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

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Popularity of the Baby Name James


Posts that Mention the Name James

Popular Baby Names in New South Wales, 2019

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

According to the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages, the most popular baby names in New South Wales in 2019 were Charlotte and Oliver.

Here are NSW’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:

Girl Names

  1. Charlotte, 504 baby girls
  2. Olivia, 483
  3. Amelia, 467
  4. Mia, 465
  5. Isla, 408
  6. Ava, 392
  7. Chloe, 353
  8. Grace, 323
  9. Sophia, 319
  10. Ella, 310

Boy Names

  1. Oliver, 641 baby boys
  2. Noah, 573
  3. William, 531
  4. Jack, 468
  5. Leo, 444
  6. Lucas, 418
  7. Henry, 376
  8. Thomas, 370
  9. James, 363
  10. Liam, 357

In the girls’ top 10, Sophia and Ella replace Harper and Emily.

In the boy’s top 10, James replaces Alexander.

In 2018, the top two names were the same.

Sources: NSW Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages – Popular Baby Names – 2019 (PDF), Popular Baby Names – NSW Government

The Introduction of Tiki

tiki, 1960s, baby name, television
The schooner Tiki

In the 1950s and ’60s, Tiki culture — including Tiki bars — were all the rage in the United States. Even Disneyland got in on the action, introducing the Enchanted Tiki Room in 1963.

So it’s not terribly surprising the that the baby name Tiki emerged in the SSA data in the early 1960s:

  • 1964: 12 baby girls named Tiki
  • 1963: 9 baby girls named Tiki
  • 1962: 5 baby girls named Tiki
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 15 baby girls named Tiki [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted

But that rather impressive 1960 debut — and subsequent drop-off a year later– suggests that a specific event kicked off the initial usage of Tiki.

I’ve got two theories on this one.

First is the Hawaiian Eye episode “Fatal Cruise,” which aired in February of 1960 and featured actress Linda Lawson as a character named Tiki.

Second is the show Adventures in Paradise, in which the main character, Capt. Adam Troy, travels around the South Pacific on a schooner called the Tiki.

(Adventures in Paradise, which kicked off the names Sondi and Tiare, was created by writer James Michener, who was behind the debuts of Sayonara and Kerith.)

The first theory makes the most sense, because Hawaiian Eye associated the name with a (very pretty) human. But I don’t think we can discount the second theory, because Adventures in Paradise consistently presented “Tiki” as a name…even if it was just the name of a boat.

So where does the word tiki come from? It was used in the Marquesas and in New Zealand to refer to any carving with human features. (The equivalent word in Hawaiian is ki’i and in Tahitian is ti’i.) Originally, though, Tiki was a specific mythological figure: “the Polynesian Adam, the creator of man…sort of half-man and half-god.”

What are your thoughts on Tiki as a baby name?

Sources: Fatal Cruise, Hawaiian Eye – IMDb, Adventures in Paradise – Fifties Web, Tiki Hangover: Unearthing the False Idols of America’s South Seas Fantasy

Popular Baby Names in the Philippines, 2018

philippines, mayon, volcano

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the most popular baby names in the country in 2018 were Althea and Nathaniel.

Here are the Philippines’ top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2018:

Girl Names

  1. Althea, 2,395 baby girls
  2. Samantha, 2,165
  3. Angel, 2,086
  4. Angela, 1,810
  5. Princess, 1,641
  6. Sophia, 1,537
  7. Sofia, 1,432
  8. Andrea, 1,293
  9. Nathalie, 1,285
  10. Alexa, 1,241

Boy Names

  1. Nathaniel, 2,455 baby boys
  2. James, 2,242
  3. Jacob, 2,028
  4. Gabriel, 2,004
  5. Joshua, 1,980
  6. Angelo, 1,872
  7. Nathan, 1,796
  8. John Mark, 1,611
  9. Christian, 1,537
  10. Daniel, 1,498

New to the girls’ top 10 are Nathalie and Alexa. (Nathalie may have gotten a boost from the character Natalie on the Philippine TV series Wildflower.)

The boys’ top 10 includes the same ten names, but in a different order.

One fast-rising girl name outside the top 10 is Catriona, thanks to Filipino-Australian beauty queen Catriona Gray, who was crowned Miss Universe 2018.

Source: Baby Names 2018 (PDF) – Philippine Statistics Authority

Garfield vs. Winfield, 1880

The presidential election of 1880 involved two men with “-field” names: Republican candidate James A. Garfield, and Democratic candidate Winfield Scott Hancock.

The nominees were chosen in June of 1880, the votes were cast in November, and Garfield was declared the winner — but it was a close race. (“Among presidents who won the popular vote, Garfield’s margin of victory remains the narrowest in history.”)

And the closeness of the race was mirrored in the resultant increases in usage of the baby names “Garfield” and “Winfield” in 1880. (Unfortunately, it’s hard to gauge how much higher this usage was than usual because the SSA data only goes back to 1880.)

Garfield

According to the SSA data, the name Garfield was the 111th most popular baby name in the U.S in 1880. It rose even higher the next year — no doubt because James A. Garfield was the winner of the election, though perhaps also because he was assassinated in September — a mere 6 months after being sworn in. After that, the name saw a steep drop in usage.

Here’s the data, both from the SSA and from the Social Security Death Index:

Garfield in SSA (rank)Garfield in SSDI
188349 baby boys (222nd)48 people
188269 baby boys (190th)91 people
1881147 baby boys (88th)153 people
1880122 baby boys (111th)141 people
1879?24 people
1878?4 people

The surname Garfield originally referred to a triangle-shaped field. The Old English word gara, meaning “triangular piece of land,” is related to gar, “spear” (as spearheads were triangular).

Winfield

The SSA data shows that the name Winfield was the 122nd most popular baby name in the U.S. in 1880. Unlike Garfield, though, it began slipping in 1881 — right after Winfield Scott Hancock lost the election.

Here’s the data, both from the SSA and from the Social Security Death Index:

Winfield in SSA (rank)Winfield in SSDI
188346 baby boys (236th)58 people
188239 baby boys (276th)57 people
188165 baby boys (183rd)65 people
1880108 baby boys (122nd)106 people
1879?32 people
1878?16 people

Winfield Scott Hancock* was a lifelong military commander, so it’s fitting that he was named in honor of an earlier military commander: Winfield Scott. (Scott’s first name was his maternal grandmother’s maiden name.)

The surname Winfield could refer to any of various locations in England. Depending upon the specific location, the Old English first element of the name could be wynn, meaning “meadow, pasture”; wince, short for hleapwince, “lapwing“; weoh, “(pre-Christian) temple”; or Wiga, a personal name derived from wig, “war.”

So now let’s try a poll. Which name do you prefer, Garfield or Winfield? Tell me why in the comments!

Cast your vote: Garfield, or Winfield?

View Results

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Sources:

*Hancock also had an identical twin brother, Hilary Baker Hancock, who seems to have been named for former Philadelphia mayor Hilary Baker.

Popular and Unique Baby Names in Alberta, 2019

baby names in Alberta, 2019

According to the government of Alberta, the most popular baby names in the Canadian province in 2019 were Olivia and Noah.

Here are Alberta’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 229 baby girls
  2. Charlotte, 188
  3. Sophia, 181
  4. Emma, 178
  5. Ava, 161
  6. Amelia, 159
  7. Emily, 150
  8. Abigail, 141
  9. Hannah, 137
  10. Elizabeth, 124

Boy Names

  1. Noah, 275 baby boys
  2. Liam, 234
  3. Oliver, 225
  4. Ethan, 213
  5. Jack, 198
  6. William, 185
  7. Lucas, 174
  8. Owen, 167
  9. Benjamin, 163
  10. Jacob, 162

In the girls’ top 10, Hannah returns and ousts Harper.

In the boys’ top 10, Owen replaces Logan, Alexander, and James. (It’s uneven because there were two ties in the 2018 top 10.)

Rare baby names that were bestowed just once in Alberta last year include…

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Anesidora, Aviendha, Brungus, Castrence, Calluna, Doxa, Eilish, Fitia-Jane, Giannajoe, Historia, Isleigh, Jennathul, Kriscilla, Kipper, Lilith-Luna, Loonskin, Maxeld, Neepin, Ovalah, Phoemella, Ruftael, Starbrit, Tenacious, Timely, Uzuvira, Verily, Waskway, Xanthal, Yuvleen, ZsanelleAbundance, Apollo-July, BlueJay, Couloir, Cousteau, Despot, Ellejon, Felix-Ivan, Gravity, Handsome-Jack, Humbly, Iguttaq, Iskotew, Jenzieland, Kitterick, Luxton, Maxjay, Nomatic, Ozmo, Pétain, Ranxel, Revic, Sprocket, Thundersky, Uael, Varis, Whirlwind, Xiron, Ylan-Maël, Zagger

Explanations and/or potential influences for a few of the above:

  • Aviendha was a character from Wheel of Time book series (1990-2013) by author Robert Jordan.
  • Waskway is the Cree word for “birch” or “birch tree.”
  • Couloir is the word for “a steep gully in alpine terrain” (from the French word for “corridor” or “hallway”).
  • Iguttaq is the Inuktitut word for “bumblebee.”
  • Iskotew is the Cree word for “fire.”
  • Nomatic is a company that creates minimalist travel products.
  • Revic (“revolutionary” + “optics”) is a company that makes rifle scopes.

(More of Alberta’s unique baby names can be found on my Patreon page!)

In 2018, the top two names in Alberta were Olivia and Liam.

Sources: Alberta’s Top Baby Names, Alberta reveals top baby names of 2019, Online Cree Dictionary, Couloir – Avalanche.org