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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Willow

Number of Babies Named Willow

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Willow

Top First Letters of U.S. Baby Names, 2017

What were the most popular first letters for baby names in 2017?

For girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by M and E. The least-used first letter was U. Here’s the breakdown:

first letters, girl names, 2017

And here are the most-used girl names per letter for 2017:

For boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and C. The least-used letter was U. Here’s the breakdown:

first letters, boy names, 2017

Here are the most-used boy names per letter for 2017:

Finally, here are both genders side-by-side on the same chart:

first letters, baby names, 2017

Overall, the top first letter was A and the least popular letter was U. Not much has changed since 2016


Biggest Changes, Baby Girl Names, 2017

Which girl names increased the most in popularity from 2016 to 2017? And which ones decreased the most?

There are a few different ways to answer this question. The SSA, for instance, likes to look at ranking differences within the top 1,000. And I like to augment their list by looking at raw number differences across all the data.

So let’s look at increases first…

Girl Names: Biggest Increases, 2016 to 2017

Rankings

1. Ensley, +1,461 spots
2. Oaklynn, +1,072
3. Dream, +840
4. Oaklyn, +749
5. Melania, +720
6. Emberly, +616
7. Octavia, +435
8. Paisleigh, +364
9. Yara, +352
10. Kehlani, +347

Melania was influenced by the First Lady. Dream was influenced by the latest Kardashian baby.

Raw Numbers

1. Luna, +1,657 babies
2. Mila, +1,123
3. Amelia, +1,047
4. Bella, +957
5. Nova, +748
6. Camila, +704
7. Elena, +685
8. Kinsley, +669
9. Everly, +616
10. Aurora, +590

Camila might have been influenced by Camila Cabello (“Havana ooh na-na…”).

Other names that saw raw number increases in the 300+ range included Raelynn, Willow, Amara, Isla, Samara, and Leilani.

And now let’s check out decreases…

Girl Names: Biggest Decreases, 2016 to 2017

Rankings

1. Julianne, -263 spots
2. Wendy, -243
3. Milania, -241
4. Montserrat, -225
5. Nathaly, -225
6. Jayden, -204
7. Jessa, -201
8. Tenley, -198
9. Aryana, -184
10. Ciara, -183

Looks like Melania stole a lot of attention away from Milania in 2017.

Raw Numbers

1. Sophia, -1,281 babies
2. Emily, -1,211
3. Abigail, -1,196
4. Madison, -1,167
5. Sofia, -1,027
6. Mia, -978
7. Alexa, -883
8. Riley, -788
9. Brooklyn, -774
10. Lily, -769

Alexa was no doubt adversely affected by the prevalence of Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa.

Other names that saw raw number drops in the (negative) 300+ range included Kylie, Natalie, Taylor, Morgan, Piper, Trinity, and Harper.

Do you have any explanations for the name movement above? If so, please comment!

Sources: Change in Popularity, SSA, Emma and Liam Top Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2017

Sorsha & Elora: Baby Names from “Willow”

The baby name Sorsha debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1989.

The movie Willow was released in May of 1988 — exactly 30 years ago this month. It didn’t do a thing for the baby name Willow, which hadn’t become trendy yet, but it did affect a couple of other character names: Sorsha and Elora.

Sorsha

The character Sorsha (played by Joanne Whalley) was the red-haired princess/soldier who was the daughter of the evil queen. She was also the love interest of Madmartigan (played by Val Kilmer). She started out as a bad guy, but changed sides mid-movie and was a good guy by the end.

The baby name Sorsha debuted in the U.S. data right on cue in 1989:

Year Usage of Sorsha Usage of Sorcha
1992 5 baby girls 5 baby girls
1991 5 baby girls 5 baby girls
1990 . 6 baby girls
1989 5 baby girls [debut] 5 baby girls [debut]
1988 . .
1987 . .

Curiously, parents opted for the spelling Sorcha as often as they opted for Sorsha. Why?

I couldn’t find any typos in contemporary sources — newspapers all used the more logical “Sorsha” — so my best guess is the baby name books.

Expectant parents wanting to know the definition of Sorsha would have instead encountered the Irish name Sorcha in those books. They would have learned the meaning (“bright”), but probably not the pronunciation, which is unfortunate because Sorcha isn’t pronounced SOR-sha. It’s more like SUR-kha. (Irish names that sound more like Sorsha include Saoirse, SEER-sha, or even the male name Seoirse, SHOR-sha.)

Elora

The character Elora Danan was the adorable read-haired baby at the center of the action. Her birthmark identified her as the one destined to depose Queen Bavmorda, so of course the queen wanted her found and destroyed. It was Willow’s job to deliver Elora Danan safely to those who would raise her.

The baby was given a good amount of screen time. Film critic Roger Ebert even complained about it: “One of the crucial problems…is that we see so much of this baby.”

As a result, the baby name Elora re-emerged in the data in 1988 and saw a distinct jump in usage in 1989/1990. The rise of Alora was even greater.

Year Usage of Elora Usage of Alora
1992 34 baby girls 72 baby girls
1991 63 baby girls 84 baby girls
1990 91 baby girls 108 baby girls
1989 87 baby girls 103 baby girls
1988 30 baby girls 11 baby girls
1987 . .

Many similar-sounding names (like Ellora) also got a boost, and several (like Alaura and Allora) appeared for the first time in the data in the late ’80s. And I spotted even more spelling variants when I did records searches.

Speaking of the records…they revealed (unsurprisingly?) that many of the babies with these various Elora-like first names also had Danan-like middles. “Danan” was the most common spelling, but another I saw repeatedly was “Dannon” — possibly influenced by the yogurt brand being advertised on TV during those years.

…What are your thoughts on the baby names Sorsha and Elora? Which one would you be more likely to use for a baby girl?

Sources: Willow (film) – Wikipedia, “Willow” Review by Roger Ebert

Popular Baby Names in New Brunswick, 2017

According to New Brunswick’s Vital Statistics Office, the most popular baby names in the province last year were Emma and Liam.

Here are New Brunswick’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2017:

Girl Names
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Amelia
4. Charlotte
5. Sophia
6. Madison
7. Ella
8. Elizabeth
9. Willow
10. Audrey

Boy Names
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Benjamin
4. William
5. Logan
6. Jack
7. Lucas
8. Oliver
9. Thomas
10. Samuel

In 2016, the top two names were the same.

These rankings are based on provisional data covering most (but not all) of 2017.

Source: New Brunswick’s birth numbers and top baby names for 2017

Popular Baby Names in PEI, 2017

According Prince Edward Island’s Vital Statistics, the most popular baby names on the island in 2017 were Ava and Liam.

Here are PEI’s top girl names and top boy names of 2017:

Girl Names
1. Ava, 11 baby girls
2. Elizabeth & Emma, 8 each (tie)
3. Ella, 7
4. Charlotte, Ellie & Sophia, 6 each (3-way tie)
5. Isla & Lilly, 5 each (tie)
6. Amelia, Aubrey, Lydia, Millie, Ruby & Willow, 4 each (6-way tie)

Boy Names
1. Liam, 12 baby boys
2. Henry & William, 10 each (tie)
3. Jackson, 9
4. Declan & Hudson, 8 each (tie)
5. Grayson & James, 7 each (tie)
6. Jacob, Joseph, Owen & Thomas, 6 each (4-way tie)

These rankings are based on provisional data covering the year up to December 20th.

In 2016, the top two names were Olivia (which is nowhere to be seen on the 2017 list, interestingly) and William.

Source: Here are P.E.I.’s top baby names of 2017