Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Prince in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Prince and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Prince.
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In generations past, was it advantageous for a black man to have a distinctively black name?
Yes, according to a study published recently in the journal Explorations in Economic History.
Researchers Lisa D. Cook, Trevon D. Logan, and John M. Parmanc analyzed over 3 million death certificates from Alabama, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina from 1802 to 1970. They looked specifically at the life expectancy of men with the following distinctively black names:
Perlie, Purlie, Pearlie
What did they find?
That black men with these names lived more than a full year longer (on average) than other black men. In fact, according to the abstract, “[a]s much as 10% of the historical between-race mortality gap would have been closed if every black man was given a black name.”
So what’s behind this beneficial effect?
It’s hard to say, but Lisa D. Cook believes that the black men with Biblical names specifically could have been “held to a higher standard in academic and other activities […] and had stronger family, church or community ties,” and that this could have played a part in their relative longevity.
I recently read something about Prince and Apollonia, and it reminded me I hadn’t yet blogged about Prince and Apollonia. So here we go…
Prince — his real first name — was born in Minnesota in 1958. His full legal name is Prince Rogers Nelson. The “Prince Rogers” part comes from his father, who was a jazz musician with the stage name Prince Rogers (real name: John Nelson).
Prince’s albums started coming out in the late ’70s: For You (1978), Prince (1979), Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and so forth.
Did Prince’s musical career affect the usage of the baby name Prince?
1986: 150 baby boys named Prince
1985: 195 baby boys named Prince
1984: 206 baby boys named Prince
1983: 167 baby boys named Prince
1982: 137 baby boys named Prince
1981: 146 baby boys named Prince
1980: 131 baby boys named Prince
1979: 92 baby boys named Prince
1978: 73 baby boys named Prince
1977: 59 baby boys named Prince
1976: 65 baby boys named Prince
Usage of the name Prince, which had been relatively steady for decades, started to rise right away. It hit a high point in 1984, the year Purple Rain (both the album and the movie) came out. After that, usage declined. (Perhaps Prince had become a little too famous at that point?)
Speaking of Purple Rain the movie…it earned Prince’s co-star Apollonia Kotero (born Patricia Apollonia Kotero) a Razzie nomination for “Worst New Star” in 1984.
Apollonia was part of a girl group, Apollonia 6, that Prince had put together. (Their one single, “Sex Shooter,” was also featured in Purple Rain and nominated for a Razzie.)
Did Apollonia influence the usage of the baby name Apollonia?
1988: 15 baby girls named Apollonia
1987: 29 baby girls named Apollonia
1986: 53 baby girls named Apollonia
1985: 67 baby girls named Apollonia
1984: 28 baby girls named Apollonia
The name had charted a few times before, back in the early 1900s, but Prince’s protégé Apollonia put it back on the map in 1984. She also gave variants Apolonia and Appollonia a boost.
Speaking of girl groups with the number 6 in their names…Vanity 6 was another female trio put together by Prince. It was nearly the same as Apollonia 6, but had a different lead singer: Denise Katrina “Vanity” Matthews.
Vanity left the band in 1983 after just 2 years, but continued putting out music as a solo artist during the ’80s.
Did Vanity influence the usage of the baby name Vanity?
1989: 102 baby girls named Vanity
1988: 116 baby girls named Vanity
1987: 89 baby girls named Vanity
1986: 76 baby girls named Vanity
1985: 103 baby girls named Vanity
1984: 45 baby girls named Vanity
1983: 56 baby girls named Vanity
1982: 5 baby girls named Vanity [debut]
Vanity debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1982 and its peak year was 1988.
Did you know Prince had a female alter-ego named “Camille” for a time?
In fact, Camille was going to be the name of a 1986 album by his alter-ego Camille, but the project was scrapped. (The songs were going to be sung with altered vocals.)
If the album Camillehad come out that year, though, what affect do you think it would have had on the trajectory of the baby name Camille?
*I’m guessing at the last letter; I think it was cut off.
Many of the news articles also claimed that baby names in Alberta had been inspired by royals William and Kate, who visited Canada last July. This could be true — there were a few more Princes and Dukes than usual in 2011:
If you’re a huge Oz fan — or just a fan of old-fashioned names generally — here’s a list of (most of) the people who played Munchkins in the legendary 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”:
While the majority of the 132 Munchkins in the film were played by little people, a handful of the female Munchkins were actually played by child actresses.