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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Svetlana

Number of Babies Named Svetlana

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Svetlana

Soviet Leader Influenced U.S. Baby Names in 1959

Nikita Khrushchev, 1959Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Soviet Union for over a decade during the early Cold War (from 1953 to 1964).

Between the time the U.S.S.R. launched Sputnik in 1957 and sent Yuri Gagarin on the first manned space flight in 1961, Khrushchev became first Soviet head of state to visit the U.S.

Upon the invitation of president Dwight Eisenhower, Khrushchev and his family flew to Washington, D.C., on September 15, 1959. They visited New York, California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania before flying back to Moscow on the 27th.

Though Khrushchev famously never made it to Disneyland, he did manage to make an impression upon expectant parents:

Year U.S. girls named Nikita U.S. boys named Nikita
1961 39 21
1960 56 25
1959 44 19 [debut]
1958 16 unlisted
1957 13 unlisted

The baby name Nikita had appeared on the U.S. charts as a girl name before, but in 1959 it showed up for the very first time as a boy name.*

These days the usage of Nikita is about equal for males and females — 93 baby girls and 92 baby boys got the name in 2015. But there was a spike in female usage in 1985, thanks to the song “Nikita” by Elton John. (American radio listeners similarly interpreted Luka as a girl name a couple of years later.)

The name Nikita can be traced back to the Ancient Greek word for “victor,” niketes, which is based on the more familiar word nike, meaning “victory.”

And eight years after the name Nikita debuted, another Russian arrival, Svetlana Stalina, showed up and added yet another Soviet-inspired baby name to the mix…

Sources: Nikita Khrushchev – Wikipedia, Timeline: Nikita Khrushchev’s Trip Itinerary
Image: © TIME

*To debut on the SSA’s baby name list, a name has to be given to least 5 babies of one gender or the other within a single calendar year.


Stalin’s Daughter Influences U.S. Baby Names

Svetlana and Stalin
Svetlana and Stalin
The Russian name Svetlana, which is derived from the Slavic word svet, meaning “light,” debuted on the U.S. baby name list in 1967:

  • 1970: 8 baby girls named Svetlana
  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: 11 baby girls named Svetlana
  • 1967: 10 baby girls named Svetlana [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted

This was the year that Josef Stalin’s only daughter, Svetlana, defected to the United States.

Her defection from the Soviet Union, which attracted worldwide attention, was the most high-profile since Rudolf Nureyev’s defection in 1961.

Weirdly, her name also led her to a marriage several years later:

The widow of Frank Lloyd Wright, the great architect, invited Svetlana to stay with her. She herself had had a daughter Svetlana, killed in a car crash. She felt a mystical connection to this new and famous Svetlana. Her own Svetlana had been married to Wesley Peters, the architect’s senior apprentice. Mrs. Wright wanted the new Svetlana to meet Peters and like him. She did. They were married in three weeks.

The marriage only lasted 20 months, though.

What do you think of the name Svetlana?

Source: Stalin’s Daughter, Her Own Woman

Update, 8/9/16: Though I don’t have data to back it up, TIME says “thousands” of babies in Russia were named after Svetlana:

Svetlana Stalina, the daughter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, was born on February 28, 1926. Though brutal to the Russian public, Stalin was said to fawn over his daughter; she became a celebrity on the order of Shirley Temple in Russia, with thousands of babies named in her honor.

Source: Stalin’s Daughter Lana Peters – Time

Most Popular Baby Names in Armenia, 2012

The most popular baby names in Armenia were announced way back in February, then updated in May. (The numbers below are from the more recent press release.)

According to the National Statistical Service, the country’s top names were Davit for boys and Nare for girls.

Here are Armenia’s top 48 girl names and top 48 boy names of 2012:

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Nare, 967 baby girls
2. Milena, 852
3. Mari, 772
4. Mane, 729
5. Annie, 591
6. Anahit, 575
7. Elen, 543
8. Anna, 474
9. Mariam, 442
10. Maria, 410
11. Merry, 391
12. Angelina, 377
13. Gayane, 345
14. Eva, 299
15. Lilit, 294
16. Susanna, 288
17. Sona, 275
18. Hasmik, 258
19. Viktoria, 249
20. Gohar, 237
21. Nataly, 197
22. Karine, 191
23. Yana, 181
24. Sofi, 175
25. Karina, 156
26. Ruzanna, 155
27. Lusine, 152
28. Arevik, 145
29. Liana, 140
30. Anush, 139
31. Marianna, 134
32. Syuzanna, 133
33. Tamara, 122
34. Diana, 121
35. Marina, 116
36. Syuzi, 116
37. Armine, 113
38. Elina, 112
39. Vika, 103
40. Astghik, 102
41. Nane, 100
42. Narine, 99
43. Svetlana, 98
44. Lily, 96
45. Seda, 96
46. Sofya, 95
47. Monika, 95
48. Sara, 94
1. Davit, 1,313 baby boys
2. Narek, 1,144
3. Gor, 808
4. Hayk, 673
5. Alex, 600
6. Erik, 599
7. Tigran, 541
8. Arman, 529
9. Samvel, 490
10. Arthur, 451
11. Alen, 440
12. Armen, 428
13. Aram, 414
14. Ashot, 401
15. Aren, 348
16. Gevorg, 343
17. Areg, 328
18. Sargise, 322
19. Vahe, 302
20. Gagik, 302
21. Arsen, 300
22. Hovhannes, 283
23. Levon, 282
24. Artyom, 270
25. Karen, 263
26. Miqayel, 231
27. Robert, 205
28. Vardan, 181
29. Mher, 177
30. Harutyun, 172
31. Suren, 171
32. Garik, 164
33. Grigor, 157
34. Mark, 153
35. Daniel, 146
36. Hakob, 145
37. Aleksandr, 142
38. Edgar, 140
39. Andranik, 135
40. Hamlet, 135
41. Raphael, 134
42. Manvel, 133
43. Ruben, 133
44. Sergey, 129
45. Vahan, 107
46. Artak, 106
47. Albert, 105
48. Eduard, 104

Why didn’t they just go to 50? We shall never know…

Sources: Nare, David most popular baby names in Armenia in 2012, The most frequently given names to the new-borns by sex [pdf]

Namestorm 11 – Baby Names for Space Lovers

Captivated by the cosmos? You might enjoy this list of space-inspired baby names:

Robert (and Nell)
American physicist Robert Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket (nicknamed Nell) in Auburn, Massachusetts on March 16, 1926.

Yuri
Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to enter space and return safely on April 12, 1961.

Alan
Astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space on May 5, 1961.

Valentina
Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space on 16 June 1963.

Alexey (and Eva)
Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov carried out the first EVA (extra-vehicular activity–in this case, a spacewalk) on March 18, 1965.

Edwin and Neil
Astronauts Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Neil Armstrong become the first men to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Vladimir
Czechoslovak cosmonaut Vladimír Remek became the first Non-American, non-Soviet in space on 2 March 1978.

Sally
Astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space on 18 June 1983.

Svetlana
Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a spacewalk on 25 July 1984.

Anna
Astronaut Anna Fisher became the first mother in space* on 8 November 1984.

Helen
British cosmonaut Helen Sharman became the first non-American, non-Soviet female in space on 18 May 1991.

Peggy
American biochemist Peggy Whitson became the first resident scientist of the International Space Station in 2002.

And now, a couple of questions:

  • Can you come up with any other space-related baby names?
  • What interests/activities should we namestorm about next?

*By “the first mother in space,” I mean the first woman with children to go into space, not the first woman to give birth in space.

Sources: Key Milestones in Space Exploration, Space Exploration Timeline, Wikipedia, Women in Space

Which Olympic Names Will Get the Gold?

A reader named Knud compiled a cool list of the most common first names among this year’s Olympic athletes.

Here are the top male names, followed by the number of athletes with each name:

David
Michael
Daniel
Peter
Robert
Juan
Carlos
Thomas
Alexander, Christian, Ivan & Jose (tie)
Chris, James, Mark & Martin (tie)
66
41
40
39
36
34
29
28
26
24

And here are the top female names:

Maria
Anna
Olga
Elena
Natalia
Sarah
Tatiana
Irina & Laura (tie)
Ana
Svetlana
64
42
32
30
28
26
21
20
19
17

The names in boldface are the medalists, of course. :)

Thanks, Knud!