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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sophia

Number of Babies Named Sophia

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Sophia

Impressive People Named Sophie/Sophia

sophie blanchard
Sophie Blanchard, the first female aeronaut
The baby names Sophie, Sophia and Sofia are based on the Ancient Greek word for “wisdom” or “learning.” Here are several impressive ladies named Sophie/Sophia/Sofia:

  • Sophie Blanchard (b. 1778), French aeronaut. First woman to work as a professional balloonist.
  • Sophie Germain (b. 1776), French mathematician, physicist and philosopher.
  • Sophie Scholl (b. 1921), German anti-Nazi political activist.
  • Sophie Wilson (b. 1957), British computer scientist and software engineer.
  • Sophia Danenberg (1972), American mountain climber. First African-American and first black woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest (2006).
  • Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake (1840-1912), British physician and feminist.
  • Sofia V. Kovalevskaya (b. 1850), Russian mathematician. First woman in modern Europe to earn a doctorate in mathematics (1874) and to be appointed a professor of mathematics (1889).

Do you know of any other equally impressive people named Sophie, Sophia, Sofia, or some other variant of the name?


The Top Baby Names in Maryland in 2011?

Maryland’s Open Data website includes a single table of Maryland baby name rankings (2011) broken down by race/ethnic group. This is cool because New York City does the exact same breakdown, and we happen to have the equivalent NYC baby name rankings (2011). So we ought to be able to compare and contrast the two sets of rankings, right?

Yeah, that’s what I thought…until I started looking more closely at Maryland’s data.

According to the SSA, these were the top 10 boy names in Maryland in 2011:

  1. Mason
  2. Jacob
  3. Michael
  4. Ethan
  5. Ryan
  6. William
  7. Alexander
  8. Noah
  9. Daniel
  10. Aiden (tied for 10th)
  11. Jayden (tied for 10th)

But according to the state of Maryland, the top 10 boy names were quite different:

Rank OVERALL Asian &
Pacific Isl.
Black Hispanic White
1 Aiden Aiden Jaiden Christopher Lucas
2 Christopher Lucas Aiden Anthony Mason
3 Jayden Alexander Christopher John Jackson
4 Mason Muhammed Cameron Alexander Jacob
5 Lucas Ethan Elijah Daniel John
6 Jacob Nathan Jeremy Matthew Aiden
7 Alexander John Michael Brian Alexander
8 Nathan Andrew Isaiah Justin Liam
9 Michael Justin Mason Jaiden William
10 Ethan Jacob Caleb Kevin Ryan

It isn’t totally implausible that Aiden and Jayden might have ranked 1st and 3rd in 2011, but Christopher in 2nd? Maybe if this were a dataset from thirty years ago, but not five years ago. The SSA indicates that Christopher ranked closer to 18th in the state that year.

And what’s with the two different spellings of Jayden/Jaiden?

Plus there are some sizable raw number discrepancies, such as:

  • Aiden: 588 babies (MD data) vs. 281 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Christopher: 584 babies (MD data) vs. 256 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Jayden: 498 babies (MD data) vs. 281 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Mason: 463 babies (MD data) vs. 432 babies (SSA data for MD)

And now the girl names. According to the SSA, these were the top 10 girl names in Maryland in 2011:

  1. Sophia
  2. Olivia
  3. Isabella
  4. Madison
  5. Ava
  6. Emma
  7. Abigail
  8. Chloe
  9. Emily
  10. Elizabeth

According to the state of Maryland, though, the top 10 girl names in the state were these:

Rank OVERALL Asian &
Pacific Isl.
Black Hispanic White
1 Sophia Sophia Chloe Sophia Sophia
2 Isabel Chloe London Emily Isabel
3 Chloe Isabel Layla Allison Abigail
4 Ava Caitlin/Kate Madison Isabel Olivia
5 Madison Hannah Kennedy Ashley Ava
6 Olivia Olivia Aaliyah Angelina Riley
7 Emily Sara(h) McKenzie Natalie Madison
8 McKenzie Abigail Zoe(y) Genesis Emily
9 Abigail Emily Payton Gabrielle McKenzie
10 Riley Lillian/Lily Taylor Kimberly Chloe

Not only does Isabel magically replace Isabella in the Maryland data, but McKenzie and Riley rank 8th and 10th — even though the SSA says they should be closer to 77th (!) and 28th.

Not to mention the raw number discrepancies, such as:

  • Sophia: 503 babies (MD data) vs. 367 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • McKenzie: 325 babies (MD data) vs. 71 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Riley: 298 babies (MD data) vs. 118 babies (SSA data for MD)

Intriguing parallels between the MD data and the NYC data do exist. In both locations, Elijah and Isaiah were in the top 10 for African-American boys only, and London, Aaliyah, and Taylor were in the top 10 for African-American girls only.

But if we can’t trust the data, we can’t draw any meaningful conclusions.

Labels like “Caitlin/Kate,” “Sara(h),” “Zoe(y)” and “Lillian/Lily” suggest that variant names were combined here and there. I suspect this is also what happened with Isabel/Isabella, Sophia/Sofia, Aiden, Jayden, MacKenzie, Riley, and maybe even Christopher (perhaps Maryland merged all the “Chris-” names). What are your thoughts on this?

Popular Baby Names in Sonoma County, CA, 2015

Sonoma_County
According to Sonoma County’s data site SoCo Data, the most popular baby names in 2015 were Ava and Olivia (tie) and Mateo and Daniel (tie).

Here are the county’s top 5 girl names and top 5 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Ava and Olivia (tie), 28 baby girls
2. Camila, 25
3. Isabella, Mia and Emma (3-way tie), 23
4. Charlotte and Sophia (tie), 21
5. Alexa, 20
1. Mateo and Daniel (tie), 28 baby boys
2. Jackson, 27
3. Sebastian, 25
4. Benjamin, 24
5. Julian, Jayden and Noah (3-way tie), 22

In 2014, the top names in the county were Emma and Logan.

Of the 1,204 girl names bestowed last year, 811 (67%) were used just once. A smaller proportion of the 919 boy names — 549 (60%) — were bestowed once. Here are a few of those single-use names:

Unique Girl Names Unique Boy Names
Amarilla, Antimony, Edelweiss, Ember, Fanny, Lluvia, Lovely Estrella, Mae Pearl, Magnolia, Nkirote, Reminisce, Rosalene, Rurapenthe*, Summit Attimus, Banyan, Cypress, Cyprus, Destry, Ernestor, Fogatia, Iknav, Montgomery, Mercury, Orion, Quintil, Thornhill, Zinley

*Looks like Rurapenthe is based on “Rura Penthe,” the name of a planetoid used as a Klingon penal colony (!) in the Star Trek universe. Its name is a nod to Rorapandi, a penal colony island in the Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). Rorapandi was invented by Disney; it did not appear in the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870).

Source: SoCo Data

Popular Baby Names in Germany, 2015

According to data from the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (Association for German Language), the most popular baby names in Germany in 2015 were Mia and Jonas.

Here are the country’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Mia
2. Emma
3. Hanna/Hannah
4. Sophia/Sofia
5. Anna
6. Emilia
7. Mila
8. Lea/Leah
9. Lina
10. Lena
1. Jonas
2. Maximilian
3. Ben
4. Luca/Luka
5. Leon/Léon
6. Louis/Luis
7. Lukas/Lucas
8. Elias
9. Felix
10. Noah/Noa

In the girls’ top 10, Mila replaces Marie. In the boys’ top 10, Elias replaces Paul.

Hanna/Hannah and Luis/Louis were the #1 names (and Jonas was down in 7th) in 2014.

One interesting baby name bestowed in Germany in 2015 was “Gretchen Schneewittchen,” or “Gretchen Snow White,” discovered by name researcher Knud Bielefeld. It may have been inspired by Grimm World, the Brothers Grimm museum that opened in Kassel, Germany, in 2015.

Finally, did you know that about 1,000 new baby names are approved in Germany every year?

Sources: GfdS (2015), Germans turn to Star Wars for baby names

Popular Baby Names in Alberta, 2015

According to data from the government of Alberta, the most popular baby names in the province in 2015 were Olivia and Liam.

Here are Alberta’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia, 294 baby girls
2. Emma, 275
3. Emily, 252
4. Sophia, 205
5. Ava, 201
6. Chloe, 179
7. Ella, 167 [tie]
7. Abigail, 167 [tie]
9. Avery, 155
10. Amelia, 142
1. Liam, 301 baby boys
2. Noah, 256
3. Ethan, 233
4. Benjamin, 221
5. Lucas, 218
6. William, 217
7. Oliver, 209
8. Mason, 203
9. Logan, 196
10. Alexander, 193

In the girls’ top 10, Chloe, Avery, and Amelia replace Isabella, Charlotte, and Hannah.

In the boys’ top 10, Mason and Alexander replace Jacob and Carter.

Baby names that were bestowed only once last year include…

Unusual Girl Names Unusual Boy Names
Alastrine, Anarchy, Annayancy, Archa, Black-Feather, Breitling, Christivie, Costandina, Daylight, Drolma, Eallaf, Ehhuphoe, Esquire, Everra, Frozenda, Heledana, Isabeau, Jupiter, Kah, Loklyee-Snow, Lúthien, Mercyfavor, Mixx, Mornin-Starr, Mraeven, Nations, Nelanora, Obsolete, Oromia, Ovee, Patvabelle, Pluriana-Bella, Razbee, Reznor, SaQueira, Soda, Starlight, Sparrows, Surrender, Tayt-Lynn, Temperley, Uairirira, Umnia, Vhylix, Wynstelle, Xyrelle, Yeabkal, Yllethea, Yvriellebon, Zarabeen, Zayabella Ararso, Athanasius, Axtion, Bayou, Boxuan, Bry, Calyx, Clifflen, Coho, Den-Mark, Denzworth, Dezus, Eero, Eisenhower, Fnan, Fortress, Frotan, Galvin, Igloiel, Indus, JMaxx, Jomonosi, Kenardo, Knoll, Knoxin, Larxaniel, Memo, Mercer, Mugsy, Nazarus, Nexland, Nimona, Nuno, Nusetor, Okooc, Orges, Parx, Poncho, Psalmer, Qumbi, Ray-Pio, Reacher, Rook, Ryxer, Sky-Light, Sleem, Snowden, StylesJunior, Turbo, Uzuvira, Vanderjak, Vince-Gil, Wen-Ray, Wrightkin, Yngwie, Yogi, Zackharry, Zaylex, Zyller

Finally, here’s a link to Alberta’s top names of 2014.

Source: Frequency and Ranking of Baby Names by Year and Gender

Good Advice for Choosing an English Name

Apple, Chlorophyll, Icarus, Kinky, Melon, Omicron, Smacker, Swallow, Winsome, Yoyo…the English names chosen by (or assigned to) native Chinese speakers are often not so great.

And, in many cases, they’re later regretted. Here’s what a Hong Kong business student Fragile Chan had to say about his English name:

“I started using ‘Fragile’ when I was 14,” he says. “I first encountered the word in my English class and I chose it as my name because I liked how it’s pronounced.”

Chan says his name makes it easy for others to remember him and it’s an easy conversation-starter when he meets new people. But in his experience, having an uncommon name isn’t always pleasant.

“I am tired of explaining my name to others when I need to introduce myself. Some people even mock me for having a ‘fragile heart’,” he says. Now Chan has decided to change his name to Nathan. “I would like to be less weird in formal situations,” he says.

One U.S. entrepreneur has created a site called Best English Name, which helps Chinese students choose more appropriate English names. Site-suggested names include “Davis, Max, Eli, and Riley” for males and “Elody, Ava, Jolie, and Ellie” for females. These are a lot better than Kinky and Melon, and style-wise they’re fairly appropriate for current teenagers.

But I think the best advice out there comes from Philip Guo’s blog post How to choose an English name, because it can be applied to any age group.

His main recommendation? Go to the SSA’s website, find the top 100 names for your birth year, and choose one from the list for your gender. He says:

You must choose your name from one of these 100 names. Even if you randomly choose a name (for your gender, of course), then congratulations, I guarantee that you have chosen a better name than most of your friends who tried to be creative!

So a 15-year-old student (b. 2001) can choose from names like:

  • Isabel, Katie, Mia, Sophia, Zoe
  • Aidan, Chase, Isaiah, Jack, Noah

But a 40-year-old business-person (b. 1976) can choose from names that might be a better fit for his/her generation, such as:

  • Amy, Dana, Monica, Tina, Wendy
  • Chad, Dennis, Peter, Shane, Tony

Best of all, every top 100 list includes names appropriate for people of various ages. For example, these names were on both the 1976 and the 2001 lists:

  • Anna, Elizabeth, Michelle, Natalie, Sarah
  • Adam, David, John, Nathan, Victor

Guo’s other recommendations include ignoring name definitions entirely and sticking to the exact version of the name found in the top 100. He also suggests choosing a name that sounds somewhat like one’s birth name, e.g., the English name Shawn would work well for a Chinese man named Sheng.

Do you have any other good advice for people (Chinese people in particular) seeking English names?

Sources: Students with unusual names: ‘at least no one forgets us’, Laowai Entrepreneur Wants to Rid China of English “Stripper Names”, Popular Baby Names – SSA

Popular Baby Names in New Jersey, 2015

According to New Jersey’s Department of Health, the most popular baby names in the state in 2015 were Isabella and Liam.

Here are New Jersey’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Isabella
2. Olivia
3. Sophia
4. Emma
5. Mia
6. Ava
7. Abigail
8. Emily
9. Madison
10. Charlotte
1. Liam
2. Michael
3. Jacob
4. Noah
5. Mason
6. Matthew
7. Dylan
8. Joseph
9. Benjamin
10. Alexander

(The SSA data agrees about Liam being New Jersey’s top boy name, but says the top girl name is actually Emma.)

In the girls’ top 10, Charlotte replaces Sofia. In the boys’ top 10, Mason, Dylan, and Benjamin replace Daniel, Ethan, and Anthony.

Here are NJ’s 2014 rankings. For more sets of U.S. rankings, check out the U.S. name rankings subcategory.

Source: Take a look at the top N.J. baby names of 2015