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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Nova


Posts that Mention the Name Nova

Babies Named for Sailing Ships (N)

The people below were born aboard — and named after! — ships with N-names…

  • Nackato:
    • Frederick Nackato Dickens, born in 1875
    • Ruth Nackato Bowick, born in 1875
  • Neckar:
    • Petrine Jeanette Hugo Neckar Walls, born in 1887
  • Nemesis:
    • Nemesis Louise Catherine Dupont, born in 1877
  • Nestor:
    • Nestorina Misonsnile, born in 1889
  • Nestorian:
    • Mary Nestorian Cowan, born in 1890
  • Neva:
    • Alice Neva Landham, born in 1886
  • Nevada:
    • Elizabeth Nevada West, born in 1872
    • William Nevada Webster, born in 1873
    • Nevada Atlantic Larsen, born in 1878
    • Mary Nevada Berry, born in 1881
    • Victoria Nevada Johnson, born in 1881
    • Marie Nevada McPhie, born in 1884
    • Nevada Christensen, born in 1887
  • Neville:
    • Gerald Neville Hemsworth, born in 1869
  • Niagara:
    • Fanny Elizabeth Niagara Pickard, 1875
  • Nile:
    • Nilena Thompson, born in 1866
    • Michelina Nilina Derosty, born in 1877
  • Nineveh:
    • Amelia Tabitha Nineveh Johns Adams, born in 1877
    • Nineveh Sydney, born in 1879
  • Norfolk:
    • Lilian Norfolk Beeching, born in 1880
  • Noronha:
    • Alice Noronha Yealland, born in 1878
  • Norseman:
    • Emily Norseman Stepp, born in 1866
  • North:
    • Adelaide North Hossack, born in 1875
  • Northam:
    • John Northam Davies, born in 1876
  • Northampton:
    • James Northampton Maughan, born in 1880
    • Ethel Northampton Jeffrey, born in 1882
    • William Northampton Irvine, born in 1882
  • Northumberland:
    • James Northumberland Byrne, born in 1873
  • Nourmahal:
    • Ellen Nourmahal Morrison, born in 1874
  • Nova Scotian:
    • Charles Nova Scotian Kuseley, born in 1860
    • Sarah Nova Scotia Keating, born in 1858
  • Nubian:
    • Edith Nubian Benwell Wootten, born in 1882
    • Nubian Jane Fisher, born in 1882
  • Nugget:
    • William Nugget Morant, born in 1860
    • Frederick Nugget Hurricks, born in 1860
  • Nyanza:
    • James Fisher Nyanza Allt, born in 1873

Do you think any of the ship names above work particularly well as human names?

Source: FamilySearch.org

Where did the baby name Novalee come from?

rex allen, nova lee, baby name, 1962
Rex Allen singing “(Son) Don’t Go Near The Indians”

The name Novalee saw an uptick in usage following the release of the 2000 movie Where the Heart Is, in which Natalie Portman played teenager Novalee Nation. (Novalee’s daughter Americus also influenced U.S. baby names.)

But the very first time Novalee appeared in the data was way back in 1962:

  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: 5 baby girls named Novalee
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: 6 baby girls named Novalee
  • 1962: 7 baby girls named Novalee [debut]
  • 1961: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Country music. Specifically, “(Son) Don’t Go Near The Indians,” which was Rex Allen’s most successful song.

It’s about a man who falls for the Indian maiden Nova Lee only to discover that, not only was he adopted, but Nova Lee is actually his biological sister. (Seems like a weirdly incestuous twist for ’60s country music, doesn’t it?)

Here’s Rex singing the song live:

According to Billboard, the song reached #17 on the Hot 100 chart in October of 1962, and #4 on the Hot Country Singles chart the next month.

The name Nova (without the “lee”) also saw higher usage in the early ’60s thanks to “(Son) Don’t Go Near The Indians,” but that temporary increase was eclipsed fifty years later when Nova suddenly became very trendy. (It entered the top 1,000 in 2011, the top 100 in 2017, and the top 50 just last year.)

Do you like the name Novalee?

Sources: Billboard, Rex Allen – Wikipedia

Top First Letters of U.S. Baby Names, 2020

Wondering which first letters were the most popular in 2020?

For baby girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by E and M. The least-used first letter was U. More than 272,000 baby girls got an A-name last year, whereas fewer than 700 got a U-name.

Top first letters of female baby names in the U.S. in 2020.

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

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

For baby boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and L. The least-used first letter was, again, U. More than 205,000 baby boys got a J-name last year, whereas fewer than 2,500 got a U-name.

Top first letters of male baby names in the U.S. in 2020.

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

  • A: Alexander, Aiden, Asher
  • B: Benjamin, Brooks, Bennett
  • C: Carter, Charles, Christopher
  • D: Daniel, David, Dylan
  • E: Elijah, Ethan, Ezra
  • F: Finn, Felix, Francisco
  • G: Grayson, Gabriel, Greyson
  • H: Henry, Hudson, Hunter
  • I: Isaac, Isaiah, Ian
  • J: James, Jacob, Jackson
  • K: Kai, Kayden, Kingston
  • L: Liam, Lucas, Logan
  • M: Mason, Michael, Mateo
  • N: Noah, Nathan, Nolan
  • O: Oliver, Owen, Oscar
  • P: Parker, Patrick, Peter
  • Q: Quinn, Quentin, Quincy
  • R: Ryan, Roman, Robert
  • S: Sebastian, Samuel, Santiago
  • T: Theodore, Thomas, Tyler
  • U: Uriel, Uriah, Ulises
  • V: Vincent, Victor, Valentino
  • W: William, Wyatt, Wesley
  • X: Xavier, Xander, Xzavier
  • Y: Yusuf, Yosef, Yehuda
  • Z: Zachary, Zion, Zayden

Finally, here are the totals for girls and boys side-by-side on the same chart:

Top first letters of baby names in the U.S. in 2020.

Overall, the top first letter was A and the least popular first letter was (of course!) U.

U.S. Girl Names 2020: Popular, Rising, Falling, Debuts

The 2020 batch of U.S. baby names was released by the SSA this morning!

I’ve been toying with the data for a few hours and, in this post and the next, I’ll give you some of the highlights.

Here are the most popular girl names overall:

  1. Olivia, 17,535 baby girls
  2. Emma, 15,581
  3. Ava, 13,084
  4. Charlotte, 13,003
  5. Sophia, 12,976
  6. Amelia, 12,704
  7. Isabella, 12,066
  8. Mia, 11,157
  9. Evelyn, 9,445
  10. Harper, 8,778

These ten names were also in the 2019 top ten.

The girl names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…

  1. Gianna, increased by 4,414 babies
  2. Alaia, 654
  3. Nova, 635
  4. Isla, 500
  5. Haisley, 451
  6. Oaklynn, 406
  7. Kehlani, 387
  8. Ariella, 374
  9. Maeve, 337
  10. Natalia, 332

Gianna was influenced by the tragic death of Gianna Bryant, daughter of Kobe Bryant.

The girl names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies were…

  1. Ehlani, increased by 2,100%
  2. Anayra, 483%
  3. Nihan, 482%
  4. Xiamara, 460%
  5. Kiora, 440%
  6. Yahri, 420%
  7. Alessi, 418%
  8. Eryss, 400%
  9. Gianina, 400%
  10. Giannina, 400%

Some explanations…

  • Ehlani is the daughter of social media influencer Elsy Guevara. (Commenter alex called this one months ago. Here’s Ehlani’s “name reveal” video, from May 2020.)
  • Anayra could be from Anayra Sharma, the baby of Indian comedian/celebrity Kapil Sharma (who has 32 million Instagram followers and 18 million twitter followers).
  • Alessi is the the daughter of Siesta Key cast member Alex Kompothecras.
  • Eryss is the daughter of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta cast member Erica Dixon.
  • Giannina was a contestant on the reality TV show Love is Blind.

Here are the girl names that debuted most impressively in the 2020 data:

  1. Dalett, debuted with 94 baby girls
  2. Cennet, 84
  3. Ulanni, 44
  4. Souline, 36
  5. Amavi, 30 (this one double-debuted, actually, with 12 boys as well)
  6. Ayzal, 30
  7. Brixleigh, 19
  8. Kazleigh, 19
  9. Yoatzi, 19
  10. Morwenna, 16

Some explanations…

  • Dalett is the third child (born in May, 2020) of Larrymania stars Larry and Kenia Hernandez. (Their older daughters are Daleyza and Dalary.)
  • Cennet is the main character of the Telemundo show Cennet, which looks to be a remake of a Turkish show (Cennet’in Gözyaslari) from a few years earlier. The name means “heaven” in Turkish.
  • Yoatzi is probably from YouTuber Yoatzi Castro.
  • Morwenna might be from the most recent adaptation of Poldark. (Supporting evidence: the name Demelza returned to the data a few years ago.)

The girl names that saw the largest decreases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…

  1. Harper, decreased by 1,686 babies
  2. Emma, -1,574
  3. Ava, -1,390
  4. Emily, -1,373
  5. Abigail, -1,317
  6. Mia, -1,295
  7. Isabella, -1,278
  8. Victoria, -1,103
  9. Aria, -994
  10. Olivia, -973

The girl name that saw the largest decrease in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies was Diala (-81%), and the girl name that saw the steepest drop off the list was Yarishna (from 28 babies in 2019 to fewer than 5 in 2020).

If you can explain any of the rises (or drops), please leave a comment!

[Latest update: 5/11/2021]

Popular Baby Names in Monroe, MI, in 2020

A few days ago, a writer with the Monroe News (of Monroe County, Michigan) tallied up all the baby names mentioned in the paper’s 2020 birth announcements. The most frequently occurring names for girls were Abigail and Ava (tie), and for boys was Asher.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I don’t tend to post rankings from non-governmental sources. But, again, this set had a relatively high number of names (451) compared to the size of the county (about 150,000 residents), so here’s the full list…

Girl Names

4 baby girls named:

  • Abigail
  • Ava

3 baby girls named:

  • Athena
  • Charlotte
  • Emma
  • Madison
  • Paisley
  • Quinn

2 baby girls named:

  • Allie
  • Allison
  • Amelia
  • Eleanor
  • Elena
  • Elizabeth
  • Elliana
  • Evelynn
  • Everly
  • Hadleigh
  • Harper
  • Hazel
  • Isla
  • Layla
  • Mia
  • Nova
  • Ruby
  • Sadie
  • Sophia
  • Sophie
  • Violet

1 baby girl named:

Ada, Addaleigh, Addilynn-Rose, Adorabella, Alice, Alicia, Alita, Aliva, Alora, Alyssa, A’Meila, Amirah, Amiyah, Anastasia, Aranea, Arya, Ashlynn, Aubree, Aubrey, Aurora, Avery, Bailey, Bexley, Blakely, Brielle, Brooke, Brooklyn, Brylee, Brynn, Caia, Caiya, Camilleia, Caralena, Caroline, Cattleya, Charlynn, Claire, Cora, Dahlia, Da’yana, Delaney, Eliannah, Eliza, Ellanorah, Ellie, Ellison, Ember, Emersyn, Emmarie, Emory, Evangeline, Evie, Evodia, Faith, Genevieve, Georgia, Giovanni, Gracelyn, Gracie, Gwendolyn, Haisley, Harleigh, Harlow, Harmony, HaVen, Hayzlee, Illia, Inija, Isabel, Ivy, Iylah, Jade, Janie, Jessika, Jolee, Jolene, Joni, Jordynn, Josephine, Journae, Julianna, Kaisley, Kansas, Kendelyn, Kennedy, Kensly, Klara, Kolumbiia, Laney, Leia, Lexi, Lexie, Lila, Lillian, Lily, Lively, Logan, Luciana, Lucille, Lucina, Luna, Maeve, Mahogany, Marianna, Marilyn, Marissa, Maryszka, McKenna, Mercy, Mila, Moselle, Mya, Naomi, Nora, Novalee, Omora, Ophelia, Ora, Penelope, Prudence, Raelyn, Reese, Renlee, Rhythm, Riann, Ripley, River, Roise, Rosalie, Rosemary, Ryalin, Ryleigh, Scarlett, Sedona, Shawna, Shelby, Sinya, Skyla, Skylynn, Stella, Stellana, Skyla, Tiffany, Vayda, Victoria, Ziggy, Zoe, Zoey, Zuri

Notably: “The No. 1 girl name in 2019, Olivia, wasn’t reported to The News last year.”

Boy Names

5 baby boys named:

  • Asher

4 baby boys named:

  • Wesley

3 baby boys named:

  • Andrew
  • Brooks
  • Hudson
  • John
  • Liam
  • Oliver
  • Preston
  • Roman
  • William

2 baby boys named:

  • Arthur
  • Benjamin
  • Bentley
  • Brody
  • Bryson
  • Carson
  • Connor
  • Dallas
  • Declan
  • Donald
  • Easton
  • Emmett
  • Finn
  • Henry
  • Jameson
  • Jaxon
  • Joseph
  • Kai
  • Lucas
  • Nicholas
  • Parker
  • Raiden
  • Samuel
  • Travis
  • Trevor
  • Waylon
  • Wyatt

1 baby boy named:

Adrian, Amon, Anderson, Anthony, Archer, Armani, Ashton, Atlas, Axel, Beau, Blake, Bode, Bodie, Bowie, Boyd, Bradley, Brady, Braxton, Braziel, Bryant, Carl, Carnell, Carter, Cassius, Cayden, Charles, Charlie, Christopher, Clayton, Cohen, Cole, Colson, Colt, Colten, Conner, Craig, Cruz, Dakota, Darius, David, Dean, Denver, Dominick, Dylan, Edwin, Elijah, Eliott, Emanuel, Emmerich, Enzo, Erik, Eudon, Finney, Forrest, Fulton, Gabriel, Gage, Giovani, Giovanni, Greyson, Griffyn, Henrik, Howard, Hunter, Jace, Jackson, Jaden, James, Jared, Javiah, Jaxson, Jayceon, Jayden, Jensen, Jonah, Jordan, Josiyah, Julian, Kaine, Kairo, Kane, Kayden, Kaynen, Khalil, Kirk, Koda, Kolton, Kyair, Kyren, Laurence, Lawrence, Leon, Leopold, Levi, Lincoln, Logan, Luca, Lyric, Mack, Magnus, Malachi, Marshaine, Mason, Maverick, Maveryck, Maximus, Michael, Miles, Murphy, Nickolas, Owen, Patrick, Promise, Reece, Remy, Renlee, Rhett, Richard, Rockwood, Rowan, Rubin, Russell, Ryan, Ryder, Ryker, Sebastian, Senan, Silas, Skyler, Spencer, Tate, Thatcher, Theodore, Thomas, Trenton, Valentino, Vincent, Vincenzo, Wylder, Xander, Xavier, Zachary, Zaidyn, Zeppelin

Source: Monroe County’s baby names for 2020