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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Jay

Number of Babies Named Jay

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Jay

Name Quotes #43 – Agnieszka, Shaniqua, Fire

"I love the Q. It's the most distinctive thing about me." Quote from stem cell scientist George Q. Daley.

From “I Love the Q,” a Harvard Medical School interview with stem-cell scientist George Q. Daley:

HMS: So you have five brothers and sisters?

DALEY: Yes. I was born fifth, and my middle name, Quentin, means “fifth-born.”

HMS: I was going to ask why you use the Q.

DALEY: I love the Q. It’s the most distinctive thing about me. Everybody asks, “What’s the Q stand for?”

From “Michael Caine’s Name Is Now Officially Michael Caine” by Jackson McHenry at Vulture:

Maurice Micklewhite is dead; long live Michael Caine. The legendary British actor has officially adopted the name you know and impersonate him by after getting fed up with increased airport security checks. “I changed my name when all the stuff started with ISIS and all that,” Caine told The Sun, going on to describe his experiences with security guards thusly: “He would say, ‘Hi Michael Caine,’ and suddenly I’d be giving him a passport with a different name on it. I could stand there for an hour. So I changed my name.”

From “Frond this way: Lady Gaga’s ferns” by Ben Guarino of Scienceline:

In a 2006 letter to Nature, Australian geneticist Ken Maclean highlights the pitfalls of fanciful names: “The quirky sense of humour that researchers display in choosing a gene name often loses much in translation when people facing serious illness or disability are told that they or their child have a mutation in a gene such as Sonic hedgehog, Slug or Pokemon.”

From “Translating Names” by Dariusz Galasiński

Translating names mostly goes one way. Somehow ‘we’ must translate our names into English, and ‘you’ don’t have to translate yours into Polish, Estonian, Romanian or Slovak. And that makes the translation much more political than linguistic. And if it is political, I go against!


And here is the main point of this post – it’s not linguistic, I’m afraid. Names are political. And I think it’s important to keep them. Michał, Agnieszka, Małgorzata, Paweł, Justyna…these are your names, don’t change them to Michael, Agnes, Margaret, Paul or Justine. If they care, they will learn, if they don’t — it’s their loss.

(Found via “What’s in a name? Introducing yourself in academia” by Marta Natalia Wróblewska, via Clare’s Name News.)

From “The Jody Grind” by Jody Rosen in Slate:

Could it be that we are best served by imperfect, not perfect, names? When a baby is saddled with a name, he is taught a first lesson about pitiless fate and life’s limitations–that there are aspects of the self that can never be self-determined, circumstances that must be stoically endured, and, hopefully, someday, made peace with. There are a goodly number of us who wear our names not like a precious spell but like a humbler workaday garment. Whatever you’re called–Jody or Sue or Moon Unit or Jermajesty or maybe even Anus–you can, if you’re lucky, reach that state of grace where you hardly notice your name is there at all. You wake up in the morning and slide right into it, like a well–broken-in pair of pantaloons.

From “What’s in a Name? Exhibit explores identity, prejudice” (about a pop-up art exhibition by Donna Woodley) in The Tennessean:

“The idea for this project came as I was typing names one day. I realized that the Microsoft Word program would indicate that some names were spelled incorrectly — a red wavy line would appear under them — but not others. I’d type a name like Elizabeth or Judy and there’d be no red line, which implied it was spelled correctly. Then I’d type a name like Shaniqua, LaQuisha, or other black women’s names I knew, and they would get a red line under them, like it was spelled wrong.”


“It made me wonder, does Microsoft have a diversity department?” said Woodley.

(Found via the ANS post Names exhibit in Nashville, TN explores identity and prejudice.)

From “Church won’t let me call my son ‘Jesus’” by Cate Mukei at Standard Digital Entertainment (Kenya):

The rights activist [Nderitu Njoka] said he just wanted to prove his deeply rooted Christian faith by naming his son ‘Jesus’.

‘After all, the name is common in Portugal, Spain, and Mexico which are God fearing. My call is to Christians to start naming their sons Jesus since by doing this they will be preaching gospel of Jesus Christ to the world without hypocrisy,” the letter says.

From Politics, Religion and…Baby Names by Tim Bradley:

Our oldest son Jay (who was almost two at the time) insisted on calling our baby-to-be “Baby Fire” while my wife was pregnant. It caught on and throughout my wife’s pregnancy, our families would ask, “How’s Baby Fire doing?” Although it seemed like a fitting name, we just dismissed it thinking “Fire” was too “out there” for anyone to be on board. But on the way to the hospital during the wee hours of the morning on July 4th, my wife and I decided that “Fire” as a middle name seemed appropriate. It will forever link our sons since it was Jay’s idea, and it captures the memories and emotions we felt throughout the pregnancy. There’s the July 4th fireworks tie-in as well. And let’s face it “Fire” as a middle name is only one step away from “Danger” as the coolest name ever.

From H. L. Mencken’s The American Language (1921):

The religious obsession of the New England colonists is also kept in mind by the persistence of Biblical names: Ezra, Hiram, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Elijah, Elihu, and so on. These names excite the derision of the English; an American comic character, in an English play or novel, always bears one of them.

For more quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Round-up of Multiples from 1944

The Badgett Quadruplets in 1944
Jeraldine, Joan, Jean, and Janet Badgett © LIFE

Oodles of multiples — eight sets of twins, one set of triplets, six sets of quadruplets, and one set of quintuplets — were featured in an early 1944 issue of LIFE magazine. Most of these multiples had been born in the 1920s and 1930s.

Curious about the names? I knew you would be! Here they are, along with ages and other details.


  • Marjorie and Mary Vaughan, 19.
  • Lois and Lucille Barnes, 21.
  • Betty and Lenore Wade, early 20s.
  • Robert “Bobby” and William “Billy” Mauch, 22.
    • They had starred in the 1937 movie The Prince and the Pauper.
  • Blaine and Wayne Rideout, 27.
    • They had been track stars at the University of North Texas in the late 1930s along with another set of twins, Elmer and Delmer Brown.
  • Charles and Horace Hildreth, 41.
    • Horace was elected Governor of Maine later the same year.
  • Ivan and Malvin Albright, 47.
  • Auguste and Jean Piccard, 60.
    • “Honors as the world’s most distinguished pair of twins must go to Jean and Auguste Piccard, stratosphere balloonists, who are so identical that not everyone realizes there are two of them.”


  • Diane Carol, Elizabeth Ann, and Karen Lynn Quist, 11 months.


  • Claire (boy), Cleo (boy), Clayton (boy), and Connie (girl) Brown, 3.
  • Janet, Jean, Jeraldine, and Joan Badgett, 5.
    • “The customary alliteration in multiple names accounts for the “J” in Jeraldine.”
  • Felix (boy), Ferdinand (boy), Frances (girl), and Frank (boy) Kasper, 7.
  • James (boy), Jay (boy), Jean (girl), and Joan (girl) Schense, 13.
  • Edna, Wilma, Sarah, and Helen Morlok — the Morlok Quads — 13.
  • Anthony, Bernard, Carl, and Donald Perricone, 14.
    • “Their Beaumont neighbors call them “A,” “B,” “C” and “D” for short.”


  • Annette, Cecile, Emilie, Marie, and Yvonne Dionne — the Dionne Quints — 9.

Which of these sets of names do you like best? Why?

Source: “Twins: Accident of Their Birth Sets Them Apart from Other People.” LIFE 6 Mar. 1944: 91-99.

Popular Baby Names in Quebec, 2015

According to data from Retraite Québec, the most popular baby names in Quebec in 2015 were Emma and Thomas/William (tied).

Here are the province’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emma, 615 baby girls
2. Léa, 535
3. Olivia, 475
4. Alice, 471
5. Florence, 460
6. Zoe, 429
7. Chloe, 398
8. Beatrice, 390
9. Charlotte, 381
10. Rosalie, 350
1. Thomas, 754 baby boys
2. William, 754 baby boys
3. Jacob, 663
4. Liam, 661
5. Félix, 638
6. Nathan, 630
7. Samuel, 583
8. Logan, 576
9. Alexis, 554
10. Noah, 537

In 2015, Emma replaced Lea as the top girl name, William joined Thomas as the top boy name, Beatrice replaced Charlie in the girls’ top 10, and Noah replaced Olivier in the boy’s top 10. (Here are the 2014 rankings.)

Of all 9,096 girl names on Quebec’s list in 2015, 74.5% of them were used a single time. Here are some of the unique girl names:

  • Allegresse – the French word allégresse means “joy, elation.”
  • Angelhephzibah
  • Brightness
  • Cathalaya-Skuessi
  • Clerilda
  • Confiance – the French word confiance means “confidence, trust.”
  • Doxalyah
  • Etky
  • Eubenice
  • Evlly
  • Exaucee – the French verb exaucer means “to grant a wish.”
  • Flory Comfort
  • Garance – the French word garance refers to a shade of red created from the root of the madder plant.
  • Glad Marie
  • Glody
  • Graytchelle Mayssa – a Gretchen + Rachel smoosh?
  • Greasy-Elizabeth
  • Happy Moussoni
  • Janiphee
  • Kalliah
  • Kzy
  • Luneve – reminds me of Leneve.
  • M Mah Bourgeois
  • Mingolou Oracle-Kidj
  • Nebraska
  • Nina-Symone
  • Nomad
  • Paphaelle – typo?
  • Poema
  • Praise Peter
  • Protegee
  • Relilah – typo?
  • Shamash-Cleodaine
  • Skodrina
  • Symphony Melody
  • Uqittuk
  • Uri Wonder
  • Winola – this one reminds me of early 20th-century America.
  • Zoalie
  • Zhya

Of all 7,920 boy names on Quebec’s list in 2015, 76.5% of them were bestowed just once. Here are some of the unique boy names:

  • Anakyn
  • Appamatta – the Pali word appamatta means “diligent, careful.”
  • Aunix
  • Axeliam
  • Bleart
  • Bradley Prague
  • Brady Bullet – this one reminds me of modern America (e.g. Shooter, Trigger).
  • Cedrick Wolynsky
  • Chrysolithe – a type of gem (a.k.a. peridot).
  • Cirrus
  • Dejgaard
  • Diamond-Heliodor – two more gems.
  • Drake Luke
  • Dublin
  • Dugaillekens
  • Elliottt – the only triple T’s in the U.S. data so far are Mattthew and Britttany. Probably typos, but you never know.
  • Eviee
  • Exauce – the masculine form of Exaucee.
  • Ezzeldeen
  • Garnet – another gem.
  • Glovacky
  • Gningnery Yoshua
  • Hervenslaire
  • Icky Neymar
  • Iola Stevie
  • Jimmy Johnny
  • Jyceton
  • Jyfr
  • Kbees
  • Keylord
  • Ludo-Vyck
  • Mathis-Adorable
  • Messy
  • Michael Antares – reminds me of an earlier Antares.
  • Napesis – the Cree word napesis means “boy” or “little boy.”
  • Nyquist
  • Perlcy
  • Rowdy Chance
  • Skogen
  • Sosereyvatanack
  • Tysaiah Jay
  • Whidjley Densly
  • Woobs Therly
  • Zogan

For more sets of rankings, check out the name rankings category.

Source: Retraite Québec – List of Baby Names

Popular Baby Names in England and Wales, 2013

The top baby names in England and Wales were announced last week.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, the most popular baby names last year were Amelia and Oliver.

Here are England and Wales’ top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Amelia, 5570 baby girls
2. Olivia, 4598
3. Emily, 4049
4. Ava, 3575
5. Isla, 3526
6. Jessica, 3507
7. Poppy, 3422
8. Isabella, 3246
9. Sophie, 3013
10. Mia, 2993
11. Ruby, 2948
12. Lily, 2883
13. Grace, 2799
14. Evie, 2767
15. Sophia, 2764
16. Ella, 2722
17. Scarlett, 2643
18. Chloe, 2401
19. Isabelle, 2287
20. Freya, 2266
1. Oliver, 6,949 baby boys
2. Jack, 6,212
3. Harry, 5,888
4. Jacob, 5,126
5. Charlie 5,039
6. Thomas, 4,591
7. Oscar, 4,511
8. William, 4,268
9. James, 4,236
10. George, 4,202
11. Alfie, 4,138
12. Joshua, 3,973
13. Noah, 3,830
14. Ethan, 3,572
15. Muhammad, 3,499
16. Archie, 3,265
17. Leo, 3,264
18. Henry, 3,248
19. Joseph, 3,225
20. Samuel, 3,188

There were some big moves on the boys’s side: Oscar rose from 17th to 7th, while Riley plummeted from 8th to 21st. (Here are the biggest moves overall for boy names and girl names.)

New to the top 20 are Scarlett, Archie, Henry and Joseph. They replace Charlotte, Riley, Daniel and Max.

One thing I found interesting? Freya wasn’t on the England top 20. It also wasn’t on the Wales top 20. And yet still it managed to rank 20th on the combined top 20. Very sneaky, Freya.

Here are some of last year’s rare baby names, each given to between 3 and 10 babies (inclusive):

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Akvile, Alaska, Alphonsa, Andromeda, Arena, Arizona, Atlantis, Belinay, Bellatrix, Blousey, Boadicea, Boglarka, Bonnie-Blue, Boo, Boux, Charm, Cressida, Crystal-Rose, Daenerys, Delphie, Disney, Duru, Edwina, Ellery, Eloghosa, Enfys, Enlli*, Eos, Ernestine, Esila, Evan, Frayer, Freshta, Fausta, Garance, Gelila, Gemini, Gerda, Glorious, Halo, Honour, Io, Iole, Ionie, Iseult, Isla-Belle, Izna, Lava, Lleucu, Llinos, Llio, Loveday, Loxy, Mafalda, Man, Maple, Miami, Migle, Milda, Misk, Mirabella, Mirren, Myfi, Myrtle, Nandi, Nephele, Nma, Ottoline, Pebbles, Popi, Purity, Quorra, Quratulain, Rory, Ruby-Tuesday, Salsabeel, Sehrish, Sequoia, Sibel, Sobia, Solveig, Sundus, Tiggi, Tiggy, Tirion, Tulsi, Vespa, Vogue, Yiyi Alaric, Bramwell, Cavalli, Ceirion, Denley, Diesel, Diggory, Drin, Eesaa, Eyoel, Fiachra, Finlo, Fyfe, Ghyll, Greatness, Gruff, Hanzala, Haoyu, Heathcliff, Henley-John, Ho, Hocine, Innis, Iori, J, Jai-Jai, Jay-J, Jaygo, Johnboy, Jonjoe, Kebba, Kelly, Khizr, King-David, Klevis, Lebron, Liutaruas, Llyr, Lochie, Messi, Mortimer, Nebi, Nimrod, Noman, Olti, Omarion, Orpheus, Osgar, Oska, Perseus, Ptolemy, Qi, Rhythm, Rozh, Rhon, Sandor, Shady, Shaquille, Sheriff, Shko, Soul, Swayley, T, Tiger, Tirath, Tobenna, Toprak, Tuguldur, Tylah, Tyrion, Ugnius, Viggo, Wentworth, Winter, Wolf, Wolfgang, Wren, Yanky, Yug, Zeus, Zsombor

*Enlli, which debuted last year, comes from the name of the Welsh island Ynys Enlli (called Bardsey Island in English). The island name is usually translated as “island of the current,” with ynys meaning “island,” and enlli meaning “current.” You can hear the proper pronunciation of Ynys Enlli at Forvo.

Finally, all of my previous posts on the popular (and unique) baby names in England and Wales: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2013 – ONS

Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity, E/W, 2013

Here’s another “biggest changes” analysis, but this one is for the England and Wales boy names. (We looked at the girl names yesterday.)

The tables below include two versions of each list. On the left are the top raw-number differences, taking all names into account. On the right are the top ranking differences, taking only the top 1,000 names (roughly) into account.

Biggest Increases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Oscar, +1,222 babies
  2. Muhammad, +338
  3. Henry, +320
  4. Joey, +288
  5. Oliver, +280
  6. Teddy, +276
  7. Arthur, +249
  8. Archie, +203
  9. Edward, +185
  10. Theodore, +167
  1. Greyson, +1388 spots
  2. Harvey-Lee, +898
  3. Salahuddin, +759
  4. Bernard, +715
  5. Camden, +686
  6. Kayson, +583
  7. Raife, +531
  8. Buster and Abubakr [tie], +517
  9. Jeffrey and Brax [tie], +499
  10. Emre, +492

I think the rise of Oscar can be attributed, at least in part, to Oscar Pistorius. Can you think of explanations for any of the other names? (I’d especially like to know what gave Buster a boost.)

Biggest Decreases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Riley, -1,703 babies
  2. Harry, -1,280
  3. Tyler, -1,104
  4. Alfie, -705
  5. Ethan, -649
  6. Charlie, -532
  7. Joshua, -471
  8. Callum, -467
  9. Ryan, -441
  10. Dylan, -407
  1. Rylan, -577 spots
  2. Ray, -339
  3. Rylie, -277
  4. Jeevan, -276
  5. Darren, -255
  6. Codey, -252
  7. Chace, -242
  8. Dorian, -239
  9. Kaelan, -231
  10. Riley-Jay, -228

A lot of Ry- and Ri- names took hits last year. Is the sound falling out of the favor? What do you think?

Top Debut Name


Fewer than 3 baby boys got the name in 2012, but 12 baby boys were named Gurfateh in 2013. (But keep in mind that I only have the full England and Wales baby name lists going back to 2007.)

Here are the U.S. boy names that changed the most in popularity in 2013, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2013 – ONS

Michigan Family with 12 Children, All Boys

Last year I blogged about a family with 12 children, all girls. Today I’ve got the opposite: a family with 12 children, all boys.

On August 4, Jay and Kateri “Teri” Schwandt of Michigan welcomed their 12th son in a row.

Here are the names and current ages of all 12 Schwandt boys:

  • Tyler, 21 years old
  • Zach, 17
  • Drew, 16
  • Brandon, 14
  • Tommy, 11
  • Vinny, 10
  • Calvin, 8
  • Gabe, 6
  • Wesley, 5
  • Charlie, 3
  • Luke, 2
  • Tucker, 1 month

According to one source, the Schwandts are “devout Roman Catholics who leave the size of their family to God. Teri’s sister has 10 children, and they, too, are all boys.”

Teri’s birth name, Kateri, was no doubt inspired by Kateri Tekakwitha, who was formally made a Roman Catholic saint just last year. Kateri is derived from Catherine (French pronunciation).

Now it’s your turn! If you had a dozen sons, what would you name them?

Sources: All-boys club: West Michigan couple welcomes 12th son, Couple who had their 12th Son gave up on having a daughter ‘a long time ago’

Will “North West” Make Pun Names Trendy?

North West - Pun Baby Name

Last week, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian welcomed a baby girl. Most people (including me) thought the couple would opt for a K-name.


They settled on North.

And there’s no middle name, so the full name is North West.

Even though Kim had laughed at the suggestion of “North West” on Jay Leno just a few weeks ago.

The internet has been abuzz with reactions, mostly negative:

The name quickly spawned plenty of punchlines, with many Twitter users joking that “Key” and “Wild” must already have been taken.

Now, I have no problem with the name North.

But “North West” is ridiculous. It’s a pun name, like Soda Popp, Mason Dixon, Strong Beer, Pullman Carr, Mud Brown, Married Young and Cole Sellar.

Their baby is just days old and already she’s the butt of countless jokes. So sad.

I’d like to think that most people cringe when they hear a name like “North West.” But I’m sure other people out there genuinely like it. With this in mind, here’s my question:

  • Do you think “North West” will inspire more parents to bestow pun names this year?

I don’t have a way to measure pun name frequency, unfortunately, so we’ll have to rely on anecdotal evidence for this one. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for pun names in the coming months. If you spot any, please let me know.

Source: Others named North praise Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby name choice