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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Tammy

Number of Babies Named Tammy

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Tammy

Popular Girl Names: Biblical vs. Non-Biblical

The ratio of Biblical names to non-Biblical names in the girl’s top 20 is about the same today as it was 100 years ago, though the ratio did change a bit mid-century.

(In contrast, there’s been a steady increase in the number of Biblical-origin names among the top boy names.)

Here’s the color-coded table — Biblical names are in the yellow cells, non-Biblical names are in the green cells, and several borderline names (which I counted as non-Biblical) are in the orange cells:

Popular girl names: Biblical vs. non-Biblical, from Nancy's Baby Names.
Popular girl names over time: Biblical (yellow) vs. non-Biblical. Click to enlarge.
  • Biblical names: Abigail, Anna, Betty (via Elizabeth), Chloe, Danielle, Deborah, Debra, Elizabeth, Hannah, Isabella (via Elizabeth), Janet, Jean, Joan, Judith, Judy, Julie, Lillian (via Elizabeth), Lisa (via Elizabeth), Lois, Marie, Marilyn, Mary, Mia (via Maria), Michelle, Nancy (via Anne), Rachel, Rebecca, Ruth, Sandra (via Alexander), Sarah, Sharon, Stephanie, Susan, Tammy (via Tamar/Tamara)
  • Non-Biblical names: Alexis, Alice, Alyssa, Amanda, Amber, Amelia, Amy, Angela, Ashley, Aubrey, Avery, Barbara, Brenda, Brianna, Brittany, Carol, Carolyn, Catherine, Charlotte, Christina, Christine, Crystal, Cynthia, Diane, Donna, Doris, Dorothy, Edna, Ella, Emily, Emma, Evelyn, Florence, Frances, Gladys, Grace, Harper, Heather, Helen, Irene, Jennifer, Joyce, Karen, Kathleen, Kayla, Kelly, Kimberly, Laura, Lauren, Linda, Lori, Louise, Madison, Margaret, Marjorie, Megan, Melissa, Mildred, Natalie, Nicole, Olivia, Pamela, Patricia, Rose, Shannon, Shirley, Sofia, Sophia, Taylor, Tiffany, Victoria, Virginia
  • Borderline names:
    • Ava (could be based on the Germanic root avi or the Biblical name Eve)
    • Jessica (literary invention, but Shakespeare may have based it on the Biblical name Iscah)
    • Samantha (possibly inspired by the Biblical name Samuel)

Again, feels pretty weird to put overtly Christian names like Christina and Christine in the non-Biblical category, but oh well.

Here are the year-by-year tallies:

Year Top 20 names
given to…
# Biblical # Non-Biblical
1914 31% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1924 31% of baby girls 7 (35%) 13 (65%)
1934 32% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1944 35% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1954 34% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1964 24% of baby girls 9 (45%) 11 (55%)
1974 24% of baby girls 8 (40%) 12 (60%)
1984 26% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
1994 19% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2004 14% of baby girls 6 (30%) 14 (70%)
2014 12% of baby girls 5 (25%) 15 (75%)

Just like with the boy names, though, there’s a big difference between the 1914 and 2014 sample sizes — 31% and 12%. So let’s also look at the 2014 top 100, which covers 31% of female births.

By my count, last year’s top 100 girl names were about a quarter Biblical, three-quarters non-Biblical:

Biblical names (27) Non-Biblical/Borderline names (73)
Isabella (via Elizabeth), Mia (via Maria), Abigail, Elizabeth, Chloe, Addison (via Adam), Lillian (via Elizabeth), Hannah, Anna, Leah, Gabriella, Sadie (via Sarah), Sarah, Annabelle, Madelyn (via Magdalene), Lucy (via Lucius), Alexa (via Alexander), Genesis, Naomi, Eva, Lydia, Julia, Khloe, Madeline (via Magdalene), Alexandra, Gianna (via Joanna), Isabelle (via Elizabeth) Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Emily, Madison, Charlotte, Harper, Sofia, Avery, Amelia, Evelyn, Ella, Victoria, Aubrey, Grace, Zoey, Natalie, Brooklyn, Lily, Layla, Scarlett, Aria, Zoe, Samantha, Audrey, Ariana, Allison, Savannah, Arianna, Camila, Penelope, Claire, Aaliyah, Riley, Skylar, Nora, Hailey, Kaylee, Paisley, Kennedy, Ellie, Peyton, Caroline, Serenity, Aubree, Alexis, Nevaeh, Stella, Violet, Mackenzie, Bella, Autumn, Mila, Kylie, Maya, Piper, Alyssa, Taylor, Eleanor, Melanie, Faith, Katherine, Brianna, Ashley, Ruby, Sophie, London, Lauren, Alice, Vivian, Hadley, Jasmine

Faith, Grace, Angela, Nevaeh, Natalie…all technically non-Biblical.

27%-73% is remarkably similar to both 25%-75% (smaller 2014 sample) and 30%-70% (1914 sample).

So here’s the question of the day: If you had to choose all of your children’s names from either one group or the other — Biblical names or non-Biblical names — which group would you stick to, and why?


Name Quotes for the Weekend #23

River Phoenix quote about his name

River Phoenix, as quoted in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1995:

When I was in first grade everyone made fun of my name, of course. I think it’s kind of a big name to hold up when you’re nine years old. It seemed goofy.

(His birth name? River Bottom.)

From “Name Trouble” at Futility Closet:

In 2004, Sara Leisten of Gothenburg, Sweden, sought to name her baby Superman (Staalman) because he was born with one arm outstretched. A judge blocked her effort, claiming the child would be ridiculed in later life. Swedish MPs pointed out that the law is inconsistent, as the names Tarzan and Batman are allowed.

From “How to Choose Your Very Bad Blog Name” by Tammy Soong:

I like my name — I mean, it’s my name, so the choice is to either like it or go through some massive identity overhaul to get rid of it. But it has definitely been a source of…issues. As a kid, every adult I ran into would — no joke — break into the theme song from a 1960’s TV show called (you guessed it) “Tammy.” That sort of thing never freaks out little kids.

When I got married, it only got worse. My husband’s last name was Thunder, thus giving me the option of becoming “Tammy Thunder.” Tammy Thunder from Reno. I could’ve just opened my own strip joint and been rolling in it by now if it weren’t for, you know, my dignity.

From an 11 Freunde tweet about German soccer player and World Cup-winner Mario Götze:

Dieser Moment, in dem du dachtest: Wenn er den macht, nenne ich meinen Sohn Mario.

(Translation: “This moment, in which you thought: If he makes it, I call my son Mario.”)

From the movie Despicable Me 2:

Gru: Goodnight Margo…whoa, hold your horses. Who are you texting?
Margo: My friend Avery.
Gru: Avery. Avery? Is that a girl’s name or a boy’s name?
Margo: Does it matter?
Gru: No, no, it doesn’t matter…unless it’s a boy!

(Gru’s first name is Felonious, btw.)

From “Choosing a Baby Name in France According to French Customs” by french mamma:

American names are no longer popular, as they were overused in the 1990s. In fact, some American names are considered to indicate the child comes from a lower class family. There goes some of my top choice baby names!

(Found via The Art of Naming.)

From “Long Division” by Darryle Pollack:

“If you get the name, then I get to choose the new couch for the family room.”

A few minutes went by and the deal was officially sealed. A few weeks went by and Howard selected the couch for the family room. A few years went by and the marriage ended. I can’t say the naming negotiation caused our split, but it sure didn’t help.

On the other hand the negotiation was worth it from my side. I never did like that couch in the family room, but our son just turned 26 and he’s definitely a Daniel.

From “Names & Faces” by Michael Blowen, in an October 1991 issue of the Boston Globe:

France has ordered its civil registrars — dedicated functionaries whose duties include officially recording the names of newborns — to stop refusing to accept names for infants that float outside the Judeo-Christian mainstream. Anything goes now; parents can name their kids whatever they want. A registrar says he recently accepted the name “Peripherique.” Another reports that a jobless couple named their child “Assedic” — the acronym for Association for Employment in Industry and Commerce, which hands out unemployment benefits.

(Périphérique means “beltway.” Assédic reminds me of Welfare.)

Want to see more? Check out the name quotes category.

Interesting Baby Name Analysis

I only recently noticed that Behind the Name, one of my favorite websites for baby name definitions, has a page called United States Popularity Analysis — a “computer-created analysis of the United States top 1000 names for the period 1880 to 2012.”

The page has some interesting top ten lists. Here are three of them:

Most Volatile

Boy Names Girl Names
1. Elvis
2. Brooks
3. Santiago
4. Lincoln
5. Ernie
6. Wyatt
7. Quincy
8. Rogers
9. Alec
10. Dexter
1. Juliet
2. Lea
3. Justine
4. Martina
5. Felicia
6. Delilah
7. Selina
8. Lonnie
9. Magdalena
10. Katy

Biggest Recoveries

Boy Names Girl Names
1. Silas
2. Isaiah
3. Caleb
4. Emmett
5. Jordan
6. Josiah
7. Harrison
8. Ezra
9. Jason
10. Jesus
1. Ella
2. Stella
3. Sadie
4. Sophie
5. Isabella
6. Lily
7. Hannah
8. Isabelle
9. Sophia
10. Lilly

Biggest Flash-in-the-Pans

Boy Names Girl Names
1. Dewey
2. Woodrow
3. Dale
4. Barry
5. Rick
6. Greg
7. Roosevelt
8. Shannon
9. Kim
10. Darrin
1. Debra
2. Lori
3. Tammy
4. Pamela
5. Tracy
6. Cheryl
7. Beverly
8. Dawn
9. Diane
10. Kathy

I wonder what the formulas were. I’d love to try the same analysis on the SSA’s full list, using raw numbers instead of rankings. Wonder how much overlap there’d be…

Biggest Baby Name Debuts of All Time: Girls, 50 to 41

biggest baby name debuts of all time, girl names, 50 to 41

For years now I’ve been talking about baby name debuts. But one thing I keep forgetting to blog about is the biggest baby name debuts of all time.

So this week I’m going to fix that oversight.

Well, half of it.

I’ll be counting down the 50 most popular girl name debuts in five posts, from today until Friday. (The boys’ list I’ll do another week.)

You’d think this would be 50 names, right? But I decided not to break ties, so the list actually contains 67 names.

I came up with explanations for as many names as I could, though a number of them are still mysteries to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.

So here’s 50 to 41:

Jashanti, Tamre & Yuliza, 3-way tie for #50

  • Jashanti debuted with 63 baby girls in 2002.
    Inspired by singer Ashanti.
  • Tamre debuted with 63 baby girls in 1958.
    Inspired by the song “Tammy,” theme song of the movie Tammy and the Bachelor.
  • Yuliza debuted with 63 baby girls in 1997.
    Inspired by singer Julissa.

Natori, #49

  • Natori debuted with 64 baby girls in 1995.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by the Avon perfume Natori. (Thank you Blue Juniper!)

Yatzari, #48

  • Yatzari debuted with 65 baby girls in 2000.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.

Brieanna, Fanta & Kherington, 3-way tie for #47

  • Brieanna debuted with 66 baby girls in 1979.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Fanta debuted with 66 baby girls in 1977.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Fanta, a character on the TV miniseries “Roots.”
  • Kherington debuted with 66 baby girls in 2008.
    Inspired by Kherington Payne, a contestant on the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Chantay, Charde & Laryssa, 3-way tie for #46

  • Chantay debuted with 67 baby girls in 1960.
    Inspired by Chantay, a character on the TV western “Lawman.”
  • Charde debuted with 67 baby girls in 1985.
    Inspired by singer Sade [shah-DAY].
  • Laryssa debuted with 67 baby girls in 1968.
    Inspired by Laryssa Lauret, an actress on the soap opera “The Doctors.”

Jennavecia & Laquita, 2-way tie for #45

  • Jennavecia debuted with 68 baby girls in 2008.
    Inspired by Jennavecia Russo, a cast member on the reality TV show “The Bad Girls Club.”
  • Laquita debuted with 68 baby girls in 1930.
    Inspired by…I’m not sure what.

Zhane, #44

  • Zhane debuted with 69 baby girls in 1993.
    Inspired by the duo Zhane.

Kaydence, Phaedra & Shalawn, 3-way tie for #43

  • Kaydence debuted with 70 baby girls in 2002.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Cadence, a character from Shallow Hal. (Thank you Angela!)
  • Phaedra debuted with 70 baby girls in 1963.
    Inspired by Phaedra, a character in the movie Phaedra.
  • Shalawn debuted with 70 baby girls in 1974.
    Inspired by Shalawn (b. 1974), baby of O’Jays singer Walter Williams.

Tyechia, #42

  • Tyechia debuted with 71 baby girls in 1982.
    Inspired by orphaned toddler named Tyechia who had been in the news.

Adilene, #41

  • Adilene debuted with 72 baby girls in 1987.
    Inspired by the song “Adilene” by Los Yonics.

Do you have any ideas about where Kaydence, Fanta, Brieanna, Yatzari or Natori might have come from?

If you want to make guesses about the names higher up on the list, here are some posts that will help:

*The Top 50 Baby Name Debuts for Girls: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1*

The Baby Name Tammy

TammyLast week, two notable women named Tammy won elections. One was Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, elected to the U.S. Senate. The other was Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Do you think this could be enough to revive the baby name Tammy?

The name started popping up on the SSA’s baby name list in the 1930s, was in the top 1,000 by the late 1940s, and was extremely popular by the late 1950s:

  • 1961: 15,527 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 28th]
  • 1960: 14,311 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 31st]
  • 1959: 13,707 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 31st]
  • 1958: 9,981 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 44th]
  • 1957: 4,361 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 107th]
  • 1956: 261 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 583rd]
  • 1955: 192 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 677th]

What caused the surge in popularity? The 1957 movie Tammy and the Bachelor, and its memorable theme song “Tammy” [vid]. (The song was written by the same pair who created “Que Sera, Sera.”)

The film and song popularized not just the name Tammy, but a slew of other Tam-names as well, including Tambra, Tamela, Tamera, Tami, Tamie, Tammi, Tammie, Tamra, Tamara, and Tambrey (the real name of the film’s main character).

The name Tamre, which debuted in 1958, was the top debut name for baby girls that year.

The name Tammy stayed popular through the ’60s, thanks to two more Tammy films (1961 & 1963) and a short-lived TV series (1965-1966). It was one of the top ten baby girl names in the nation in 1964 and from 1966 to 1971. (Tammy Baldwin was born in 1962, Tammy Duckworth in 1968.)

After that, Tammy began sinking. It dropped out of the top 100 in 1981, out of the top 1,000 in 1992, and continues to fall every year:

  • 2011: 58 baby girls named Tammy
  • 2010: 69 baby girls named Tammy
  • 2009: 96 baby girls named Tammy
  • 2008: 120 baby girls named Tammy

Do you think the national coverage of Tammy Baldwin and Tammy Duckworth in 2012 could reverse this trend? (Even if just for a year?)

What Would You Name the Hurricanes?

hurricaneThe six-month Atlantic hurricane season begins today. Here are this year’s hurricane names: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince and Whitney.

Gawker’s Brian Moylan “decided to take a stab at replacing this year’s list of stormy monikers with some that feel a bit more current.” Here’s what he came up with: Aiden, Belle, Cassidy, Diabolique, Egg McMuffin, Franco, Gaga, Hailey, IMDb, Jose (we’re keeping that for multicultural purposes), Kal-El, LV Louis Vuitton, Moroccan, Neruda, Oprah, Palin, Real Housewife, Snooki, Twitpic, Victory and Wintour.

If you could choose this year’s hurricane names, which names would be on the list?

(If you want to follow the NHC’s pattern properly, remember to alternate between female and male names. Otherwise, choose whatever names you like.)

Sources: National Hurricane Center, HuffPo

Ethnic/Black Names and the Job Hunt

Yesterday, someone tried to leave the following comment on my Dijonnaise post:

And every one of them was black. Guaranteed.

I didn’t approve the comment, but I did find it interesting. And timely.

Several days ago, reader C in DC directed me to a transcript of The Kojo Nnamdi Show. This particular show had to do with the issues/struggles female prisoners face upon release. One caller suggested that black-sounding first names may impede reintegration:

I have known three black women, one of whom was incarcerated previously, and the other two had difficulties in their life that didn’t involve incarceration. And all three of them had birth names on their birth certificate, names like Shiquanda (sp?) or Jamezeta (sp?), names that basically screamed out, you know, I was born black, poor neighborhood

The caller noted that all three women “ended up legally changing their names” and “they all experienced considerable success after that change.”

Who knows if the caller was telling the truth, but he could be–it’s not outside of the realm of possibility–and that’s the important part.

Several studies and mounds of anecdotal evidence suggest that snap judgments about names may keep certain people (or, more significantly, certain groups of people) from being treated fairly when they apply for jobs.

And I’m not just talking about African-American names. I’m talking Spanish (“Mexican”) names, Muslim/Arabic names…just about any name that doesn’t sound mainstream or “white.”

I’m also not just talking about the United States. This type of discrimination has been observed in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, and other places with minority populations.

The Kojo Nnamdi caller brings up a good point: some names can indeed be a hindrance. Here’s a telling quote from résumé consultant Tammy Kabell:

I’ve had frank discussions with HR managers and hiring mangers in the corporate world, and they tell me when they see a name that’s ethnic or a black name, they perceive that person as having low education or coming from a lower socioeconomic class.

So what advice should we give former female prisoners with names like Shiquanda and Jamezeta who are having trouble getting a job?

Do we mention that people with more common (“whiter”) names sometimes have an easier time landing an interview? Do we suggest that they use their first initial instead of their first name? Do we recommend they take the drastic step of legally changing their first name? Or…is it racist to even make suggestions like these?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

(Also, thank you to C in DC for sending me the link to the transcript!)

Sources: