Wondering which first letters were the most popular in 2020?
For baby girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by E and M. The least-used first letter was U. More than 272,000 baby girls got an A-name last year, whereas fewer than 700 got a U-name.
The three most-used girl names per letter last year were…
A: Ava, Amelia, Abigail
B: Brooklyn, Bella, Brielle
C: Charlotte, Camila, Chloe
D: Delilah, Daisy, Daniela
E: Emma, Evelyn, Ella
F: Faith, Freya, Finley
G: Gianna, Grace, Genesis
H: Harper, Hazel, Hannah
I: Isabella, Isla, Ivy
J: Josephine, Jade, Julia
K: Kinsley, Kennedy, Kaylee
L: Luna, Layla, Lily
M: Mia, Mila, Madison
N: Nora, Nova, Natalie
O: Olivia, Olive, Oakley
P: Penelope, Paisley, Piper
Q: Quinn, Queen, Quincy
R: Riley, Ruby, Rylee
S: Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett
T: Taylor, Teagan, Trinity
U: Unique, Uma, Una
V: Victoria, Violet, Valentina
W: Willow, Winter, Willa
X: Ximena, Xiomara, Xena
Y: Yaretzi, Yara, Yareli
Z: Zoey, Zoe, Zara
For baby boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and L. The least-used first letter was, again, U. More than 205,000 baby boys got a J-name last year, whereas fewer than 2,500 got a U-name.
The three most-used boy names per letter last year were…
A: Alexander, Aiden, Asher
B: Benjamin, Brooks, Bennett
C: Carter, Charles, Christopher
D: Daniel, David, Dylan
E: Elijah, Ethan, Ezra
F: Finn, Felix, Francisco
G: Grayson, Gabriel, Greyson
H: Henry, Hudson, Hunter
I: Isaac, Isaiah, Ian
J: James, Jacob, Jackson
K: Kai, Kayden, Kingston
L: Liam, Lucas, Logan
M: Mason, Michael, Mateo
N: Noah, Nathan, Nolan
O: Oliver, Owen, Oscar
P: Parker, Patrick, Peter
Q: Quinn, Quentin, Quincy
R: Ryan, Roman, Robert
S: Sebastian, Samuel, Santiago
T: Theodore, Thomas, Tyler
U: Uriel, Uriah, Ulises
V: Vincent, Victor, Valentino
W: William, Wyatt, Wesley
X: Xavier, Xander, Xzavier
Y: Yusuf, Yosef, Yehuda
Z: Zachary, Zion, Zayden
Finally, here are the totals for girls and boys side-by-side on the same chart:
Overall, the top first letter was A and the least popular first letter was (of course!) U.
Henry and Alexander replaced Mason (now ranked 11th) and Ethan (13th).
The boy names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…
Kobe, increased by 998 babies
Kobe was influenced by the untimely death of basketball great Kobe Bryant (whose daughter, Gianna, had an equally strong influence on girl names.)
Theodore and Luka were also among the fastest risers of 2019.
The boy names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies were…
Omere, increased by 460%
Omere could be from Omere Harris, son of YouTubers (and former Love & Hip Hop-ers) Mendeecees Harris and Yandy Smith.
Ripp was a debut name just one year earlier. Speaking of debuts…
Here are the boy names that debuted most impressively in the 2020 data:
Aarnik, debuted with 14 baby boys
Amavi, 12 (a double-debut with 30 girls as well)
Itzan is probably from Spanish actor Itzan Escamilla, who stars in the Netflix series Élite.
Carin could be from Mexican singer Carin Leon (whose real name is Oscar; “Carin” is a shortening of his nickname, Oscarin.)
Jahkor was the name of a character in the Netflix movie All Day and a Night (2020).
The boy names that saw the largest decreases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…
Ethan, decreased by 1,801 babies
The boy name that saw the largest decrease in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies was Daer (-80%), and the boy name that saw the steepest drop off the list was Montae (from 20 babies in 2019 to fewer than 5 in 2020).
If you can explain any of these rises (or drops), please leave a comment!
According to the government of Northern Territory, Australia, the most popular baby names in NT in 2020 were Charlotte and William.
Here are Northern Territory’s top 10 girl names and top 10+ boy names of 2020:
Charlotte, 15 baby girls
Isla, 12 (tie)
Matilda, 12 (tie)
Amelia, 10 (5-way tie)
Grace, 10 (5-way tie)
Hazel, 10 (5-way tie)
Mia, 10 (5-way tie)
Willow, 10 (5-way tie)
William, 20 baby boys
Henry, 11 (3-way tie)
James, 11 (3-way tie)
Noah, 11 (3-way tie)
Hudson, 10 (3-way tie)
Isaac, 10 (3-way tie)
Thomas, 10 (3-way tie)
On the boys’ side, Thomas is followed by an 8-way tie involving two names I don’t usually see in the rankings: Billy and Mayson. Mayson is especially interesting because the more traditional spelling, Mason, hasn’t made the list for the last two years (after ranking as high as 2nd in 2017).
In 2019, the top two names in NT were Grace and Oliver.
Several months ago, the cast of the inaugural season of MTV’s The Real World held a 6-day reunion in the very same NYC loft they shared back in 1992. The reunion — which was filmed, of course — is now airing as a series on the Paramount+ platform. (Here’s the trailer.)
When I was a teenager, I loved watching The Real World. (And I appreciated that the names of the cast members were always prominently displayed in the opening credits!) So I think now would be a great time to go back and see if any Real World cast member names had an influence on U.S. baby names.
First, let’s start with a comprehensive list of all the cast member names from each of RW‘s 33 (!) seasons…
The Real World: New York (1992): Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
The Real World: California (1993): Aaron, Beth (x2), David, Dominic, Glen, Irene, Jon, Tami
The Real World: San Francisco (1994): Cory, Jo, Judd, Mohammed, Pam, Pedro, Puck, Rachel
The Real World: London (1995): Jacinda, Jay, Kat, Lars, Mike, Neil, Sharon
The Real World: Miami (1996): Cynthia, Dan, Flora, Joe, Melissa, Mike, Sarah
The Real World: Boston (1997): Elka, Genesis, Jason, Kameelah, Montana, Sean, Syrus
The Real World: Seattle (1998): David, Irene, Janet, Lindsay, Nathan, Rebecca, Stephen
The Real World: Hawaii (1999): Amaya, Colin, Justin, Kaia, Matt, Ruthie, Teck
The Real World: New Orleans (2000): Danny, David, Jamie, Julie, Kelley, Matt, Melissa
The Real World: Back to New York (2001): Coral, Kevin, Lori, Malik, Mike, Nicole, Rachel
The Real World: Chicago (2002): Aneesa, Cara, Chris, Keri, Kyle, Theo, Tonya
The Real World: Las Vegas (2002-2003): Alton, Arissa, Brynn, Frank, Irulan, Steven, Trishelle
The Real World: Paris (2003): Ace, Adam, Chris, Christina, Leah, Mallory, Simon
The Real World: San Diego (2004): Brad, Cameran, Charlie, Frankie, Jacquese, Jamie, Randy, Robin
The Real World: Philadelphia (2004-2005): Karamo, Landon, Melanie, M.J., Sarah, Shavonda, Willie
The Real World: Austin (2005): Danny, Johanna, Lacey, Melinda, Nehemiah, Rachel, Wes
The Real World: Key West (2006): Janelle, John, Jose, Paula, Svetlana, Tyler, Zach
The Real World: Denver (2006-2007): Alex, Brooke, Colie, Davis, Jenn, Stephen, Tyrie
The Real World: Sydney (2007-2008): Ashli, Cohutta, Dunbar, Isaac, KellyAnne, Parisa, Shauvon, Trisha
The Real World: Hollywood (2008): Brianna, Brittini, Dave, Greg, Joey, Kimberly, Nick, Sarah, Will
The Real World: Brooklyn (2009): Baya, Chet, Devyn, J.D., Katelynn, Ryan, Sarah, Scott
The Real World: Cancun (2009): Ayiiia, Bronne, CJ, Derek, Emilee, Jasmine, Joey, Jonna
The Real World: D.C. (2009-2010): Andrew, Ashley, Callie, Emily, Erika, Josh, Mike, Ty
The Real World: New Orleans (2010): Ashlee, Eric, Jemmye, McKenzie, Preston, Ryan (x2), Sahar
The Real World: Las Vegas (2011): Adam, Dustin, Heather (x2), Leroy, Michael, Nany, Naomi
The Real World: San Diego (2011): Alexandra, Ashley, Frank, Nate, Priscilla, Sam, Zach
The Real World: St. Thomas (2012): Brandon (x2), LaToya, Laura, Marie, Robb, Trey
The Real World: Portland (2013): Anastasia, Averey, Jessica, Johnny, Joi, Jordan, Marlon, Nia
Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014): Arielle, Ashley (x2), Brian, Cory, Hailey, Jamie, Jay, Jenna, Jenny, Lauren, Thomas
Real World: Go Big or Go Home (2016): CeeJai, Chris, Dean, Dione, Dylan, Jenna, Kailah, Sabrina
Real World Seattle: Bad Blood (2016-2017): Anika, Anna, Jennifer, Jordan, Kassius, Katrina, Kimberly, Mike, Orlana, Peter, Robbie, Theo, Tyara, Will
The Real World: Atlanta (2019): Arely, Clint, Dondre, Justin, Meagan, Tovah, Yasmin
The names in boldface line up with a discernible increase in baby name usage. (Other Real World names may have affected baby names as well, but it can be hard to tell when, say, a name is already common, or already on the rise.)
Here are details on all the boldfaced names, plus two more influential RW names (from seasons 6 and 18) that didn’t even belong to primary cast members.
The name Jacinda (from season 4; 1995) saw peak usage in 1996.
The name Flora (5; 1996) saw increased usage in 1997.
The name Kameelah (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1998.
The name Syrus (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1997.
The name Jason (6; 1997) was probably not affected, but the name of Jason’s girlfriend, Timber, saw increased usage in 1998.
The name Amaya (8; 1999) saw sharply increased usage in 1999 and 2000.
The name Kaia (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
The name Ruthie (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
The name Aneesa (11; 2002) saw peak usage in 2002.
The name Arissa (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2003.
The name Brynn (12; 2002-3) saw sharply increased usage in 2003.
The name Irulan (12; 2002-3) debuted in the data in 2003.
It looks like she was named after the fictional character Princess Irulan from Frank Herbert’s Dune books…?
The name Trishelle (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2004.
The name Mallory (13; 2003) saw increased usage in 2003 and 2004.
The name Cameran (14; 2004) saw peak usage in 2004.
The name Jacquese (14; 2004) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2004.
The name Johanna (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005.
The name Nehemiah (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005 and 2006.
The name Janelle (17; 2006) saw increased usage in 2006.
The name Svetlana (17; 2006) saw peak usage in 2007.
The name Colie (18; 2006-7) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2007.
The name Tyrie (18; 2006-7) saw peak usage in 2007.