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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Nathaniel

Number of Babies Named Nathaniel

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Nathaniel

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.


Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity, 2016

Which boy names increased the most in popularity from 2015 to 2016? And which ones decreased the most?

The U.S. SSA likes to answer this question by analyzing ranking differences within the top 1,000. I prefer to answer it by looking at raw number differences, and to take the full list into account. So let’s check out the results using both methods…

Boy Names: Biggest Increases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, boy names, more popular

Rankings

1. Kylo, +2,368 spots — up from 3,269th to 901st
2. Creed, +370 spots — up from 1,352nd to 982nd
3. Benicio, +356 spots — up from 1,331st to 975th
4. Adonis, +307 spots — up from 701st to 394th
5. Fox, +288 spots — up from 1034th to 746th
6. Kye, +281 spots — up from 984th to 703rd
7. Hakeem, +256 spots — up from 1,161st to 905th
8. Shepherd, +242 spots — up from 1,105th to 863rd
9. Wilder, +238 spots — up from 961st to 723rd
10. Zayn, +222 spots — up from 643rd to 421st

Kylo was influenced by the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Creed and Adonis were influenced by the movie Creed (2015).

Hakeem was influenced by the TV show Empire (2015-). So was Bryshere, which debuted last year.

Wilder could have been influenced by either Gene Wilder or by boxer Deontay Wilder, or both. (Or neither.)

Zayn was influenced by British singer/songwriter Zain “Zayn” Malik.

Raw Numbers

1. Mateo, +1,516 baby boys — up from 5,010 to 6,526
2. Oliver, +1,340 baby boys — up from 11,635 to 12,975
3. Bryson, +1,239 baby boys — up from 3,094 to 4,333
4. Lincoln, +1,094 baby boys — up from 5,982 to 7,076
5. Benjamin, +899 baby boys — up from 13,670 to 14,569
6. Grayson, +735 baby boys — up from 7,887 to 8,622
7. Theodore, +723 baby boys — up from 4,136 to 4,859
8. Greyson, +704 baby boys — up from 3,591 to 4,295
9. Leo, +678 baby boys — up from 4,582 to 5,260
10. Maverick, +675 baby boys — up from 2,265 to 2,940

Other names that saw raw number increases in the 200+ range included Owen, Sebastian, Ezekiel, Lucas, Ezra, Leonardo, Santiago, Conor, Gael, Everett, Rhett, Jameson, Killian, Tobias, Arlo, Easton, Finn, Rowan, Elias, Asher, Calvin, Thiago, Bodhi, Legend, Lukas, River, Elliot, Harrison, Roman, Adriel, Paxton, Julian, Ace, Josiah, Waylon, Messiah, Nash, Ellis, Matias, George, Barrett, Connor, Wade, Kyrie, Milo, Amir, Bennett, Elliott, Silas, Matteo, and Axel.

Rowan is rising quickly for both boys and girls right now.

Kyrie, which was once given primarily to girls, is now being given primarily for boys thanks to basketball player Kyrie Irving.

Boy Names: Biggest Decreases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, boy names, less popular

Rankings

1. Jonael, -475 spots — down from 921st to 1,396th
2. Aaden, -239 spots — down from 784th to 1,023rd
3. Triston, -230 spots — down from 957th to 1,187th
4. Freddy, -222 spots — down from 993rd to 1,215th
5. Yaakov, -213 spots — down from 992nd to 1,205th
6. Braeden, -203 spots — down from 792nd to 995th
7. Chace, -202 spots — down from 935th to 1,137th
8. Brantlee, -176 spots — down from 777th to 953rd
9. Gannon, -173 spots — down from 533rd to 706th
10. Robin, -171 spots — down from 969th to 1,140th

The name Jonael got a lot of exposure in 2015 thanks to 11-year-old Puerto Rican singer Jonael Santiago, who won the 3rd season of La Voz Kids, which aired from March to June. It didn’t get as much exposure in 2016, which accounts for the drop in usage.

Raw Numbers

1. Logan, -1,697 baby boys (12,897 to 11,200)
2. Jacob, -1,498 baby boys (15,914 to 14,416)
3. Jayden, -1,455 baby boys (11,518 to 10,063)
4. Mason, -1,399 baby boys (16,591 to 15,192)
5. Ethan, -1,291 baby boys — down from 15,049 to 13,758
6. Aiden, -1,271 baby boys (13,429 to 12,158)
7. Alexander, -1,186 baby boys (14,507 to 13,321)
8. Jackson, -1,032 baby boys (12,242 to 11,210)
9. Brandon, -1,024 baby boys (5,100 to 4,076)
10. Blake, -951 baby boys (4,220 to 3,269)

blake, baby name, gender, switchUnlike Rowan, Blake is falling on the boys’ list, but rising on the girls’ list. In fact, the graph (right) makes a gender switch look inevitable. This is not something I would have anticipated a decade ago, before the emergence of Blake Lively.

Other names that saw raw number drops in the 200+ range included Landon, Caleb, Gavin, Anthony, Christopher, Andrew, David, Parker, Colton, Jase, Hunter, Brody, Brantley, Gabriel, Jonathan, Jordan, Tyler, Kevin, Nathan, Joshua, Carter, Daniel, Joseph, Dylan, Christian, Noah, Angel, Brayden, Iker, Chase, Nicholas, Austin, Dominic, Camden, John, Ayden, Michael, Colin, Bryan, Riley, Kyle, Hayden, Bradley, Nathaniel, Jake, Samuel, Luke, Cayden, Evan, Zachary, Steven, Kaden, Cooper, Marcus, Ryan, Tristan, Bryce, Ryder, Micah, Brady, Bentley, Kaleb, Levi, Alex, Conner, Jeremy, Isaac, Ian, Gage, Brian, Kayden, Jaden, Carlos, Sean, Jeremiah, Abel, Devin, Adrian, Giovanni, Garrett, and Adam.

Jase has seen a dramatic rise and fall over the last few years: big gains in 2012 and 2013, followed by big losses in 2014, 2015, and now 2016.

Similarly, Iker was on the rise for a while, with partcularly big leaps in 2011 and 2012, but usage is now on the wane.

Do you have any other explanations/guesses about any of the names above? If so, please leave a comment.

(In 2015, the big winners were Oliver and Riaan, and the big losers were Jase and Arnav.)

Sources: Change in Popularity from 2015 to 2016, Emma and Noah Remain Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2016

Name Quotes for the Weekend #36

Pronunciation of Baden-Powell

Verse written by Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell (1857-1941), founder of the Scout Movement:

Pronunciation of Baden-Powell

Man, Nation, Maiden
Please call it Baden.
Further, for Powell
Rhyme it with Noel.

From Otter, Apple, CrimeFighter: celebrities should save stupid baby names for their sons by Eleanor Margolis:

When parents inflict a sickeningly cutesy name on a daughter they’re (unwittingly, I hope) defining her by her cuteness — something that a massive chunk of society was going to do even before they gave her a name that would look stupid on a Bichon Frisé. Either they’re blind to the fact that women have a hard enough time being taken seriously without being called Marshmallow Twinkletits, or they don’t plan on taking their daughter seriously themselves.

So, if idiot parents feel a biological imperative to name their children after “aDORKable” things, I think they should go for it. My one caveat is that they bestow these names on their sons rather than their daughters. Because naming a boy “Otter” may not be revolutionary, but it would definitely take one white, middle-class man down a notch.

From Is Bernie right name for president? by Bernie O’Neill:

Kennedy was the first Catholic president. Obama the first black president. Hillary would be the first woman president.

But more importantly, Sanders would be the first Bernie president. I like the sound of that.

From Intact, Packed Etruscan Tomb Found by Rossella Lorenzi:

So far [archaeologist Clarita] Natalini and colleagues have been able to read the word “Laris.” Lars is a common Etruscan male first name. The stone coffin contains the skeleton of a male individual.

From an article about the US Navy’s most futuristic ship, the USS Zumwalt, which is captained by a guy named James Kirk:

“We are absolutely fired up to see Zumwalt get underway. For the crew and all those involved in designing, building, and readying this fantastic ship, this is a huge milestone,” the ship’s skipper, Navy Capt. James Kirk, said before the ship departed.

(The original captain of Star Trek‘s very futuristic starship Enterprise was named James T. Kirk.)

From What’s in a Name? by Jamaal Allan (who is white, but often assumed to be black):

When people have seen my name before they’ve seen my face, I get “OH — you’re Jamaal.”

[…]

It is not uncommon for people to follow up with, “I expected you to be–” and then there’s a pause; a sudden realization they are on the verge of sounding racist. There’s a look–not quite ‘deer in the headlights’, but it is a definite freeze. What to say next? I’ve heard several: taller, older, different (usually accompanied with an uncomfortable chuckle).

Very few people have the courage to say darker.

(Found via NPR.)

From the book Suffolk Surnames (1858) by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch:

The following anecdote was related to me by a friend: At a trial, in which a well-known Liverpool merchant, Ottiwell Wood, was a witness, he was requested by the presiding judge, who was somewhat deaf, to spell his name; which he did as follows: “O double t,
i double u, e double l, double u double o, d.”

From the book From Red Hot to Monkey’s Eyebrow: Unusual Kentucky Place Names (1997) by Robert M. Rennick:

Kentucky’s Mousie, still a post office serving many families in the Jones Fork area of northern Knott County, wasn’t named for a mouse at all but for a young woman — named Mousie. She was then (1916) the twenty-year-old daughter of Clay Martin, a large landowner in that area.

Why would a girl be named Mousie? Why not? Mousie is not at all an unusual given name in eastern Kentucky. Since the Civil War, scores of young Mousies throughout the region have borne this name. Mousie Martin, who later became Mrs. Mart Gibson, used to tell us that she was so named at the suggestion of her grandfather, for she had an older sister named Kitty and he rather liked the idea of having two little varmints in the family.

Want more quote posts?

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?

Names from Boston Burials – Huamy, Waitstill, Mehitable

Husband and I got back from Boston nearly a week ago, but I wanted to mention one more thing about the trip…

A few days after riding in a duck boat, a group of us walked Boston’s Freedom Trail, which includes two historical cemeteries.

I could have spent the entire day in either one, but only got about 10 minutes in each. (My 5-year-old nieces didn’t have much interest in a field full of dead people. Go figure.)

The only bizarre name I managed to spot was Huamy in King’s Chapel Burying Ground (est. 1630).

Huamy headstone at Kings Chapel Burying Ground

Half of her stone is underground, but a mid-19th century book called Memorials of the Dead in Boston offers the full inscription:

Huamy Edridge Martin, died 1721 at 32 years old

Curiously, there was something between the “hu” and the “amy” on the stone — it could have been damage/wear, but it did look a lot like a hyphen. (Could “Hu-Amy” have been short for something? Huldah-Amy?)

The book also included all of the other King’s Chapel inscriptions, which was great, as I got to see so few of them while there.

According to the Memorials of the Dead in Boston, most of the people buried in King’s Chapel had names you’d expect: John, Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary, Nathaniel, Hannah, Samuel, Martha, etc.

But a handful others were named Eliather, Elishua, Freelove, Gilam, Grizzelle, Hopestill, Obadiah, Relief and Waitstill. (There’s also a Goderee that wasn’t listed in the book.)

I counted 6 women named Mehetabel, though the biblical spelling wasn’t used on any of the inscriptions. Instead, their names were written “Mehetable,” “Mehitable” or “Mehitabel.”

Speaking of variant spellings, I also spotted a Millesent, a Bartholomey, a Ledia, a Returne, and an Urssileur (Ursula).

…And that’s all I’ve got for King’s Chapel. At some point I’ll also post about the names at the Old Granary Burial Ground (the Freedom Trail’s other graveyard) but for now I’ll leave you with this gratuitous shot of one of my impish nieces:

niece scraping mud off headstone
My niece scraping mud off a headstone.

Source: Bridgman, Thomas. Memorials of the Dead in Boston. Boston: Benjamin B. Mussey & Co., 1853.