How popular is the baby name Perpetua 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 Perpetua.
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I started posting on Instagram recently. Though I haven’t used the filters much, seeing them in the app reminded me of something: Babycenter.com claimed, back in late 2015, that Instagram filter names were influencing baby names. And the clickbaity claim was (of course) picked up by various media outlets: Time, People, Vanity Fair, US Weekly, TechCrunch, Mashable, etc.
But the BabyCenter.com folks (who still think Gollum is a baby name, amazingly) weren’t basing their claims on any sort of real-life baby name usage data. They were apparently just making assumptions based on their own website metrics.
In any case…it’s now 2019, and we do have access to usage data for 2015 (not to mention 2016, and 2017). So let’s use this data to determine whether or not their claim is true.
I analyzed the data for 44 names in total: 43 from filters — most current, several retired — plus the name “Lux,” which technically refers to a photo enhancement tool, not a filter. Zeroing in on usage from 2010 (the year Instagram was launched) to 2017, I noticed that…
28 filter names did not see higher usage as baby names:
20 had no SSA data to work with (1977, Crema, Charmes, Clarendon, Dogpatch, Early Bird, Gingham, Ginza, Hefe, Inkwell, Lo-Fi, Mayfair, Nashville, Poprocket, Skyline, Slumber, Stinson, Sutro, Toaster, X-Pro II)
So which, if any, of the 16 names above increased in usage because of Instagram?
Some of them, like trendy Hudson and Willow, were already on the rise by 2010. So it’s hard to know if these names were influenced at all by recent pop culture, let alone the app specifically. (Though that Juno-jump does seem significant.)
Others are associated with more than just a filter. Vesper was a Bond Girl, for instance, and Juno was a movie. So, even if Instagram was a factor, it was one of several. (BabyCenter.com’s original write-up from 2015 doesn’t even acknowledge this, e.g., “The Instagram-inspired name Lux…”)
In terms of filters actually influencing names, I think the strongest case can be made for Amaro. It wasn’t already on the rise in 2010, it did become more popular in the Instagram era, and the filter itself (as opposed to the Italian liqueur after which the filter was named) does seem to be the primary pop culture association these days.
On the other hand, Clarendon — despite being the first filter you see inside the app and, accordingly, the most-used filter overall — saw no corresponding uptick in usage on birth certificates, which is telling. (Though perhaps “Amaro” hits a stylistic sweet spot that “Clarendon” misses.)
My verdict? I’d say it’s possible that a handful of Instagram filters influenced real-life baby name usage…but I definitely wouldn’t declare that naming babies after filters was/is some sort of “hot trend,” as BabyCenter.com did.
What are your thoughts on all this? Have you ever met a baby named after an Instagram filter?
Peaches Jackson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in New York in 1913. Her birth name was Charlotte Jackson. Peaches was also a character played by actress May West in the film Every Day’s a Holiday (1937).
Peavey was a character played by actress Olive Borden in the film Leave It to Me (1933).
Peg Entwistle was an actress who appeared in one film in 1932 (and, the same year, committed suicide by jumping off the H of the Hollywoodland sign). She was born in Wales in 1908. Her birth name was Millicent Lilian Entwistle. Peg was also a character played by actress Anna Neagle in the film Peg of Old Drury (1935).
Peggy Pearce (born a Velma) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1894. Peggy Cartwright was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Canada in 1912. Peggy Moran (Mary) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in Iowa in 1918. Peggy Ryan (Margaret) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in California in 1924. Finally, Peggy was also a character name in multiple films including Peggy Lynn, Burglar (short 1915) and Confessions of a Co-Ed (1931).
Pert Pert Kelton was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in Montana in 1907. Pert was also a character name in multiple films, including Danger! Women at Work (1943) and Take It Big (1944).
Pervaneh was a character played by actress Greta Nissen in the film The Lady of the Harem (1926).
Petal Schultze was a character played by actress Amy Veness in the film Red Wagon (1933).
Phyllis Gordon was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in Virginia in 1889. Phyllis Haver was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Kansas in 1899. Phyllis Thaxter was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1970s. She was born in Maine in 1919. Finally, Phyllis was also a character name in multiple films, including Just Like a Woman (short, 1915) and Wagons Westward (1940).
Pinna Nesbit was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Canada in 1896.
Piquette was a character played by actress Shannon Day in the film Honor First (1922).
Plutina was a character played by actress Clara Kimball Young in the film The Heart of the Blue Ridge (1915).
Pola Negri was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1960s. She was born in Poland in 1897. Her birth name was Barbara Apolonia Chałupec. Pola was also a character played by actress Elizabeth Allan in the film Insult (1932).
Pompeia Plotina was a character played by actress Caroline Frances Cooke in the short film In the Days of Trajan (1913).
Pompilia was a character played by actress Marie Newton in the short film The Ring and the Book (1914).
Pomposia was a character played by actress Helen Ware in the film The Warrior’s Husband (1933).
Poppaea was a character name in multiple films, including Nero (1922) and The Sign of the Cross (1932).
Portland Fancy was a character played by actress Juliet Brenon in the film The Street of Forgotten Men (1925). (Plus there’s radio actress Portland Hoffa was most active during the ’30s and ’40s.)
One thing I love about Quebec? Their yearly baby name list includes all baby names.
Not just names given to 5 or more babies, like the U.S. list. Not just names given to 3 or more babies, like the England and Wales list.
Every single name. Regardless of whether the name was given to hundreds of babies or just one.
Privacy: Who needs it! :)
Here are some stats on all those Quebec names:
7,921 boy names total
6,107 (77%) of them were given to 1 baby boy
7121 (90%) of them were given to 1, 2, 3 or 4 baby boys*
9,074 girl names total
6,686 (74%) of them were given to 1 baby girl
8058 (89%) of them were given to 1, 2, 3 or 4 baby girls*
*So, if the names given to 5+ babies in Quebec account for only about 10% of the names on the full list, and we assume baby name distribution in the U.S. is similar, the “full” U.S. lists should contain over 140,000 boy names and over 190,000 girl names.
Here are some of Quebec’s unique names (used only once):
I finished reading The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos earlier this week. On the penultimate page, I spotted:
Floating on a sea of tender feelings, under a brilliant starlit night, he fell in love again: with Ana and Miriam and Verónica and Vívian and Mimi and Beatriz and Rosario and Margarita and Adriana and Graciela and Josefina and Virginia and Minerva and Marta and Alicia and Regina and Violeta and Pilar and Finas and Matilda and Jacinta and Irene and Jolanda and Carmencita and María de la Luz and Eulalia and Conchita and Esmeralda and Vívian and Adela and Irma and Amalia and Dora and Ramona and Vera and Gilda an Rita and Berta and Consuelo and Eloisa and Hilda and Juana and Perpetua and María Rosita and Delmira and Floriana and Inés and Digna and Angélica and Diana and Ascensión and Teresa and Aleida and Manuela and Celia and Emelina and Victoria and Mercedes and…
That’s 58 names. (Vívian’s in there twice, though. The total is 57 if you count Vívian only once.)
I think that’s the most names I’ve ever seen in a single sentence.
****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.