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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Michael

Number of Babies Named Michael

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Michael

Name Quotes #51: Fox, Bear, Sarah, Michael

quote, name, blake lively, stage name, real name

From a 2006 interview with Blake Lively:

Q: I’ve got to say, “Blake Lively” sounds almost too cool to not be a stage name…

A: People are always like, “Blake Lively! Okay, what’s your real name?” It’s kind of embarrassing to tell people, because it sounds like a really cheesy stage name.

Q: Is there a story behind the first part?

A: Actually, my grandma’s brother’s name was Blake, and my sister wrote it down when she was reading a family tree. And they said, “If it’s a boy, we’ll name him Blake, and if it’s a girl, we’ll name her Blakely.” And everybody thought I was going to be a boy, and then I came out and I was a girl. And they had already been calling me Blake for months because they were positive I was going to be a boy. And they had been calling me Blake for so long, they just [kept it].

[The surname “Lively” came from Blake’s mother’s first husband. Blake’s mother kept it after the divorce, and Blake’s father — her mother’s second husband — liked it enough to take as his own when they married.]

[I mentioned Blake Lively in this year’s Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity post. Speaking of the latest batch of baby names…]

From “From Alessia to Zayn, Popular Baby Names on the Rise!” on the Social Security Matters blog:

Some other notable names in the top 10 biggest increase category include Benicio and Fox for boys. […] As for Fox, did anyone ever figure out what the fox said?

[I love that the SSA made a reference to “What Does the Fox Say?” in a baby name post.]

From Baby Kylo: ‘Star Wars’ Names Raced Up the Charts in 2016 at Live Science:

“What dad wants to name his son after a son who kills his dad?” said baby-name expert Laura Wattenberg, who analyzed the latest data on Babynamewizard.com. “It doesn’t seem like the most auspicious choice.”

From an E! News article about Liam Payne:

The One Direction singer-turned-solo artist explained the origin of son Bear Payne’s name during a Total Access radio interview, which he said was decided upon by mom Cheryl Cole.

“It was an internal battle,” Liam reflected. “I wanted a more traditional name and she wanted a name that was more unusual. “The reason she chose Bear was because Bear is a name that when you leave a room, you won’t forget.”

“And I like that,” the U.K. native decided eventually.

From The psychological effects of growing up with an extremely common name by Sarah Todd at Quartz:

If the purpose of a name is to signify an object, a very common first name seems like a pretty ineffective signifier. When people on the street say my name, I often don’t bother to turn around, knowing that there are probably other Sarah’s in close proximity. And so I think of “Sarah” less as a name that’s specific to me and more as a general descriptor—another word for “woman” or “girl,” or something else that applies both to me and to a lot of other people, too.

[Found via Appellation Mountain.]

From Why Coke Is Adding Last Names to ‘Share a Coke’ in Ad Age:

As for first names, Michael is No. 1, according to Coke.

[Found via Name Nerds.]

From Why Your Name May Be Ruining Your Life

Two University of Colorado economists found compelling evidence that the first letter of your last name does matter quite a bit—especially when you’re young.

Professor Jeffrey Zax and graduate student Alexander Cauley analyzed data on the lives of more than 3,000 men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools 2 in 1957. They found that those with surnames further back in the alphabet did worse in high school, in college, and in the job market early in their careers. […] While correlation isn’t necessarily causation, the researchers firmly believe there’s a connection.

[Found via Nameberry.]

[I’m slightly surprised we haven’t seen Zax in the data yet. Zaxton is a regular these days, though.]

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.


Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2016

According to data released yesterday by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in the country in 2016 were Emily and James.

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Emily, 490 baby girls
2. Grace, 452 (up from 8th to 2nd)
3. Ava, 388 (2-way tie)
4. Lucy, 388 (2-way tie)
5. Amelia, 369 (2-way tie)
6. Sophie, 369 (2-way tie)
7. Emma, 365 (down from 2nd to 7th)
8. Mia, 357
9. Hannah, 351 (new)
10. Lily, 334 (new)

Boy Names
1. James, 688 baby boys (new #1 name; replaces Jack)
2. Jack, 684
3. Daniel, 558 (2-way tie)
4. Conor, 558 (2-way tie)
5. Sean, 501
6. Noah, 446
7. Adam, 400
8. Oisin, 398 (new)
9. Michael, 394
10. Luke, 375

Some quick facts about the girl names…

  • Newbies to the top 10: Hannah, Lily
  • Newbies to the top 100: Aria, Harper, Heidi, Matilda, Willow, Zoey
  • Biggest increases within the top 100, by…
    • Ranking: Willow/Matilda (tied), Harper, Heidi, Zoey, Daisy
    • Raw number: Grace, Fiadh, Saoirse, Charlotte, Evie, Holly/Alice (tied)
  • Top girl names in Ireland’s five biggest cities: Amelia (Dublin and Cork), Ava (Limerick), Fiadh (Galway), Mia (Waterford)

And some quick facts about the boy names…

  • Newbie to the top 10: Oisin
  • Newbie to the top 100: Muhammad
  • Biggest increases within the top 100, by…
    • Ranking: Muhammad, Louis, Lucas, Josh/Jason (tied), Ollie
    • Raw number: Finn, Max, Jacob, Lucas, Oisin, Ollie, Rian
  • Top boy names in Ireland’s five biggest cities: James (Dublin), Charlie (Cork), Conor (Limerick), Michael (Galway), Daniel (Waterford)

Finally, here are the 2015 rankings for Ireland, the 2016 rankings for Northern Ireland, and some Irish name pronunciations.

Sources: Irish Babies’ Names 2016, Press Statement Irish Babies’ Names 2016

Most Popular First Letters for Baby Names, 2016

What were the most popular first letters for baby names in 2016?

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

first letter, girl names, baby names, 2016, chart

For girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by M and E. The least-used first letter was U.

The three most-used girl names per letter last year were…

A: Ava, Abigail, Amelia
B: Brooklyn, Bella, Brianna
C: Charlotte, Chloe, Camila
D: Delilah, Daisy, Daniela
E: Emma, Emily, Evelyn
F: Faith, Finley, Fiona
G: Grace, Genesis, Gabriella
H: Harper, Hannah, Hazel
I: Isabella, Isabelle, Ivy
J: Julia, Josephine, Jade
K: Kennedy, Kaylee, Kylie
L: Lily, Lillian, Layla
M: Mia, Madison, Mila
N: Natalie, Nora, Naomi
O: Olivia, Olive, Oakley
P: Penelope, Paisley, Piper
Q: Quinn, Queen, Quincy
R: Riley, Ruby, Reagan
S: Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett
T: Taylor, Trinity, Teagan
U: Unique, Uma, Una
V: Victoria, Violet, Vivian
W: Willow, Willa, Winter
X: Ximena, Xiomara, Xena
Y: Yaretzi, Yareli, Yamileth
Z: Zoey, Zoe, Zara

Here’s the breakdown for boy names:

first letter, boy names, baby names, 2016, chart

For boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and C. The least-used letter was U.

The three most-used boy names per letter last year were…

A: Alexander, Aiden, Anthony
B: Benjamin, Brayden, Bryson
C: Carter, Christopher, Caleb
D: Daniel, David, Dylan
E: Elijah, Ethan, Eli
F: Finn, Felix, Francisco
G: Gabriel, Grayson, Gavin
H: Henry, Hunter, Hudson
I: Isaac, Isaiah, Ian
J: James, Jacob, Jackson
K: Kevin, Kayden, Kingston
L: Liam, Lucas, Logan
M: Mason, Michael, Matthew
N: Noah, Nathan, Nicholas
O: Oliver, Owen, Oscar
P: Parker, Patrick, Preston
Q: Quinn, Quentin, Quincy
R: Ryan, Robert, Roman
S: Samuel, Sebastian, Sawyer
T: Thomas, Theodore, Tyler
U: Uriel, Uriah, Ulises
V: Vincent, Victor, Valentino
W: William, Wyatt, Wesley
X: Xavier, Xander, Xzavier
Y: Yusuf, Yosef, Yahir
Z: Zachary, Zayden, Zane

Finally, here are both genders side-by-side:

first letter, baby names, 2016, chart

Overall, the top first letter was A, followed by J and M. And the least popular letter was, of course, U.

Here’s last year’s post on the most and least popular first letters of 2015.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2016

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2016!

As usual, the disclaimer: Some of the names below were already on the rise. Others may have been influenced by more than just the single pop culture person/event listed. I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence in each case.

On to the names…

Luna, +849

  • Up from 2,796 baby girls in 2015 to 3,645 in 2016.
  • 6th-highest raw-number increase on the girls’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Luna Simone, daughter of singer John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen.

Camila, +765

Greyson, +704

  • Up from 3,591 baby boys in 2015 to 4,295 in 2016.
  • 8th-highest raw-number increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Adonis, +443

Kehlani, +272

Wade, +232

  • Up from 553 baby boys in 2015 to 785 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Prince, +187

  • Up from 820 baby boys in 2015 to 1,007 in 2016.
  • The name Princess also saw a jump in usage: 268 baby girls in 2015 to 369 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Prince.

Lyanna, +154

  • Up from 62 baby girls in 2015 to 216 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Game of Thrones.

Alessia, +130

Wilder, +122

  • Up from 215 baby boys in 2015 to 337 in 2016.
  • 9th-highest ranking increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Wilder also saw higher usage among baby girls: 22 in 2015 to 38 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Gene Wilder.

Canaan, +99

  • Up from 283 baby boys in 2015 to 382 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: son of Oprah Winfrey (she announced this name in late 2015).
    • According to a 2010 biography, Winfrey’s son’s legal first name was Vincent.

Cyrus, +91

  • Up from 631 baby boys in 2015 to 722 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Creed, +78

Bowie, +77

  • Up from 53 baby boys in 2015 to 130 in 2016.
  • Bowie also saw higher usage among baby girls: 43 in 2015 to 75 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of David Bowie.

Muhammad, +77

  • Up from 881 baby boys in 2015 to 958 in 2016.
  • The name Muhammadali also saw a jump in usage: 12 baby boys in 2015 to 24 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Ivanka, +74

  • Up from 37 baby girls in 2015 to 111 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

Cohen, +68

  • Up from 1,017 baby boys in 2015 to 1,085 in 2016.
  • Cohen also saw higher usage among baby girls: 12 in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Leonard Cohen.

Queen, +49

  • Up from 148 baby girls in 2015 to 197 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: the TV show Queen Sugar (2016-) and the movie Queen of Katwe (2016).

Melania, +41

  • Up from 90 baby girls in 2015 to 131 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s wife Melania.

Moana, +38

  • Up from 18 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Jupiter, +36

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 78 in 2016.
  • Jupiter also saw higher usage among baby boys: 25 in 2015 to 41 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Hillary, +34

Simone, +33

  • Up from 340 baby girls in 2015 to 373 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and celebrity baby Luna Simone.

Doris, +32

  • Up from 85 baby girls in 2015 to 117 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Hello, My Name Is Doris (2016).

Dream, +30

  • Up from 98 baby _s in 2015 to 128 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Kardashian baby Dream Renée.

Rio, +29

  • Up from 103 baby boys in 2015 to 132 in 2016.
  • Rio also saw higher usage among baby girls: 38 in 2015 to 61 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Malachi, +27

  • Up from 2,558 baby boys in 2015 to 2,585 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Ali, +23

  • Up from 1,060 baby boys in 2015 to 1,083 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Barron, +20

  • Up from 74 baby boys in 2015 to 94 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s son Barron.

Miesha, +19

  • Up from 13 baby girls in 2015 to 32 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: MMA fighter Miesha Tate.

Onyx, +18

  • Up from 38 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Onyx saw an even higher jump in usage among baby boys: 118 in 2015 to 172 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Onyx Solace, daughter of Alanis Morissette.

Francis, +17

  • Up from 619 baby boys in 2015 to 636 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Merrick, +17

  • Up from 191 baby boys in 2015 to 208 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Judge Merrick Garland.

Ajax, +16

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 33 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Juno, +13

  • Up from 86 baby girls in 2015 to 99 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Keanu, +13

  • Up from 197 baby boys in 2015 to 210 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Keanu (2016).

Halsey, re-entered with 12

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 12 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Halsey (born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane).

Valor, +12

  • Up from 78 baby boys in 2015 to 90 in 2016.
  • Valor also saw higher usage among baby girls: 6 in 2015 to 14 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Hamilton, +11

  • Up from 86 baby boys in 2015 to 97 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Sanders, +11

  • Up from 12 baby boys in 2015 to 23 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Bernie, +10

  • Up from 11 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Omran, +10

  • Up from 7 baby boys in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh.

Elle, +9

  • Up from 816 baby girls in 2015 to 825 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Elle King.

Teresa, +9

  • Up from 426 baby girls in 2015 to 435 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: canonization of Mother Teresa.

Dak, re-entered with 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 8 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NFL player Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott.

Wrigley, +8

  • Up from 22 baby boys in 2015 to 30 in 2016.
  • Wrigley also saw higher usage among baby girls: 15 in 2015 to 18 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Chicago Cubs’ World Series win.

Boomer, +7

  • Up from 5 baby boys in 2015 to 12 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Boomer Robert, son of Michael Phelps.

Dory, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Finding Dory (2016).

Maui, re-entered with 5

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 5 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Wilson, +5

  • Up from 433 baby boys in 2015 to 438 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Sully, +4

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Sully (2016).

Teyana, +3

  • Up from 47 baby girls in 2015 to 50 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Teyana Taylor.

Draymond, +2

  • Up from 6 baby boys in 2015 to 8 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NBA player Draymond Green.

Daya, +1

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 43 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Daya (born Grace Martine Tandon).

Names that went down in usage from 2015 to 2016:

Names not in the SSA data in either 2015 or 2016:

  • Angel Dust
  • Aroldis
  • Bison
  • Broncs
  • Cubby
  • Curiosity
  • Dopinder
  • Eleven
  • Emayatzy
  • E’myri
  • Esperanto
  • Hermine
  • Ingwen
  • Jikan
  • Jonbenet
  • Lorca
  • Kunta
  • Laremy
  • Linmanuel
  • Maga
  • MacGyver
  • Mountain
  • Moushumi
  • Ode
  • Phiona
  • Regé-Jean
  • Rykiel
  • Trump
  • Usain
  • Voltron
  • Zobrist

Some initial reactions…

I was surprised that Adonis and Wade jumped in usage as much as they did.

I was also surprised that Wrigley barely jumped at all in usage. Maybe “Wrigley” reminds too many people of gum?

usain bolt, race, 100m, rio, olympics
© 2016 Cameron Spencer/Getty

Where the heck is Usain? Why is Usain not in the data yet? Sure, track and field is relatively unpopular in the United States. Still, I thought Rio might do it — with the help of that viral photo of Usain Bolt cheekily grinning at the competition in the middle of that 100 meter sprint.

Finally, as a former ’80s kid, I did have my fingers crossed for Voltron. Oh well…

How about you? Did any of these rises/falls surprise you?

P.S. Some of the names from the 2015 Pop Culture Baby Name Game that have started/continued to do well: Adaline, Arlo, Bjorn, Bryshere, Finn, Furiosa, Gigi, Hakeem, Jedi, Joy, Kylo, Lagertha, Lucious, Margot, Mars, Rey, Saint, and Sullivan. Even more interesting is Atticus, which saw a drop in usage in 2016 after rising steadily for years. (Here’s more about Atticus and the Go Set a Watchman debacle.) The usage of Becky decreased as well — could Beyoncé’s song “Sorry” have anything to do with it?

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.