How popular is the baby name Joe 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 Joe.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Joe


Posts that Mention the Name Joe

Name Quotes 87: Kamala, Simon, Genghis

From a recent CNN article about how to pronounce Sen. Kamala Harris’s name:

Harris wrote in the preface of her 2019 memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” “First, my name is pronounced ‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark. It means ‘lotus flower,’ which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface while its roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.

From a 1982 Washington Post article about actors Lucie Arnaz and Laurence Luckinbill:

Lucie Arnaz, whose illustrious pedigree is evident in her name, and actor Laurence Luckinbill were Simonized several years ago.

He was on Broadway doing Neil Simon’s “Chapter Two.” She was on Broadway doing Neil Simon’s “They’re Playing Our Song.” They met at Joe Allan’s, the famous Broadway restaurant, and started seeing each other entr’acte.

[…]

Twenty months ago, they had a son, whom they named…Simon.

From a 2015 Indian Express article in which Rebel Wilson talks about her name:

A little girl named Rebel sang at my parents’ wedding. My mum is really big on theme names like that – my sisters are called Liberty and Annachi, and my brother is Ryot. I did pretty well in comparison. I love it.

You can’t be a shrinking violet if you have a name like Rebel. It gives me an edge and helps me not give in to my fears. I try to live that way.

From a 1998 BBC article about All Saint singer Melanie Blatt:

Melanie and her boyfriend, musician Stuart Zender [of Jamiroquai], revealed in a magazine interview that they intend to name their daughter Lily Ella [sic]: Lily after the first flowers he bought her during their courtship and Ella after the music legend Ella Fitzgerald.

(Technically, her name is Lilyella.)

From a case study (pdf) of Amtrak’s automated customer service representative, “Julie,” launched in 2001:

Julie became popular with callers and even garnered national acclaim through blogs, YouTube videos, and as an answer on the TV quiz game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Her persona was even featured on Saturday Night Live. “I’ve been surprised about how attached people have gotten to Amtrak Julie,” says the woman who provides the voice of Julie, Julie Stinneford. “I find it funny. Because they’re not really talking to me. They’re talking to a computer.”

From a 2019 NPR interview with musical duo (and identical twins) Tegan and Sara, who originally called themselves “Sara and Tegan”:

We changed the name only because we had a manager [who] gave us one good piece of advice during that time. He said, “When people say ‘Sara and Tegan,’ it all blends together into one word and they don’t know what you’re saying. But if you say ‘Tegan and Sara,’ you have to enunciate. So I think you should switch your names around.” So we did.

From a recent Crunchyroll article about parents who named their son Asta after the anime character (Black Clover):

We came up with that name early on but had other names we considered like Natsu, Sora, Roxas, and Yuki.

From a 2007 Times Colonist [Victoria, British Columbia] article about unusual baby names:

The time was when naming a baby Conan or Calamity could doom a kid to years of schoolyard drubbings, but if Genghis Charm Usher’s experience is any indication, the times are changing.

Genghis, 13, can’t recall any friction caused by his unusual name, pointing out “that you don’t have to have a weird name to get teased.”

[…]

“I love my name. Once they get my name, they don’t forget it,” he says.

U.S. Girl Names 2019: Popular, Rising, Falling, Debuts

Name nerds rejoice! Finally, four months after Mother’s Day, the U.S. Social Security Administration has decided to release the latest batch (2019) of baby name data!

First off, here’s the link to the SSA’s popular names page and to the SSA’s downloadable data page.

I’m going to summarize the data in just two posts this year — one for girls, one for boys. Let’s start with the ladies…

Here are the most popular girl names overall:

  1. Olivia, 18,451 baby girls
  2. Emma, 17,102
  3. Ava, 14,440
  4. Sophia, 13,714
  5. Isabella, 13,306
  6. Charlotte, 13,138
  7. Amelia, 12,862
  8. Mia, 12,414
  9. Harper, 10,442
  10. Evelyn, 10,392

These same ten names were in the 2018 top ten as well.

The girl names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…

  1. Alaia, increased by 1,072 babies
  2. Everleigh, 1,054
  3. Luna, 838
  4. Emilia, 716
  5. Willow, 653
  6. Isla, 615
  7. Violet, 570
  8. Amelia, 508
  9. Hazel, 493
  10. Arya, 492

The girl names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies were…

  1. Yalitza, increased by 1490%
  2. Alita, 554%
  3. Dayleen, 527%
  4. Jenaiah, 450%
  5. Amiri, 417%
  6. Theo, 343%
  7. Mazikeen, 319%
  8. Kamoura, 317%
  9. Seylah, 317%
  10. Kairo, 283%

Yalitza was no doubt influenced by Roma (2018) actress Yalitza Aparicio, and Mazikeen comes from the character Mazikeen Smith in the TV series Lucifer.

Here are the girl names that debuted most impressively in the 2019 data:

  1. Adeya, debuted with 22 baby girls
  2. Kayslin, 20
  3. Malaynah, 18
  4. Chevel, 17
  5. Kulture, 17
  6. Kaavia, 15
  7. Sakani, 15
  8. Ahveya, 14
  9. Akyli, 14
  10. Jhazelle, 14

Some explanations…

  • Adeya, Kulture and Kaavia are all celebrity babies: Adeya is the daughter of Kehlani, Kulture is the daughter of Cardi B and Offset, and Kaavia is the daughter of Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade.
  • Kayslin and Chevel come from two contestants (Kayslin Victoria and Chevel Shepherd) on The Voice.
  • Malaynah is a young female rapper (who earned a coveted IG repost from the aforementioned Cardi B in 2018).
  • Sakani was likely inspired by Sekani, the name of a character (a little boy) in the 2018 film The Hate U Give.
  • Akyli must come from Akyli Maze, one of the children of Joe Lee and Alena Maze — YouTube influencers who create content under the name MAZELEE. (The baby name Mazelee debuted last year as well — not surprising at all, given how close it is to the popular Paisley.)

The girl names that saw the largest decreases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…

  1. Emma, decreased by 1,655 babies
  2. Isabella, -1,211
  3. Alexa, -1,069
  4. Mila, -845
  5. Madison, -794
  6. Avery, -775
  7. Victoria, -767
  8. Addison, -743
  9. Abigail, -742
  10. Elizabeth, -716

The girl name that saw the largest decrease in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies was Anifer (-86%), and the girl name that saw the steepest drop off the list was Marionna (from 21 babies in 2018 to fewer than 5 in 2019).

If you can explain any of the rises (or drops), please leave a comment!

Update, 9/6/2020: Here are the boy names!

The Arrival of L’Tanya

L'Tanya Griffin, 1950s, fashion designer, baby name
L’Tanya Griffin w/ daughter L’Tanya.

In the late ’40s, long before the name Tanya (a diminutive of Tatiana) reached peak trendiness in the ’70s, some specific Tanya-based names started debuting:

YearLatanya usageLatonia usageLtanya usage
1955
1954
1953
1952
1951
1950
1949
1948
1947
1946
67 baby girls
31 baby girls
24 baby girls
12 baby girls
9 baby girls
13 baby girls
7 baby girls
6 baby girls
7 baby girls [debut]
.
10 baby girls
9 baby girls
8 baby girls
6 baby girls
8 baby girls
.
.
6 baby girls
5 baby girls [debut]
.
32 baby girls
22 baby girls
11 baby girls
5 baby girls
.
5 baby girls
9 baby girls [debut]
.
.
.

Latanya and Latonia first appeared in ’47. Ltanya followed in ’49. Latonya popped up in 1951, and other variants appeared later, including the intriguing LaTanga.

What influenced the usage of these names?

My guess is Hollywood-based African-American fashion designer L’Tanya Griffin.

She started to become famous during the second half of the ’40s. Her name began appearing newspapers around 1946, and it was often spelled “LaTanya” and “La Tanya.” (Her birth name was Julia Bernice Hilbert, incidentally.)

In mid-1949, a specific event made L’Tanya Griffin front-page news: Her estranged husband Earl tried to assault her with a beer can full of lye at racetrack in Atlantic City. She was uninjured, but her friend Marshall Miles (former manager of boxer Joe Louis) and several other people suffered first degree burns. Worst off was Earl himself, as the lye had splashed back into his face. It got into his eyes and blinded him (not permanently, turns out).

L’Tanya was at the height of her fashion-fame during the 1950s. She was even on the cover of Jet in mid-1954. The magazine sometimes ran pictures of her young daughter L’Tanya as well.

I’m not sure what became of L’Tanya Griffin after her fame waned in the ’60s, but I did discover that one of the babies named “LaTanya” in 1949 was none other than Samuel L. Jackson’s wife LaTanya Richardson.

Do you like the name L’Tanya?

Sources:

  • “Acid Toss by Hubby Backfires.” New York Age 20 Aug. 1949: 1.
  • “Fashions by L’Tanya” Ebony Aug. 1947: 24.
  • Kirkham, Pat and Shauna Stallworth. “”Three Strikes Against Me”: African American Women Designers.” Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference, ed. by Pat Kirkham, The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, 2000, pp. 123-144.
  • LaTanya Martinique, Los Angeles, California, ca. 1945
  • “Lye Hurled at Pretty Designer.” Pittsburgh Courier 20 Aug. 1949: 1.

Image: © 1954 Jet

Names in the News: Luca, Indica, X AE A-Xii

Some recent baby names from the news…

Indica: A baby girl born in the U.S. (in Baltimore?) in February of 2020 was named Indica, after the strain of cannabis. Indica has an older sister named SaTiva, after another strain of cannabis. (Metro)

Luca: A baby boy born in Ohio in December of 2019 was named Luca in honor of Dr. Luca Vricella, the pediatric cardiac surgeon who’d operated on Luca’s late older brother, Jack. (IndeOnline)

Ranvijay: A baby boy born in India in March of 2020 was named Mohammad Ranvijay, middle name in honor of police officer Ranvijay Singh, who’d helped the baby’s father attend the birth during lockdown. (NDTV)

Smokey: A baby boy born in New South Wales, Australia, in November of 2019 — while the Gospers Mountain fire was burning — was named Smokey. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas: The baby boy born in England in April of 2020 to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, was named Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas — Wilfred after Boris’s grandfather, Lawrie after Carrie’s grandfather, and Nicholas after Dr. Nicholas Price and Prof. Nicholas Hart, “the two doctors that saved Boris’s life last month.” (The Guardian)

Wyatt: The baby boy born in April of 2020 to news anchor Anderson Cooper was named Wyatt after Anderson’s late father, Wyatt Cooper. (PinkNews)

X AE A-Xii: The baby boy born in California in May of 2020 to entrepreneur Elon Musk and musician Grimes was initially named X Æ A-12. (The “A-12” part refers to the Lockheed A-12 aircraft.) On the birth certificate, though, is an altered version of the name: X AE A-Xii. (BBC, People)

P.S. Speaking of both Smokey and the ligature Æ (pronounced “ash”)…the first baby koala born at the Australian Reptile Park in New South Wales following the New South Wales bushfires was named Ash. (CNN)

“Tattletales” Baby Names

scoey, baby name, 1970s, television
Scoey & Claire on Tattletales in Aug. 1974

So far we’ve looked at baby names associated with the game shows What’s My Line?, Card Sharks, and Press Your Luck, so today let’s check out names given a boost by Tattletales, which originally aired from 1974 to 1978.

Tattletales featured three celebrity couples competing against each another for a full week, which is notable. The couples were split up, and either the men or the women were asked a question — often a provocative one — while their partners were offstage. The partners were then brought in via TV camera and asked the same question. Each couple’s objective was to come up with as many matching answers as possible.

As one source put it: “Famous celebrities revealing their intimate secrets on national television made Tattletales a success.” And with all those people watching, it’s not surprising that the show had an influence on baby names…

Dareth
Dareth Rich and her husband, actor Anthony Newley, were on 10 episodes in 1975, starting in May. The name Dareth debuted in the baby data the same year.

Chevi
Chevi Colton and her husband, actor Joe Silver, were on 5 episodes in November of 1975. The name Chevi debuted in the data the same year.

Scoey
Actor Scoey (SKOH-ee) Mitchell and his wife Claire Thomas were on the show dozens of times, including 15 episodes in 1974, starting in June. Mitchell had been appearing elsewhere on TV since the late ’60s, but the name Scoey didn’t debut in the data until 1974. (One source noted that “Scoey” was short for “Roscoe.”)

Bernnadette
Actress BernNadette Stanis and her then-husband Tom Fauntleroy were on 5 episodes in November of 1975 (the week before Chevi, in fact). Stanis had been playing the role of Thelma on Good Times since early 1974, but the name Bernnadette didn’t debut in the data until 1976.

I also think there are connections between the appearances of Altovise Davis (wife of singer Sammy Davis Jr.), Nalani Kele (wife of comedian Shecky Greene), Reiko Douglas (wife of comedy writer Jack Douglas), and Tiana Alexandra (wife of screenwriter Stirling Silliphant) and the respective rises in usage of Altovise, Nalani, Reiko, and Tiana in the mid-’70s.

Speaking of rises…

The show was rebooted in the early ’80s, and it looks like one of those ’80s contestants triggered that steep rise in usage of the name Jere in 1982:

  • 1984: 18 baby girls named Jere
  • 1983: 33 baby girls named Jere
  • 1982: 66 baby girls named Jere [peak]
  • 1981: 6 baby girls named Jere
  • 1980: 8 baby girls named Jere

In February of 1982, actress Jerelyn “Jere” Fields appeared on Tattletales with actor/comedian Jimmie Walker (who’d played Thelma’s brother J.J. on Good Times). They weren’t romantically involved — just paired up for the show — but their appearance together sparked rumors that they were dating.

…So which game show should I tackle next? Suggestions welcome!

Source: Baber, David. Television Game Show Hosts. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008.