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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Moana

Number of Babies Named Moana

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Moana

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)
  • Ali – death of Muhammad Ali
  • Aroldis – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Auli’i – movie Moana
  • 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
  • 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
  • Dexter – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Doris – movie Hello, My Name Is Doris
  • Emayatzy – TV miniseries Roots
  • E’myri – TV miniseries Roots
  • Esperanto – number of speakers (suggested by elbowin)
  • Greyson – son of JWoww
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Wilder – death of Gene Wilder (suggested by m4yb3_daijirou)
  • 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.


Popular Baby Names in Portugal, 2015

According to data from the Instituto dos Registos e Notariado (IRN), the most popular baby names in Portugal in 2015 were Maria and João.

Here are Portugal’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Maria, 5,324 baby girls
2. Leonor, 1,999
2. Matilde, 1,889
4. Beatriz, 1,268
5. Carolina, 1,228
6. Mariana, 1,205
7. Ana, 1,060
8. Inês, 1,001 (Agnes)
9. Margarida, 989
10. Sofia, 950
1. João, 1,932 baby boys
2. Martim, 1,778
3. Rodrigo, 1,666
4. Santiago, 1,632
5. Francisco, 1,593
7. Afonso, 1,439
6. Tomás, 1,409
8. Miguel, 1,271
9. Guilherme, 1,187
10. Gabriel, 1,143

In the boys’ top ten, Gabriel replaces Duarte (a verion of Edward). The girls’ top ten includes the same ten names.

At the other end of the spectrum, some of the baby names used only once last year:

Unique Girl Names Unique Boy Names
Billca, Djenyfer, Excel, Foricusa, Hadriela, Hedviges, Iok, Jannatul, Joelma, Krutgna, Leninha, Lwezzy, Moana, Muen, Nayuca, Otchali, Otchaly, Ruixiao, Suncar, Svenya, Tchawi, Tesla, Txissola, Uhenia, Urwa, Valcikleny, Wilfania Anass, Bambo, Barack, Ben-Hur, Cleidir, Creation, Cheikh, Djassy, Djemo, Duarth, Eurilucio, Fredynilson, Gonzaga, Guto, Habacuque, Hetwik, Lukenny, Man, Mojo, Neculai, Otchali, Petko, Ruzgyar, Skyllen, Tcherstney, Tuttondele, Vanilson

Here are the 2014 rankings for Portugal.

Sources: No país da Maria e do João, a Luana e o Diego estão a ganhar terreno

Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2014

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2014!

Some of the names below were already on their way up, so I’ll leave it to you guys to decide just how much of an effect pop culture had on each one.

Hazel, +828

  • Up from 2,049 baby girls in 2013 to 2,877 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Fault in Our Stars (2014).

Elsa, +567

  • Up from 564 baby girls in 2013 to 1,131 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Frozen (2013).

Anna, +287

  • Up from 5,352 baby girls in 2013 to 5,639 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Frozen (2013).

Margaret, +168

  • Up from 1,765 baby girls in 2013 to 1,933 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the television show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Augustus, +153

  • Up from 346 baby boys in 2013 to 499 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Fault in Our Stars (2014).

Azalea, +139

  • Up from 443 baby girls in 2013 to 582 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: rapper Iggy Azalea.

Peter, +53

  • Up from 1,846 baby boys in 2013 to 1,899 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: Peter Pan (both the live-action TV event and the upcoming movie).

Robin (as a boy name specifically), +33

  • Up from 155 baby boys in 2013 to 188 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Robin Williams.

Zarina, +32

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2013 to 74 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Pirate Fairy (2014).

Benedict, +29

  • Up from 108 baby boys in 2013 to 137 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: actor Benedict Cumberbatch.

Annalise, +28

  • Up from 665 baby girls in 2013 to 693 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the television show How To Get Away With Murder.

Judith, +28

  • Up from 251 baby girls in 2013 to 279 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the television show The Walking Dead.

Kristoff, +25

  • Up from 7 baby boys in 2013 to 32 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Frozen (2013).

Shailene, +23

  • Up from 6 baby girls in 2013 to 29 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: actress Shailene Woodley, from the movie The Fault in Our Stars (2014).

Tauriel, debuted with 20

  • Debuted with 20 baby girls (the 5th highest debut!) in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: two of the Hobbit movies (2013 & 2014).

Amal, +17

  • Up from 69 baby girls in 2013 to 86 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: George Clooney’s marriage to Amal Alamuddin in 2014.

Odessa, +13

  • Up from 47 baby girls in 2013 to 60 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: rapper Dessa.
  • The name Dessa itself, though, actually decreased in popularity in 2014.

Scotlyn, +13
Scotland, +4 & +4

  • Scotlyn: Up from 50 baby girls in 2013 to 67 in 2014.
  • Scotland: Up from 8 baby girls and 32 baby boys in 2013 to 12 and 36 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the Scottish independence referendum.

Iselle, debuted with 13

  • Debuted with 13 baby girls (the 11th highest debut) in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: Hurricane Iselle.

Vale, re-entered with 12 & 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 12 baby girls and 8 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: a celebrity baby name (daughter of Savannah Guthrie).

Murphy (as a girl name specifically), +11

  • Up from 31 baby girls in 2013 to 42 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Interstellar (2014).

Mandela, +10

  • Up from 6 baby boys in 2013 to 16 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Nelson Mandela.

Rosamund, re-entered with 9

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 9 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: actress Rosamund Pike.

Noni, re-entered with 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 8 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Beyond the Lights (2014).
  • But another character name, Kaz, decreased in popularity in 2014.

Ansel, +7

  • Up from 101 baby boys in 2013 to 108 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Fault in Our Stars (2014).

Kaiser, +7

  • Up from 62 baby boys in 2013 to 69 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: a celebrity baby name (son of Teen Mom Jenelle Evans).

Pharrell, +6

  • Up from 16 baby boys in 2013 to 22 in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: musician Pharrell Williams.

Madiba, debuted with 5

  • Debuted with 5 baby boys in 2014.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Nelson Mandela.

Lucas, unknown in NYC specifically, +55 in NY state, +564 nationally

  • The New York City 2014 data isn’t out yet.
  • Up from 975 baby boys in 2013 to 1,030 in 2014, in New York state.
  • Up from 11,514 baby boys in 2013 to 12,078 in 2014, nationally.
  • Pop culture influence: Venmo’s “Lucas” Ads in the NYC subway.

Names that went up by 4 or fewer:

Names that went down:

Names still not on the SSA’s list in 2014:

  • Arendelle
  • Diren
  • Ellar
  • Ferguson
  • Floribeth
  • Idina
  • Keke
  • Lammily
  • Ledisi
  • Maleficent (despite the pro-Maleficent comments I’ve been getting)
  • Odeya
  • Peaches
  • Philae
  • Rust
  • Seanix
  • Sibel
  • Ska
  • Vitruvius
  • Wyldstyle

Did any of these surprise you?

I’m particularly surprised that Lupita Nyong’o has had no effect on the usage of her name so far.

P.S. Some of the names from the 2013 game that have started/continued to do well: Cressida (re-entered list in 2014), Finnick, Llewyn (the top debut name of 2014), Neymar, Nori, Primrose, Sochi (debuted in 2014), Tessanne (debuted in 2014) and Zoella.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2014

pop culture baby name game 2014

Every year on December 2 (happy birthday Britney Spears!) we start another round of the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game. It’s not a “game” really, but more of a group brainstorm. Between today and next May, we try to guess which baby names saw increased usage in 2014 thanks to popular culture — music, movies, television, video games, sports, politics, current events, products/advertising, and so forth.

Here are all the 2014 predictions we’ve made so far. Many of the below come from longtime commenters elbowin and Julie — thanks you guys!

Which names would you add to this list? (Please remember to add a reason, so we all know the context!)

New Predictions as they come in:

  • Urban – from Diana (12/2)
  • Peter – from Abby (12/2)
  • Noni – from Becca (12/2)
  • Kaz – from Becca (12/2)
  • Murphy (for girls specifically) – from Becca (12/2)
  • Scotland/Scotlyn – from Becca (12/2)
  • Lupita – from Becca (12/2)
  • Benedict – from Becca (12/2)
  • Diem – from Becca (12/2)
  • Rosamund – from Becca (12/2)
  • Annalise – from Julie (12/2)
  • Azalea – from Gina (12/3)
  • Kaiser – from Gina (12/3)
  • Aman – from me (12/4)
  • Judith – from Dellitt (12/5)
  • Margaret – from jaime (12/6)
  • Vale – from Gwen (12/10)
  • Diren – elbowin (12/18)
  • Amal – from me (1/15)
  • Ledisi – from me (2/12)
  • Keke – 2/25

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

Look Out for the Baby Name Moana

disney's moana
Our first look at the characters Moana and Maui.
(I’m guessing Moana is the one standing up.)
I was doing some movie-related research last week when I happened to spot an article about the next official Disney princess: a 14-year-old Polynesian girl named Moana.

The article said Moana would be out in 2018, but Disney announced just a couple of days ago that the movie’s release date had been moved up to 2016.

Moana is set in the South Pacific about 2,000 years ago. Moana and her friend Maui “traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage in which they encounter enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds, and ancient folklore.”

This isn’t the first time the name Moana has been featured in film. The documentary Moana (1926) focused on a young Samoan man named Moana, and the movie Rainbow Island (1944) included a minor female character named Moana. Neither of these match up with the 1941 debut of Moana on the SSA’s baby name list, though. (Any guesses on that?)

The Polynesian word moana generally means “deep sea” or “ocean,” though the definition changes slightly from one language to the next:

moana meaning

While it’s traditionally a unisex name, it’s given more often to baby girls than to baby boys in the U.S.:

  • 2013: 19 baby girls named Moana (5 in California)
  • 2012: 10 baby girls named Moana
  • 2011: 12 baby girls named Moana (5 in California)
  • 2010: 9 baby girls named Moana (5 in California)
  • 2009: 11 baby girls named Moana
  • 2008: 19 baby girls named Moana (9 in California)
  • 2007: 10 baby girls named Moana
  • 2006: 16 baby girls named Moana (7 in California, 6 in Hawaii)
  • 2005: 8 baby girls named Moana
  • 2004: 5 baby girls named Moana

I think we can safely say that the baby name Moana will be seeing increased usage in 2016 thanks to the upcoming Disney movie. But do you think all the pre-release hype could affect the name’s popularity even earlier than that? Say, in 2015? Maybe even in 2014?

Sources & images:

Phone Book Fishing on Molokai – Bootie, Grandharva, Iqbal, Wren

Here are some interesting names I found in the Molokai phone book, which consists of a mere 12 pages:

Ador
Ameron
Arizona
Arleone
Arvo
Aulii
Balbino
Bettygene
Bibiana
Bootie
Burrelle
Burridge
Carnation
Castle
Cheiko
Chiemi
Chikara
Constantino
Cookie
Dartagnon
Davidette
Dedric
Democrito
Dionisio
Eddiemar
Egmedio
Eladio
Estanislao
Ewart
Felicidad
Fiette
Filiga
Filumena
Flordeliza
Geneva
Grandharva
Hajime
Halia
Herminio
Hiroshi
HollyCleo
Honda
Honorato
Hoomalu
Ikaika
Ilika
Ililani
Iolani
Iqbal
Irenio
Irmalynn
Jeness
Jersula
Jimelo
Justiniano
Kachan
Kaelin
Kaeo
Kahala
Kahikina
Kaipo
Kakai
Kamakana
Kanaiaupuni
Kanani
Kapua
Kapuaola
Kauila
Kaulananapua****
Kazumi
Kealoha
Kelson
Kinisimere
Kiva
Kraig
Kui
Kulani
Lahela
Lavarius
Lega
Leimomi
Mahiki
Maka
Makaahoa
Makia
Maleka
Malu
Manuai
Manono
Maunaloa
Mauntrese
Mapuana
Maunalani
Meilin
Mele
Melecio
Melorine
Mercury
Mihana
Mihpel
Minka
Moana
Monteflor
Mosese
Myrnamae
Nahiwa
Nalani
Napua
Nelita
Noa
Nobby
Noelani
Ochie
Olisaemeka
Paciencie
Paiea
Pecoraro
Pierluigi
Pelin
Perfecto
Perpetua
Policarpio
Princess
Prosper
Pualani
Puanani
Punahele
Remedios
Renalynn
Reveena
Rhinehardt
Roshani
Satoru
Segunda
Siosifa
Takaji
Tante
Theisman
Theopista
Tiborcio
Torao
Uilani
Uldarico
Ululani
Vandale
Vashti
Vilani
Volsha
Wallumore
Wiliama
Wren
Yukitaka
Ziana

****Kaulananapua must have come from the Hawaiian patriotic song “Kaulana Na Pua.” The title translates to “famous are the flowers.”

These 150+ names actually represent a sizeable chunk of the population (estimated at somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 residents).

P.S. One other name I noticed while searching was Deepak Chopra. My first thought was, “Wow, someone has the same name as Deepak Chopra?” Then I did some digging, and it seems that the real Dr. Chopra does indeed have ties to the island. So…if you want to call Deepak Chopra directly, try the Molokai white pages.

Hawaii Posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Baby Name Needed – Unique, Water-Related Boy Name

A reader named Danielle wrote to me the other day. She is searching for a name for her second son. She says:

We love the beach, ocean, boating and water and would like something unique to go with that.

Her first son is named Landon Kai. (Kai is the Hawaiian word for “sea,” among other things.)

Dylan, Welsh for “great sea,” was the first name that came to mind. It’s fashionable, and I think it goes well with Landon. Popular variant spellings of Dylan include Dillon and Dillan.

Murdoch/Murdock and Murphy are also tied to the sea. Both can be traced back to the Gaelic name Murchadh, which means “sea warrior.” (Morgan might also be sea-related, depending on the etymology you trust.)

For something more avant garde, sea gods and goddesses with cool names include Lir/Llyr (Irish), Mazu (Chinese), Moana (Polynesian), Nereus and Triton (Greek).

Branching out to other bodies of water…Lincoln and Lachlan are both lake-related, while Kyle refers to a channel or strait. River has been used as name (so has Rio), and specific rivers have given rise to names such as Clyde, Jordan, Kelvin, Shannon and Trent.

The name Jonah is associated with the biblical tale about a prophet who is swallowed by a large fish. The name Ulysses is associated with the Odyseey, a Homeric poem featuring a long sea journey. (The former means “dove” in Hebrew, while the latter comes from a Greek verb meaning “to hate.”)

Finally, a short note to Danielle: Do you have any favorite beaches or bodies of water? Try taking a look at their names. (None will mean “water” or “beach,” but you’ll personally associate the name with those things.) For instance, beaches in my town have names like Gray, Parker and Wilbur. Beaches in nearby towns include Crosby, Ellis, Fisher, Glendon, Orrin and Ryder. And these don’t even cover all the local ponds, lakes, inlets, bays, and so forth.