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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Soraya

Number of Babies Named Soraya

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Soraya

Royal Baby Name: Farah

farah diba, 1959, iran, queen
Farah Diba on the cover of LIFE, 1959

The last Shah of Iran had three wives — first Fawzia, second Soraya, and finally Farah: Farah Diba, who was a 21-year-old commoner when she married the king in Tehran at the very end of 1959.

The Arabic name Farah, which means “joy,” appeared for the first time in the SSA’s baby name data the next year:

  • 1964: 11 baby girls named Farah
  • 1963: 13 baby girls named Farah
  • 1962: 14 baby girls named Farah
  • 1961: 12 baby girls named Farah
  • 1960: 19 baby girls named Farah [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted

The couple went on to have four children: Reza (the male heir the Shah had been waiting for), Farahnaz, Ali-Reza, and Leila.

Reza never got a chance to rule Iran, though, because the royal family was forced to flee during the Iranian Revolution at the end of the 1970s. By the time the Shah died of cancer in 1980, the new leader of the country was Ayatollah Khomeini.

The similar name Farrah first appeared in the data in the late ’60s. It would go on to see a dramatic spike in usage in 1976-1977 thanks to Farrah Fawcett (whose name at birth was actually Ferrah).

Another similar name, Fara, predates both Farah and Farrah on the charts. Fara has been in the U.S. data since the 1910s. (Other unexpected Sara- and Clara-clones from that era include Flara, Gara, Para, and Nara.)

Do you like the name Farah? Which spelling do you prefer?

P.S. The male names Reza and Alireza started appearing in the U.S. data in the ’60s and ’70s, respectively.


Royal Baby Name: Soraya

soraya, 1951, wedding, shah, iranMohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, married three times (and divorced twice). His second wife was the half-Iranian, half-German Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiari. They wed in Tehran in 1951.

Soraya’s first name is the Persian form of Thurayya, from the Arabic term al-Thurayya, which refers to the Pleiades star cluster (literally, “the many little ones”).

The Imperial couple paid a long visit to the U.S. in 1954-1955, and (as with Twiggy and Nikita) the press coverage of their trip led to the debut of the name Soraya on the U.S. baby name charts in 1955:

  • 1961: 39 baby girls named Soraya
  • 1960: 24 baby girls named Soraya
  • 1959: 20 baby girls named Soraya
  • 1958: 28 baby girls named Soraya
  • 1957: 6 baby girls named Soraya
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: 6 baby girls named Soraya [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

Usage jumped in 1958, the year the Shah divorced Soraya (because she wasn’t able to produce an heir). And it stayed relatively high after that, because the U.S. press continued to report on the “sad queen” for years to come — her travels, her rumored romances, her attempt to kick off acting career in the mid-1960s.

What do you think of the name Soraya?

(And who were the Shah’s other two wives? The first was an Egyptian princess named Fawzia, sister-in-law of Farida, and the third was an Iranian commoner named Farah who we’ll talk more about tomorrow…)

Sources: Soraya_Esfandiary-Bakhtiari – Wikipedia, Thurayya – Behind the Name

Popular Baby Names on Prince Edward Island, 2013

Prince Edward Island’s top baby names of 2013 were announced recently.

According to provisional data from PEI’s vital statistics office, the most popular baby names in the province are Brooklyn and Liam.

Between January 1 and December 6, a total of 1,255 babies were born on the island and 746 different baby names were registered. Here are several hundred of those names, grouped by usage:

Girl Names Boy Names
  • Given to 9 baby girls: Brooklyn (#1)
  • 8: Olivia
  • 7: Ellie, Madison
  • 6: Claire, Ella, Emma, Lydia, Sophia
  • 5: Alexis, Callie, Julia, Lauren, Mackenzie, Sophie
  • 4: Abigail, Amelia, Ava, Charlotte, Layla, Lily, Sadie, Summer, Victoria
  • 3: Alexa, Anna, Annie, Aria, Aubree, Danica, Elizabeth, Felicity, Grace, Hannah, Harper, Jessica, Jordyn, Keira, Kinsley, Lexi, Lucy, Madelyn, Molly, Mya, Paisley, Peyton, Piper, Quinn, Sarah, Scarlett, Stella, Tessa, Violet
  • 2: Aaralyn, Adalyn, Aleah, Alice, Alyson, Amy, Anabelle, Averie, Avery, Ayla, Brooke, Brooklynn, Casey, Charlie, Elle, Elly, Emersyn, Evelyn, Fiona, Georgia, Gracie, Hailey, Isabella, Isla, Izabella, Jaelyn, Kate, Katherine, Kathryn, Kayla, Kyleigh, Leah, Lylah, Macie, Maggie, Marley, Mary, Meredith, Mila, Nevaeh, Paige, Rebekah, Ruby, Ryleigh, Samantha, Savannah, Selena, Serena, Serenity, Taylor, Zoey
  • 1 (a small selection): Adalay, Aislinn, Arista, Avalon, Avurri, Bonnie, Brae-Lynn, Brantley, Breagh, Brenya, Carling, Daelynn, Dawsyn, Ellavine, Elliet, Ellowyn, Erda, Felix, Georgie, Iola, Iona, Ivy, Jayla, Jozee, Keiannah, Khloey, Lewyn, Maeryn, Mataya, Meah, Merleah, Misk, Myrissa, Nahala, Naiomee, Penny, Primrose, Reenie, Rilynn, Ronnie, Rora, Soraya, Theia, Zadie
  • Given to 11 baby boys: Liam (#1)
  • 10: Hunter
  • 9: Connor, Jack
  • 8: Cohen, Jaxon, John
  • 7: Landon, Owen, William
  • 6: Benjamin, Caleb, Henry, Lucas, Mason, Noah
  • 5: Alex, Alexander, Carter, Charlie, David, Jackson, James, Jase, Joseph, Wyatt
  • 4: Austin, Camden, Cameron, Emmett, Griffin, Harrison, Hudson, Jace, Jonah, Kingston, Lincoln, Marcus, Nash, Nathan, Oliver, Parker, Ryan, Ryder, Seth, Xavier
  • 3: Charles, Clark, Cooper, Daniel, Drake, Dylan, Edward, Eli, Elijah, Emerson, Evan, Felix, Gabriel, Gavin, Gus, Isaac, Isaiah, Jacob, Jax, Jonathan, Joshua, Kai, Kaiden, Malcolm, Michael, Nathaniel, Riley, Sawyer, Thomas, Tristan
  • 2: Antonio, Beau, Beckett, Brayden, Caden, Casey, Cash, Clarke, Dawson, Declan, Dominic, Drew, Elliot, Elliott, Ethan, Ezra, Gage, Grayson, Hayden, Jaxson, Jayden, Kole, Levi, Logan, Luke, Matthew, Morgan, Nate, Nicholas, Nolan, Peter, Ryker, Rylan, Sebastian, Simon, Tanner, Taylor, Theo, Turner, Ty, Tye
  • 1 (a small selection): Abel, Aeros, Attwood, Blaiz, Boe, Canaan, Clive, Davud, Draeson, Fynn, Hadwin, Haitao, Jaece, Jedrek, Kessel, Montgomery, Neeko, Odell, Reethym, Rigon, Sudta, Toffer, Tylan, Wesdon, Zyler

I’m not sure when the finalized version of PEI’s 2013 list will be released, but I’ll be on the lookout for it. (Update, 1/8/2015: The 2014 list for PEI just came out, and it included a link to the 2013 data…which is exactly the same as the above. So it looks like PEI doesn’t release finalized lists.)

Sources: Brooklyn, Liam 2013’s most popular baby names in Prince Edward Island, The Most Popular Baby Names in P.E.I. for 2013