How popular is the baby name Kamilah 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 Kamilah.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kamilah

Posts that Mention the Name Kamilah

A Selection of “Names From Africa”

Names from Africa

A few months back, commenter Becca mentioned the book Names From Africa (1972) by Ogonna Chuks-orji. This was one of the first baby name books in the U.S. to focus on African names exclusively.

I haven’t yet read it in full, but Ebony ran an article in 1977 about African-American naming traditions (a few months after Roots first aired) and included a selection of names from the book.

I’ve included the names below, but first here’s a snippet of the article:

Then came the ’60s and ’70s and the rejection of assimilation efforts. Cultural nationalism and separatism replaced integration and Afro-Americans changed their names to reflect their new consciousness. The name of people of African descent as a whole was changed from Negro or colored to Black or Afro-American to reflect an aggressive pride in the African heritage, and an affirmation of the validity of self-defined identity. Africa became a source of names. Very Anglo-Saxon or exotic European names were changed to African names–usually Swahili names with meanings pertinent to the struggle. African leaders, past and present, like Shaka, Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure, began to provide the heroic, strong, inspirational names. The eclectic choice of African names reflects the Pan-Africanist orientation of the Afro-American identity.

Here are all the girl names:

Female African Names, from Ebony Magazine, 1977

According to the SSA data, some of the these girl names saw higher usage as baby names thanks to the article:

The names Habibah, Ifetayo, Masani, and Ramla saw no significant movement in the data. The names Abayomi and Ode have only appeared in the data only as a boy names (…though Abayomi did see peak usage in ’77). The other names (Akwokwo, Bayo, Chucki, Dada, Folayan, Hembadoon, Ifama, Ige, Kambo, Mawusi, Oseye, Pasua, Quibilah, Serwa and Sigolwide) have never been in the data at all, as of this writing.

And here are all the boy names:

Male African Names, from Ebony Magazine, 1977

And here are the boy names that saw higher usage as baby names thanks to the article:

The names Ade, Ahmed, Azikiwe, Bobo, Habib, Jabulani, Lukman, Nizam, N’Namdi, N’Nanna, and Oba saw no significant movement in the data.

The other names (Bwerani, Chionesu, Chiumbo, Dingane, Dunsimi, Fudail, Gamba, Gogo, Gowon, Gwandoya, Kamuzu, Lumo, Machupa*, Mbwana, Mongo, Mosegi, Mwamba and Nangwaya) have never been in the data at all.

*I was very curious about the definition of Machupa, “likes to drink.” Turns out it’s not alcohol-related; another book on African names specifies that the root of Machupa is probably chupa, a Kiswahili word meaning “bottle.”


  • Stewart, Julia. African Names: Names from the African Continent for Children and Adults. New York: Citadel Press, 1993.
  • Walker, Sheila S. “What’s in a Name?Ebony Jun. 1977: 74+.

One-Hit Wonder Baby Names from the 1970s

Here are the one-hit wonder names of the 1970s:

Girl Names

  • Ariane – ranked 886th in 1978
  • Brande – ranked 785th in 1974
  • Camisha – ranked 815th in 1972
  • Chaka – ranked 898th in 1976 (influence: Chaka Khan)
  • Corie – ranked 973rd in 1977
  • Dyan – ranked 980th in 1970 (influence: Dyan Cannon)
  • Kamilah – ranked 855th in 1977
  • Keena – ranked 853rd in 1972
  • Kindra – ranked 965th in 1978
  • Pepper – ranked 956th in 1975
  • Shandra – ranked 999th in 1976
  • Sharee – ranked 929th in 1979
  • Shawnna – ranked 963rd in 1977
  • Shawnte – ranked 744th in 1977
  • Somer – ranked 932nd in 1978
  • Tamisha – ranked 995th in 1974
  • Tisa – ranked 912th in 1970
  • Torie – ranked 977th in 1976
  • Treena – ranked 995th in 1970

Boy Names

  • Abelardo – ranked 983rd in 1972
  • Amin – ranked 907th in 1977
  • Demetric – ranked 993rd in 1977
  • Diallo – ranked 918th in 1972
  • Dimitrios – ranked 991st in 1976
  • Hakim – ranked 879th in 1976
  • Hasan – ranked 952nd in 1978
  • Jabbar – ranked 912th in 1972 (influence: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
  • Jerimy – ranked 964th in 1976
  • Kareen – ranked 982nd in 1975 (influence: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
  • Kinte – ranked 839th in 1977 (influence: Roots)
  • Kunta – ranked 572nd in 1977 (influence: Roots)
  • Mauro – ranked 995th in 1974
  • Shalon – ranked 867th in 1977
  • Toma – ranked 884th in 1974
  • Torry – ranked 996th in 1976

Want more one-hit wonders? Here are…