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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.

Popularity of the Baby Name Nora

Number of Babies Named Nora

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Nora

Should We Name Hurricanes to Maximize Donations?

hurricaneIn 2008, psychologists Jesse Chandler, Tiffany M. Griffin, and Nicholas Sorensen published a study showing that people who shared an initial with a hurricane name were over-represented among hurricane relief donors. So, for instance, people with R-names donated significantly more than other people to Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (This is an offshoot of the name-letter effect.)

A few years later, marketing professor Adam Alter came up with an interesting idea: Why not use this knowledge to try to maximize donations to hurricane relief efforts? He explained:

In the United States, for example, more than 10% of all males have names that begin with the letter J-names like James and John (the two most common male names), Joseph and Jose, Jason, and Jeffrey. Instead of beginning just one hurricane name with the letter J each year (in 2013, that name will be Jerry), the World Meteorological Organization could introduce several J names each year. Similarly, more American female names begin with M than any other letter–most of them Marys, Marias, Margarets, Michelles, and Melissas–so the Organization could introduce several more M names to each list.

I think his idea is a good one overall. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, but could potentially benefit many hurricane victims.

I would go about choosing the names differently, though.

Repeating initials multiple times within a single hurricane season would be unwise, for instance. It would cause confusion, which would undermine the reason we started naming hurricanes in the first place (“for people easily to understand and remember” them, according to the WMO).

But optimizing the name lists using data on real-life usage? That would be smart.

I might even try optimizing based on demographics. Baby boomers are particularly generous donors, so maybe we should choose letters (or even names) with that generation in mind?

The baby boomers were born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, so here are the top initials for babies born in 1956 (60 years ago):

Top first letters of baby names, 1956, U.S.

Here are two possible lists of hurricane names using the above letters. I stuck with the WMO’s conventions: 21 names total, alternating genders, and no retired names.

Mid-century style Modern style

And here’s another point: we wouldn’t want to assign these names in order. While the official hurricane season lasts a full six months — June to November — most hurricane activity happens in August, September and October:

Number of Tropical Cyclones per 100 Years (NOAA)

To really optimize, we’d want to reserve the top initials/names for the stronger mid-season hurricanes, which tend to do the most damage. So we could start the season using mid-list names, then jump to the top of the list when August comes around and go in order from that point forward (skipping over any mid-list names that had already been used).

What are your thoughts on assigning hurricane names with disaster relief in mind? Do you think it could work? What strategy/formula would you use to select relief-optimized hurricane names?

Sources: In the “I” of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donations, Smart Hurricane Names: A Policy Intervention that Costs Almost Nothing but Should Attract Billions of Dollars in Aid, Tropical Cyclone Programme – WMO
Image: Tropical Cyclone Climatology – National Hurricane Center – NOAA

P.S. While J, D and R were the top initials 60 years ago, today’s top initials are A, J and M.

Most Popular U.S. Baby Names of 2015

According to the Social Security Administration, Emma and Noah were the most popular baby names in the United States in 2015.

Here’s the top 10:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emma, 20355 baby girls
2. Olivia, 19553
3. Sophia, 17327
4. Ava, 16286
5. Isabella, 15504
6. Mia, 14820
7. Abigail, 12311
8. Emily, 11727
9. Charlotte, 11332
10. Harper, 10241
1. Noah, 19511 baby boys
2. Liam, 18281
3. Mason, 16535
4. Jacob, 15816
5. William, 15809
6. Ethan, 14991
7. James, 14705
8. Alexander, 14460
9. Michael, 14321
10. Benjamin, 13608

Emma and Noah were also the #1 names in 2014.

Harper replaces Madison in the girls’ top 10; Benjamin replaces Daniel in the boys’ top 10.

Here’s the rest of the top 50:

Girl Names Boy Names
11. Madison, 10038
12. Amelia, 9795
13. Elizabeth, 9656
14. Sofia, 9650
15. Evelyn, 9313
16. Avery, 9298
17. Chloe, 7884
18. Ella, 7852
19. Grace, 7589
20. Victoria, 7575
21. Aubrey, 7357
22. Scarlett, 7100
23. Zoey, 6900
24. Addison, 6683
25. Lily, 6617
26. Lillian, 6571
27. Natalie, 6466
28. Hannah, 6372
29. Aria, 6371
30. Layla, 6289
31. Brooklyn, 6268
32. Alexa, 6029
33. Zoe, 5995
34. Penelope, 5921
35. Riley, 5707
36. Leah, 5585
37. Audrey, 5581
38. Savannah, 5413
39. Allison, 5329
40. Samantha, 5304
41. Nora, 5301
42. Skylar, 5258
43. Camila, 5257
44. Anna, 5094
45. Paisley, 5056
46. Ariana, 4933
47. Ellie, 4838
48. Aaliyah, 4836
49. Claire, 4805
50. Violet, 4779
11. Elijah, 13511
12. Daniel, 13408
13. Aiden, 13378
14. Logan, 12862
15. Matthew, 12648
16. Lucas, 12246
17. Jackson, 12182
18. David, 11691
19. Oliver, 11592
20. Jayden, 11475
21. Joseph, 11375
22. Gabriel, 10782
23. Samuel, 10733
24. Carter, 10727
25. Anthony, 10564
26. John, 10303
27. Dylan, 10232
28. Luke, 10219
29. Henry, 10112
30. Andrew, 10027
31. Isaac, 9878
32. Christopher, 9742
33. Joshua, 9720
34. Wyatt, 9597
35. Sebastian, 9569
36. Owen, 9549
37. Caleb, 8727
38. Nathan, 8530
39. Ryan, 8474
40. Jack, 8456
41. Hunter, 8284
42. Levi, 8236
43. Christian, 8127
44. Jaxon, 8015
45. Julian, 8003
46. Landon, 7896
47. Grayson, 7852
48. Jonathan, 7577
49. Isaiah, 7528
50. Charles, 7125

In the girls’ top 50, Alexa, Paisley, Ellie and Violet replace Arianna, Gabriella, Sadie and Sarah.

In the boys’ top 50, Grayson and Charles replace Eli and Aaron.

Impressive rises:

  • Alexa rose 31 places, from 63rd to 32nd
  • Violet rose 17 places, from 67th to 50th
  • Grayson rose 16 places, from 63rd to 47th
  • Oliver rose 13 places, from 32nd to 19th
  • Riley (girl name) rose 12 places, from 47th to 35th

Impressive drops:

  • Arianna dropped 16 places, from 40th to 56th
  • Gabriella dropped 11 places, from 43rd to 54th
  • Anna dropped 10 places, from 34th to 44th

There’s much more to come! Until then, I’ll quote liberally from the SSA’s press release:

Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 1,000 are Alaia and Riaan.

Alaia jumped 2,012 spots on the girls’ side to number 664, from number 2,676 in 2014. Perhaps this can be attributed to high fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, or maybe it is because of Alaia Baldwin, the model/daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.

Riaan increased 1,360 spots for the boys, from number 2,286 in 2014 to number 926. Of Indian origin, it is also the name of the young son of a well-known Bollywood actor, Riteish Deshmukh.

The second fastest riser for girls was Meilani. If you have ever watched MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” and maybe even if you haven’t, you’ve heard of Jenni “JWoww” Farley. She gave birth to daughter Meilani in 2014. On a different American shore, out in Hawaii, is another well-known Meilani–Bethany Meilani Hamilton, the professional surfer whose story of surviving a shark attack was documented in the movie “Soul Surfer.”

For boys, it was Huxley (a brave new comeback for the late science fiction writer?).

Some other notable names in the top 10 biggest increase category, and some possible reasons for their newfound popularity:

  • Omari and Jabari for boys. Omari Hardwick is an actor, known for his roles in “Sparkle,” “The A-Team,” and BET Network’s “Being Mary Jane.” He currently stars in “Power,” a popular cable TV series. Jabari Parker is a professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of Duke.
  • Adaline and Zelda for girls. “The Age of Adaline” is a 2015 fantasy film starring Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, and Ellen Burstyn. As for Zelda, maybe the legend continues to grow?

I’ll also note that the name Isis dropped from 705th place (398 baby girls) in 2014 to 1770th place (117 baby girls) in 2015.

Source: Emma and Noah Once Again Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2015

U.S. Baby Names 2015: Most Popular Baby Names, Top Debuts: Girl Names, Top Debuts: Boy Names, Biggest Changes in Popularity: Girl Names, Biggest Changes in Popularity: Boy Names, First Letter Popularity, Name Length Popularity

Popular Baby Names in Cincinnati, 2015

According to the Cincinnati Vital Records Office, the most popular baby names in the Ohio city last year were Ava and Jackson.

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

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Ava
2. Olivia
3. Evelyn
4. Madelyn
5. Sophia
6. Aubree
7. Grace
8. Nora
9. Abigail
10. Avery & Emma (tie)
1. Jackson
2. William
3. Benjamin
4. Carter
5. Henry
6. James
7. Liam
8. Luke
9. Charles
10. Oliver

I’m surprised that the #6 name for girls is Aubree and not Aubrey. In nearly every U.S. state* in 2014, the preferred spelling was “Aubrey.” Ohio itself welcomed 360 Aubreys to 226 Aubrees that year.

For more sets of rankings, see the name rankings category. For U.S.-specific rankings, see the U.S. name rankings subcategory.

*The one state that preferred “Aubree” was Montana.

Source: These were the top 2015 Cincinnati baby names

Popular Baby Names in Minnesota, 2015

According to provisional data* from the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records, the most popular baby names in the state this year were Olivia and Jackson.

Here are Minnesota’s projected top 5 girl names and top 5 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia
2. Emma
3. Evelyn
4. Ava
5. Nora & Charlotte (tie)
1. Jackson
2. Henry
3. Liam
4. Oliver
5. William

Quite different from the U.S. state rankings we’ve seen so far (New Mexico, Arizona).

For more sets of rankings, see the name rankings category. For U.S.-specific rankings, see the U.S. name rankings subcategory.

*The data covers Minnesota births through December 24th.

Source: Top five baby names released in Minnesota

Name News from Saudi Arabia

Three bits of name news out of Saudi Arabia…


The most circulated [baby] names in the Kingdom include Mohammad, Fahd, Abdullah, Abdulrahman, Turki, Bandar, Omar, Ali, Fatima, Aisha, Nora, Hessa, Sheikha, and Maha.

Unfortunately the article didn’t specify exactly which year (or years) this list covers.


Unusual or rare [baby] names have been reduced due to the work of authorities across the Kingdom who have enacted regulations to curb exotic or strange names.

Some of the baby names no longer being used are…

  • Faziah, female name meaning “one who is afraid”
  • Mureibah, female name, “fearful”
  • Najar, male name
  • Rashash, male name, “a gun machine”
  • Zaqam, male name meaning “to do with the mouth” (…?)

Here’s an earlier list of baby names (possibly) banned in Saudi Arabia.


Saudi society is facing a new phenomenon in which many young people are changing their names to be in tune with the latest name trends, Al-Hayat newspaper reported.

Several of the name changes mentioned in the article:

  • Fatimah to Hadeel (woman, 22 years old)
    • “I used the name Hadeel for my social media account before I changed it officially with the Civil Status Department.”
  • Salem to Faris (man, 27 years old)
  • Ethar to Maria (woman, 31 years old)
  • Nouf to Naifah (woman, age not mentioned)

Sources: Naming babies under scrutiny, The name game! Young Saudis changing names to be more trendy

Popular Girl Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

The ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names in the girl’s top 20 is about the same today as it was 100 years ago, though the ratio did change a bit mid-century.

(In contrast, there’s been a steady increase in the number of Biblical-origin names among the top boy names.)

Here’s the color-coded table — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and several borderline names (which I counted as non-Biblical) are in the orange cells:

Popular girl names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular girl names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Abigail, Anna, Betty (via Elizabeth), Chloe, Danielle, Deborah, Debra, Elizabeth, Hannah, Isabella (via Elizabeth), Janet, Jean, Joan, Judith, Judy, Julie, Lillian (via Elizabeth), Lisa (via Elizabeth), Lois, Marie, Marilyn, Mary, Mia (via Maria), Michelle, Nancy (via Anne), Rachel, Rebecca, Ruth, Sandra (via Alexander), Sarah, Sharon, Stephanie, Susan, Tammy (via Tamar/Tamara)
  • Non-Biblical names: Alexis, Alice, Alyssa, Amanda, Amber, Amelia, Amy, Angela, Ashley, Aubrey, Avery, Barbara, Brenda, Brianna, Brittany, Carol, Carolyn, Catherine, Charlotte, Christina, Christine, Crystal, Cynthia, Diane, Donna, Doris, Dorothy, Edna, Ella, Emily, Emma, Evelyn, Florence, Frances, Gladys, Grace, Harper, Heather, Helen, Irene, Jennifer, Joyce, Karen, Kathleen, Kayla, Kelly, Kimberly, Laura, Lauren, Linda, Lori, Louise, Madison, Margaret, Marjorie, Megan, Melissa, Mildred, Natalie, Nicole, Olivia, Pamela, Patricia, Rose, Shannon, Shirley, Sofia, Sophia, Taylor, Tiffany, Victoria, Virginia
  • Borderline names:
    • Ava (could be based on the Germanic root avi or the Biblical name Eve)
    • Jessica (literary invention, but Shakespeare may have based it on the Biblical name Iscah)
    • Samantha (possibly inspired by the Biblical name Samuel)

Again, feels pretty weird to put overtly Christian names like Christina and Christine in the non-Biblical category, but oh well.

Here are the year-by-year tallies:

Year Top 20 names
given to…
# Biblical # Non-Biblical
1914 31% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1924 31% of baby girls 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
1934 32% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1944 35% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1954 34% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1964 24% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1974 24% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1984 26% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1994 19% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2004 14% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2014 12% of baby girls 5 (25%) 15 (75%)

Just like with the boy names, though, there’s a big difference between the 1914 and 2014 sample sizes — 31% and 12%. So let’s also look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 31% of female births.

By my count, last year’s top 100 girl names were about a quarter Biblical, three-quarters non-Biblical:

Biblical names (27) Non-Biblical/Borderline names (73)
Isabella (via Elizabeth), Mia (via Maria), Abigail, Elizabeth, Chloe, Addison (via Adam), Lillian (via Elizabeth), Hannah, Anna, Leah, Gabriella, Sadie (via Sarah), Sarah, Annabelle, Madelyn (via Magdalene), Lucy (via Lucius), Alexa (via Alexander), Genesis, Naomi, Eva, Lydia, Julia, Khloe, Madeline (via Magdalene), Alexandra, Gianna (via Joanna), Isabelle (via Elizabeth) Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Emily, Madison, Charlotte, Harper, Sofia, Avery, Amelia, Evelyn, Ella, Victoria, Aubrey, Grace, Zoey, Natalie, Brooklyn, Lily, Layla, Scarlett, Aria, Zoe, Samantha, Audrey, Ariana, Allison, Savannah, Arianna, Camila, Penelope, Claire, Aaliyah, Riley, Skylar, Nora, Hailey, Kaylee, Paisley, Kennedy, Ellie, Peyton, Caroline, Serenity, Aubree, Alexis, Nevaeh, Stella, Violet, Mackenzie, Bella, Autumn, Mila, Kylie, Maya, Piper, Alyssa, Taylor, Eleanor, Melanie, Faith, Katherine, Brianna, Ashley, Ruby, Sophie, London, Lauren, Alice, Vivian, Hadley, Jasmine

Faith, Grace, Angela, Nevaeh, Natalie…all technically non-Biblical.

27%-73% is remarkably similar to both 25%-75% (smaller 2014 sample) and 30%-70% (1914 sample).

So here’s the question of the day: If you had to choose all of your children’s names from either one group or the other — Biblical names or non-Biblical names — which group would you stick to, and why?

Biggest Changes in Girl Name Popularity, 2014

Which girl names increased and decreased the most in popularity from 2013 to 2014?

Below are two versions of each list. My version looks at raw number differences and takes all 19,067 girl names on the 2014 list into account. The SSA’s version looks at ranking differences and covers the top 1,000 girl names (roughly).

Biggest Increases

Raw Numbers (Nancy’s list) Rankings (SSA’s list)
  1. Olivia, +1,308 babies (18,366 to 19,674)
  2. Harper, +1,296 (8,268 to 9,564)
  3. Nora, +1,206 (3,502 to 4,708)
  4. Ariana, +1,065 (4,396 to 5,461)
  5. Evelyn, +1,045 (7,647 to 8,692)
  6. Everly, +1,042 (812 to 1,854)
  7. Daleyza, +976 (485 to 1,461)
  8. Skylar, +957 (3,775 to 4,732)
  9. Scarlett, +918 (5,047 to 5,965)
  10. Paisley, +878 (3,595 to 4,473)
  1. Aranza, +3,625 spots (4,232nd to 607th)
  2. Montserrat, +582 (1,153rd to 571st)
  3. Monserrat, +571 (1,162nd to 591st)
  4. Maisie, +462 (1,120th to 658th)
  5. Zendaya, +420 (1,312nd to 892nd)
  6. Karter, +415 (1,383rd to 968th)
  7. Ariadne, +411 (1,212th to 801st)
  8. Daleyza, +358 (585th to 227th)
  9. Thea, +358 (1,134th to 776th)
  10. Remington, +351 (1,036th to 685th)

Here’s what the SSA says about the rise of Aranza: “The Latin soap opera “Por siempre mi amor” was aired on Univision from 2013 to 2015. The show featured a young lead character named Aranza, and obviously had its effect on naming trends last year.” (Aransa was on the 2014 debut list.)

The SSA also noted that Montserrat was the name of “the lead character in a very popular Latin soap opera” — “Lo que la vida me robó,” which aired from 2013 to 2014.

Biggest Decreases

Raw Numbers (Nancy’s list) Rankings (SSA’s list)
  1. Sophia, -2,657 babies (21,147 to 18,490)
  2. Nicole, -827 (3,338 to 2,511)
  3. Samantha, -810 (6,490 to 5,680)
  4. Addison, -762 (7,712 to 6,950)
  5. Hannah, -748 (7,260 to 6,512)
  6. Makayla, -711 (3,270 to 2,559)
  7. Isabella, -623 (17,573 to 16,950)
  8. Alexia, -607 (1,820 to 1,213)
  9. Kaylee, -588 (5,101 to 4,513)
  10. Alexis, -568 (4,756 to 4,188)
  1. Miley, -405 spots (388th to 793rd)
  2. Karly, -330 (991st to 1321st)
  3. Britney, -315 (839th to 1,154th)
  4. Kaya, -244 (760th to 1,004th)
  5. Nahla, -241 (969th to 1,210th)
  6. Rihanna, -233 (956th to 1,189th)
  7. Kaylyn, -227 (982nd to 1,209th)
  8. Makena, -227 (993rd to 1,220th)
  9. Karissa, -224 (968th to 1,192nd)
  10. Sherlyn, -217 (672nd to 889th)

I see at least 3 pop star names (Miley, Rihanna, Britney) on the rankings side.

Finally, here are the big winners and losers from the last few years:

  • 2013: Sadie/Daleyza (biggest increases) and Isabella/Litzy (biggest decreases)
  • 2012: Harper/Arya (biggest increases) and Chloe/Dulce (biggest decreases)
  • 2011: Harper (biggest increase) and Isabella (biggest decrease)
  • 2010: Sophia (biggest increase) and Madison (biggest decrease)

Sources: Change in Popularity from 2013 to 2014, Noah and Emma Top Social Security’s List of Most Popular Baby Names for 2014

U.S. Baby Names 2014: Most Popular Names, Top Girl Name Debuts, Top Boy Name Debuts, Biggest Girl Name Changes, Biggest Boy Name Changes, Top First Letters, Top Lengths