How popular is the baby name Whitney in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Whitney and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Whitney.
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Below are all the names we came up with and how they fared on the charts last year.
First up, the names that made the biggest gains. (Some of these were on their way up anyway, so I’ll leave it to you guys to interpret just how much each one was/was not helped along by pop culture events.)
The 1976 movie Sparkle is set the late ’50s/early ’60s and follows three sisters — Sparkle (played by Irene Cara), Sister and Delores — as they form a girl group and try to find fame. It’s loosely based on the story of the Supremes, though set in Harlem instead of Detroit.
Did Sparkle have an influence on U.S. baby names? Yes — the baby name Sparkle, bestowed infrequently before the release of the movie, was given to dozens (and, later, hundreds) of baby girls starting in the mid-1970s:
1980: 110 baby girls named Sparkle
1979: 125 baby girls named Sparkle
1978: 71 baby girls named Sparkle
1977: 89 baby girls named Sparkle
1976: 44 baby girls named Sparkle
1975: not listed
And actress Dwan Smith, who portrayed Delores in the film, boosted the visibility (and usage) of the baby name Dwan:
1978: 39 baby girls named Dwan
1977: 61 baby girls named Dwan
1976: 47 baby girls named Dwan
1975: 12 baby girls named Dwan
Lately, Sparkle’s numbers have been much less impressive…but that could soon change, as a remake of Sparkle starring Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks is set to be released on August 17.
Tika is another Sparkle name we should watch for. Delores is played by Tika Sumpter in the remake, so it’s possible that Tika could get a boost in 2012 the way Dwan did in 1976.
Do you think the new movie could spark a Sparkle comeback? Could Tika take off?
P.S. Tika Sumpter’s birth name was Euphemia. Ironically, the sisters’ mother in the movie was named Effie — a nickname for Euphemia. (And Effie was played by actress Mary Alice, whose mother had the very interesting name Ozelar.)
Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.
Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.
Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing pop culture explanations. So this is more than a list of names — it’s also a list of stories.
Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)
I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!