How popular is the baby name Rachel 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 Rachel.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Rachel


Posts that Mention the Name Rachel

Name Quotes #70: Silas, Mabel, Ilima

It’s April Fools’ Day! I don’t have any pun names (like April Fool or Seymour Butts) for you today, but here are some name quotes…

From the book Jazz And Its Discontents by Francis Davis, a passage about jazz singer Abbey Lincoln (born Anna Marie Wooldridge) :

When the singer Abbey Lincoln gives her autograph, she appends the name Aminata Moseka. During her pilgrimage to Africa in 1975, the president of Guinea christened her “Aminata” in recognition of her inner strength and determination, and Zaire’s minister of education likened her to “Moseka,” the god of love in female form. “I love Aminata Moseka. I’ve added her to myself. But I can’t say that’s my one and only name,” says Lincoln […] “It’s more like a title–something to live up to. That’s why I recorded Stevie Wonder’s ‘Golden Lady.’ It gave me the opportunity to sing to a female god. But I’m still Abbey Lincoln–I still like to wear makeup and glittering dresses and look attractive for an audience. And in many ways, I’m still Anna Marie.”

From an interview with Skid Row bass player Rachel Bolan (born James Richard Southworth):

DC9 at Night: How did you get the name Rachel?

Bolan: It’s not my real first name. When I was first getting into bands, I wanted a cool stage name. I wanted to be like Alice Cooper. Eventually, when I was old enough, I legally changed my name to Rachel. It’s always raised a few eyebrows. It’s funny to hear people pronounce it when I give them a credit card or something. It’s funny to this day. They ask me if I gave them the wrong ID or if I gave them some chic’s credit card.

(According to Wikipedia, he created “Rachel” by combining the names of his brother Richard and his grandfather Manuel.)

From an article about the top baby names across Ontario:

As for Maverick — the number one boy name in Sault Ste. Marie — Government and Consumer Services Minister Bill Walker said it’s an interesting choice, quipping: “It’s better than Goose” — referring to the main characters from the movie Top Gun.

From an ESPN article about MMA fighter Ilima-Lei Macfarlane:

She was named after the official island flower of Oahu — the ilima — recognizable for its delicate yellow petals.

“It was considered a flower for royalty,” Macfarlane said during an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday, “because it would take hundreds of flowers to make a lei, they’re so paper thin.”

From an article about baby naming trends being linked to the stock market:

Alan [Hall] compared seven decades of stock market records to baby naming data from the same period and found that parents tend to give their children unique and unusual names during and right after rallies in the market. On the flip side, when the market is down, parents revert to safer, more traditional names.

In contrast with the above…from an article called “It’s Not the Economy: Why Unique Baby Names Are Trending Up“:

The researchers also examined the naming trends against the background of the economy. Some theorists had speculated that increased economic hardship might make people more focused on the community, and thus cause a decline in individualism. One study, published in 2013 in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found increases of communal behavior like charitable activity among high-schoolers during the 2008 recession. But baby names didn’t follow that pattern, [psychologist Jean] Twenge said.

[…]

“There’s just a longer-scale trend toward uniqueness and individualism that isn’t necessarily rooted in these economic cycles,” Twenge said.

From an article about Justin Timberlake’s latest album:

Timberlake’s interview comes weeks before the release of his new album Man of the Woods, which is set to hit stores on February 2. He said his son inspired the name of the record and its title track.

“I literally just went on Google like, ‘meaning of the name Silas,’ and it sent me to this to this site and it said, ‘of Latin origin, meaning ‘Man of the woods,'” he said. “I was like, ‘How serendipitous that my last is Timberlake, like what does that mean?'”

From a collection of baby name stories contributed by Long Island moms:

My grandfather hated tattoos. He used to tell his standard stories and would say only people who had tattoos in ‘his day’ were sailors. He said their tattoos always said either ‘death before dishonor’ or ‘true love Mabel.’ He always used Mabel as the example name. I’m not sure why. He died in 2013. We named our daughter Mabel as a nod to him.

Want to see more blog posts like this one? Check out the name quotes category.

Names in the News: Aneurin, Onyx, Suharsi

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…

Ambre (rejected): A baby boy born in France in January of 2018 was almost named Ambre (French for “amber”) but the French government rejected the name, claiming it could cause gender confusion. (The Local)

Aneurin: A baby boy born in Wales on June 26, 2018 — days before the 70th anniversary of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), founded by Aneurin “Nye” Bevan — was named Aneurin. (South Wales Echo)

Carson*: A baby boy born in Pennsylvania in July of 2018 was named after Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. (CBS)

  • “Pennsylvania Hospital has also had several babies named Carson lately. And one girl named Kelce, spelled like Jason Kelce.” (ABC, Oct. 2018)

Casey: A baby boy born in Kentucky in August of 2018 was named Jaxon Casey, middle name in honor of Kentucky’s “Casey’s law,” which the parents credit for saving each of their lives. (Courier Journal)

Foles*: A baby born in Philadelphia in October of 2018 was named Layla Grace Foles, second middle name in honor of Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. (ABC)

Lily: A baby girl born in England in June of 2018 was named Lily after her 96-year-old great-great-grandmother Lily. (Leigh Journal)

Murren: A baby girl born in North Carolina in April of 2017 was named Tessa Murren, middle name in honor of the Swiss mountain village in which she was likely conceived. (The Local)

Onyx: A baby boy born in Idaho in April of 2018 — to a couple walking across the U.S. from Georgia to Oregon — was named Onyx “after the healing stone, which represents overcoming fear.” (Idaho Press)

Rachel: A baby girl born in Scotland in July of 2018 was named Ashley Rachel, middle in honor of Rachel Mackie, the ambulance technician who delivered her en route to the hospital. (BBC)

Suharsi: A baby girl born aboard the Indonesian hospital ship KRI Dr. Soeharso in October of 2018 was named Suharsi, “a feminine adaptation of Soeharso.” (Daily Mail)

Zeppelin: A baby boy born in the U.S. in December of 2016 was named Zeppelin after the zeppelin bend, inspired by the fact that his umbilical chord was knotted at birth. (USA Today)

  • Zeppelin is the son of actors Jensen Ackles and Danneel Harris. He has a twin sister named Arrow. (Danneel’s name was inspired by Danneel Street in New Orleans, btw.)

*Philadelphia hospitals are now preparing for a Super Bowl baby boom

Classics on the Decline: Rebecca, Carol, Susan

girl names falling out of fashion

In last week’s “lowest ever” boy names post, I mentioned that reader Caitlin had shared her research on downward-trending baby names with me recently. While many girl names hit relative lows in 2017, for instance…

  • Sarah, now ranked 62nd — lowest ranking since 1970.
  • Rachel, now ranked 195th — lowest ranking since 1960.
  • Melissa, now ranked 273rd — lowest ranking since 1949.

…a couple of the names on her list, Rebecca and Catherine, hit their “lowest ever” rankings last year. (Plus there was Katherine, a borderline case of a lowest-ever tie.)

So I set out to find other “lowest ever” girl names.

Many of the names I checked (like Clare, Lea, and Bridget) hit a low in 2017, but it wasn’t their all-time low. Many others (like Pauline, Sara, and Mary) hit a low recently, but not as recently as 2017. Still others (like Yvonne) had to be disqualified because, even though they hit their lowest ranking on record in 2017, they didn’t appear in the data for all 138 years (1880-2017)…an issue I didn’t encounter with any of the boy names.

In the end, I was able to add a dozen thirteen names to the list:

  • Ann. Ranked 1,023rd in 2017; peak was 28th in the 1930s.
  • Barbara. Ranked 908th in 2017; peak was 2nd in the 1930s/1940s.
  • Carol. Ranked 1,814th in 2017; peak was 4th in the 1940s.
  • Catherine. Ranked 198th in 2017; peak was 18th in the 1910s.
  • Celia. Ranked 857th in 2017; peak was 141st in the 1880s.
  • Cynthia. Ranked 637th in 2017; peak was 7th in the 1950s.
  • Elisabeth. Ranked 775th in 2017; peak was 286th in the 2000s.
  • Katherine. Ranked 105th in 2017 + 1938; peak 25th in the 1990s.
  • Kathleen. Ranked 871st in 2017; peak was 9th in the 1940s. (Late addition–thanks Kelly!)
  • Linda. Ranked 708th in 2017; peak was 1st in 1940s/1950s.
  • Priscilla. Ranked 527th in 2017; peak was 127th in the 1940s.
  • Rebecca. Ranked 216th in 2017; peak was 10th in the 1970s.
  • Rosa. Ranked 672nd in 2017; peak was 52nd in the 1880s.
  • Susan. Ranked 963rd in 2017; peak was 2nd in the 1950s/1960s.
  • Teresa. Ranked 720th in 2017; peak was 18th in the 1960s.
  • Tressa. Ranked 9242nd in 2017; peak was 761st in the 1960s.

That makes 15 (or 16, if you count Katherine). I certainly could have missed a few, though, so if you can think of a good candidate, please let me know in the comments and I’ll take a look.

Dolly Parton’s Dozen

Dolly Parton album coverCountry singer Dolly Parton was born to parents Avie Lee and Robert Lee Parton in Tennessee 1946. She was the fourth of a dozen children: six boys and six girls. The names of all twelve, in order, are:

  1. Willadeene
  2. David Wilburn
  3. Coy Denver
  4. Dolly Rebecca
  5. Bobby Lee
  6. Stella Mae
  7. Cassie Nan
  8. Randel “Randy” Huston
  9. Larry Gerald
  10. Estel Floyd (twin)
  11. Freida Estelle (twin)
  12. Rachel Ann

Things that have since been named after Dolly include a cloned sheep, a celebrity baby, and a Tennessee amusement park.

Source: A Mother’s Love & Inspiration – Avie Lee Parton

Five-Name Friday: Girl Name with “Mouth Feel” of Rachel

five-name friday, girl name

You’re at the craft store, inspecting the impressive selection of wiggle eyes and glitter poms, when a lady with a cart full of pipe cleaners wheels up to the same display. She happens to be pregnant, and as the two of you chat, she mentions that she’s also shopping for a baby name. Then she tells you the gist of what she’s looking for:

I’m looking for girl names with similar sounds or “mouth feel” to Rach(a)el. Ideally, 3+ syllables.

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give her dozens of great suggestions on the spot. But you’ve got to get on with your day, so you only have time to give her five baby name suggestions before you buy your crafting goodies and head out.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with (which is what you’d be forced to do in real life) you get to press a magical “pause” button, brainstorm for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer her the best five names you can think of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you brainstorm:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger in a craft store?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be either deleted or replaced with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

I’m looking for girl names with similar sounds or “mouth feel” to Rach(a)el. Ideally, 3+ syllables.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]