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

McCutcheon’s Baby Names: Nedra, Yetive, Gerane, Doraine…

I doubt the name “George Barr McCutcheon” means much to you. But the name has become quite familiar to me. Why? Because George Barr McCutcheon — who wrote dozens of novels in the early 1900s — put several brand new baby names on the map during the early 20th century.

The Indiana-born writer lived from 1866 to 1928, and many of his books became bestsellers. Today, his best-remembered story is Brewster’s Millions, which has been adapted into a movie several times. The most memorable adaptation would have to be the 1985 version starring comedians Richard Pryor (as protagonist Montgomery Brewster) and John Candy.

So which baby names did McCutcheon introduce/influence? Here’s what I’ve found so far:

Nedra

nedraMcCutcheon’s novel Nedra (1905) was the 5th best-selling book of 1905. Though there’s a lady on the front cover, “Nedra” isn’t a female character, but the name of an island on which several of the characters are shipwrecked.

The next year, the name Nedra debuted on the baby name charts. In fact, it was the top debut name of 1906.

  • 1909: 14 baby girls named Nedra
  • 1908: 18 baby girls named Nedra
  • 1907: 10 baby girls named Nedra
  • 1906: 11 baby girls named Nedra [debut]
  • 1905: unlisted

SSDI data confirms that the name Nedra saw noticeably higher usage after the book was released.

One of these baby Nedras grew up to become actress Nedra Volz (b. 1908).

Yetive, Truxton, Gerane, Beverly

McCutcheon wrote six novels about the fictional Eastern European country of Graustark:

  • Graustark (1901) – the 9th best-selling book of 1901
  • Beverly of Graustark (1904) – the 6th best-selling book of 1904
  • Truxton King (1909) – the 6th best-selling book of 1909
  • The Prince of Graustark (1914) – the 10th best-selling book of 1914
  • East of the Setting Sun (1924)
  • The Inn of the Hawk and Raven (1927)

Several of these books were later made into movies and plays. The three Graustarkian names I’ve noticed on the charts are:

  • Yetive, inspired by the character Princess Yetive from the first two books. First appeared in the SSA data in 1911.
  • Truxton, inspired by Truxton King from the 3rd book. First appeared in the data in 1912.
  • Gerane, inspired by Gerane Davos from the final book. First appeared in the data 1928.

Plus there’s Beverly, which was used for a female character in Beverly of Graustark. The novel, along with a 1926 film adaptation, helped pull the once-gender-neutral name onto the girls’ side definitively. (Ironically, the actress who played Princess Yetive in a 1915 film adaptation of Graustark used the stage name Beverly Bayne.)

Here are some of Graustarkian names that did not make the charts: Ganlook, Grenfall, Dantan, Dannox, Marlanx, Bevra (the daughter of Beverly), Hedrik, and Pendennis.

Doraine

McCutcheon’s novel West Wind Drift (1920) is like his earlier book Nedra in that both stories involve a shipwreck and an island. In Nedra, “Nedra” is the name of the island; in West Wind Drift, “Doraine” is the name of the ship.

The year West Wind Drift came out, the name Doraine debuted in the baby name data.

  • 1923: 5 baby girls named Doraine
  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: 6 baby girls named Doraine
  • 1920: 11 baby girls named Doraine [debut]
  • 1919: unlisted

It was tied for 2nd-highest debut name that year. (#1 was Dardanella.)

Coincidentally, the shipwrecked characters in West Wind Drift have a debate at one point about using “Doraine” as baby name. They argue over whether or not they should give the name to an orphaned baby girl who had been born aboard the ship. Here’s the opinion of character Michael Malone: “We can’t do better than to name her after her birthplace. That’s her name. Doraine Cruise. It sounds Irish. Got music in it.”

*

Have you ever a George Barr McCutcheon book? If so, do you remember any unusual character names? (If not, and you’d like to check him out, here are dozens of George Barr McCutcheon novels archived at Project Gutenberg.)

Sources: The Books of the Century: 1900-1999 – Daniel Immerwahr, George Barr McCutcheon – Wikipedia


Popular Baby Names in Moldova, 2016

According to an article published in late January by Moldovan news site Publika TV, the most popular baby names in Moldova in 2016 were Sofia and David.

The article was hard to interpret, but here’s my guess at Moldova’s top girl names and top boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Sofia
2. Anastasia
3. Daria
4. Victoria
5. Alexandra
6. Evelina
7. Amelia
8. Andrea
9. Valeria
10. Gabriela

Boy Names
1. David
2. Maxim
3. Alexandru
4. Artiom (…which is based on the name of Greek goddess Artemis)
5. Ion (…looks molecular, but it’s actually a form of John)
6. Bogdan
7. Daniel
8. Matthew
9. Nikita
10. Michael

The top names in 2014 were Sofia and Maxim.

Source: Most popular baby names chosen by Moldovans in 2016

Popular Baby Names in Tennessee, 2016

According to provisional data released on January 10th by Tennessee’s Office of Vital Records, the most popular baby names in the state in 2016 were Emma and William.

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

Girl Names
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Ava
4. Harper
5. Isabella
6. Amelia
7. Elizabeth
8. Ella
9. Charlotte
10. Abigail

Boy Names
1. William
2. Elijah and James (tie)
3. Mason
4. Noah
5. Jackson and Liam (tie)
6. John and Michael (tie)
7. Benjamin
8. Aiden
9. Jacob
10. Carter

The #1 names were the same in 2015.

In the girls’ top 10, Amelia, Ella, and Charlotte replace Sophia, Madison, and Emily.

Newcomers to the boys’ top 10 are Michael, Benjamin, and Aiden. (No drop-offs this year due to the ties.)

Source: Emma, William Maintain Titles as Tennessee’s Top Baby Names

Popular Baby Names in New York City, 2015

According to data from the New York City Department of Health, the most popular baby names in the city last year were Olivia and Ethan.

Here are New York City’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names
1. Olivia (595 baby girls)
2. Sophia
3. Emma (tied)
4. Mia (tied)
5. Isabella
6. Leah
7. Emily
8. Ava
9. Chloe
10. Madison

Boy Names
1. Ethan (773 baby boys)
2. Liam
3. Noah
4. Jacob
5. Jayden
6. Matthew
7. David
8. Daniel (tied)
9. Dylan (tied)
10. Aiden

On the girls’ list, Olivia replaces Sophia as the top name and Madison replaces Sofia in the top 10.

On the boys’ list, Dylan and Aiden replace Michael and Alexander in the top 10.

Here are the top names broken down by ethnic/racial group:

Latino:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Mia
4. Emma
5. Camila
1. Liam
2. Dylan
3. Ethan
4. Matthew
5. Noah

Black:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Madison
2. Skylar
3. Ava
4. Olivia
5. Mia
1. Noah
2. Liam
3. Aiden
4. Jeremiah
5. Ethan/Josiah (tie)

White:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Leah
4. Sarah
5. Esther
1. David
2. Joseph
3. Moshe
4. Jacob
5. Benjamin

Asian & Pacific Islander:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia
2. Chloe
3. Sophia
4. Emily
5. Emma
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Ryan
4. Muhammad
5. Aiden

New York City’s less-popular names (used 10 times each) included…

  • Damaris, Eunice, and Shirin (girl names)
  • Dimitri, Immanuel, and Ousmane (boy names)

The news release also mentioned that NYC’s baby name data goes back as far back as 1898. That year, the top girl names were Mary, Catherine, and Margaret, and the top boy names were John, William, and Charles.

Here are NYC’s 2014 rankings. For more U.S.-specific baby name rankings, see the U.S. name rankings subcategory. For international rankings as well, check out the full name rankings category.

Source: Olivia and Ethan Top Health Department’s Annual Most Popular Baby Names For 2015

Popular Baby Names in New Mexico, 2016

According to provisional data released yesterday by the New Mexico Department of Health, the most popular baby names in the state in 2016 were Mia and Elijah.

Here are New Mexico’s projected top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Mia
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Emma
5. Isabella
6. Ava
7. Emily
8. Sofia
9. Abigail
10. Amelia

Boy Names
1. Elijah
2. Noah
3. Michael
4. Liam
5. Josiah
6. Sebastian
7. Ethan
8. Jacob
9. Aiden
10. Lucas

On the girls’ list, Amelia replaces Aria in the top 10.

On the boys’ list, Elijah knocks Noah out of first place and Sebastian, Ethan, and Lucas replace Alexander, Gabriel and Daniel in the top 10.

The name Michael, which has been trending downward nationally for quite a while, has been on the rise in New Mexico — at least within the last few years. It ranked 10th in 2014, 4th in 2015, and now 3rd in 2016. But the SSA data paints a slightly different picture of Michael’s usage in New Mexico recently:

  • 2015: Michael ranked 4th (91 baby boys) in New Mexico
  • 2014: Michael ranked 5th (96 baby boys) in NM
  • 2013: Michael ranked 8th (100 baby boys) in NM
  • 2012: Michael ranked 15th (88 baby boys) in NM
  • 2011: Michael ranked 3rd (128 baby boys) in NM
  • 2010: Michael ranked 4th (125 baby boys) in NM
  • 2009: Michael ranked 6th (127 baby boys) in NM

For more U.S.-specific baby name rankings, check out the U.S. name rankings subcategory.

Source: Top New Mexico Baby Names of 2016

Popular Baby Names in Arizona, 2016

According to provisional data released yesterday by the Arizona Department of Health Services, the most popular baby names in the state in 2016 were Emma and Liam.

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

Girl Names
1. Emma, 419 baby girls
2. Sophia, 411
3. Olivia, 385
4. Mia, 382
5. Isabella, 345
6. Ava, 267
7. Emily, 267
8. Sofia, 263
9. Abigail, 242
10. Charlotte, 234

Boy Names
1. Liam, 404 baby boys
2. Noah, 394
3. Daniel, 322
4. Sebastian, 309
5. Alexander, 298
6. Michael, 295
7. Julian, 285
8. Oliver, 268
9. Benjamin, 267
10. Mason, 267

In 2015 the top baby names in Arizona were Sophia and Noah.

In the girls’ top 10, Charlotte replaces Victoria (now 12th).

In the boys’ top 10, Oliver, Benjamin and Mason replace Ethan (now 11th), Jacob (12th), and Aiden (13th).

The Arizona Daily Sun also notes that…

A decade ago, before Arizona approved one of the harshest laws in the nation aimed at those here illegally, names like Angel, Jose, Jesus and Juan were among the Top 20. In fact in 2005 Jose was the top name for all boys born in the state.

Now Angel has dropped to 26, Jose to 34, Jesus to 37 and Juan to 78.

The law referred to here is the controversial Arizona Senate Bill 1070.

Finalized 2016 data for Arizona will be available in February of 2017.

Sources: Liam, Emma top Arizona baby names for 2016, Top Baby Names in Arizona 2016

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2016

pop culture baby name game, 2016

It’s December 2 — the doubly momentous day on which Britney Spears celebrates her birthday and on which we start another round of the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game.

Which baby names will see significant movement on the charts in 2016 thanks to popular culture (TV, movies, music, sports, politics, products, current events, video games, etc.)? Below are some possibilities. Leave a comment with the names you’d add — and don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence.

  • Addison – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Adonis – movie Creed (suggested by Becca)
  • Ajax – TV show Deadpool (suggested by Elizabeth)
  • Alessia – singer Alessia Cara (suggested by Ebony)
  • Ali – death of Muhammad Ali
  • Angel (f) – TV show Deadpool (suggested by Elizabeth)
  • Angel Dust – TV show Deadpool (suggested by Elizabeth)
  • Aroldis – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Auli’i – movie Moana
  • Barron – son of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by Andrea)
  • Bebe – singer Bleta “Bebe” Rexha (suggested by Ebony)
  • Bernie – presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (suggested by elbowin)
  • Bison – new national mammal & Dakota Access pipeline protests
  • Boomer – son of Michael Phelps
  • Bowie – musician David Bowie
  • Broncs – son of Mackenzie McKee (late suggestion by me)
  • Camila – singer Camila Cabello (suggested by Ebony)
  • Canaan – son of Oprah Winfrey
  • Clark – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Cohen – death of Leonard Cohen
  • Creed – movie Creed (suggested by Julie and Becca)
  • Cub – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Cubby – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Cyrus – TV miniseries Roots
  • Curiosity – Mars rover (suggested by elbowin)
  • Daya – singer Daya (suggested by Ebony)
  • Dexter – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Dopinder – TV show Deadpool (suggested by Elizabeth)
  • Doris – movie Hello, My Name Is Doris
  • Dory – movie Finding Dory (suggested by Randi)
  • Dream – latest Kardashian baby (late suggestion by me)
  • Eleven – TV show Stranger Things (late suggestion by me)
  • Elle – singer Elle King (suggested by Ebony)
  • Emayatzy – TV miniseries Roots
  • E’myri – TV miniseries Roots
  • Esperanto – number of speakers (suggested by elbowin)
  • Francis – TV show Deadpool (suggested by Elizabeth)
  • Greyson – son of JWoww
  • Halsey – singer Halsey (suggested by Ebony)
  • Hamilton – musical Hamilton
  • Harriet – Harriet Tubman, chosen to appear on $20 bill
  • Hillary – presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • Ingwen – Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan (suggested by elbowin)
  • Ivanka – daughter of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
  • Jikan – death of Leonard Cohen (suggested by elbowin)
  • Jonbenet – anniversary of the death of JonBenet Ramsey
  • Juno – NASA space probe
  • Jupiter – NASA space probe
  • Lorca – death of Leonard Cohen (suggested by elbowin)
  • Luna – daughter of John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
  • Keanu – Key & Peele movie Keanu
  • Kizzy – TV miniseries Roots
  • Kunta – TV miniseries Roots
  • Lyanna – TV show Game of Thrones
  • Maga – Trump hashtag #MAGA (late suggestion by me)
  • Malachi – TV miniseries Roots
  • Melania – wife of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
  • Maui – movie Moana
  • Moana – movie Moana
  • Monica – Puerto Rican Olympian Monica Puig (I’m curious about the rankings in Puerto Rico specifically; Monica fell out of the top 100 in PR after 2002.)
  • Mountain – daughter of actress Jena Malone
  • Moushumi – TV show The Voice (late suggestion by me)
  • Mowgli – movie The Jungle Book
  • Muhammad – death of Muhammad Ali
  • Murray – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Ode – daughter of actress Jena Malone
  • Omran – Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh
  • Onyx – daughter of Alanis Morissette
  • Phiona – movie Queen of Katwe
  • Paisley – death of Prince
  • Prince – death of Prince (suggested by elbowin)
  • Queen – TV show Queen Sugar & movie Queen of Katwe
  • Regé-Jean – TV miniseries Roots
  • Rihanna – singer Rihanna (suggested by Ebony)
  • Rio – location of the 2016 Summer Olympics
  • Rykiel – death of Sonia Rykiel (suggested by elbowin)
  • Sanders – presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
  • Simone – gymnast Simone Biles & daughter of John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
  • Solace – daughter of Alanis Morissette
  • Sully – movie Sully
  • Teresa – canonization of Mother Teresa
  • Tiffany – daughter of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
  • Trump – president-elect Donald Trump
  • Tulip – movie Storks
  • Valor – son of JWoww
  • Vanessa – TV show Deadpool (suggested by Elizabeth)
  • Wade – TV show Deadpool (suggested by Elizabeth)
  • Wilder – death of Gene Wilder (suggested by m4yb3_daijirou)
  • Wilson – TV show Deadpool (suggested by Elizabeth)
  • Wrigley – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Zephyr – U.S. House of Rep. (NY) candidate Zephyr Teachout, who was endorsed by Bernie Sanders. (She was born in Washington state, where Zephyr is particularly popular.)
  • Zobrist – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series

I’ll post the results next May, when the SSA releases the 2016 baby name data. If you don’t want to miss the results post, please subscribe!

Previous rounds of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011: #1 & #2, 2010.