How popular is the baby name Lara 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 Lara.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Lara


Posts that Mention the Name Lara

Popular Baby Names in Slovenia, 2019

According to Slovenia’s Statistical Office, the most popular baby names in the country in 2019 were Zala and Luka.

Here are Slovenia’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:

Girl Names

  1. Zala, 272 baby girls
  2. Ema, 224
  3. Mia, 213
  4. Julija, 176
  5. Sara, 164
  6. Ela, 163
  7. Lara, 161
  8. Eva, 160 (tie)
  9. Hana, 160 (tie)
  10. Zoja, 149

Boy Names

  1. Luka, 282 baby boys
  2. Filip, 241
  3. Jakob, 233
  4. Nik, 232
  5. Mark, 231
  6. Tim, 177
  7. Jan, 171
  8. Jaka, 164
  9. Oskar, 162
  10. Žan, 156

In the girls’ top 10, Ela, Hana, and Zoja replace Nika, Maša, and Lana.

(The top girl name, Zala, is a short form of Rozalija, the Slovene form of Rosalia. The other Z-name on the girls’ list, Zoja, is the Slovene form of Zoe.)

In the boys’ top 10, Oskar replaces Lovro.

In 2018, the top names were Ema and Luka.

Sources: Top Baby Names – Republic of Slovenia Statistical Office, Zala – Behind the Name

Popular Baby Names in England and Wales, 2019

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the most popular baby names in England and Wales last year were, yet again, Olivia and Oliver.

Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 4,082 baby girls
  2. Amelia, 3,712
  3. Isla, 2,981
  4. Ava, 2,946
  5. Mia, 2,500
  6. Isabella, 2,398
  7. Sophia, 2,332
  8. Grace, 2,330
  9. Lily, 2,285
  10. Freya, 2,264

Boy Names

  1. Oliver, 4,932 baby boys
  2. George, 4,575
  3. Noah, 4,265
  4. Arthur, 4,211
  5. Harry, 3,823
  6. Leo, 3,637
  7. Muhammad, 3,604
  8. Jack, 3,381
  9. Charlie, 3,355
  10. Oscar, 3,334

In the girls’ top 10, Lily and Freya replace Emily and Ella. The boys’ top ten includes the same ten names as in 2018.

In the girls’ top 100, Lara and Mabel replace Aisha and Francesca. In the boys’ top 100, Alfred, Chester, Hudson, Ibrahim and Oakley replace Alex, Dexter, Dominic, Kai, Sonny and Tobias.

The fastest risers within the top 100 were Hallie (on the girls’ list) and Tommy (on the boys’).

Several names that saw increased usage due to pop culture were…

  • The girl name Dua, now at an all-time high thanks to English pop singer Dua Lipa, whose parents were Kosovar refugees.*
  • The boy name Kylo, thanks to the Star Wars sequel trilogy. (Kylo debuted in 2015, the year the first film was released.)
  • The boy name Taron, likely due to actor Taron Egerton, featured in the 2019 Elton John biopic Rocketman.

Here are the top ten lists for England and Wales separately, if you’d like to compare the regions…

England’s top ten…Wales’s top ten…
Girl NamesOlivia, Amelia, Isla, Ava, Mia, Isabella, Grace, Sophia, Lily, EmilyOlivia, Amelia, Isla, Ava, Freya, Willow, Mia, Ella, Rosie, Elsie
Boy NamesOliver, George, Arthur, Noah, Harry, Muhammad, Leo, Jack, Oscar, CharlieOliver, Noah, Charlie, Jacob, Theo, George, Leo, Arthur, Oscar, Alfie

Finally, here are some of the rare baby names from the other end of the rankings. Each one was given to exactly 3 babies in England and Wales last year.

Rare Girl NamesRare Boy Names
Aiste, Bella-Blue, Cosmina, Dolcieanna, Elliw, Floella, Gurveen, Harerta, Iffah, Jainaba, Kalsoom, Lussy, Mallie, Nellie-Beau, Otterly, Primavera, Reevie, Saffanah, Tuppence, Venba, Winter-Lily, Yidis, ZeemalAuburn, Boycie, Cybi, Dawsey, Eason, Folarin, Glyndwr, Hadrian, Isaa, Johnjo, Kaniel, Lazo, Madani, Now, Olgierd, Pijus, Rakai, Smit, Taqi, Veselin, Wilby, Yilmaz, Zarel

Cybi, pronounced “kubby,” is the (Welsh) name of a 6th-century Cornish saint.

Sources: Baby names in England and Wales: 2019, Baby names for boys in England and Wales (dataset), Baby names for girls in England and Wales (dataset)

*Kosovar refugees are also mentioned in the posts on Amerikan and Tonibler.

Popular Baby Names in Switzerland, 2019

According to data from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the most popular baby names in Switzerland in 2019 were Mia and Liam.

Here are the country’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:

Girl Names

  1. Mia, 434 baby girls
  2. Emma, 401
  3. Sofia, 341
  4. Lara, 312
  5. Emilia, 310
  6. Mila, 298
  7. Lina, 294
  8. Lia, 292
  9. Lena, 280
  10. Anna, 276

Boy Names

  1. Liam, 443 baby boys
  2. Noah, 437
  3. Matteo, 360
  4. Gabriel, 340
  5. Luca, 336
  6. Leon, 318
  7. Elias, 314
  8. Louis, 312
  9. David, 264
  10. Samuel, 252

In the girls’ top 10, Lara, Lina and Lia replace Lea, Elena and Laura.

In the boys’ top 10, Samuel replaces Ben.

Here are the top baby names within each of Switzerland’s main language groups:

  • German speakers (63% of the population): Mia and Noah
  • French speakers (23%): Emma and Liam
  • Italian speakers (8%): Sofia and Leonardo
  • Romansh speakers (under 1%): Lina and Elia/Finn/Luca (3-way tie)

In 2018, the top names in the country overall were Emma and Liam.

Sources: Vornamen der Neugeborenen, Revealed: Switzerland’s most popular baby names, Mia, Emma, Liam, Noah: the most popular baby names of 2019

The Launch of Lara

Yesterday we looked at the baby name Laura, which saw a curious dip in usage from 1965 to 1967:

You know what was happening at the very same time? A drastic increase in the usage of the very similar name Lara, which suddenly jumped into the top 1,000 in 1966:

Here’s the data, side-by-side:

Laura usage (rank)Lara usage (rank)
196818,743 baby girls (11th)1,295 baby girls (227th)
196715,817 baby girls (15th)945 baby girls (277th)
196615,549 baby girls (19th)236 baby girls (618th)
196516,213 baby girls (18th)65 baby girls (1,376th)
196418,974 baby girls (14th)57 baby girls (1,512th)

So…what caused Lara to suddenly skyrocket (and thereby steal some of Laura’s thunder)?

Doctor Zhivago movie poster

The film Doctor Zhivago, which was released at the very end of 1965 and which, accounting for inflation, currently ranks as the eighth highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S.

Doctor Zhivago, based on the 1957 Boris Pasternak novel of the same name, was a drama set in Russia during the early 1900s — primarily around the time of WWI and the Russian Revolution. The main character was married physician/poet Yuri Zhivago (played by Omar Sharif), who was having an affair with Larisa “Lara” Antipova (played by Julie Christie), the wife of a political activist.

But it was more than just the character — we can’t ignore the influence of the film’s leitmotif “Lara’s Theme.” After Doctor Zhivago came out, it was turned into a Grammy-winning pop song, “Somewhere, My Love,” that name-checked the character in the lyrics:

Lara, my own, think of me now and then
Godspeed, my love, till you are mine again

Renditions of both versions of the song ended up peaking on Billboard‘s “Hot 100” list during the summer of 1966: Ray Conniff’s “Somewhere, My Love” at #9, and Roger Williams’ “Lara’s Theme” at #65.

Ironically, the names Lara and Laura are not related. Laura comes from the Latin name Laurus, meaning “laurel,” whereas the Russian name Lara is a short form of the Greek myth name Larisa, which may have been inspired by the ancient city of Larisa.

The movie also seems to have given a boost to the name Yuri (which had debuted a few years earlier thanks to cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin). And it must be connected somehow to the 1980 debut of the one-hit wonder name Zhivago. (Perhaps it was airing on TV around that time?) “Zhivago” isn’t a Russian surname, incidentally — it’s a Church Slavonic word meaning “the living.”

Getting back to Lara…the name’s popularity declined after the 1960’s, but, so far, it has never dropped out of the top 1,000. (The uptick in usage in 2001-2002 corresponds to the release of the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which starred Angelina Jolie.)

Now let’s try a poll: Which name do you prefer, Lara or Laura? Give me your reasons in the comments!

Which name do you prefer, Lara or Laura?

View Results

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Sources: Doctor Zhivago (film) – Wikipedia, Doctor Zhivago – Orthodox England, Lara’s Theme – Wikipedia, Top 10 Highest-Grossing Films of All Time in the US, Ray Conniff – Billboard, Roger Williams – Billboard, Ray Conniff – Grammy.com, Laura – Behind the Name, Lara – Behind the Name

P.S. A woman named Lara after the Zhivago character was mentioned in Name Quotes 78.

The Rise of Angelina & Jolie

Angelina Jolie, Tomb Raider, 2001, movie

Actress Angelina Jolie was a rising star in the late ’90s and early 2000s, thanks to movies like Gia (1998), Girl, Interrupted (1999), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001).

But she wasn’t just becoming a familiar face in the movie theaters — she was also having a strong influence on baby names. In 2000, the name Jolie broke into the U.S. top 1,000 for the first time, and, a year later, the name Angelina entered the top 100 for the first time:

Angelina usage (ranking)Jolie usage (ranking)
20034,271 baby girls (71st)377 baby girls (691st)
20023,979 baby girls (74th)412 baby girls (620th)
20013,368 baby girls (93rd)385 baby girls (655th)
20002,140 baby girls (157th)275 baby girls (820th)
19991,327 baby girls (237th)152 baby girls (1,241st)
19981,167 baby girls (268th)109 baby girls (1,536th)

Best of all, though, are the debuts of Anjolina and Anjolie — names that cleverly blend “Angelina” with “Jolie” — in 2000. I know of other actresses (e.g., Cyd Charisse, Pier Angeli) who popularized both their first and last names, but Angie is the only one I know of to inspire mash-ups like this.

Which name do you like better for a baby girl, Angelina or Jolie? (Or do you prefer one of the portmanteaus?)

Source: Angelina Jolie – Rotten Tomatoes