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Popularity of the Baby Name Iesha

Number of Babies Named Iesha

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Iesha

The Demise of the Baby Name Hillary

Hilary Parker’s recent post on the 14 most “poisoned” baby names reminded me that I haven’t yet written about the demise of the baby name Hillary. (Or Hilary. Or Chelsea.)

So let’s travel back to 1992 for a minute.

In mid-July, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was selected as the Democratic candidate for the presidency. His wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea were now in the national spotlight.

In early November, Bill managed to beat Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush to become the 42nd president of the United States. Hillary and Chelsea would now stay in the national spotlight.

And in late November, a few weeks after the election, the Miami Herald printed this:

Now that the Clinton women are set to move into the White House, both names are becoming more popular among new parents.

For the first time, Chelsea has cracked the top 10 list of the most popular girl names in Florida. Name expert Leonard R. N. Ashley, a Brooklyn College professor, said he expects Hillary to also catch on.

[…]

The popularity of Chelsea, on the rise long before the presidential pre-teen made her Democratic convention appearance, is likely to get a boost from the first family pedigree, Ashley said.

The “name expert” got it wrong, of course.

Hillary did not catch on. Nor did Chelsea. Both names had been on the rise, but usage dropped significantly after 1992.

Here are the spikes, both graphically and numerically:

The Baby Name Hillary

Baby Name Hillary - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Hillary
  • 1994: 408 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 566th]
  • 1993: 1,064 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 261st]
  • 1992: 2,522 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 132nd]
  • 1991: 1,789 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 166th]
  • 1990: 1,523 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 192nd]

That’s a 58% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hillary fell so low that it got pushed out of the top 1,000 entirely for two years (2002 and 2003).

The Baby Name Hilary

Baby Name Hilary - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Hilary
  • 1994: 145 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 1,208th]
  • 1993: 343 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 651st]
  • 1992: 1,171 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 233rd]
  • 1991: 1,148 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 243rd]
  • 1990: 1,216 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 232nd]

A 71% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hilary was out of the top 1,000 by 1994 and hasn’t been back since. (Hilary Parker says the name Hilary is “clearly the most poisoned.”)

The Baby Name Chelsea

Baby Name Chelsea - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Chelsea
  • 1994: 7,713 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 38th]
  • 1993: 11,288 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 25th]
  • 1992: 16,176 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 15th]
  • 1991: 13,508 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 18th]
  • 1990: 12,782 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 24th]

The drop here isn’t as dramatic — just 30% — but Chelsea was out of the top 100 by 1999. It currently ranks 222nd.

Why?

Why did the name Hillary slip after Hillary Clinton became a fixture in the White House?

Because she violated gender norms — that’s my guess.

Hillary Clinton, 1992

Hillary Clinton was a new kind of First Lady. She was a lawyer, a businesswoman, a scholar and an activist. She was the first First Lady with an earned (vs. honorary) post-graduate degree, and the first to have her own professional career.

But, instead of being praised for her intelligence and ambition, she was criticized for it.

Just two months after the inauguration, Anna Quindlen of the New York Times made note of the double standard:

Maybe some of our daughters took notice of how Hillary Clinton was seen as abrasive, power-hungry and unfeminine when to some of us she seemed merely smart, outspoken and hard-working. Maybe they saw the masquerade and recognized intuitively the age-old message about how much more attractive women are when they are domestic, soft, contented, the message aimed over the years at Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Eleanor Roosevelt and many, many others.

To expectant parents, it didn’t matter that Hillary Clinton was smart and successful. They began avoiding the name Hillary in 1993 because the First Lady — the most high-profile Hillary in the nation — was making her name seem “unfeminine.”

Do you agree? Disagree?

P.S. What are the 13 other “poisoned” names? The 9 to drop since the 1960s are Ashanti, Catina, Deneen, Farrah, Iesha, Infant, Katina, Khadijah and Renata. The other four — Celestine, Clementine, Dewey and Minna — are from the 1800s, a time when SSA data wasn’t too reliable.

Sources:


One-Hit Wonder Baby Names from the 1990s

Many unusual baby names popped up during the 1990s — here are the one-hit wonders from that decade:

Girl Names

  • Adilene – ranked 984th in 1994
  • Alannah – ranked 936th in 1990 (influence: singer Alannah Myles)
  • Baylie – ranked 989th in 1997
  • Brianda – ranked 777th in 1992
  • Clarisa – ranked 665th in 1994 (influence: TV show Clarissa Explains it All)
  • Coraima – ranked 874th in 1993 (influence: actress Coraima Torres)
  • Crysta – ranked 965th in 1993
  • Daijah – ranked 976th in 1996
  • Deyanira – ranked 947th in 1993
  • Ieshia – ranked 718th in 1991 (influence: ABC song “Iesha”)
  • Iridian – ranked 889th in 1995
  • Jasmyne – ranked 991st in 1993
  • Jaycie – ranked 963rd in 1996 (influence: gymnast Jaycie Phelps)
  • Julisa – ranked 731st in 1997 (influence: variant of Julissa)
  • Kalene – ranked 927th in 1993
  • Kanesha – ranked 951st in 1990
  • Kaylene – ranked 967th in 1993
  • Keanna – ranked 910th in 1995
  • Kyara – ranked 928th in in 1999
  • Meranda – ranked 1000th in 1994
  • Micayla – ranked 950th in 1997
  • Miesha – ranked 998th in 1991
  • Miriah – ranked 948th in 1991
  • Nohely – ranked 896th in 1994
  • Shae – ranked 925th in 1998
  • Shaniece – ranked 937th in 1992
  • Shannen – ranked 893rd in 1993
  • Shaquana – ranked 919th in 1991
  • Shawnee – ranked 871st in 1992
  • Tatyanna – ranked 952nd in in 1999
  • Tiesha – ranked 925th in 1991
  • Yamilex – ranked 707th in 1996 (influence: telenovela Como tu, ninguna)
  • Yulisa – ranked 988th in 1997 (influence: variant of Julissa)
  • Yulissa – ranked 424th in 1997 (influence: variant of Julissa)

Boy Names

  • Arman – ranked 980th in 1999
  • Christion – ranked 988th in 1998
  • Coleton – ranked 907th in 1997
  • Colter – ranked 997th in 1992
  • Damarcus – ranked 995th in 1995
  • Davonta – ranked 918th in 1992
  • Devaughn – ranked 924th in 1993
  • Dijon – ranked 916th in 1991
  • Dustyn – ranked 1000th in 1995
  • Jacquez – ranked 864th in 1998
  • Jajuan – ranked 983rd in 1997
  • Jelani – ranked 932nd in 1998 (influence: basketball player Jelani McCoy)
  • Keandre – ranked 957th in 1997
  • Keifer – ranked 924th in 1991 (influence: actor Kiefer Sutherland)
  • Keion – ranked 870th in 1996
  • Kenan – ranked 968th in 1997
  • Khari – ranked 853rd in 1994
  • Miguelangel – ranked 965th in 1998
  • Mykel – ranked 869th in 1990
  • Raquan – ranked 879th in 1996
  • Rashaan – ranked 938th in 1995
  • Shyheim – ranked 817th in 1994 (influence: rapper Shyheim)
  • Tavian – ranked 862nd in 1998
  • Tyreese – ranked 892nd in 1999 (influence: singer Tyrese)
  • Tyreke – ranked 739th in 1999
  • Tyrik – ranked 895th in 1998
  • Tyrin – ranked 942nd in 1994

Want more one-hit wonders? Here are…