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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Hyun

Number of Babies Named Hyun

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Hyun

Glitch Alert: “Korea” Coded as “Kansas” in SSA Data?

Korea coded as Kansas in baby name data?I think I may have found another problem with the SSA data.

It all started with Chong, which was on my shortlist for the Mystery Monday series. When I tried one last time to figure it out, I noticed some pretty interesting stuff.

Chong debuted as a girl name in 1947. I couldn’t find a pop culture explanation. It kept making me think of the Chinese name Chong (the forename, not the surname) but virtually no one from China — or anywhere else in Asia, for that matter — was immigrating to the U.S. in the 1940s.

Here’s the gist of what happened next…

  • Looking at the other 1947 debut names, I found 3 similar to Chong: Myong, Kyong and Kyung.
  • I realized then that I was dealing with Korean names, not Chinese names. But these Korean names were truncated for some reason. (Korean names typically have two parts, e.g., Seo-yeon, Yu-jin, Tae-hyun, Min-jae.)
  • Looking at the rest of the SSA data, I found a bunch of other truncated Korean names with debut years ranging from the 1920s to the 1970s.

The most obvious explanation, immigration, could theoretically work for the debuts from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Korean immigration to the U.S. (starting with war brides and orphans) began again in the 1950s and peaked in the 1970s-1980s. But it couldn’t explain the debuts from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s.

So I checked the SSA’s state data. If these name debuts were somehow (impossibly) being caused by immigration then I would expect to see them clustered in places like Hawaii, California and New York.

But you know where they were popping up? Kansas.

Even weirder, this only lasted until the ’70s or so — after that, the names stopped appearing on the Kansas list altogether.

Here’s the SSA data (from 1920 to 1969, inclusive) for most of the Korean names I found:

Name U.S. Total
1920-1969
Kansas Total
1920-1969
Chong 106 baby girls
16 baby boys
103 baby girls
unlisted
Chun 22 baby girls 12 baby girls
Dong 32 baby boys 15 baby boys
Hae 19 baby girls 19 baby girls
Hee 5 baby girls 5 baby girls
Hye 29 baby girls 28 baby girls
Hyun 10 baby girls 5 baby girls
Ji 10 baby girls 5 baby girls
Jin 13 baby boys 6 baby boys
Kyong 51 baby girls 50 baby girls
Kyung 63 baby girls 55 baby girls
Mi 114 baby girls 78 baby girls
Myong 50 baby girls 44 baby girls
Myung 11 baby girls 11 baby girls
Ok 35 baby boys 30 baby boys
Soon 48 baby girls
5 baby boys
38 baby girls
unlisted
Yong 114 baby girls
60 baby boys
108 baby girls
52 baby boys

I doubt these names represent Korean babies being born in Kansas.

I also doubt they represent non-Korean babies in Kansas getting Korean names. (Asian baby names were not trendy among the white farm families of mid-20th-century Kansas, as you might imagine.)

My theory is that these names actually represent Korean immigrants who came to the U.S. as adults during the second half of the 20th century, applied for social security cards, and were mistakenly assigned Kansas as a birthplace instead of Korea.

Perhaps someone used the letter “K” as shorthand for Korea for a particular batch of records, and that “K” was later interpreted as Kansas, either by a person or by a computer.

However it happened, the miscoded birthplaces would make it appear as though hundreds of Korean babies had been born in Kansas throughout the 20th century — even during decades when that would have been extremely unlikely.

(I’m still curious about the truncation. Perhaps whoever miscoded the birthplaces also mistakenly split the compound Korean names into American-style firsts and middles.)

Does this theory make sense? Do you have have other ideas/information?

Sources: A Brief History of Korean Americans – National Association of Korean Americans, Korean Immigrants in the United States – Migration Policy Institute


Baby Name Trends in South Korea

popular baby names in south korea, 2008-2013
The top baby names in S. Korea are Min-jun (boys) and Seo-yeon (girls).

In South Korea, parents are slowly moving away from traditional methods of choosing baby names.

Name decisions used to be made either by a grandfather or by a professional baby namer (who would use the Chinese zodiac to spot “weaknesses” in the baby’s fate and choose a name to help counter those weaknesses). While many parents still consult with professionals, the belief that choosing a name via astrology can affect a baby’s fate is less common than it once was.

So how are parents in Korea choosing names these days? In various ways…

  • Some are choosing names based on how easy they are to pronounce in English, avoiding tricky Korean syllables such as “Eun” and “Eo.”
  • Some are looking to pop culture (especially celebrities and reality TV) for names.
  • Some are taking a more creative route, turning Korean words into names. (One woman interviewed by Arirang News mentioned her son’s name was Ara, from the Korean word for “sea.”)
  • Some are going for a unisex sound with syllables like “ji” and “bin.”

According to Arirang News, the most popular baby names in South Korea from 2008 through most of 2013 were Seo-yeon for girls and Min-jun for boys:

Top Girl Names Top Boy Names
1. Seo-yeon
2. Ji-won
3. Seo-young
4. Su-yeon
5. Seo-hyeon
6. Min-seo
7. Min-jeong
8. Min-ju
9. Ji-yun
10. Yu-jin
1. Min-jun
2. Ji-hun
3. Hyun-wu
4. Min-seong
5. Dong-hyeon
6. Jeong-wu
7. Do-hyeon
8. Hyeon-jun
9. Geon-wu
10. Min-jae

Sources: Baby-naming in Korea: What are the most popular names?, The Most Popular Baby Names in Korea, South Korea: parents pick names that foreigners can pronounce (h/t Onomastics.co.uk)

How to Pronounce Asian Names

Yesterday I discovered the “Asian Name Pronunciation Guide,” which was created by California State Polytechnic University (Pomona) to help its students “more accurately pronounce some common Asian first and last names.” What a cool thing for the school to make available.

There are pages for names in Cambodian, Cantonese, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Thai and Vietnamese. Best of all, most pages include audio files of native speakers correctly pronouncing selected names.

Here are all the first names listed:

Cambodian First Names & Pronunciations

  • Bopha, bohpah
  • Chanda, chahndah
  • Chandarith, chahnrit
  • Chhoun, choo-en
  • Dara Khan, dahrah kahn
  • Khan, kahn
  • Kosal, kohsahl
  • Kunthea, kunt-hee-ah
  • Lai, lah-ee
  • Lun Ang, loom-ang
  • Maly, mahlee
  • Map, mahp
  • Moeuk, mew
  • Pean, pee-in
  • Phalla, pahlah
  • Phireak, pee-re
  • Poew, pohew
  • Rith, rit
  • Ry, ree
  • Sarit, sahrit
  • Srey, sray
  • Soas, soo-uh
  • Socheat, sohjee-et
  • Soeun, sew-in
  • Sok, sawk
  • Somally, sawmahlee
  • Sopea, sohpeeah
  • Sophal, sohpahl
  • Sophat, sohpaht
  • Sophea, sohpeeah
  • Sopheap, sohpee-up
  • Suon, soo-in
  • Theary, t-ih-ree
  • Thy, tee
  • Tren, trayng
  • Vanna, wahnah
  • Vannak, wahnak
  • Vantha, wahntah
  • Veng Kim, wayng kum
  • Vuthy, wootee

Cantonese (Chinese) First Names & Pronunciations

  • Chi-Kung, chee-kahng
  • Chi-Man, chee-mahn
  • Ka-Ling, gah-leeng
  • Kok-Wing, kaw-wing
  • Lai-Ying, ly-ying
  • Mei-Yee, may-yee
  • Pui-Pui, puhyee-pahyee
  • Sau-Ha, sow-han
  • Shuk-Yee, suh-yee
  • Sin-Feng, sin-fuhng
  • Siu-Kao, seeyoo-kayoo
  • Tak-Wah, duh-wah
  • Wai-Keung, wy-kuhung
  • Wai-Ling, wy-ling

Filipino First Names & Pronunciations

  • Adelaide, ahdelydah
  • Angelita, ahngheleetah
  • Annal, ahnah
  • Antonio, ahntoneeyo
  • Aunor, awnor
  • Carlo, karlo
  • Catalina, kahtahleena
  • Dakila, dahkeelah
  • Dalisay, dahleesy
  • Diego, deeyaygo
  • Floricel, florreesel
  • Gemma, jemah
  • Guillermo, geelyermo
  • Honesto, ohnesto
  • Irma, irmah
  • Isabel, eesahbel
  • Ligaya, leegahyah
  • Liwayway, leewaiwai
  • Luningning, looningning
  • Lourdes, lordess
  • Magdalena, mahgdahleena
  • Manuel, mahnoowel
  • Maria, mahreeyah
  • Maricar, mahrikahr
  • Miguel, meegel
  • Norma, normah

Indonesian First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Ade, ada
  • Devi, day (silent y)-vee
  • Dewi, day (silent y)-we
  • Erlin, arleen
  • Fanny, funny
  • Farida, fareeda
  • Glenna, glenna
  • Harjanti, harjantee
  • Hartanti, hartantee
  • Ida, eda
  • Inge, enge
  • Lanny, lunny
  • Leony, leony
  • Liana, leeana
  • Liani, leeanee
  • Ratna, rutna
  • Shinta, shinta
  • Siska, sisca
  • Sri, seri
  • Sucianty, soocianty
  • Susanti, soosantee
  • Utami, utami
  • Vera, vera
  • Verawati, verawatee
  • Veronika, veronica
  • Widya, wedya
  • Widyawati, wedyawati
  • Yanti, yunti
  • Yenny, yenny
  • Yulia, yoolia
  • Yuliana, yooleeana
  • Yuliani, yooleeanee

Male Names

  • Ade, ada
  • Adi, adee
  • Agus, agoos
  • Ari (Ary), ari
  • Bambang, bumbung
  • Benny, banny
  • Budi, boodee
  • Deddy, deddy
  • Djaja (Djaya, Jaya), jaya
  • Doddy, doddy
  • Hadi, hudee
  • Hadian, hudeean
  • Hamdani, hamdani
  • Handoko, handoko
  • Hartono, hartono
  • Hendra, hendra
  • Hendri, hendori
  • Hengki (Hengky), hanki
  • Herman, herman
  • Indra, endra
  • Irwan, erwan
  • Ivan, evan
  • Iwan, ewan
  • Johan, johan
  • Ridwan, ridwan
  • Sonny, sonny
  • Sudirman, soodirman
  • Sudomo, soodoomo
  • Sugiarto, soogiarto
  • Suharto, sooharto
  • Suhendra, soohendra
  • Sukarno, sookarno
  • Suparman, sooparman
  • Surya, soorya
  • Suryadi, sooryadee
  • Susanto, soosanto
  • Teguh, taguh
  • Yandi, yundee
  • Yohanes, yohanes

Japanese First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Akiko, a-ki-o
  • Etsuko, eh-tsu-ko
  • Hiroko, he-ro-ko
  • Hiromi, he-ro-me
  • Junko, june-ko
  • Kaoru, ka-o-ru
  • Kazuko, ka-zu-ko
  • Keiko, keh-ko
  • Kuniko, koo-ni-ko
  • Kyoko, kyoh-ko
  • Mariko, ma-ri-ko
  • Masako, ma-sa-ko
  • Michiko, me-chi-ko
  • Miho, me-ho
  • Miki, me-ki
  • Miyuki, me-you-ki
  • Naoko, na-o-ko
  • Noriko, no-lee-ko
  • Reiko, reh-ko
  • Sachiko, sa-chi-ko
  • Takako, ta-ka-ko
  • Tomoko, to-mo-ko
  • Yoko, yoh-ko
  • Yoshiko, yo-shi-ko
  • Yuki, you-ki
  • Yumi, you-me
  • Yumiko, you-me-ko

Male Names

  • Akio, a-ki-o
  • Akira, a-ki-ra
  • Hideo, hi-de-o
  • Hiroshi, hi-ro-sih
  • Ichiro, e-chi-roh
  • Junichi, june-e-chi
  • Kazuo, ka-zu-o
  • Kenji, ken-ji
  • Kiyoshi, ki-yo-shi
  • Koichi, ko-e-chi
  • Koji, ko-ji
  • Makoto, ma-ko-toh
  • Osamu, o-sa-mu
  • Shigeru, shi-ge-ru
  • Shinichi, shin-e-chi
  • Shiro, shi-ro
  • Susumu, su-su-mu
  • Tadashi, ta-da-shi
  • Takao, ta-ka-o
  • Takashi, ta-ka-shi
  • Takeo, ta-ke-o
  • Takeshi, ta-ke-shi
  • Toru, toh-ru
  • Tsutomu, tsu-to-mu
  • Yoshio, yo-shi-o
  • Yuji, you-ji
  • Yutaka, you-ta-ka

Korean First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Eun-A, euna
  • Eun-Hee, eunhee
  • Eun-Ju, eunju
  • Eun-Jung, eunjung
  • Eun-Kyoung, eunkyoung
  • Eun-Mi, eunmi
  • Eun-Su, eunsu
  • Eun-Sun, eunsun
  • Eun-Young, eunyoung
  • Hye-Su, hiesu
  • Hyun-Ja, hyunja
  • Hyun-Ju, hyunju
  • Hyun-Jung, hyunjung
  • Hyun-Young, hiuniung
  • Jin-Sook (Jing-Suk), jinsuk
  • Kun-Sun, keunsun
  • Kyoung-Mi, kyungmi
  • Min-Hee, minhee
  • Min-Hoe, minhoe
  • Min-Jung, minjung
  • Min-Young, miyoung
  • Mi-Kyoung, mikyoung
  • Mi-Sun, misun
  • Mi-Young, miyoung
  • Na-Young, nayoung
  • Sang-Hee, sang/hee
  • Sang-Mi, sangmi
  • So-Young, soyoung
  • Sun-Hee, sunhee
  • Su-Jung, sujung
  • Young-Hee (Yung-Hee), young-hee
  • Young-Ja, youngja
  • Young-Mi, youngmi
  • Yun-Hee, iunhee

Male Names

  • Chang-Ho, changho
  • Chang-Su, changsu
  • Chang-Uk, chang-uk
  • Dong-Min, dongmin
  • Dong-Uk, dong-uk
  • Du-Ho, doho
  • Hyun-Su, hyeonsu
  • In-Ho, inho
  • Jang-Ho, jangho
  • Ja-Hoon, jahoon
  • Jong-Cheol (Jong-Chul), jongchul
  • Jong-Pil, jongpil
  • Jong-Su, jongsu
  • Jung-Hee, jeonghi
  • Jung-Hun (Jung-Hoon), jeonghun
  • Jung-Yeol, jung yeol
  • Ki-Hoon (Ki-Hun), kihun
  • Kwang-Ho, kuangho
  • Man-Su, mansu
  • Min-Ho, minho
  • Min-Ki, minki
  • Min-Kyu, minkiu
  • Min-Su, minsu
  • Sang-Ho, sangho
  • Sang-Ki, sangki
  • Sang-Kyu, sangkiu
  • Sang-Min, sangmin
  • Suk-Chul, sukchul
  • Sung-Uk, sung-uk
  • Yong-Su, youngsu
  • Young-Ho, young-ho
  • Young-Il, young-il
  • Young-Min, youngmin
  • Young-Su, youngsu

Mandarin (Chinese) First Names & Pronunciations

  • Chien, chee-en
  • Chiu, cheeoo
  • Di, dee
  • Du-Wah, doo wah
  • Fah, fah
  • Fong, fong
  • Jinho, rinho
  • Jong, rong
  • Ki, kee
  • Kwai, kwai
  • Lai-Ching, ly ching
  • Len, len
  • Li-Li, lee lee
  • Liang, lee ang
  • Li-Kung, lee kung
  • Lin, lin
  • Ling, ling
  • Li-Sheng, lee sheng
  • Mei, may
  • Riu, ree oo
  • Soon, suhn
  • Sung, sung
  • Wah-Tai, wah tahee
  • Wang, wang
  • Yung-Ling, yung leeng
  • Zhuo-Shing, choh sheeng

Thai First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Amporn, um-porn
  • Areya, ar-ree-ya
  • Budsaba, bud-sa-ba
  • Chompoo, chom-poo
  • Chompunut, chom-ou-nut
  • Duangrat, duang-rat
  • Intira, in-ti-ra
  • Jutharat, ju-ta-rat
  • Korrakoj, kor-ra-kod
  • Krittiga, krit-ti-ga
  • Nattaporn, nat-ta-porn
  • Nuntida, nun-ti-da
  • Orapan, or-ra-pun
  • Ornanong, on-a-nong
  • Patsaporn, pud-sa-porn
  • Pim, pim
  • Porntip, porn-tip
  • Pradtana, prad-ta-na
  • Premwadee, prem-wa-dee
  • Preyanutch, pre-ya-nut
  • Promporn, prom-porn
  • Sangrawee, sang-ra-wee
  • Sinee, si-nee
  • Sirirat, si-ri-rat
  • Sunisa, su-ni-sa
  • Suttida, soot-ti-da
  • Suwattanee, su-wat-ta-nee
  • Tidarat, to-da-rat
  • Utumporn, au-tum-porn
  • Vipada, wi-pa-da
  • Yada, ya-da

Male Names

  • Adirake, a-di-rake
  • Akkarat, aek-ka-rat
  • Chaowalit, chaow-wa-lit
  • Chayond, cha-yond
  • Chuan, chuan
  • Jettrin, jet-trin
  • Kiettisuk, kiet-ti-suk
  • Kittikorn, kit-ti-korn
  • Krit, krit
  • Ned, nade
  • Niwat, ni-wat
  • Nontawat, non-ta-wat
  • Pairote, pai-rote
  • Paradorn, pa-ra-dorn
  • Petch, petch
  • Pongrit, pong-rit
  • Pracha, pra-cha
  • Prakorb, pra-korb
  • Pramod, pra-mote
  • Prasopchai, pra-soap-chai
  • Sakchai, suk-chai
  • Sarawut, sa-ra-wut
  • Songpole, song-pole
  • Sunya, sun-ya
  • Surat, su-rat
  • Suttipong, sut-ti-pong
  • Thongchai, tong-chai
  • Tuksin, tuk-sin
  • Udom, au-dom
  • Vit, wit
  • Winai, wi-nai
  • Worrawut, wore-ra-wut

Vietnamese First Names & Pronunciations

  • Chi, chee
  • Cuc, kuk
  • Diem, yeeyim
  • Duc, duk
  • Dung, yuhng
  • Duong, yoong
  • Hanh, hahn
  • Ho, hoh
  • Hoa, hwa
  • Hong, howng
  • Hung, huhng
  • Lan, lahn
  • Liem, leeyim
  • Lien, leeyin
  • Loc, lowk
  • Mai, mah-ee
  • Minh, min
  • Nam, nahm
  • Nga, nga
  • Nguyet, nwyit
  • Pham, fam
  • Phu, foo
  • Thi, tee
  • Thien, teeyen
  • Tho, toy or tahoo
  • Thuy, twee
  • Tuan, twahn or twuhn
  • Tuyet, tweeyit
  • Viet, wee-et
  • Xuan, swuhn