How popular is the baby name Jens 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 Jens.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Jens


Posts that Mention the Name Jens

Popular Baby Names in Greenland

According to Statistics Greenland, the most popular baby names in the country in 2018 were Inuk & Norsaq (boy names) and Ivaana & Malu (girl names).

The year before, in 2017, the top baby names were Inuk and Pipaluk.

Greenland doesn’t release top-10 lists every year, but does occasionally put out a name report. The most recent, published in mid-2011, includes top-10 lists for five recent decades…

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1960s

Girl Names (1961-1970) Boy Names (1961-1970)
1. Ane
2. Marie
3. Karen
4. Sofie
5. Johanne
6. Kristine
7. Margrethe
8. Dorthe
9. Else
10. Anna
1. Hans
2. Jens
3. Karl
4. Lars
5. Peter
6. Niels
7. Ole
8. Kristian
9. Jørgen
10. Johan

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1970s

Girl Names (1971-1980) Boy Names (1971-1980)
1. Ane
2. Karen
3. Marie
4. Dorthe
5. Johanne
6. Mette
7. Naja*
8. Susanne
9. Anna
10. Sofie
1. Hans
2. Karl
3. Jens
4. Peter
5. Lars
6. Niels
7. Thomas
8. Jakob
9. Martin
10. Knud

*Naja means “younger sister (of a male)” in Greenlandic.

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1980s

Girl Names (1981-1990) Boy Names (1981-1990)
1. Ane
2. Johanne
3. Marie
4. Karen
5. Paninnguaq*
6. Sofie
7. Louise
8. Anna
9. Nivi*
10. Naja
1. Hans
2. Karl
3. Jens
4. Malik*
5. Peter
6. Lars
7. Kristian
8. Ole
9. Thomas
10. Niels

*Paninnguaq means “little daughter,” Nivi means “girl, maiden,” and Malik means “wave.”

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1990s

Girl Names (1991-2000) Boy Names (1991-2000)
1. Paninnguaq
2. Ane
3. Nivi
4. Naja
5. Ivalu*
6. Pipaluk*
7. Sofie
8. Sara
9. Marie
10. Camilla
1. Malik
2. Hans
3. Karl
4. Jens
5. Peter
6. Kristian
7. Lars
8. Aputsiaq*
9. Inunnguaq*
10. Nuka*

*Ivalu means “sinew,” Pipaluk means “little possession,” Aputsiaq means “snow flake,” Inunnguaq means “little person/human being,” and Nuka means “younger brother (of a male).”

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 2000s (first decade)

Girl Names (2001-2010) Boy Names (2001-2010)
1. Ivaana*
2. Pipaluk
3. Nivi
4. Paninnguaq
5. Ivalu
6. Naasunnguaq*
7. Julie
8. Ane
9. Isabella
10. Kimmernaq*
1. Malik
2. Aputsiaq
3. Minik*
4. Hans
5. Inunnguaq
6. Kristian
7. Nuka
8. Salik*
9. Peter
10. Inuk* and Ivik* (tied)

*Ivaana means “brood egg,” Naasunnguaq means “little flower,” Kimmernaq means “lingonberry,” minik is a glue-like whale oil that is used as a sealing for skin boats, Salik means “the cleanser,” Inuk means “human being” — Inunnguaq from the ’90s list is a diminutive form of Inuk — and Ivik means “(blade of) grass.”

The recent rise of Salik can be traced back to the 1980s:

In the beginning of the ’80s the artist Keld Hansen published a series of children’s books about a boy named Salik, who lived in Greenland in the 1600s. In that same period, Peter Berliner, a psychologist, did a series of radio programs where the main character was named Salik. Statistics Greenland depicted a rise in the number of boys names immediately after that.

The 2011 report includes many other Greenlandic names as well, but I’ll put those into a separate post a few days from now. Until then, which of all the above names do you like best?

P.S. Almost forgot to define Malu and Norsaq from the first sentence! Malu is a short form of Marie-Louise, and a norsaq is a harpoon-throwing stick.

Sources: Statistics Greenland, Greenland in Figures 2018 (PDF), Greenland in Figures 2019 (PDF), Names in Greenland as of 1 July 2011 (PDF), Nordic Names, Search Names – Oqaasileriffik

Name Quotes for the Weekend #39

Quote from Uzo Aduba's mother on the name Uzoamaka

From “The Eyes Have It,” an interview with Orange Is the New Black actress Uzoamaka “Uzo” Aduba, who was asked whether she ever considered changing her name:

When I started as an actor? No, and I’ll tell you why. I had already gone through that. My family is from Nigeria, and my full name is Uzoamaka, which means “The road is good.” Quick lesson: My tribe is Igbo, and you name your kid something that tells your history and hopefully predicts your future. So anyway, in grade school, because my last name started with an A, I was the first in roll call, and nobody ever knew how to pronounce it. So I went home and asked my mother if I could be called Zoe. I remember she was cooking, and in her Nigerian accent she said, “Why?” I said, “Nobody can pronounce it.” Without missing a beat, she said, “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”

(There’s a Tchaikovsky in Brazil.)

From an article about a woman named Cinderella in the Irish Independent:

“I’d been living as Eva my whole life until I found out my name was Evangeline Cinderella. Of course this was the most amazing news as a seven year old girl and unfortunately I told everybody. I’ve paid for it ever since. People have always remembered,” she said.

From the essay “The name shame of Axl, Anakin, Arya…” by Gene Weingarten (via Name News):

To consult this list [the SSA’s Change in Popularity list] is to dip your toe into the fetid waters of cheesy celebrity worship. Consider this: One of the skyrocketing names is … “Anakin.” Yes, people are giving their baby boys a name invented specifically to sound non-human, for a character in another galaxy far, far away, one who grows up to become Darth Vader, an evil overlord who wants to enslave the universe. (There have been plenty of Darths, too.)

(Here’s more on Darth.)

From the video “Instrument: Celeste” featuring keyboardist Elizabeth Burley of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London:

I’ve got a celeste here today to show you how that works. As you’ll see it looks a little bit like an upright piano, but it’s actually a lot different. Although it’s operated by a keyboard, inside, instead of strings, it’s a set of…metal chime bars. They’re suspended over wooden resonating boxes, and when I press a key, a hammer hits the chime bar to make the sound, like on a piano the hammer would hit the string. The name celeste…it’s a French name meaning “heavenly,” and it does make a very heavenly sound, as you’ll hear.

From a blog post about electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire at Open Culture:

With her buttoned-up style, work with the UN, and name like a plucky character in a certain English wizard series, Delia Derbyshire may not seem a likely pioneer of experimental electronic music.

From the blog post “What’s in a Name?” by theology professor/social activist Rev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre:

Today, no one calls me Brother Mike. Nonetheless, if the first act of liberation is self naming, why do I still insist on spelling my surname the way those who had power over me taught me? I have no doubt the reader is probably wondering what’s the big deal? Just spell my name correctly. What they fail to recognize is the power of the colonizing process, and the difficulty to reclaim identity. So as I tag my name to my liberationist works I am reminded with each upper case letter how far I still need to go to claim my own liberation. The struggle, la lucha, continues, even in the letters of my name.

From the article “What Your Conference Room Names Say About Your Company Culture” by Ekaterina Walter:

At Sprinklr, our conference rooms are named after the company’s values. Honesty, Passion, Perseverance, Humility, Character, Courage, and Integrity are just some of the names you will encounter. My personal favorites are Awesomeness and 1+1=3. When I asked our founder, Ragy Thomas, why the leadership team chose to name conference rooms in this way, he said: “It would be kind of hard to be arrogant in a room named Humility, wouldn’t it? Or give up in a room named Perseverance, don’t you think?”

From the New York Times article “Jens and Vita, but Molli? Danes Favor Common Names” (2004) about Denmark’s Law on Personal Names, which was “initially designed to bring order to surnames”:

Then in the 1960’s, a furor erupted over the first name Tessa, which resembled tisse, which means to urinate in Danish. Distressed over the lack of direction in the law, the Danish government expanded the statute to grapple with first names. Now the law is as long as an average-size book.

Among the baby names rejected in Denmark: Anus, Pluto, and Monkey. Among those accepted: Leica, Benji, Jiminico, and Fee.

Want more quotes? Here’s the name quotes category.

Name Prediction from 1964

This comes from a newspaper article published in the mid-1960s:

The American melting pot has made something of a stew of old world cultures. Isaac and Rebecca Goldberg are the parents not of Moses and Rachael, but of Donald and Marie. Hjalmar and Sigrid Johanson are the parents of Richard and Dorothy. It seems rather a shame that Axel and Jens, Helma and Ingeborg, not to mention Stanislaus and Giacomo and Pedro and Vladimir have just about disappeared. The custom seems to be for the first generation to anglicize the given name as soon as possible. The next generation or two branches out and we get Pat Johnson, even Angus Puccini. Then, after a few generations, there is a tentative reach backward for the Shawns or even the Seans. Katy’s real name may again be Caitlin, Pat’s Padriac.

The last two sentences are rather prescient. We see many parents nowadays taking that “tentative reach backward” to find a name that pays tribute to their cultural heritage. The key, of course, is finding a name that conforms to modern tastes. Names like Hjalmar and Zbigniew may be legit family names, but they’re probably a no-go. Family names like Giuliana and Liam, on the other hand, fit right in.

Source: “Quite a Problem, Naming the Baby.” Eugene Register-Guard 9 Feb. 1964: 10A.

The Top Baby Name Debuts, 1881 to Today

baby names, debut names, name list

Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.

Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.

Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing pop culture explanations. So this is more than a list of names — it’s also a list of stories.

Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)

  • 1881: Adell & Celeste, 14; Brown & Newell, 14
  • 1882: Verda, 14; Cleve, 13
  • 1883: Laurel, 12; Brady, Festus, Jewell, Odell & Rosco, 8
  • 1884: Crystal & Rubie, 11; Benjamen, Jens, Oakley & Whitney, 9
  • 1885: Clotilde, 13; Arley & Terence, 9
  • 1886: Manuelita, 10; Terrence, 10
  • 1887: Verlie, 13; Myles, 11
  • 1888: Ebba, 18; Carlisle, Hughie & Orvel, 9
  • 1889: Garnett, 12; Doyle, 9
  • 1890: Verena, 11; Eduardo & Maggie, 10
  • 1891: Gayle, Idabelle & Zenia, 9; Sheridan, 14
  • 1892: Astrid, Dallas & Jennett, 9; Corbett, 23
  • 1893: Elmyra, 12; Estel, Mayo, Shelley & Thorwald, 8
  • 1894: Beatriz, Carola & Marrie, 9; Arvel, Erby & Floy, 8
  • 1895: Trilby, 12; Roosevelt, 12
  • 1896: Lotus, 11; Hazen, 11
  • 1897: Dewey, 13; Bryon, Frankie, Mario & Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Manilla, 35; Hobson, 38
  • 1899: Ardis & Irva, 19; Haven, 9
  • 1900: Luciel, 14; Rosevelt, 20
  • 1901: Venita, 11; Eino, 9
  • 1902: Mercie, 10; Clarnce, 9
  • 1903: Estela, 11; Lenon & Porfirio, 7
  • 1904: Magdaline, 9; Adrain, Arbie, Betty, Desmond, Domenic, Duard, Raul & Severo, 8
  • 1905: Oliver, 9; Eliot & Tyree, 9
  • 1906: Nedra, 11; Domenico & Ryan, 10
  • 1907: Theta, 20; Taft, 16
  • 1908: Pasqualina, 10; Robley, 12
  • 1909: Wilmoth, 9; Randal & Vidal, 9
  • 1910: Ellouise, 12; Halley, 12
  • 1911: Thurley, 12; Colie, 16
  • 1912: Elynor, Glennis, Mariann, 12; Woodroe, 25
  • 1913: Wilba, 18; Vilas, 24
  • 1914: Floriene, 14; Torao, 17
  • 1915: Wanza, 33; Audra, 18
  • 1916: Tatsuko, 14; Verdun, 14
  • 1917: Nerine, 43; Delwyn, 14
  • 1918: Marne, 24; Foch, 58
  • 1919: Tokie, 12; Juaquin, 11
  • 1920: Dardanella, 23; Steele, 11
  • 1921: Marilynne, 13; Norberto, 14
  • 1922: Evelean, 14; Daren, 35
  • 1923: Nalda, 15; Clinard & Dorland, 9
  • 1924: Charis, 14; Melquiades, 13
  • 1925: Irmalee, 37; Wayburn, 11
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Bibb, 14
  • 1927: Sunya, 14; Bidwell, 14
  • 1928: Joreen, 22; Alfread & Brevard, 9
  • 1929: Jeannene, 25; Donnald, Edsol, Rhys & Wolfgang, 8
  • 1930: Laquita, 68; Shogo, 11
  • 1931: Joanie, 12; Rockne, 17
  • 1932: Carolann, Delano & Jenine, 11; Alvyn, Avelardo, Elena, Mannon & Wenford, 7
  • 1933: Gayleen, 23; Skippy, 10
  • 1934: Carollee & Janean, 12; Franchot, 9
  • 1935: Treasure, 16; Haile, 11
  • 1936: Shelva, 89; Renny & Shelva, 9

This is where the numbers start becoming more accurate. Why? Because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.” (SSA)

Now back to the list:

I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!

*If you ignore the Great Baby Name Glitch of 1989, the top debut names of 1989 are actually Audreanna and Khiry.

Names Needed for Baby Boy

A reader named Leigh will be having a baby boy within the next few weeks. She writes:

I am a teacher and have heard so many names that I don’t want to name our child. My husband and I really like the name Miles, however, there are many new baby boys in my friend circle, named Miles. I really like Emmett, but my husband is afraid he’ll be mocked because people might only know of his name from the Twilight series. We’re interested in two or three syllable strong, unique (not necessarily unusual) names. A current front runner is Anders, possibly Anders Gray Hollyard*. We also like the name Lars. I guess I’m finding we like names that end in s!

First name and possible middle name suggestions to go with Anders would be greatly appreciated.

*Their surname isn’t Hollyard, but a like-sounding two-syllable h-name.

A few thoughts on the current favorites:

  • Miles: The popularity of this one has been on the rise for years, so it makes sense that you’re hearing it more often. I’m sure this has already come up, but just in case: Have you considered Milo or Niles as alternatives? They both sound a lot like Miles, but they’re not nearly as popular (i.e. only 29 babies were named Niles in 2010).
  • Emmett: Personally, I associate this name with Emmitt Smith, not the fictional vampire. And I’m not even a sports fan. This Twilight craze will blow over one day (thankfully!) and, when it does, these vampire/werewolf associations will fade. Possible exception: Renesmee.
  • Anders: I really like this one. I especially like that it shortens to the nickname Andy, allowing anyone with this name to flip back and forth between formal/unusual and informal/familiar, depending on the occasion. Versatility is always a good thing.
  • Lars: I have a strong association with this one as well, though I’m not sure how many others have it — Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. So this one may prompt people to ask about the possible Metallica connection. Much cooler than a Twilight question, anyway.

Here are some other names, many with s-endings:

Adam
Boris
Clark
Curtis
Elliot
Ellis
Eric
Felix
Grant
James
Jasper
Jens
Joel
Levi
Linus
Lucas
Marcus
Marius
Matthias
Max
Neil
Nils
Oliver
Oscar
Peter
Reed
Thomas
Victor

As far as middle names for Anders go, I think Gray is great. I think a one-syllable name with a hard sound (that g) sounds good in that spot. Other names that fit this description are Brett, Craig, Drake, Frank, Grant, Jack, Kent, Mark and Paul.

Which of the above names do you like best? What other names would you suggest to Leigh?

Update: The baby has arrived! Scroll down for the name (or just click here).