I’m going to summarize the data in just two posts this year — one for girls, one for boys. Let’s start with the ladies…
Here are the most popular girl names overall:
Olivia, 18,451 baby girls
These same ten names were in the 2018 top ten as well.
The girl names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…
Alaia, increased by 1,072 babies
The girl names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies were…
Yalitza, increased by 1490%
Yalitza was no doubt influenced by Roma (2018) actress Yalitza Aparicio, and Mazikeen comes from the character Mazikeen Smith in the TV series Lucifer.
Here are the girl names that debuted most impressively in the 2019 data:
Adeya, debuted with 22 baby girls
Adeya, Kulture and Kaavia are all celebrity babies: Adeya is the daughter of Kehlani, Kulture is the daughter of Cardi B and Offset, and Kaavia is the daughter of Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade.
Kayslin and Chevel come from two contestants (Kayslin Victoria and Chevel Shepherd) on The Voice.
Malaynah is a young female rapper (who earned a coveted IG repost from the aforementioned Cardi B in 2018).
Sakani was likely inspired by Sekani, the name of a character (a little boy) in the 2018 film The Hate U Give.
Akyli must come from Akyli Maze, one of the children of Joe Lee and Alena Maze — YouTube influencers who create content under the name MAZELEE. (The baby name Mazelee debuted last year as well — not surprising at all, given how close it is to the popular Paisley.)
The girl names that saw the largest decreases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…
Emma, decreased by 1,655 babies
The girl name that saw the largest decrease in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies was Anifer (-86%), and the girl name that saw the steepest drop off the list was Marionna (from 21 babies in 2018 to fewer than 5 in 2019).
If you can explain any of the rises (or drops), please leave a comment!
So today let’s check out another fun set of “top” names: the top rises. The names below are those that increased the most in usage, percentage-wise, from one year to the next according to the SSA data.
Here’s the format: girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the percentages represent single-year jumps in usage. (For example, from 1880 to 1881, usage of the girl name Isa grew 240% and usage of the boy name Noble grew 333%.)
The SSA data isn’t perfect, but it does get a lot better in the late 1930s, because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data” (SSA). Now, back to the list…
(Did you catch all the doubles? Tula, Delano, Tammy, Jermaine, and Davey/Davy.)
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and I plan to write about many of the others. In the meanwhile, though, feel free to beat me to it! Leave a comment and let us know what popularized Dorla in 1929, or Lauren in 1945, or Dustin in 1968, or Kayleigh in 1985, or Talan in 2005…
In October of 1981, NBC began airing a sitcom called Love, Sidney. It was the first show on American TV with a gay lead character (although Sidney’s homosexuality was largely downplayed).
Actors Tony Randall, Swoosie Kurtz and 8-year-old Kaleena Kiff played the three main characters Sidney, Laurie and Patti. Despite the ground-breaking nature of Randall’s character, it was Kiff who made the biggest impression on TV viewers (if you go by the baby name charts, at least).
The baby name Kaleena went from being given to fewer than 5 baby girls in 1980 to being given to dozens, then hundreds, of baby girls over the next few years:
1986: 79 baby girls named Kaleena
1985: 82 baby girls named Kaleena
1984: 101 baby girls named Kaleena
1983: 341 baby girls named Kaleena
1982: 270 baby girls named Kaleena
1981: 41 baby girls named Kaleena [debut]
1980: unlisted (fewer than 5 baby girls)
The name Kalina also got a boost in the early ’80s.
Kaleena was fifth-highest debut of 1981, after Fallon, Toccara, Nastassia and Falon. Sixth through tenth were Yalitza, Natassia, Yuliana, Shiona, and a 5-way tie between Dynasty, Jadyn, Laiza, Shambrica and Tijwana.
What are your thoughts on the name Kaleena?
P.S. A name-related tweet from Kaleena Kiff herself: “Everyone on our set is called Fergus, Angus, or Fraser. I must be shooting in Glasgow. #LegendofBarney” That hashtag refers to the upcoming movie The Legend of Barney Thomson, which is set in Scotland and features a character by the name of Cemolina (played by Emma Thompson).