The name Bear was just barely being used before adventurer Bear Grylls (birth name: Edward Grylls) came to our attention via the TV series Man vs. Wild (2006-2011).
Since then, usage has increased steadily — both among regular folks and among celebrities:
- 2017: English musician Liam Payne had son Bear Grey
- 2017: English musician Howard Donald had son Dougie Bear
- 2013: English actress Kate Winslet had son Bear Blaze
- 2011: American actress Alicia Silverstone had son Bear Blu
- 2010: English chef Jamie Oliver had son Buddy Bear Maurice
In the U.S., the baby name Bear is currently sitting just outside the top 1,000:
- 2016: 186 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,055th]
- 2015: 134 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,311th]
- 2014: 131 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,327th]
- 2013: 84 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,730th]
- 2012: 79 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,845th]
- 2011: 85 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,728th]
The England and Wales data for 2016 isn’t out yet, but Bear entered the top 1,000* there in 2015:
- 2015: 36 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank: 859th]
- 2014: 19 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank: 1,330th]
- 2013: 15 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank 1,546th]
- 2012: 19 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank 1,319th]
- 2011: 7 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank 2,650th]
But this data only accounts for first names. The principal usage for Bear could be happening under the radar, with middles. Two of the celebs above used Bear as a middle, and so did this Canadian couple who hit on a bear on the way to the delivery room. And don’t forget American actress Zooey Deschanel, who didn’t opt for Bear, but did give her kids the animal-middles Otter and Wolf.
Do you like Bear as a baby name? How high do you think it will climb on the U.S. charts?
*I assigned rankings to the E/W names the same way the SSA assigns rankings — breaking ties by assigning rank in alphabetical order.