Wondering which first letters were the most popular in 2020?
For baby girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by E and M. The least-used first letter was U. More than 272,000 baby girls got an A-name last year, whereas fewer than 700 got a U-name.
The three most-used girl names per letter last year were…
A: Ava, Amelia, Abigail
B: Brooklyn, Bella, Brielle
C: Charlotte, Camila, Chloe
D: Delilah, Daisy, Daniela
E: Emma, Evelyn, Ella
F: Faith, Freya, Finley
G: Gianna, Grace, Genesis
H: Harper, Hazel, Hannah
I: Isabella, Isla, Ivy
J: Josephine, Jade, Julia
K: Kinsley, Kennedy, Kaylee
L: Luna, Layla, Lily
M: Mia, Mila, Madison
N: Nora, Nova, Natalie
O: Olivia, Olive, Oakley
P: Penelope, Paisley, Piper
Q: Quinn, Queen, Quincy
R: Riley, Ruby, Rylee
S: Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett
T: Taylor, Teagan, Trinity
U: Unique, Uma, Una
V: Victoria, Violet, Valentina
W: Willow, Winter, Willa
X: Ximena, Xiomara, Xena
Y: Yaretzi, Yara, Yareli
Z: Zoey, Zoe, Zara
For baby boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and L. The least-used first letter was, again, U. More than 205,000 baby boys got a J-name last year, whereas fewer than 2,500 got a U-name.
The three most-used boy names per letter last year were…
A: Alexander, Aiden, Asher
B: Benjamin, Brooks, Bennett
C: Carter, Charles, Christopher
D: Daniel, David, Dylan
E: Elijah, Ethan, Ezra
F: Finn, Felix, Francisco
G: Grayson, Gabriel, Greyson
H: Henry, Hudson, Hunter
I: Isaac, Isaiah, Ian
J: James, Jacob, Jackson
K: Kai, Kayden, Kingston
L: Liam, Lucas, Logan
M: Mason, Michael, Mateo
N: Noah, Nathan, Nolan
O: Oliver, Owen, Oscar
P: Parker, Patrick, Peter
Q: Quinn, Quentin, Quincy
R: Ryan, Roman, Robert
S: Sebastian, Samuel, Santiago
T: Theodore, Thomas, Tyler
U: Uriel, Uriah, Ulises
V: Vincent, Victor, Valentino
W: William, Wyatt, Wesley
X: Xavier, Xander, Xzavier
Y: Yusuf, Yosef, Yehuda
Z: Zachary, Zion, Zayden
Finally, here are the totals for girls and boys side-by-side on the same chart:
Overall, the top first letter was A and the least popular first letter was (of course!) U.
Several months ago, the cast of the inaugural season of MTV’s The Real World held a 6-day reunion in the very same NYC loft they shared back in 1992. The reunion — which was filmed, of course — is now airing as a series on the Paramount+ platform. (Here’s the trailer.)
When I was a teenager, I loved watching The Real World. (And I appreciated that the names of the cast members were always prominently displayed in the opening credits!) So I think now would be a great time to go back and see if any Real World cast member names had an influence on U.S. baby names.
First, let’s start with a comprehensive list of all the cast member names from each of RW‘s 33 (!) seasons…
The Real World: New York (1992): Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
The Real World: California (1993): Aaron, Beth (x2), David, Dominic, Glen, Irene, Jon, Tami
The Real World: San Francisco (1994): Cory, Jo, Judd, Mohammed, Pam, Pedro, Puck, Rachel
The Real World: London (1995): Jacinda, Jay, Kat, Lars, Mike, Neil, Sharon
The Real World: Miami (1996): Cynthia, Dan, Flora, Joe, Melissa, Mike, Sarah
The Real World: Boston (1997): Elka, Genesis, Jason, Kameelah, Montana, Sean, Syrus
The Real World: Seattle (1998): David, Irene, Janet, Lindsay, Nathan, Rebecca, Stephen
The Real World: Hawaii (1999): Amaya, Colin, Justin, Kaia, Matt, Ruthie, Teck
The Real World: New Orleans (2000): Danny, David, Jamie, Julie, Kelley, Matt, Melissa
The Real World: Back to New York (2001): Coral, Kevin, Lori, Malik, Mike, Nicole, Rachel
The Real World: Chicago (2002): Aneesa, Cara, Chris, Keri, Kyle, Theo, Tonya
The Real World: Las Vegas (2002-2003): Alton, Arissa, Brynn, Frank, Irulan, Steven, Trishelle
The Real World: Paris (2003): Ace, Adam, Chris, Christina, Leah, Mallory, Simon
The Real World: San Diego (2004): Brad, Cameran, Charlie, Frankie, Jacquese, Jamie, Randy, Robin
The Real World: Philadelphia (2004-2005): Karamo, Landon, Melanie, M.J., Sarah, Shavonda, Willie
The Real World: Austin (2005): Danny, Johanna, Lacey, Melinda, Nehemiah, Rachel, Wes
The Real World: Key West (2006): Janelle, John, Jose, Paula, Svetlana, Tyler, Zach
The Real World: Denver (2006-2007): Alex, Brooke, Colie, Davis, Jenn, Stephen, Tyrie
The Real World: Sydney (2007-2008): Ashli, Cohutta, Dunbar, Isaac, KellyAnne, Parisa, Shauvon, Trisha
The Real World: Hollywood (2008): Brianna, Brittini, Dave, Greg, Joey, Kimberly, Nick, Sarah, Will
The Real World: Brooklyn (2009): Baya, Chet, Devyn, J.D., Katelynn, Ryan, Sarah, Scott
The Real World: Cancun (2009): Ayiiia, Bronne, CJ, Derek, Emilee, Jasmine, Joey, Jonna
The Real World: D.C. (2009-2010): Andrew, Ashley, Callie, Emily, Erika, Josh, Mike, Ty
The Real World: New Orleans (2010): Ashlee, Eric, Jemmye, McKenzie, Preston, Ryan (x2), Sahar
The Real World: Las Vegas (2011): Adam, Dustin, Heather (x2), Leroy, Michael, Nany, Naomi
The Real World: San Diego (2011): Alexandra, Ashley, Frank, Nate, Priscilla, Sam, Zach
The Real World: St. Thomas (2012): Brandon (x2), LaToya, Laura, Marie, Robb, Trey
The Real World: Portland (2013): Anastasia, Averey, Jessica, Johnny, Joi, Jordan, Marlon, Nia
Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014): Arielle, Ashley (x2), Brian, Cory, Hailey, Jamie, Jay, Jenna, Jenny, Lauren, Thomas
Real World: Go Big or Go Home (2016): CeeJai, Chris, Dean, Dione, Dylan, Jenna, Kailah, Sabrina
Real World Seattle: Bad Blood (2016-2017): Anika, Anna, Jennifer, Jordan, Kassius, Katrina, Kimberly, Mike, Orlana, Peter, Robbie, Theo, Tyara, Will
The Real World: Atlanta (2019): Arely, Clint, Dondre, Justin, Meagan, Tovah, Yasmin
The names in boldface line up with a discernible increase in baby name usage. (Other Real World names may have affected baby names as well, but it can be hard to tell when, say, a name is already common, or already on the rise.)
Here are details on all the boldfaced names, plus two more influential RW names (from seasons 6 and 18) that didn’t even belong to primary cast members.
The name Jacinda (from season 4; 1995) saw peak usage in 1996.
The name Flora (5; 1996) saw increased usage in 1997.
The name Kameelah (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1998.
The name Syrus (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1997.
The name Jason (6; 1997) was probably not affected, but the name of Jason’s girlfriend, Timber, saw increased usage in 1998.
The name Amaya (8; 1999) saw sharply increased usage in 1999 and 2000.
The name Kaia (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
The name Ruthie (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
The name Aneesa (11; 2002) saw peak usage in 2002.
The name Arissa (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2003.
The name Brynn (12; 2002-3) saw sharply increased usage in 2003.
The name Irulan (12; 2002-3) debuted in the data in 2003.
It looks like she was named after the fictional character Princess Irulan from Frank Herbert’s Dune books…?
The name Trishelle (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2004.
The name Mallory (13; 2003) saw increased usage in 2003 and 2004.
The name Cameran (14; 2004) saw peak usage in 2004.
The name Jacquese (14; 2004) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2004.
The name Johanna (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005.
The name Nehemiah (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005 and 2006.
The name Janelle (17; 2006) saw increased usage in 2006.
The name Svetlana (17; 2006) saw peak usage in 2007.
The name Colie (18; 2006-7) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2007.
The name Tyrie (18; 2006-7) saw peak usage in 2007.
I recently discovered that Gibraltar, a 2.6-square mile British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of Spain, has its own baby name rankings!
According to the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), the most popular baby names in Gibraltar in 2018 were Emma and James and in 2019 were Olivia and Ethan.
Here are all the names given to 3 or more babies in 2018 (during which a total of 402 babies were born):
Girl Names, 2018
Emma, 5 baby girls
Boy Names, 2018
James, 6 baby boys
Alexander, 5 (tie)
Ethan, 5 (tie)
Leo, 5 (tie)
Logan, 5 (tie)
Jack, 4 (five-way tie)
Lucas, 4 (five-way tie)
Michael, 4 (five-way tie)
Noah, 4 (five-way tie)
Ryan, 4 (five-way tie)
Evan, 3 (six-way tie)
Jamie, 3 (six-way tie)
Jesse, 3 (six-way tie)
Leon, 3 (six-way tie)
Theo, 3 (six-way tie)
Tiago, 3 (six-way tie)
(If you want to compare these to the equivalent rankings for England and Wales, there’s the link.)
The unique names bestowed just once in Gibraltar in 2018 include…
Girl names: Ainara, Daura, Diae, Nuria, Rharmaini
Boy names: Amitai, Cayetano, Mordechai, Shams, Tzion
And here are all the names given to 3 or more babies in 2019 (during which a total of 423 babies were born):
Girl Names, 2019
Olivia, 9 baby girls
Robyn, 4 (tie)
Sofia, 4 (tie)
Ava, 3 (four-way tie)
Celine, 3 (four-way tie)
Lily, 3 (four-way tie)
Maya, 3 (four-way tie)
Boy Names, 2019
Ethan, 6 baby boys
Jamie, 5 (tie)
Thomas, 5 (tie)
Jack, 4 (three-way tie)
Leo, 4 (three-way tie)
Oliver, 4 (three-way tie)
Dylan, 3 (eight-way tie)
George, 3 (eight-way tie)
Jacob, 3 (eight-way tie)
James, 3 (eight-way tie)
Jayden, 3 (eight-way tie)
Kian, 3 (eight-way tie)
Theo, 3 (eight-way tie)
Tyler, 3 (eight-way tie)
The unique names bestowed just once in 2019 include…
Girl names: Ilythia, Lamis, Mirtel, Sirine, Tais
Boy names: Brath, Dimitar, Haron, Levin-Lee, Theon
And I did find one more interesting thing: In May of 2017, local newspaper Panorama conducted a survey to determine “the most popular names among boys and girls aged 12” — so, kids born in or around the year 2005 — and came up with…