Larry Hall (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (27 of 32)

  • "Sandy" by Dion (57%, 4 Votes)
  • "Ruby Baby" by The Drifters (43%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (28 of 32)

  • "Ruby Ann" by Marty Robbins (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Ronnie" by The Four Seasons (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (29 of 32)

  • "Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers (57%, 4 Votes)
  • "Sally, Go 'Round the Roses" by The Jaynetts (43%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (30 of 32)

  • "Susie Q" by Dale Hawkins (71%, 5 Votes)
  • "Sherry" by The Four Seasons (29%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (31 of 32)

  • "Runaround Sue" by Dion (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Venus in Blue Jeans" by Jimmy Clanton (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (32 of 32)

  • "Sheila" by Tommy Roe (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Susie Darlin'" by Robin Luke (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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…And that’s it for now! Round 2 will start on Friday.

Here’s the full tournament schedule:

  • Round 1 (64 songs to 32): Vote March 12-15
  • Round 2 (32 to 16): Vote March 16-19
  • Sweet 16 (16 to 8): Vote March 20-22
  • Elite Eight (8 to 4): Vote March 23-25
  • Final Four (4 to 2): Vote March 26-27
  • Championship (2 to 1): Vote March 28-29
  • Winner (1): Announced on March 30

Polls close at 11:59 PM (Mountain Time) on the last day of each round.

And finally, in case you’re wondering how I chose the groups and the pairings: The groups are alphabetical (A to F, G to L, L to P, and R to W). To rank the songs within each group, I used that “total” number of Google search results as a proxy for popularity. Then I created match-ups in true March Madness style: first vs. last, second vs. second-to-last, and so forth.

Runner-Up Names for the Red-Nosed Reindeer

rudolph, alternative names, reindeer names,

We’re all familiar with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, thanks to the catchy Christmas song.

But the character was around for a full decade before the song came out. He originated in a 1939 children’s book by Robert L. May.

May, a copywriter at Montgomery Ward, wrote the book as part of the retailer’s annual holiday promotion. More than two million copies of Rudolph were handed out to shoppers nationwide that year.

One of May’s handwritten notes from that era reveals that, before he’d settled on the name “Rudolph” for the red-nosed reindeer, he’d considered the following alliterative R-names:

  • Rodney
  • Roddy
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rudy
  • Rollo
  • Roland
  • Reggy
  • Reginald
  • Romeo

The two names he’d circled were Rudolph and Reginald — the top two contenders, no doubt. (Sources say he decided Reginald was “too British,” and Rollo “too happy.”)

Robert L. May’s songwriter brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, later turned Rudolph’s story into a song. Gene Autry recorded “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in mid-1949 and it became a massive hit that Christmas. (Autry followed it up with “Frosty the Snowman” in 1950.)

So now imagine you’ve gone back in time, oh, say, 78 years. Your copywriter friend Rob sends you a telegram asking for your assistance in naming a fictional reindeer character he’s writing about, for work. He includes a list of ten possibilities. Which name do you select?

What would you have named the red-nosed reindeer?

View Results

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Or, if you’re not keen on any of these, feel free to comment with a write-in candidate. Just be sure it starts with R!

Sources:

Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2016

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2016!

As usual, the disclaimer: Some of the names below were already on the rise. Others may have been influenced by more than just the single pop culture person/event listed. I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence in each case.

On to the names…

Luna, +849

  • Up from 2,796 baby girls in 2015 to 3,645 in 2016.
  • 6th-highest raw-number increase on the girls’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Luna Simone, daughter of singer John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen.

Camila, +765

Greyson, +704

  • Up from 3,591 baby boys in 2015 to 4,295 in 2016.
  • 8th-highest raw-number increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Adonis, +443

Kehlani, +272

Wade, +232

  • Up from 553 baby boys in 2015 to 785 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Prince, +187

  • Up from 820 baby boys in 2015 to 1,007 in 2016.
  • The name Princess also saw a jump in usage: 268 baby girls in 2015 to 369 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Prince.

Lyanna, +154

  • Up from 62 baby girls in 2015 to 216 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Game of Thrones.

Alessia, +130

Wilder, +122

  • Up from 215 baby boys in 2015 to 337 in 2016.
  • 9th-highest ranking increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Wilder also saw higher usage among baby girls: 22 in 2015 to 38 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Gene Wilder.

Canaan, +99

  • Up from 283 baby boys in 2015 to 382 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: son of Oprah Winfrey (she announced this name in late 2015).
    • According to a 2010 biography, Winfrey’s son’s legal first name was Vincent.

Cyrus, +91

  • Up from 631 baby boys in 2015 to 722 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Creed, +78

Bowie, +77

  • Up from 53 baby boys in 2015 to 130 in 2016.
  • Bowie also saw higher usage among baby girls: 43 in 2015 to 75 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of David Bowie.

Muhammad, +77

  • Up from 881 baby boys in 2015 to 958 in 2016.
  • The name Muhammadali also saw a jump in usage: 12 baby boys in 2015 to 24 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Ivanka, +74

  • Up from 37 baby girls in 2015 to 111 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

Cohen, +68

  • Up from 1,017 baby boys in 2015 to 1,085 in 2016.
  • Cohen also saw higher usage among baby girls: 12 in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Leonard Cohen.

Queen, +49

  • Up from 148 baby girls in 2015 to 197 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: the TV show Queen Sugar (2016-) and the movie Queen of Katwe (2016).

Melania, +41

  • Up from 90 baby girls in 2015 to 131 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s wife Melania.

Moana, +38

  • Up from 18 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Jupiter, +36

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 78 in 2016.
  • Jupiter also saw higher usage among baby boys: 25 in 2015 to 41 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Hillary, +34

Simone, +33

  • Up from 340 baby girls in 2015 to 373 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and celebrity baby Luna Simone.

Doris, +32

  • Up from 85 baby girls in 2015 to 117 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Hello, My Name Is Doris (2016).

Dream, +30

  • Up from 98 baby _s in 2015 to 128 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Kardashian baby Dream Renée.

Rio, +29

  • Up from 103 baby boys in 2015 to 132 in 2016.
  • Rio also saw higher usage among baby girls: 38 in 2015 to 61 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Malachi, +27

  • Up from 2,558 baby boys in 2015 to 2,585 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Ali, +23

  • Up from 1,060 baby boys in 2015 to 1,083 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Barron, +20

  • Up from 74 baby boys in 2015 to 94 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s son Barron.

Miesha, +19

  • Up from 13 baby girls in 2015 to 32 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: MMA fighter Miesha Tate.

Onyx, +18

  • Up from 38 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Onyx saw an even higher jump in usage among baby boys: 118 in 2015 to 172 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Onyx Solace, daughter of Alanis Morissette.

Francis, +17

  • Up from 619 baby boys in 2015 to 636 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Merrick, +17

  • Up from 191 baby boys in 2015 to 208 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Judge Merrick Garland.

Ajax, +16

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 33 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Juno, +13

  • Up from 86 baby girls in 2015 to 99 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Keanu, +13

  • Up from 197 baby boys in 2015 to 210 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Keanu (2016).

Halsey, re-entered with 12

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 12 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Halsey (born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane).

Valor, +12

  • Up from 78 baby boys in 2015 to 90 in 2016.
  • Valor also saw higher usage among baby girls: 6 in 2015 to 14 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Hamilton, +11

  • Up from 86 baby boys in 2015 to 97 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Sanders, +11

  • Up from 12 baby boys in 2015 to 23 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Bernie, +10

  • Up from 11 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Omran, +10

  • Up from 7 baby boys in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh.

Elle, +9

  • Up from 816 baby girls in 2015 to 825 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Elle King.

Teresa, +9

  • Up from 426 baby girls in 2015 to 435 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: canonization of Mother Teresa.

Dak, re-entered with 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 8 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NFL player Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott.

Wrigley, +8

  • Up from 22 baby boys in 2015 to 30 in 2016.
  • Wrigley also saw higher usage among baby girls: 15 in 2015 to 18 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Chicago Cubs’ World Series win.

Boomer, +7

  • Up from 5 baby boys in 2015 to 12 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Boomer Robert, son of Michael Phelps.

Dory, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Finding Dory (2016).

Maui, re-entered with 5

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 5 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Wilson, +5

  • Up from 433 baby boys in 2015 to 438 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Sully, +4

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Sully (2016).

Teyana, +3

  • Up from 47 baby girls in 2015 to 50 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Teyana Taylor.

Draymond, +2

  • Up from 6 baby boys in 2015 to 8 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NBA player Draymond Green.

Daya, +1

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 43 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Daya (born Grace Martine Tandon).

Names that went down in usage from 2015 to 2016:

Names not in the SSA data in either 2015 or 2016:

  • Angel Dust
  • Aroldis
  • Bison
  • Broncs
  • Cubby
  • Curiosity
  • Dopinder
  • Eleven
  • Emayatzy
  • E’myri
  • Esperanto
  • Hermine
  • Ingwen
  • Jikan
  • Jonbenet
  • Lorca
  • Kunta
  • Laremy
  • Linmanuel
  • Maga
  • MacGyver
  • Mountain
  • Moushumi
  • Ode
  • Phiona
  • Regé-Jean
  • Rykiel
  • Trump
  • Usain
  • Voltron
  • Zobrist

Some initial reactions…

I was surprised that Adonis and Wade jumped in usage as much as they did.

I was also surprised that Wrigley barely jumped at all in usage. Maybe “Wrigley” reminds too many people of gum?

usain bolt, race, 100m, rio, olympics
© 2016 Cameron Spencer/Getty

Where the heck is Usain? Why is Usain not in the data yet? Sure, track and field is relatively unpopular in the United States. Still, I thought Rio might do it — with the help of that viral photo of Usain Bolt cheekily grinning at the competition in the middle of that 100 meter sprint.

Finally, as a former ’80s kid, I did have my fingers crossed for Voltron. Oh well…

How about you? Did any of these rises/falls surprise you?

P.S. Some of the names from the 2015 Pop Culture Baby Name Game that have started/continued to do well: Adaline, Arlo, Bjorn, Bryshere, Finn, Furiosa, Gigi, Hakeem, Jedi, Joy, Kylo, Lagertha, Lucious, Margot, Mars, Rey, Saint, and Sullivan. Even more interesting is Atticus, which saw a drop in usage in 2016 after rising steadily for years. (Here’s more about Atticus and the Go Set a Watchman debacle.) The usage of Becky decreased as well — could Beyoncé’s song “Sorry” have anything to do with it?

Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity, 2016

Which boy names increased the most in popularity from 2015 to 2016? And which ones decreased the most?

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

Boy Names: Biggest Increases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, boy names, more popular

Rankings

1. Kylo, +2,368 spots — up from 3,269th to 901st
2. Creed, +370 spots — up from 1,352nd to 982nd
3. Benicio, +356 spots — up from 1,331st to 975th
4. Adonis, +307 spots — up from 701st to 394th
5. Fox, +288 spots — up from 1034th to 746th
6. Kye, +281 spots — up from 984th to 703rd
7. Hakeem, +256 spots — up from 1,161st to 905th
8. Shepherd, +242 spots — up from 1,105th to 863rd
9. Wilder, +238 spots — up from 961st to 723rd
10. Zayn, +222 spots — up from 643rd to 421st

Kylo was influenced by the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Creed and Adonis were influenced by the movie Creed (2015).

Hakeem was influenced by the TV show Empire (2015-). So was Bryshere, which debuted last year.

Wilder could have been influenced by either Gene Wilder or by boxer Deontay Wilder, or both. (Or neither.)

Zayn was influenced by British singer/songwriter Zain “Zayn” Malik.

Raw Numbers

1. Mateo, +1,516 baby boys — up from 5,010 to 6,526
2. Oliver, +1,340 baby boys — up from 11,635 to 12,975
3. Bryson, +1,239 baby boys — up from 3,094 to 4,333
4. Lincoln, +1,094 baby boys — up from 5,982 to 7,076
5. Benjamin, +899 baby boys — up from 13,670 to 14,569
6. Grayson, +735 baby boys — up from 7,887 to 8,622
7. Theodore, +723 baby boys — up from 4,136 to 4,859
8. Greyson, +704 baby boys — up from 3,591 to 4,295
9. Leo, +678 baby boys — up from 4,582 to 5,260
10. Maverick, +675 baby boys — up from 2,265 to 2,940

Other names that saw raw number increases in the 200+ range included Owen, Sebastian, Ezekiel, Lucas, Ezra, Leonardo, Santiago, Conor, Gael, Everett, Rhett, Jameson, Killian, Tobias, Arlo, Easton, Finn, Rowan, Elias, Asher, Calvin, Thiago, Bodhi, Legend, Lukas, River, Elliot, Harrison, Roman, Adriel, Paxton, Julian, Ace, Josiah, Waylon, Messiah, Nash, Ellis, Matias, George, Barrett, Connor, Wade, Kyrie, Milo, Amir, Bennett, Elliott, Silas, Matteo, and Axel.

Rowan is rising quickly for both boys and girls right now.

Kyrie, which was once given primarily to girls, is now being given primarily for boys thanks to basketball player Kyrie Irving.

Boy Names: Biggest Decreases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, boy names, less popular

Rankings

1. Jonael, -475 spots — down from 921st to 1,396th
2. Aaden, -239 spots — down from 784th to 1,023rd
3. Triston, -230 spots — down from 957th to 1,187th
4. Freddy, -222 spots — down from 993rd to 1,215th
5. Yaakov, -213 spots — down from 992nd to 1,205th
6. Braeden, -203 spots — down from 792nd to 995th
7. Chace, -202 spots — down from 935th to 1,137th
8. Brantlee, -176 spots — down from 777th to 953rd
9. Gannon, -173 spots — down from 533rd to 706th
10. Robin, -171 spots — down from 969th to 1,140th

The name Jonael got a lot of exposure in 2015 thanks to 11-year-old Puerto Rican singer Jonael Santiago, who won the 3rd season of La Voz Kids, which aired from March to June. It didn’t get as much exposure in 2016, which accounts for the drop in usage.

Raw Numbers

1. Logan, -1,697 baby boys (12,897 to 11,200)
2. Jacob, -1,498 baby boys (15,914 to 14,416)
3. Jayden, -1,455 baby boys (11,518 to 10,063)
4. Mason, -1,399 baby boys (16,591 to 15,192)
5. Ethan, -1,291 baby boys — down from 15,049 to 13,758
6. Aiden, -1,271 baby boys (13,429 to 12,158)
7. Alexander, -1,186 baby boys (14,507 to 13,321)
8. Jackson, -1,032 baby boys (12,242 to 11,210)
9. Brandon, -1,024 baby boys (5,100 to 4,076)
10. Blake, -951 baby boys (4,220 to 3,269)

blake, baby name, gender, switchUnlike Rowan, Blake is falling on the boys’ list, but rising on the girls’ list. In fact, the graph (right) makes a gender switch look inevitable. This is not something I would have anticipated a decade ago, before the emergence of Blake Lively.

Other names that saw raw number drops in the 200+ range included Landon, Caleb, Gavin, Anthony, Christopher, Andrew, David, Parker, Colton, Jase, Hunter, Brody, Brantley, Gabriel, Jonathan, Jordan, Tyler, Kevin, Nathan, Joshua, Carter, Daniel, Joseph, Dylan, Christian, Noah, Angel, Brayden, Iker, Chase, Nicholas, Austin, Dominic, Camden, John, Ayden, Michael, Colin, Bryan, Riley, Kyle, Hayden, Bradley, Nathaniel, Jake, Samuel, Luke, Cayden, Evan, Zachary, Steven, Kaden, Cooper, Marcus, Ryan, Tristan, Bryce, Ryder, Micah, Brady, Bentley, Kaleb, Levi, Alex, Conner, Jeremy, Isaac, Ian, Gage, Brian, Kayden, Jaden, Carlos, Sean, Jeremiah, Abel, Devin, Adrian, Giovanni, Garrett, and Adam.

Jase has seen a dramatic rise and fall over the last few years: big gains in 2012 and 2013, followed by big losses in 2014, 2015, and now 2016.

Similarly, Iker was on the rise for a while, with partcularly big leaps in 2011 and 2012, but usage is now on the wane.

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

(In 2015, the big winners were Oliver and Riaan, and the big losers were Jase and Arnav.)

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