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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Rafer

Number of Babies Named Rafer

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Rafer

The Baby Name Rafer

Rafer Lewis Johnson, born in Texas in 1935, competed in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. He won the gold medal with a record-breaking 8,392 points.

Rafer Johnson
© Associated Press

He later said, “I never want to go through that again — never.”

The next year, the baby name Rafer appeared on the SSA’s baby name list for the first time. Eight baby boys were named Rafer in 1961:

  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: 8 baby boys named Rafer [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted

Later the same year, a documentary called The Rafer Johnson Story premiered on TV — this could have influenced usage of the name as well.

The name didn’t become a mainstay on the list, but it has reappeared a few times since, including in 1968, the year Rafer Johnson and several other men caught and disarmed Sirhan Sirhan moments after he shot presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles.

How did he get his name? He says: “My father named me after a childhood friend of his who had died in grade school.”

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