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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Kenneth

Number of Babies Named Kenneth

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Kenneth

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.


8 Impressive People Named Cooper

The baby name Cooper comes from an English surname that referred to someone who made or repaired barrels. It’s based on a Latin word meaning “cask, vat.”

Here are more than a half dozen impressive people named Cooper:

  1. Alan Cooper (1952-), American software designer and programmer. Developed the visual programming language used to create Visual Basic.
  2. Astley P. Cooper (1768-1841), English surgeon and anatomist. First to tie the abdominal aorta to treat aneurysm in 1817.
  3. Irving S. Cooper (1922-1985), American neurosurgeon.
  4. Kenneth H. Cooper (1931-), American doctor. Introduced the concept of aerobics in 1968.
  5. Leon N. Cooper (1930-), American physicist. Co-developed the first microscopic theory of superconductivity in 1957.
  6. Martin Cooper (1928-), American engineer. Led the team that built the first mobile phone (1972-1973) and made the first public mobile phone call (1973).
  7. Peter Cooper (1791-1883), American inventor and manufacturer. Designed and built the first steam locomotive in the U.S. in 1830.
  8. Whina Cooper (1895-1994), Māori leader and activist.

Do you know of any other equally cool people named Cooper?

Should We Name Hurricanes to Maximize Donations?

hurricaneIn 2008, psychologists Jesse Chandler, Tiffany M. Griffin, and Nicholas Sorensen published a study showing that people who shared an initial with a hurricane name were over-represented among hurricane relief donors. So, for instance, people with R-names donated significantly more than other people to Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (This is an offshoot of the name-letter effect.)

A few years later, marketing professor Adam Alter came up with an interesting idea: Why not use this knowledge to try to maximize donations to hurricane relief efforts? He explained:

In the United States, for example, more than 10% of all males have names that begin with the letter J-names like James and John (the two most common male names), Joseph and Jose, Jason, and Jeffrey. Instead of beginning just one hurricane name with the letter J each year (in 2013, that name will be Jerry), the World Meteorological Organization could introduce several J names each year. Similarly, more American female names begin with M than any other letter–most of them Marys, Marias, Margarets, Michelles, and Melissas–so the Organization could introduce several more M names to each list.

I think his idea is a good one overall. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, but could potentially benefit many hurricane victims.

I would go about choosing the names differently, though.

Repeating initials multiple times within a single hurricane season would be unwise, for instance. It would cause confusion, which would undermine the reason we started naming hurricanes in the first place (“for people easily to understand and remember” them, according to the WMO).

But optimizing the name lists using data on real-life usage? That would be smart.

I might even try optimizing based on demographics. Baby boomers are particularly generous donors, so maybe we should choose letters (or even names) with that generation in mind?

The baby boomers were born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, so here are the top initials for babies born in 1956 (60 years ago):

Top first letters of baby names, 1956, U.S.

Here are two possible lists of hurricane names using the above letters. I stuck with the WMO’s conventions: 21 names total, alternating genders, and no retired names.

Mid-century style Modern style
Janice
Danny
Rebecca
Martin
Cindy
Scott
Lori
Kenneth
Brenda
Patrick
Theresa
Gerald
Angela
Eugene
Wanda
Vincent
Nancy
Howard
Francine
Ira
Olga
Jasmine
Dominic
Rylee
Matthew
Charlotte
Sebastian
Lucy
Kingston
Bella
Preston
Trinity
Grayson
Ava
Eli
Willow
Victor
Nora
Hunter
Fiona
Isaac
Olivia

And here’s another point: we wouldn’t want to assign these names in order. While the official hurricane season lasts a full six months — June to November — most hurricane activity happens in August, September and October:

Number of Tropical Cyclones per 100 Years (NOAA)

To really optimize, we’d want to reserve the top initials/names for the stronger mid-season hurricanes, which tend to do the most damage. So we could start the season using mid-list names, then jump to the top of the list when August comes around and go in order from that point forward (skipping over any mid-list names that had already been used).

What are your thoughts on assigning hurricane names with disaster relief in mind? Do you think it could work? What strategy/formula would you use to select relief-optimized hurricane names?

Sources: In the “I” of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donations, Smart Hurricane Names: A Policy Intervention that Costs Almost Nothing but Should Attract Billions of Dollars in Aid, Tropical Cyclone Programme – WMO
Image: Tropical Cyclone Climatology – National Hurricane Center – NOAA

P.S. While J, D and R were the top initials 60 years ago, today’s top initials are A, J and M.

Popular Boy Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

How has the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names changed over time (if at all) among the most popular baby names in the U.S.?

This question popped into my head recently, so I thought I’d take a look at the data. We’ll do boy names today and girl names tomorrow.

First, let’s set some parameters. For these posts, “Biblical” names are personal names (belonging to either humans or archangels) mentioned in the Bible, plus all derivatives of these names, plus any other name with a specifically Biblical origin (e.g., Jordan, Sharon, Genesis). The “most popular” names are the top 20, and “over time” is the span of a century.

For boy names, the ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names has basically flipped over the last 100 years. Here’s a visual — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and a borderline name (which I counted as non-Biblical) is in the orange cell:

Popular boy names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular boy names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Adam, Alexander, Andrew, Austin (via Augustus), Benjamin, Daniel, David, Elijah, Ethan, Jack (via John), Jackson (via John), Jacob, James, Jason, John, Jonathan, Joseph, Joshua, Justin (via Justus), Lucas, Mark, Matthew, Michael, Nathan, Nicholas, Noah, Paul, Stephen, Steven, Thomas, Timothy, Zachary
  • Non-Biblical names: Aiden, Albert, Anthony, Arthur, Billy, Brandon, Brian, Charles, Christopher, Dennis, Donald, Dylan, Edward, Eric, Frank, Gary, George, Harold, Harry, Henry, Jayden, Jeffrey, Kenneth, Kevin, Larry, Liam, Logan, Louis, Mason, Raymond, Richard, Robert, Ronald, Ryan, Scott, Tyler, Walter, William
  • Borderline name: Jerry (can be based on the Biblical name Jeremy/Jeremiah or on the non-Biblical names Jerome, Gerald, Gerard)
    • It felt strange putting an overtly Christian name like Christopher in the non-Biblical category, but it doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible, so…that’s where it goes.

      Here are the year-by-year tallies:

      Year Top 20 names
      given to…
      # Biblical # Non-Biblical
      1914 40% of baby boys 5 (25%) 15 (75%)
      1924 43% of baby boys 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
      1934 43% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1944 47% of baby boys 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
      1954 46% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1964 42% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1974 38% of baby boys 11 (55%) 9 (45%)
      1984 36% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      1994 27% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2004 19% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)
      2014 14% of baby boys 14 (70%) 6 (30%)

      But there’s a huge difference between sample sizes of 40% and 14%, so let’s also take a look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 42% of male births.

      By my count, last year’s top 100 boy names were half Biblical, half non-Biblical:

      Biblical names (49) Non-Biblical names (51)
      Noah, Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, James, Daniel, Elijah, Benjamin, Matthew, Jackson (via John), David, Lucas, Joseph, Andrew, Samuel, Gabriel, Joshua, John, Luke, Isaac, Caleb, Nathan, Jack (via John), Jonathan, Levi, Jaxon (via John), Julian (via Julius), Isaiah, Eli, Aaron, Thomas, Jordan, Jeremiah, Nicholas, Evan, Josiah, Austin (via Augustus), Jace (via Jason), Jason, Jose, Ian, Adam, Zachary, Jaxson (via John), Asher, Nathaniel, Justin (via Justus), Juan Liam, Mason, William, Logan, Aiden, Jayden, Anthony, Carter, Dylan, Christopher, Oliver, Henry, Sebastian, Owen, Ryan, Wyatt, Hunter, Christian, Landon, Charles, Connor, Cameron, Adrian, Gavin, Robert, Brayden, Grayson, Colton, Angel, Dominic, Kevin, Brandon, Tyler, Parker, Ayden, Chase, Hudson, Nolan, Easton, Blake, Cooper, Lincoln, Xavier, Bentley, Kayden, Carson, Brody, Ryder, Leo, Luis, Camden

      (Christian, Angel, Xavier, Dominic…all technically non-Biblical, despite having strong ties to Christianity.)

      50%-50% isn’t quite as extreme as 70%-30%, but it’s still noticeably more Biblical than 1914’s 25%-75%.

      Do any of these results surprise you?

Pop Culture Baby Names: Starsky & Hutch

Starsky and Hutch
Hutch and Starsky
The main characters of the iconic ’70s TV show Starsky & Hutch were a couple of Southern California plainclothes detectives — brash New Yorker David Michael Starsky (the dark-haired one) and reserved Minnesotan Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson (the blond).

The show started airing in 1975, and that’s the year we see both names debut on the U.S. baby name charts. Here’s Starsky:

  • 1980: 5 baby boys named Starsky
  • 1979: 14 baby boys named Starsky
  • 1978: 14 baby boys named Starsky
  • 1977: 30 baby boys named Starsky
  • 1976: 45 baby boys named Starsky
  • 1975: 11 baby boys named Starsky [debut]
  • 1974: unlisted

And here’s Hutch:

  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 5 baby boys named Hutch
  • 1978: unlisted
  • 1977: 9 baby boys named Hutch
  • 1976: 12 baby boys named Hutch
  • 1975: 5 baby boys named Hutch [debut]
  • 1974: unlisted

The show’s original run ended in 1979, but the 2004 movie Starsky & Hutch starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson gave Hutch (but not Starsky) a boost several decades later.

If you were having a son, and you had to name him either Starsky or Hutch, which would it be?

Sources: Starsky & Hutch – Wikipedia
Image: 1970s: Starsky and Hutch on a beach

Letter by Letter: Popular Baby Boy Names, 2013

popular baby boy names, letter by letter, in 2013

Wondering what the most popular J-names for baby boys are? How about Q-names?

Below are the 10 most popular boy names for each letter, A through Z. (The parenthetical notations show how the current rankings differ from the 2012 rankings.)

The two new #1 names that emerged in 2013 were Hunter, which replaced Henry, and Thomas, which replaced Tyler.

A-Names

1. Alexander, 14771 baby boys
2. Aiden, 13527
3. Anthony, 12164
4. Andrew, 11568
5. Aaron, 7246
6. Adrian, 6802 (was 8th)
7. Austin, 6441
8. Angel, 6320 (was 6th)
9. Ayden, 6035
10. Adam, 5193

B-Names

1. Benjamin, 13373 baby boys
2. Brayden, 7384
3. Brandon, 6180
4. Blake, 5601
5. Bentley, 5344
6. Brody, 4302
7. Bryson, 3783
8. Bryce, 3335
9. Brantley, 3171 (was 13th)
10. Braxton, 3078

Out of the top 10: Bryan, now ranked 11th.

C-Names

1. Christopher, 10765 baby boys
2. Carter, 9512 (was 4th)
3. Caleb, 9500 (was 2nd)
4. Christian, 9261 (was 3rd)
5. Connor, 7058 (was 6th)
6. Charles, 6955 (was 7th)
7. Cameron, 6809 (was 5th)
8. Colton, 6442
9. Chase, 5504
10. Cooper, 4843

D-Names

1. Daniel, 14140 baby boys
2. David, 12226
3. Dylan, 10058
4. Dominic, 6277
5. Damian, 3945
6. Declan, 3097 (was 7th)
7. Diego, 2905 (was 6th)
8. Derek, 1865 (was 9th)
9. Devin, 1828 (was 8th)
10. Damien, 1603

E-Names

1. Ethan, 16127 baby boys
2. Elijah, 13626
3. Eli, 7867
4. Evan, 7070
5. Easton, 4615
6. Elias, 3472 (was 7th)
7. Eric, 3233 (was 6th)
8. Ezra, 2708 (was 10th)
9. Edward, 2679 (was 8th)
10. Emmanuel, 2377 (was 9th)

F-Names

1. Francisco, 1688 baby boys
2. Finn, 1440 (was 3rd)
3. Fernando, 1424 (was 2nd)
4. Felix, 1171 (was 5th)
5. Fabian, 1091 (was 4th)
6. Frank, 996
7. Finnegan, 605
8. Finley, 562 (was 10th)
9. Frederick, 549
10. Franklin, 545 (was 8th)

G-Names

1. Gabriel, 11112 baby boys
2. Gavin, 7379
3. Grayson, 5500
4. Giovanni, 2964
5. Greyson, 2630 (was 9th)
6. George, 2522 (was 7th)
7. Grant, 2401 (was 6th)
8. Gael, 2296 (was 5th)
9. Gage, 2131 (was 8th)
10. Graham, 1876 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Garrett, now ranked 12th.

H-Names

1. Hunter, 8887 baby boys (was 2nd)
2. Henry, 8802 (was 1st)
3. Hudson, 4628
4. Hayden, 2933
5. Harrison, 2491
6. Hector, 1248
7. Holden, 1198
8. Hugo, 653
9. Hayes, 411 (was 13th)
10. Harvey, 399 (was 15th)

Hunter became the new #1 H-name in 2013.

Out of the top 10: Harley, now ranked 11th, and Harper, now 14th.

I-Names

1. Isaac, 10005 baby boys
2. Isaiah, 7754
3. Ian, 5374
4. Ivan, 2846
5. Iker, 1612
6. Israel, 1457
7. Ismael, 741
8. Izaiah, 634
9. Ibrahim, 631 (was 10th)
10. Issac, 585 (was 9th)

J-Names

1. Jacob, 17976 baby boys
2. Jayden, 14656
3. James, 13416
4. Jackson, 12488 (was 6th)
5. Joseph, 12095
6. Joshua, 11680 (was 4th)
7. John, 10588
8. Jack, 8506 (was 9th)
9. Jonathan, 8478 (was 8th)
10. Jaxon, 7479 (was 13th)

Out of the top 10: Jordan, now ranked 12th.

K-Names

1. Kevin, 5892 baby boys
2. Kayden, 4386
3. Kaiden, 3076 (was 6th)
4. Kaleb, 2833 (was 3rd)
5. Kaden, 2606
6. Kyle, 2563 (was 4th)
7. Kenneth, 2159
8. Kingston, 2114 (was 9th)
9. King, 2085 (was 11th)
10. Kai, 1956 (was 8th)

Out of the top 10: Keegan, now ranked 11th.

L-Names

1. Liam, 18002 baby boys
2. Logan, 12270
3. Lucas, 11451
4. Luke, 9497 (was 5th)
5. Landon, 8679 (was 4th)
6. Levi, 7339
7. Lincoln, 4010 (was 8th)
8. Luis, 3976 (was 7th)
9. Leo, 3473
10. Leonardo, 2891

M-Names

1. Mason, 17591 baby boys
2. Michael, 15366
3. Matthew, 13226
4. Micah, 3631
5. Maxwell, 3607 (was 7th)
6. Mateo, 3547 (was 9th)
7. Max, 3492 (was 5th)
8. Miles, 3385 (was 6th)
9. Miguel, 2874 (was 8th)
10. Marcus, 2497

N-Names

1. Noah, 18090 baby boys
2. Nathan, 9620
3. Nicholas, 7078
4. Nolan, 4715 (was 5th)
5. Nathaniel, 4461 (was 4th)
6. Nicolas, 2109
7. Nehemiah, 919
8. Noel, 774
9. Nash, 596 (was 10th)
10. Nico, 561 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Nikolas, now ranked 11th.

O-Names

1. Owen, 8702 baby boys
2. Oliver, 7209
3. Oscar, 2225
4. Omar, 1873
5. Orion, 743
6. Orlando, 465
7. Odin, 447
8. Otto, 338 (was 10th)
9. Omari, 318 (was 8th)
10. Oakley, 288 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Osvaldo, now ranked 11th.

P-Names

1. Parker, 5622 baby boys
2. Preston, 2636
3. Patrick, 2566
4. Paul, 2017 (was 5th)
5. Peter, 1833 (was 6th)
6. Peyton, 1833 (was 4th)
7. Paxton, 1346
8. Pedro, 922
9. Phillip, 858
10. Phoenix, 775 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Pablo, now ranked 13th.

Q-Names

1. Quinn, 875 baby boys
2. Quentin, 722
3. Quinton, 479
4. Quincy, 416
5. Quintin, 248
6. Quinten, 161
7. Quinlan, 59
8. Quade, 34 (was 15th)
9. Quadir, 32 (was 10th)
10. Quran, 31 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Quincey, now ranked 11th, and Quin, now 13th.

R-Names

1. Ryan, 9808 baby boys
2. Robert, 6641
3. Ryder, 3750
4. Roman, 2858 (was 6th)
5. Richard, 2770 (was 4th)
6. Riley, 2531 (was 5th)
7. Ryker, 2462 (was 8th)
8. Rylan, 1882 (was 7th)
9. Ricardo, 1421
10. Reid, 1364 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Raymond, now ranked 11th.

S-Names

1. Samuel, 10957 baby boys
2. Sebastian, 7495
3. Silas, 3367 (was 7th)
4. Sawyer, 3142 (was 6th)
5. Santiago, 3015 (was 4th)
6. Steven, 2850 (was 3rd)
7. Sean, 2180 (was 5th)
8. Simon, 1592 (was 12th)
9. Seth, 1578 (was 8th)
10. Spencer, 1440

Out of the top 10: Stephen, now ranked 11th.

T-Names

1. Thomas, 6708 baby boys (was 2nd)
2. Tyler, 6590 (was 1st)
3. Tristan, 3970
4. Timothy, 3016
5. Theodore, 2397 (was 7th)
6. Tucker, 2220
7. Tanner, 2029 (was 5th)
8. Travis, 1571 (was 9th)
9. Trevor, 1520 (was 8th)
10. Trenton, 1319

Thomas became the new #1 T-name in 2013.

U-Names

1. Uriel, 567 baby boys
2. Uriah, 488
3. Urijah, 298
4. Ulises, 270
5. Ulysses, 164
6. Umar, 94 (was 7th)
7. Unknown, 85 (was 6th) [not a name; used when a name is unknown]
8. Uziel, 77
9. Uzziah, 51 (was 10th)
10. Usman, 39 (was 15th)

Out of the top 10: Usher, now ranked 11th.

V-Names

1. Vincent, 3829 baby boys
2. Victor, 2715
3. Vihaan, 426
4. Valentino, 329 (was 6th)
5. Vicente, 317 (was 4th)
6. Vincenzo, 285 (was 5th)
7. Van, 252 (was 8th)
8. Vaughn, 247 (was 9th)
9. Vance, 244 (was 7th)
10. Valentin, 237

W-Names

1. William, 16495 baby boys
2. Wyatt, 8490
3. Wesley, 2819
4. Weston, 2473
5. Waylon, 1190
6. Walter, 930
7. Walker, 833
8. Warren, 577
9. Wade, 483
10. Winston, 390 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Wilson, now ranked 11th.

X-Names

1. Xavier, 4933 baby boys
2. Xander, 1687
3. Xzavier, 420
4. Xavi, 217
5. Xavion, 81
6. Xaiden, 76
7. Xavian, 63
8. Xavior, 55
9. Xayden, 53
10. Xzander, 43 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Xavien, now ranked 11th.

Y-Names

1. Yahir, 570 baby boys
2. Yusuf, 414
3. Yosef, 328
4. Yousef, 249 (was 5th)
5. Yael, 243 (was 4th)
6. Yair, 206 (was 10th)
7. Yadiel, 202 (was 8th)
8. Yisroel, 179 (was 9th)
9. Yehuda, 174 (was 6th)
10. Youssef, 173 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Yandel, now ranked 14th.

Z-Names

1. Zachary, 5685 baby boys
2. Zayden, 2097 (was 3rd)
3. Zane, 1719 (was 2nd)
4. Zander, 1586 (was 5th)
5. Zion, 1514 (was 4th)
6. Zaiden, 956
7. Zachariah, 744
8. Zayne, 576 (was 9th)
9. Zackary, 463 (was 8th)
10. Zain, 360 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Zechariah, now ranked 11th.

Here are the 2012 rankings, if you want to check them out.

U.S. Baby Names 2013: Most Popular Names, Top Girl Name Debuts, Top Boy Name Debuts, Biggest Girl Name Changes, Biggest Boy Name Changes, Top First Letters, Top Lengths, Top Girl Names by Letter, Top Boy Names by Letter, Top 1-Syllable Names

Do Names Affect Perceptions of Attractiveness?

The Discover Magazine blog DiscoBlog uncovered this one — a 1993 study entitled “First names and perceptions of physical attractiveness.” From the abstract:

I examined the impact of first names on ratings of physical attractiveness as judged by British undergraduate subjects. […] Names accounted for approximately 6% of the variance in subjects’ ratings of physical attractiveness. This effect was highly significant for pictures of women (p < .001), but nonsignificant for pictures of men (p > .05).

The researchers used Danielle and Alexander as the “attractive” names and Tracey and Kenneth as the “unattractive” names.

The study also looked at the characteristics associated with certain types of first names:

  • “Men’s names connoted more masculine characteristics, less ethical caring, and more successful characteristics than did women’s names.”
  • “Nicknames connoted less successful characteristics, more popular fun, and less ethical caring characteristics than did given names.”
  • “Androgynous names connoted more popular fun and less masculine characteristics for men and more popular fun, less ethical caring, and more masculine characteristics for women than did gender-specific names.”
  • “Less conventionally spelled names connoted uniformly less attractive characteristics.”
  • “For men only, longer names connoted more ethical caring, less popular fun, more successful, and less masculine characteristics.”
  • “More anxiety and neuroticism were attributed to those with less common names and more exuberance was attributed to those with more attractive names.”