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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Saoirse

Number of Babies Named Saoirse

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Saoirse

Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2017

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2017!

To streamline the results post this year, I didn’t include detailed descriptions of the pop culture influences. For the specifics, just click the above link.

On to the names!

Rises

Baby names that saw increased usage from 2016 to 2017.

  • Logan (movie), +2,748 baby boys (also +248 baby girls)
  • Dream (celebrity baby), +198 baby girls (also +22 baby boys)
  • Maren (music), +172 baby girls
  • Amaya (tv), +133 baby girls
  • Alessia (music), +129 baby girls
  • Winston (movie), +129 baby boys
  • Renata (tv), +107 baby girls
  • Callum (movie), +79 baby boys
  • Harvey (event/news), +76 baby boys
  • Asahd (celebrity baby), +58 baby boys (the top debut name for boys in ’17)
  • Brennley (tv), re-entered the data with 56 baby girls
  • Kenzo (celebrity baby), +55 baby boys
  • Ivanka (politics), +52 baby girls
  • Sunny (event), +52 baby girls (but -12 baby boys)
  • Hayes (celebrity baby), +46 baby boys (also +42 baby girls)
  • Barron (politics), +40 baby boys (and Baron rose as well)
  • Kensli (celebrity baby), +39 baby girls
  • Poppy (music/movie), +39 baby girls
  • Kamaiyah (music), +34 baby girls
  • Tala (tv), +33 baby girls
  • Sally (news), +32 baby girls
  • Chosen (celebrity baby), +30 baby boys (also +15 baby girls)
  • Jones (celebrity baby), +28 baby boys (also +5 baby girls)
  • Tommy (movie), +23 baby boys
  • Solana (music), +20 baby girls
  • Mika (tv), +17 baby girls
  • Eissa (celebrity baby), +16 baby boys
  • Moon (event), +15 baby girls
  • Valkyrie (movie), +15 baby girls
  • Zaya (movie), +15 baby girls
  • Kelsea (music), +12 baby girls
  • Shadow (tv), +11 baby boys (also +4 baby girls)
  • Grover (tv), +10 baby boys
  • Halley (tv), +10 baby girls
  • Bear (celebrity baby), +9 baby boys
  • Gal (movie), +9 baby girls
  • Jyn (movie), debuted in the data with 9 baby girls
  • Eleven (tv), debuted in the data with 7 baby girls
  • Thor (movie), +7 baby boys
  • Hela (movie), +6 baby girls
  • Lyric (celebrity baby), +6 baby boys (but -77 baby girls)
  • Sturgill (music), debuted in the data with 6 baby boys
  • Zari (tv), +6 baby girls
  • Eclipse (event), debuted in the data with 5 baby girls
  • Eniko (celebrity spouse), debuted in the data with 5 baby girls
  • Poe (movie), +4 baby boys
  • Sir (celebrity baby), +4 baby boys
  • Dory (movie), +2 baby boys
  • Sire (celebrity baby), +2 baby boys

Same

Baby names that saw no movement from 2016 to 2017.

  • Revel (celebrity baby), no movement as a boy name
  • Rumi (celebrity baby), no movement as a girl name
  • Sovereign (celebrity baby), no movement as a girl name

Falls

Baby names that saw decreased usage from 2016 to 2017.

  • Chance (music), -1 baby boy
  • Irma (event), -1 baby girl
  • Via (tv), -1 baby girl
  • Gypsy (tv), -2 baby girls
  • Julien as a girl name (music), -3 baby girls
  • Loki (movie), -3 baby boys
  • Lux (tv), -3 baby boys
  • Soleil (event), -4 baby girls
  • J’onn (tv), dropped out of the data
  • Ned (movie), -5 baby boys
  • Saoirse (movie), -5 baby girls
  • Topaz (movie), dropped out of the data
  • Jacinda (news), -8 baby girls
  • Bea (rumored celebrity baby), -10 baby girls
  • Moxie (book), -13 baby girls
  • Gareth (movie), -16 baby boys
  • Shayla (internet), -30 baby girls
  • Fatima (news), -33 baby girls
  • Kendrick (music), -54 baby boys
  • Shawn (rumored celebrity baby), -121 baby boys
  • Carter (celebrity baby), -415 baby boys (also -103 baby girls)

Absent

Baby names that were not in the SSA data in either 2016 or 2017.

Amilyn, Antiope, Asperitas, Bilquis, Bixby, Cardi, Creeley, Darci Lynne, Fenty, Gravity, Issa Rae, Jumanji, Kygo, Ladybird, Laureline, Libratus, Mahershala, Maisel, Merlyn, Midge, Ovince, Pence, Ragnarok, Saffie, Sonequa, Strummer, Sza, Tenney, Themyscira, Tommen, Totality, Trump, Valerian, Wiseau, Yulin, Zelle

Reactions

Some initial reactions…

I was so surprised that Rumi saw no upward movement as a girl name. Remi is rising fast, Rooney is inching upward, and then Rumi — a name that sounds like a mix between the two — gets the stamp of approval from Queen Bey herself. And still it doesn’t budge. I’m scratching my head over this one.

I’m always fascinated to see how name usage is influenced by events/people that are perceived as negative. Sometimes the associations drag them down, but sometimes the mere exposure lifts them up. In the case of Harvey, we had not one but two negative things: a destructive storm and a sexual predator. And yet, the name continued to rise.

It was neat to see Eclipse debut in the data. We already knew that a few babies got the name thanks to the news, but apparently there were a few more–just enough to nudge the name up to that 5-baby threshold. I wonder how much the August solar eclipse contributed to the rise of the names Luna, Moon, and Shadow in 2017.

How about you? Did the movement (or non-movement) of any of these names surprise you?

[Disclaimer: Some of the names above were already moving in the direction indicated, and some were no doubt influenced by more than a single pop culture person/event. I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence in each case.]

Sorsha & Elora: Baby Names from “Willow”

The baby name Sorsha debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1989.

The movie Willow was released in May of 1988 — exactly 30 years ago this month. It didn’t do a thing for the baby name Willow, which hadn’t become trendy yet, but it did affect a couple of other character names: Sorsha and Elora.

Sorsha

The character Sorsha (played by Joanne Whalley) was the red-haired princess/soldier who was the daughter of the evil queen. She was also the love interest of Madmartigan (played by Val Kilmer). She started out as a bad guy, but changed sides mid-movie and was a good guy by the end.

The baby name Sorsha debuted in the U.S. data right on cue in 1989:

Year Usage of Sorsha Usage of Sorcha
1992 5 baby girls 5 baby girls
1991 5 baby girls 5 baby girls
1990 . 6 baby girls
1989 5 baby girls [debut] 5 baby girls [debut]
1988 . .
1987 . .

Curiously, parents opted for the spelling Sorcha as often as they opted for Sorsha. Why?

I couldn’t find any typos in contemporary sources — newspapers all used the more logical “Sorsha” — so my best guess is the baby name books.

Expectant parents wanting to know the definition of Sorsha would have instead encountered the Irish name Sorcha in those books. They would have learned the meaning (“bright”), but probably not the pronunciation, which is unfortunate because Sorcha isn’t pronounced SOR-sha. It’s more like SUR-kha. (Irish names that sound more like Sorsha include Saoirse, SEER-sha, or even the male name Seoirse, SHOR-sha.)

Elora

The character Elora Danan was the adorable read-haired baby at the center of the action. Her birthmark identified her as the one destined to depose Queen Bavmorda, so of course the queen wanted her found and destroyed. It was Willow’s job to deliver Elora Danan safely to those who would raise her.

The baby was given a good amount of screen time. Film critic Roger Ebert even complained about it: “One of the crucial problems…is that we see so much of this baby.”

As a result, the baby name Elora re-emerged in the data in 1988 and saw a distinct jump in usage in 1989/1990. The rise of Alora was even greater.

Year Usage of Elora Usage of Alora
1992 34 baby girls 72 baby girls
1991 63 baby girls 84 baby girls
1990 91 baby girls 108 baby girls
1989 87 baby girls 103 baby girls
1988 30 baby girls 11 baby girls
1987 . .

Many similar-sounding names (like Ellora) also got a boost, and several (like Alaura and Allora) appeared for the first time in the data in the late ’80s. And I spotted even more spelling variants when I did records searches.

Speaking of the records…they revealed (unsurprisingly?) that many of the babies with these various Elora-like first names also had Danan-like middles. “Danan” was the most common spelling, but another I saw repeatedly was “Dannon” — possibly influenced by the yogurt brand being advertised on TV during those years.

…What are your thoughts on the baby names Sorsha and Elora? Which one would you be more likely to use for a baby girl?

Sources: Willow (film) – Wikipedia, “Willow” Review by Roger Ebert

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2017

pop culture baby name game 2017

It’s time for the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!

This year we’re kicking things off January 8th, the birthday of Elvis Presley! (He was born in 1935 and would have been 83 today.)

So how do you play the game? Just brainstorm for baby names that could have gotten a boost in usage in 2017 thanks to the influence popular culture: movies, music, television, social media, video games, sports, politics, products, trends, and so forth.

Here are the names we’ve come up with so far:

  • Amilyn – movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi (stolen from Abby)
  • Antiope – movie Wonder Woman
  • Asahd – son of DJ Khaled (suggested by alex)
  • Asperitas – a new type of cloud (suggested by elbowin)
  • Bea – rumored Beyoncé baby name
  • Bear – son of Liam Payne
  • Bilquis – TV show American Gods
  • Callum – move Assassin’s Creed
  • Cardi – rapper Cardi B
  • Carter – son of Beyoncé and Jay-Z (suggested by elbowin)
  • Chance – Chance The Rapper
  • Creeley – TV show Damnation
  • Darci Lynne – winner of America’s Got Talent
  • Eclipse – August solar eclipse
  • Eissa – son of Janet Jackson
  • Eleven – TV show Stranger Things
  • Fatima – 100th anniversary of Marian apparitions
  • Fenty – Rihanna’s company Fenty Beauty
  • Gal – actress Gal Godot
  • Gravity – daughter of fashion models Lucky Blue Smith (male) and Stormi Bree (female)
  • Grover – fictional baby born on TV show Girls
  • Halley – fictional baby born on TV show Big Bang Theory
  • Harvey – hurricane
  • Hela – movie Thor: Ragnarok
  • Irma – hurricane
  • Issa Rae – actress Issa Rae
  • Jacinda – New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern
  • Jumanji – movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Jyn – movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Kelsea – singer Kelsea Ballerini
  • Kendrick – rapper Kendrick Lamar
  • Kensli – daughter of Chance the Rapper (suggested by alex)
  • Kenzo – son of Kevin Hart
  • Laureline – movie Valerian
  • Libratus – artificial intelligence (suggested by elbowin)
  • Mahershala – actor Mahershala Ali
  • Maren – singer Maren Morris
  • Mika – news presenter Mika Brzezinski (suggested by alex)
  • Ovince – MMA competitor Ovince Saint Preux
  • Poppy – singer Poppy; movie Trolls
  • Ragnarok – movie Thor: Ragnarok
  • Revel – son of actors Matthew and Renee Morrison
  • Rumi – daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z
  • Saffie – victim of Manchester bombing (suggested by elbowin)
  • Sally – former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates
  • Saoirse – actress Saoirse Ronan
  • Shadow – TV show American Gods
  • Shawn – rumored Beyoncé baby name
  • Shayla – beauty influencer Shayla Mitchell
  • Sir – son of Beyoncé and Jay-Z
  • Sonequa – actress Sonequa Martin-Green
  • Sovereign – daughter of Cam Newton
  • Strummer – son of Julia Stiles
  • Sturgill – musician Sturgill Simpson
  • Sza – singer SZA
  • Tenney – doll/character Tenney Grant (full name: “Tennyson Evangeline”)
  • Totality – August solar eclipse
  • Valerian – movie Valerian
  • Valkyrie – movie Thor: Ragnarok
  • Yulin – San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz (suggested by elbowin)
  • Zaya – movie Gods of Egypt (stolen from Maybe it is Daijirō)
  • Zelle – payment app

Have any additions to make? Comment below! Just don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence.

The SSA will release the next batch of baby name data in May, so I will post the results to the game a few days after that 2017 data becomes available.

If you don’t want to miss the results post, please subscribe to NBN by entering your email address into the “Get New Posts via Email” form in the sidebar.

P.S. Have some ideas for 2018? Comment with those too — I’ll add them to next year’s game. One addition I just made: Grayson, for the winter storm. (Here’s a Massachusetts baby named Grayson, and a Maine baby possibly named Grayson.)

Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2016

According to data released yesterday by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in the country in 2016 were Emily and James.

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Emily, 490 baby girls
2. Grace, 452 (up from 8th to 2nd)
3. Ava, 388 (2-way tie)
4. Lucy, 388 (2-way tie)
5. Amelia, 369 (2-way tie)
6. Sophie, 369 (2-way tie)
7. Emma, 365 (down from 2nd to 7th)
8. Mia, 357
9. Hannah, 351 (new)
10. Lily, 334 (new)

Boy Names
1. James, 688 baby boys (new #1 name; replaces Jack)
2. Jack, 684
3. Daniel, 558 (2-way tie)
4. Conor, 558 (2-way tie)
5. Sean, 501
6. Noah, 446
7. Adam, 400
8. Oisin, 398 (new)
9. Michael, 394
10. Luke, 375

Some quick facts about the girl names…

  • Newbies to the top 10: Hannah, Lily
  • Newbies to the top 100: Aria, Harper, Heidi, Matilda, Willow, Zoey
  • Biggest increases within the top 100, by…
    • Ranking: Willow/Matilda (tied), Harper, Heidi, Zoey, Daisy
    • Raw number: Grace, Fiadh, Saoirse, Charlotte, Evie, Holly/Alice (tied)
  • Top girl names in Ireland’s five biggest cities: Amelia (Dublin and Cork), Ava (Limerick), Fiadh (Galway), Mia (Waterford)

And some quick facts about the boy names…

  • Newbie to the top 10: Oisin
  • Newbie to the top 100: Muhammad
  • Biggest increases within the top 100, by…
    • Ranking: Muhammad, Louis, Lucas, Josh/Jason (tied), Ollie
    • Raw number: Finn, Max, Jacob, Lucas, Oisin, Ollie, Rian
  • Top boy names in Ireland’s five biggest cities: James (Dublin), Charlie (Cork), Conor (Limerick), Michael (Galway), Daniel (Waterford)

Finally, here are the 2015 rankings for Ireland, the 2016 rankings for Northern Ireland, and some Irish name pronunciations.

Sources: Irish Babies’ Names 2016, Press Statement Irish Babies’ Names 2016

Biggest Changes in Girl Name Popularity, 2016

Which girl names increased the most in popularity from 2015 to 2016? Which ones decreased the most?

The SSA likes to answer this question by analyzing ranking differences within the top 1,000. I like to answer it by looking at raw number differences that take the full list into account. So let’s check out the results using both methods…

Girl Names: Biggest Increases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, girl names, more popular

Rankings

1. Kehlani, +2,487 spots — up from 3,359th to 872nd
2. Royalty, +618 spots — up from 1,150th to 532nd
3. Saoirse, +465 spots — up from 1,448th to 983rd
4. Ophelia, +396 spots — up from 976th to 580th
5. Aitana, +368 spots — up from 917th to 549th
6. Itzayana, +356 spots — up from 1,125th to 769th
7. Alessia, +348 spots — up from 1,175th to 827th
8. Kaylani, +301 spots — up from 1,056th to 755th
9. Avianna, +298 spots — up from 751st to 453rd
10. Nalani, +294 spots — up from 1,280th to 986th

Kehlani and Kaylani were influenced by singer/songwriter Kehlani Parrish. (Kehlani was the top debut name of 2015, and variant Khelani debuted impressively in 2016.)

Royalty was influenced by the R&B singer Chris Brown, whose daughter (b. 2014) and 7th album (2015) were both called Royalty.

Saoirse was influenced by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan — perhaps specifically by those American talk show appearances in which she talked to the hosts (Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Colbert, etc.) about how to pronounce her name. Plus there was that widely circulated Ryan Gosling quote on the same topic (“It’s Ser-sha, like inertia”).

Alessia was influenced by singer/songwriter Alessia Cara.

Raw Numbers

1. Adeline, +1,700 baby girls — up from 2,403 to 4,103
2. Charlotte, +1,649 baby girls — up from 11,381 to 13,030
3. Riley, +1,390 baby girls — up from 5,720 to 7,110
4. Adaline, +971 baby girls — up from 902 to 1,873
5. Amelia, +864 baby girls — up from 9,838 to 10,702
6. Luna, +849 baby girls — up from 2,796 to 3,645
7. Emilia, +804 baby girls — up from 2,215 to 3,019
8. Camila, +765 baby girls — up from 5,271 to 6,036
9. Nova, +754 baby girls — up from 1,518 to 2,272
10. Evelyn, +708 baby girls — up from 9,352 to 10,060

Adeline and Adaline were influenced, at least initially, by the movie The Age of Adaline (2015).

Other names that saw raw number increases in the 200+ range included Eleanor, Teagan, Kinsley, Scarlett, Everly, Quinn, Aria, Remi, Harper, Penelope, Thea, Claire, Rowan, Hazel, Ruby, Blake, Aurora, Ivy, Harley, Eloise, Willow, Elena, Josephine, Alice, Blakely, Saylor, Nora, Leia, Iris, Margot, Isla, Freya, Samara, Joy, Zara, Eliana, Joanna, and Malia.

Girl Names: Biggest Decreases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, girl names, less popular

Rankings

1. Caitlin, -542 spots — down from 609th to 1,151st
2. Caitlyn, -462 spots — down from 598th to 1,060th
3. Katelynn, -402 spots — down from 652nd to 1,054th
4. Kaitlynn, -381 spots — down from 994th to 1,375th
5. Neriah, -344 spots — down from 943rd to 1,287th
6. Bryanna, -276 spots — down from 783rd to 1,059th
7. Kiley, -275 spots — down from 898th to 1,173rd
8. Yaritza, -271 spots — down from 935th to 1,206th
9. Denise, -210 spots — down from 993rd to 1,203rd
10. Kaelyn, -203 spots — down from 521st to 724th

caitlyn jenner, magazine coverCaitlin, Caitlyn, Katelynn, and Kaitlynn, were negatively influenced by Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner), who appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair in mid-2015 with the headline “Call me Caitlyn.”

This reminds me of what happened a few decades ago to Hillary — another name that was strongly associated for a time with a female who wasn’t conforming to gender norms. Perhaps tellingly, the name Bruce wasn’t hit nearly as hard. Jenner did fall of the charts, though.

Raw Numbers

1. Sophia, -1,311 baby girls — down from 17,381 to 16,070
2. Alexa, -1,289 baby girls — down from 6,049 to 4,760
3. Madison, -1,090 baby girls — down from 10,072 to 8,982
4. Emma, -1,001 baby girls — down from 20,415 to 19,414 (…but still the #1 name overall)
5. Aubrey, -869 baby girls — down from 7,376 to 6,507
6. Isabella, -852 baby girls — down from 15,574 to 14,722
7. Emily, -840 baby girls — down from 11,766 to 10,926
8. Kylie, -753 baby girls — down from 4,149 to 3,396
9. Alexis, -744 baby girls — down from 3,406 to 2,662
10. Abigail, -672 baby girls — down from 12,371 to 11,699

Other names that saw raw number drops in the 200+ range included Kaitlyn, Avery, Allison, Alyssa, London, Kaylee, Sofia, Katelyn, Kimberly, Zoey, Mia, Chloe, Kendall, Taylor, Sadie, Khloe, Mackenzie, Hannah, Peyton, Addison, Samantha, Ashley, Olivia, Gabriella, Brianna, Lauren, Anna, Brooklyn, Morgan, Jocelyn, Sydney, Natalie, Victoria, Makayla, Zoe, Hailey, Payton, Brooke, Annabelle, Trinity, Keira, Adalyn, Jordyn, Kayla, Molly, Audrey, Faith, Madelyn, Lillian, Caitlin, Caitlyn, Makenzie, Paige, Aaliyah, Paisley, Nevaeh, Elizabeth, Amy, and Jessica.

Interesting how certain like-names went in opposite directions last year. Leia, Alessia, and Adaline rose; Leah, Alyssa, and Adalyn fell.

Do you have any other explanations/guesses about any of the names above? If so, please comment!

(In 2015, the big winners were Alexa and Alaia, and the big losers were Isabella and Isis.)

Sources: Change in Popularity from 2015 to 2016, Emma and Noah Remain Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2016