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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Katherine

Number of Babies Named Katherine

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Katherine

Name Quotes #55: Lehia, Evian, Onix

evian, name, quotation

From the 1999 movie Superstar, character Mary Katherine Gallagher talking to schoolmate Evian:

You know what, Evi? You should be really embarrassed, because your parents named you after bottled water.

From a 2016 article about Pokémon baby names:

I cross-referenced the Social Security Administration’s annual baby name records with all 151 original pocket monsters back through 1995, the year the Pokémon franchise was created. Five species of Pokémon have proven to be appealing baby names for U.S. parents: Tangela, Abra, Paras, Onix, and Eevee.

From the essay Vamsee or Taimur: Why it matters what you name your baby by Prof. Vamsee Juluri:

But what made my name somewhat of a complication for me was the fact that “Vamsee” was somehow not too familiar outside Telugu circles. My earliest encounters with high society, and I suppose, its brand of quietly privileged narcissism, were basically about people asking me if that was even a real name.

…I also liked his conclusion:

We are going to leave our children and grandchildren with a marauded and overheated planet as it is. Let us leave them with names that evoke love, creativity and dignity at least.

About Pigcasso, a 450-pound painting pig in South Africa with a genius name:

She’s fat, friendly and fabulous! Meet Pigcasso – the fine swine who was rescued from the brink of extinction at a South African pig ‘farm’. From pork chop to hog heaven, she loves the sweet things in life: Eat. Sleep. Eat. Repeat. She also loves to paint – and that’s no hogwash! Pigcasso’s primary purpose? To paint a better picture for farm animals.

Titles of Pigcasso’s paintings include Grin, Vitality, Rockstar, and Brexit.

From the Television Academy’s history of the Emmy Statuette:

After selecting the design for the statuette that would reward excellence in the television industry, Academy members were faced with decision number two: What to name the symbol.

Academy founder Syd Cassyd suggested “Ike,” the nickname for the television iconoscope tube. But with a national war hero named Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, Academy members thought they needed a less well-known name. Harry Lubcke, a pioneer television engineer and the third Academy president, suggested “Immy,” a term commonly used for the early image orthicon camera. The name stuck and was later modified to Emmy, which members thought was more appropriate for a female symbol.

From The Age of Flexible Names by Laura Wattenberg:

[W]hile our baby-naming options are becoming ever more open, we’re closing the door on self-naming options. We’re treating our given names as, well, “givens.” They’re immutable objects, frozen in place as our parents imagined them before they ever met us. We don’t adapt them to fit different situations or life stages, or let friends bestow new names on us to reflect the experiences we accrue through our lives. We don’t reinvent our identities as my grandpa Isidore/Irving/Yitzhak did – or at least, not without a lot of soul-searching and ceremony.

Perhaps we could take some pressure off of ourselves in the naming process if we welcomed back a little of that old-time flexibility.

From an article about Hawaiian names in Maui Magazine by Kalehiaikealaikahiki “Lehia” Apana:

I’ve told the story of my name countless times: My mother was in Tahiti on a canoe-paddling trip and became very sick. Upon visiting a local doctor, she was shocked to learn that she was pregnant. Returning home, she asked Hōkūlani Holt, a Hawaiian cultural practitioner and close family friend, to name her baby. The name Aunty Hōkū gave me, Kalehiaikealaikahiki, translates as “the skillful fisherman on the pathway to Tahiti.”

In Hawaiian belief, one’s name is so important that many parents ask someone fluent in the language, with a deep understanding of the culture, to determine what their baby will be called. But not every child receives a Hawaiian name the way I did. For example, a name can appear through a vision or sign (inoa hō’ailona), or be given in memory of an event (inoa ho’omana’o). However it is chosen, one’s name is a prized possession, to be passed on only with the explicit permission of its owner.

From a Vanity Fair article about the Hilton family by Richard Lawson:

Anyway, all we had to do to find out that [Barron] Hilton was engaged was go on Instagram, where Hilton’s intended, Tessa Gräfin von Walderdorff, posted a picture announcing the news a few days ago. Should we talk about the fact that Barron Hilton is marrying someone named Tessa Gräfin von Walderdorff or should we just figure that that’s the kind of name you marry when you’re a son of the hotel gods?

Plus there was this line: “Barron is to be a husband, and maybe someday a father to a baby named Earrl.”

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.


The Baby Name Ketti

ketti frings, look homeward angel

The name Ketti appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 1959:

  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 8 baby girls named Ketti [debut]
  • 1958: unlisted

This was the year after writer Ketti Frings’ play Look Homeward, Angel, which ran on Broadway from 1957 to 1959, was nominated for multiple Tony Awards and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The play, set in North Carolina in the mid-1910s, is an adaptation of the 1929 Thomas Wolfe novel of the same name:

Concentrating on the last third of Wolfe’s story, the play vividly portrays Eugene Gant, his mother, who is obsessed by her material holdings and who maintains barriers against the love of her family, his father, a stonecutter imprisoned by his failures, and the brother who never breaks away.

The author was born Katherine Hartley in Ohio in 1909. In 1938 she married German lightweight boxer Kurt Frings, who who gave her the nickname “Ketti.” (Kurt went on to become a Hollywood talent agent representing stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, and Desi Arnaz.)

Do you like Ketti as a nickname for Katherine?

Sources: Ketti Frings, Stage and Film Writer – NYTimes.com, Look Homeward, Angel – Samuel French, Inc.

P.S. In 1962, a singer named Ketty Lester (born Revoyda Frierson) had a hit on the charts called “Love Letters,” but it doesn’t look like the song influenced the usage of the baby name Ketty.

Most Popular Lengths for Baby Names, 2016

The long and short of it is that U.S. parents don’t choose long and short baby names as often as they choose mid-length baby names. The most popular lengths for baby names in 2016? 6 letters, followed by 5 letters, followed by 7 letters…yet again.

Here’s a chart showing the length breakdown for girl names:

lengths, girl names, baby names, 2016, chart

The most-used girl names per length (from 2 to 10 letters) last year were…

And here’s the breakdown for boy names:

lengths, boy names, baby names, 2016, chart

The most-used boy names per length (from 2 to 10 letters) were…

Finally, here are both genders on the same chart:

lengths, boy names, baby names, girl names, 2016, chart

Here’s last year’s post on the top name lengths of 2015, if you’d like to compare.

Baby Nearly Named After Police Officer

On July 30, 1946, Los Angeles police officer Harry Dowty helped a pregnant woman named Edith Runfola deliver a baby girl.

According to the LA Times, Edith “said she [would] name the baby Harriet in honor of Officer Dowty.”

But what do the records say? The California Birth Index shows that Edith’s daughter got the first name Josephine and middle name Katherine. No mention of “Harriet.”

Did Edith change her mind? Did her husband veto “Harriet”? We shall never know…

But we do know the names of Edith’s other children. The article listed the 10 born before Josephine and the California Birth Index revealed that at least two more came along after:

  • Florence
  • Pearl
  • Ruby
  • Willie
  • Hazel
  • Marie
  • Daniel
  • Grace
  • Edith
  • Kenneth
  • Josephine (and not Harriet)
  • Jack
  • Helena

Source: “Police Officer Assists at Birth of Baby Girl.” Los Angeles Times 31 Jul. 1946: A1.

Catherine vs. Katherine, State by State, 1910

In a comment on last week’s post about Providence’s baby name rankings from 1867, Diane brought up an interesting point: the list includes dozens of babies named Catherine, but not a single one named Katherine.

Curious, isn’t it?

Since I don’t have the 1866 and 1868 Providence rankings done yet, the next-oldest set of comparable data I have is the 1910 Rhode Island list from the SSA state data. So I used this data to check out the Catherine vs. Katherine preferences of not just Rhode Island, but all 50 states (plus Washington, D.C.).

Turns out that Rhode Island really did have a strong preference for Catherine. Of the 42 states that welcomed at least 5 baby girls with one name and at least 5 more with the other, Rhode Island was the state with the strongest preference for Catherine:

State % Catherine % Katherine Winner?
Rhode Island 82% (31) 18% (7) C
Maryland 76% (100) 24% (31) C
New Jersey 75% (158) 25% (53) C
New York 73% (521) 27% (191) C
Pennsylvania 73% (568) 27% (210) C
South Dakota 73% (16) 27% (6) C
Wisconsin 70% (56) 30% (24) C
Indiana 68% (71) 32% (33) C
Illinois 67% (184) 33% (91) C
Massachusetts 65% (184) 35% (97) C
Ohio 65% (161) 35% (87) C
North Carolina 65% (60) 35% (33) C
Missouri 64% (85) 36% (48) C
Florida 62.5% (25) 37.5% (15) C
Mississippi 62% (32) 38% (20) C
Kentucky 61% (79) 39% (51) C
Georgia 60% (57) 40% (37) C
North Dakota 60% (21) 40% (14) C
Minnesota 60% (46) 40% (31) C
Connecticut 60% (41) 40% (28) C
Oregon 59% (10) 41% (7) C
Nebraska 59% (17) 41% (12) C
South Carolina 58% (31) 42% (22) C
Vermont 58% (7) 42% (5) C
Montana 58% (14) 42% (10) C
Michigan 58% (74) 42% (53) C
California 56% (53) 44% (41) C
New Hampshire 56% (9) 44% (7) C
Louisiana 55% (27) 45% (22) C
Arkansas 54% (19) 46% (16) C
West Virginia 52% (32) 48% (29) C
Virginia 52% (62) 48% (57) C
Alabama 51% (37) 49% (36) C
Kansas 50% (20) 50% (20) tie
Iowa 47% (32) 53% (36) K
Wyoming 45% (5) 55% (6) K
Washington 45% (19) 55% (23) K
Oklahoma 43% (18) 57% (24) K
Texas 42% (50) 58% (70) K
Colorado 41% (18) 59% (26) K
Tennessee 40% (43) 60% (64) K
Maine 38% (13) 62% (21) K

Five other states and Washington, D.C., only welcomed at least 5 baby girls with one of the names, so I calculated some minimums:

State % Catherine % Katherine Winner?
D.C. at least 86% (28) ? C
Delaware at least 76% (13) ? C
Idaho ? at least 56% (5) K
Hawaii ? at least 64% (7) K
Arizona ? at least 64% (7) K
Utah ? at least 69% (9) K

Alas, Rhode Island no longer loves Catherine as much as it did in decades past. These days, Katherine is the winner. The switch happened during the early 1970s.

Which of these two versions of the name do you prefer?