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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.

Popularity of the Baby Name Zoe

Number of Babies Named Zoe

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Zoe

The Top Baby Names in Maryland in 2011?

Maryland’s Open Data website includes a single table of Maryland baby name rankings (2011) broken down by race/ethnic group. This is cool because New York City does the exact same breakdown, and we happen to have the equivalent NYC baby name rankings (2011). So we ought to be able to compare and contrast the two sets of rankings, right?

Yeah, that’s what I thought…until I started looking more closely at Maryland’s data.

According to the SSA, these were the top 10 boy names in Maryland in 2011:

  1. Mason
  2. Jacob
  3. Michael
  4. Ethan
  5. Ryan
  6. William
  7. Alexander
  8. Noah
  9. Daniel
  10. Aiden (tied for 10th)
  11. Jayden (tied for 10th)

But according to the state of Maryland, the top 10 boy names were quite different:

Rank OVERALL Asian &
Pacific Isl.
Black Hispanic White
1 Aiden Aiden Jaiden Christopher Lucas
2 Christopher Lucas Aiden Anthony Mason
3 Jayden Alexander Christopher John Jackson
4 Mason Muhammed Cameron Alexander Jacob
5 Lucas Ethan Elijah Daniel John
6 Jacob Nathan Jeremy Matthew Aiden
7 Alexander John Michael Brian Alexander
8 Nathan Andrew Isaiah Justin Liam
9 Michael Justin Mason Jaiden William
10 Ethan Jacob Caleb Kevin Ryan

It isn’t totally implausible that Aiden and Jayden might have ranked 1st and 3rd in 2011, but Christopher in 2nd? Maybe if this were a dataset from thirty years ago, but not five years ago. The SSA indicates that Christopher ranked closer to 18th in the state that year.

And what’s with the two different spellings of Jayden/Jaiden?

Plus there are some sizable raw number discrepancies, such as:

  • Aiden: 588 babies (MD data) vs. 281 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Christopher: 584 babies (MD data) vs. 256 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Jayden: 498 babies (MD data) vs. 281 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Mason: 463 babies (MD data) vs. 432 babies (SSA data for MD)

And now the girl names. According to the SSA, these were the top 10 girl names in Maryland in 2011:

  1. Sophia
  2. Olivia
  3. Isabella
  4. Madison
  5. Ava
  6. Emma
  7. Abigail
  8. Chloe
  9. Emily
  10. Elizabeth

According to the state of Maryland, though, the top 10 girl names in the state were these:

Rank OVERALL Asian &
Pacific Isl.
Black Hispanic White
1 Sophia Sophia Chloe Sophia Sophia
2 Isabel Chloe London Emily Isabel
3 Chloe Isabel Layla Allison Abigail
4 Ava Caitlin/Kate Madison Isabel Olivia
5 Madison Hannah Kennedy Ashley Ava
6 Olivia Olivia Aaliyah Angelina Riley
7 Emily Sara(h) McKenzie Natalie Madison
8 McKenzie Abigail Zoe(y) Genesis Emily
9 Abigail Emily Payton Gabrielle McKenzie
10 Riley Lillian/Lily Taylor Kimberly Chloe

Not only does Isabel magically replace Isabella in the Maryland data, but McKenzie and Riley rank 8th and 10th — even though the SSA says they should be closer to 77th (!) and 28th.

Not to mention the raw number discrepancies, such as:

  • Sophia: 503 babies (MD data) vs. 367 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • McKenzie: 325 babies (MD data) vs. 71 babies (SSA data for MD)
  • Riley: 298 babies (MD data) vs. 118 babies (SSA data for MD)

Intriguing parallels between the MD data and the NYC data do exist. In both locations, Elijah and Isaiah were in the top 10 for African-American boys only, and London, Aaliyah, and Taylor were in the top 10 for African-American girls only.

But if we can’t trust the data, we can’t draw any meaningful conclusions.

Labels like “Caitlin/Kate,” “Sara(h),” “Zoe(y)” and “Lillian/Lily” suggest that variant names were combined here and there. I suspect this is also what happened with Isabel/Isabella, Sophia/Sofia, Aiden, Jayden, MacKenzie, Riley, and maybe even Christopher (perhaps Maryland merged all the “Chris-” names). What are your thoughts on this?

Good Advice for Choosing an English Name

Apple, Chlorophyll, Icarus, Kinky, Melon, Omicron, Smacker, Swallow, Winsome, Yoyo…the English names chosen by (or assigned to) native Chinese speakers are often not so great.

And, in many cases, they’re later regretted. Here’s what a Hong Kong business student Fragile Chan had to say about his English name:

“I started using ‘Fragile’ when I was 14,” he says. “I first encountered the word in my English class and I chose it as my name because I liked how it’s pronounced.”

Chan says his name makes it easy for others to remember him and it’s an easy conversation-starter when he meets new people. But in his experience, having an uncommon name isn’t always pleasant.

“I am tired of explaining my name to others when I need to introduce myself. Some people even mock me for having a ‘fragile heart’,” he says. Now Chan has decided to change his name to Nathan. “I would like to be less weird in formal situations,” he says.

One U.S. entrepreneur has created a site called Best English Name, which helps Chinese students choose more appropriate English names. Site-suggested names include “Davis, Max, Eli, and Riley” for males and “Elody, Ava, Jolie, and Ellie” for females. These are a lot better than Kinky and Melon, and style-wise they’re fairly appropriate for current teenagers.

But I think the best advice out there comes from Philip Guo’s blog post How to choose an English name, because it can be applied to any age group.

His main recommendation? Go to the SSA’s website, find the top 100 names for your birth year, and choose one from the list for your gender. He says:

You must choose your name from one of these 100 names. Even if you randomly choose a name (for your gender, of course), then congratulations, I guarantee that you have chosen a better name than most of your friends who tried to be creative!

So a 15-year-old student (b. 2001) can choose from names like:

  • Isabel, Katie, Mia, Sophia, Zoe
  • Aidan, Chase, Isaiah, Jack, Noah

But a 40-year-old business-person (b. 1976) can choose from names that might be a better fit for his/her generation, such as:

  • Amy, Dana, Monica, Tina, Wendy
  • Chad, Dennis, Peter, Shane, Tony

Best of all, every top 100 list includes names appropriate for people of various ages. For example, these names were on both the 1976 and the 2001 lists:

  • Anna, Elizabeth, Michelle, Natalie, Sarah
  • Adam, David, John, Nathan, Victor

Guo’s other recommendations include ignoring name definitions entirely and sticking to the exact version of the name found in the top 100. He also suggests choosing a name that sounds somewhat like one’s birth name, e.g., the English name Shawn would work well for a Chinese man named Sheng.

Do you have any other good advice for people (Chinese people in particular) seeking English names?

Sources: Students with unusual names: ‘at least no one forgets us’, Laowai Entrepreneur Wants to Rid China of English “Stripper Names”, Popular Baby Names – SSA

Baby Names Approved & Rejected in Iceland Recently

So far this year, Iceland’s Personal Names Committee (Mannanafnanefnd) has reached a verdict on nearly three dozen first names:

Female names

  • Rejected: Adriana, Daniela, Dyljá (“disguise”), Gígí, Swanhildur, Zoe
  • Approved: Ára, Beata, Dalrún, Ísbjört, Jóhanndína, List, Mæja, Rósý, Silfra (“silver”), Susie, Yngveldur, Þorbrá

Male names

  • Rejected: Einarr
  • Approved: Baui, Freymann, Gestar, Jötunn (“hulk”), Kinan, Líó, Lói, Manuel, Mummi, Olli, Raknar, Sæmar, Tobbi, Toddi, Ugluspegill*

*Ugluspegill ultimately comes from Till Eulenspiegel, the name of a character in German folklore and literature. Till Eulenspiegel was a peasant trickster whose jests and jokes were “broadly farcical, often brutal, sometimes obscene; but they [had] a serious theme.” The name Eulenspiegel is made up of Germanic elements meaning “owl” and “mirror.”

Sources: Yngveldur samþykkt en Swanhildi hafnað, Till Eulenspiegel –, Ugluspegill – Nordic Names

Name Quotes for the Weekend #39

Quote from Uzo Aduba's mother on the name Uzoamaka

From “The Eyes Have It,” an interview with Orange Is the New Black actress Uzoamaka “Uzo” Aduba, who was asked whether she ever considered changing her name:

When I started as an actor? No, and I’ll tell you why. I had already gone through that. My family is from Nigeria, and my full name is Uzoamaka, which means “The road is good.” Quick lesson: My tribe is Igbo, and you name your kid something that tells your history and hopefully predicts your future. So anyway, in grade school, because my last name started with an A, I was the first in roll call, and nobody ever knew how to pronounce it. So I went home and asked my mother if I could be called Zoe. I remember she was cooking, and in her Nigerian accent she said, “Why?” I said, “Nobody can pronounce it.” Without missing a beat, she said, “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”

(There’s a Tchaikovsky in Brazil.)

From an article about a woman named Cinderella in the Irish Independent:

“I’d been living as Eva my whole life until I found out my name was Evangeline Cinderella. Of course this was the most amazing news as a seven year old girl and unfortunately I told everybody. I’ve paid for it ever since. People have always remembered,” she said.

From the essay “The name shame of Axl, Anakin, Arya…” by Gene Weingarten (via Name News):

To consult this list [the SSA’s Change in Popularity list] is to dip your toe into the fetid waters of cheesy celebrity worship. Consider this: One of the skyrocketing names is … “Anakin.” Yes, people are giving their baby boys a name invented specifically to sound non-human, for a character in another galaxy far, far away, one who grows up to become Darth Vader, an evil overlord who wants to enslave the universe. (There have been plenty of Darths, too.)

(Here’s more on Darth.)

From the video “Instrument: Celeste” featuring keyboardist Elizabeth Burley of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London:

I’ve got a celeste here today to show you how that works. As you’ll see it looks a little bit like an upright piano, but it’s actually a lot different. Although it’s operated by a keyboard, inside, instead of strings, it’s a set of…metal chime bars. They’re suspended over wooden resonating boxes, and when I press a key, a hammer hits the chime bar to make the sound, like on a piano the hammer would hit the string. The name celeste…it’s a French name meaning “heavenly,” and it does make a very heavenly sound, as you’ll hear.

From a blog post about electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire at Open Culture:

With her buttoned-up style, work with the UN, and name like a plucky character in a certain English wizard series, Delia Derbyshire may not seem a likely pioneer of experimental electronic music.

From the blog post “What’s in a Name?” by theology professor/social activist Rev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre:

Today, no one calls me Brother Mike. Nonetheless, if the first act of liberation is self naming, why do I still insist on spelling my surname the way those who had power over me taught me? I have no doubt the reader is probably wondering what’s the big deal? Just spell my name correctly. What they fail to recognize is the power of the colonizing process, and the difficulty to reclaim identity. So as I tag my name to my liberationist works I am reminded with each upper case letter how far I still need to go to claim my own liberation. The struggle, la lucha, continues, even in the letters of my name.

From the article “What Your Conference Room Names Say About Your Company Culture” by Ekaterina Walter:

At Sprinklr, our conference rooms are named after the company’s values. Honesty, Passion, Perseverance, Humility, Character, Courage, and Integrity are just some of the names you will encounter. My personal favorites are Awesomeness and 1+1=3. When I asked our founder, Ragy Thomas, why the leadership team chose to name conference rooms in this way, he said: “It would be kind of hard to be arrogant in a room named Humility, wouldn’t it? Or give up in a room named Perseverance, don’t you think?”

From the New York Times article “Jens and Vita, but Molli? Danes Favor Common Names” (2004) about Denmark’s Law on Personal Names, which was “initially designed to bring order to surnames”:

Then in the 1960’s, a furor erupted over the first name Tessa, which resembled tisse, which means to urinate in Danish. Distressed over the lack of direction in the law, the Danish government expanded the statute to grapple with first names. Now the law is as long as an average-size book.

Among the baby names rejected in Denmark: Anus, Pluto, and Monkey. Among those accepted: Leica, Benji, Jiminico, and Fee.

Want more quotes? Here’s the name quotes category.

Most Popular U.S. Baby Names of 2015

According to the Social Security Administration, Emma and Noah were the most popular baby names in the United States in 2015.

Here’s the top 10:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emma, 20355 baby girls
2. Olivia, 19553
3. Sophia, 17327
4. Ava, 16286
5. Isabella, 15504
6. Mia, 14820
7. Abigail, 12311
8. Emily, 11727
9. Charlotte, 11332
10. Harper, 10241
1. Noah, 19511 baby boys
2. Liam, 18281
3. Mason, 16535
4. Jacob, 15816
5. William, 15809
6. Ethan, 14991
7. James, 14705
8. Alexander, 14460
9. Michael, 14321
10. Benjamin, 13608

Emma and Noah were also the #1 names in 2014.

Harper replaces Madison in the girls’ top 10; Benjamin replaces Daniel in the boys’ top 10.

Here’s the rest of the top 50:

Girl Names Boy Names
11. Madison, 10038
12. Amelia, 9795
13. Elizabeth, 9656
14. Sofia, 9650
15. Evelyn, 9313
16. Avery, 9298
17. Chloe, 7884
18. Ella, 7852
19. Grace, 7589
20. Victoria, 7575
21. Aubrey, 7357
22. Scarlett, 7100
23. Zoey, 6900
24. Addison, 6683
25. Lily, 6617
26. Lillian, 6571
27. Natalie, 6466
28. Hannah, 6372
29. Aria, 6371
30. Layla, 6289
31. Brooklyn, 6268
32. Alexa, 6029
33. Zoe, 5995
34. Penelope, 5921
35. Riley, 5707
36. Leah, 5585
37. Audrey, 5581
38. Savannah, 5413
39. Allison, 5329
40. Samantha, 5304
41. Nora, 5301
42. Skylar, 5258
43. Camila, 5257
44. Anna, 5094
45. Paisley, 5056
46. Ariana, 4933
47. Ellie, 4838
48. Aaliyah, 4836
49. Claire, 4805
50. Violet, 4779
11. Elijah, 13511
12. Daniel, 13408
13. Aiden, 13378
14. Logan, 12862
15. Matthew, 12648
16. Lucas, 12246
17. Jackson, 12182
18. David, 11691
19. Oliver, 11592
20. Jayden, 11475
21. Joseph, 11375
22. Gabriel, 10782
23. Samuel, 10733
24. Carter, 10727
25. Anthony, 10564
26. John, 10303
27. Dylan, 10232
28. Luke, 10219
29. Henry, 10112
30. Andrew, 10027
31. Isaac, 9878
32. Christopher, 9742
33. Joshua, 9720
34. Wyatt, 9597
35. Sebastian, 9569
36. Owen, 9549
37. Caleb, 8727
38. Nathan, 8530
39. Ryan, 8474
40. Jack, 8456
41. Hunter, 8284
42. Levi, 8236
43. Christian, 8127
44. Jaxon, 8015
45. Julian, 8003
46. Landon, 7896
47. Grayson, 7852
48. Jonathan, 7577
49. Isaiah, 7528
50. Charles, 7125

In the girls’ top 50, Alexa, Paisley, Ellie and Violet replace Arianna, Gabriella, Sadie and Sarah.

In the boys’ top 50, Grayson and Charles replace Eli and Aaron.

Impressive rises:

  • Alexa rose 31 places, from 63rd to 32nd
  • Violet rose 17 places, from 67th to 50th
  • Grayson rose 16 places, from 63rd to 47th
  • Oliver rose 13 places, from 32nd to 19th
  • Riley (girl name) rose 12 places, from 47th to 35th

Impressive drops:

  • Arianna dropped 16 places, from 40th to 56th
  • Gabriella dropped 11 places, from 43rd to 54th
  • Anna dropped 10 places, from 34th to 44th

There’s much more to come! Until then, I’ll quote liberally from the SSA’s press release:

Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 1,000 are Alaia and Riaan.

Alaia jumped 2,012 spots on the girls’ side to number 664, from number 2,676 in 2014. Perhaps this can be attributed to high fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, or maybe it is because of Alaia Baldwin, the model/daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.

Riaan increased 1,360 spots for the boys, from number 2,286 in 2014 to number 926. Of Indian origin, it is also the name of the young son of a well-known Bollywood actor, Riteish Deshmukh.

The second fastest riser for girls was Meilani. If you have ever watched MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” and maybe even if you haven’t, you’ve heard of Jenni “JWoww” Farley. She gave birth to daughter Meilani in 2014. On a different American shore, out in Hawaii, is another well-known Meilani–Bethany Meilani Hamilton, the professional surfer whose story of surviving a shark attack was documented in the movie “Soul Surfer.”

For boys, it was Huxley (a brave new comeback for the late science fiction writer?).

Some other notable names in the top 10 biggest increase category, and some possible reasons for their newfound popularity:

  • Omari and Jabari for boys. Omari Hardwick is an actor, known for his roles in “Sparkle,” “The A-Team,” and BET Network’s “Being Mary Jane.” He currently stars in “Power,” a popular cable TV series. Jabari Parker is a professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of Duke.
  • Adaline and Zelda for girls. “The Age of Adaline” is a 2015 fantasy film starring Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, and Ellen Burstyn. As for Zelda, maybe the legend continues to grow?

I’ll also note that the name Isis dropped from 705th place (398 baby girls) in 2014 to 1770th place (117 baby girls) in 2015.

Source: Emma and Noah Once Again Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2015

U.S. Baby Names 2015: Most Popular Baby Names, Top Debuts: Girl Names, Top Debuts: Boy Names, Biggest Changes in Popularity: Girl Names, Biggest Changes in Popularity: Boy Names, First Letter Popularity, Name Length Popularity

Popular Baby Names in Quebec, 2015

According to data from Retraite Québec, the most popular baby names in Quebec in 2015 were Emma and Thomas/William (tied).

Here are the province’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emma, 615 baby girls
2. Léa, 535
3. Olivia, 475
4. Alice, 471
5. Florence, 460
6. Zoe, 429
7. Chloe, 398
8. Beatrice, 390
9. Charlotte, 381
10. Rosalie, 350
1. Thomas, 754 baby boys
2. William, 754 baby boys
3. Jacob, 663
4. Liam, 661
5. Félix, 638
6. Nathan, 630
7. Samuel, 583
8. Logan, 576
9. Alexis, 554
10. Noah, 537

In 2015, Emma replaced Lea as the top girl name, William joined Thomas as the top boy name, Beatrice replaced Charlie in the girls’ top 10, and Noah replaced Olivier in the boy’s top 10. (Here are the 2014 rankings.)

Of all 9,096 girl names on Quebec’s list in 2015, 74.5% of them were used a single time. Here are some of the unique girl names:

  • Allegresse – the French word allégresse means “joy, elation.”
  • Angelhephzibah
  • Brightness
  • Cathalaya-Skuessi
  • Clerilda
  • Confiance – the French word confiance means “confidence, trust.”
  • Doxalyah
  • Etky
  • Eubenice
  • Evlly
  • Exaucee – the French verb exaucer means “to grant a wish.”
  • Flory Comfort
  • Garance – the French word garance refers to a shade of red created from the root of the madder plant.
  • Glad Marie
  • Glody
  • Graytchelle Mayssa – a Gretchen + Rachel smoosh?
  • Greasy-Elizabeth
  • Happy Moussoni
  • Janiphee
  • Kalliah
  • Kzy
  • Luneve – reminds me of Leneve.
  • M Mah Bourgeois
  • Mingolou Oracle-Kidj
  • Nebraska
  • Nina-Symone
  • Nomad
  • Paphaelle – typo?
  • Poema
  • Praise Peter
  • Protegee
  • Relilah – typo?
  • Shamash-Cleodaine
  • Skodrina
  • Symphony Melody
  • Uqittuk
  • Uri Wonder
  • Winola – this one reminds me of early 20th-century America.
  • Zoalie
  • Zhya

Of all 7,920 boy names on Quebec’s list in 2015, 76.5% of them were bestowed just once. Here are some of the unique boy names:

  • Anakyn
  • Appamatta – the Pali word appamatta means “diligent, careful.”
  • Aunix
  • Axeliam
  • Bleart
  • Bradley Prague
  • Brady Bullet – this one reminds me of modern America (e.g. Shooter, Trigger).
  • Cedrick Wolynsky
  • Chrysolithe – a type of gem (a.k.a. peridot).
  • Cirrus
  • Dejgaard
  • Diamond-Heliodor – two more gems.
  • Drake Luke
  • Dublin
  • Dugaillekens
  • Elliottt – the only triple T’s in the U.S. data so far are Mattthew and Britttany. Probably typos, but you never know.
  • Eviee
  • Exauce – the masculine form of Exaucee.
  • Ezzeldeen
  • Garnet – another gem.
  • Glovacky
  • Gningnery Yoshua
  • Hervenslaire
  • Icky Neymar
  • Iola Stevie
  • Jimmy Johnny
  • Jyceton
  • Jyfr
  • Kbees
  • Keylord
  • Ludo-Vyck
  • Mathis-Adorable
  • Messy
  • Michael Antares – reminds me of an earlier Antares.
  • Napesis – the Cree word napesis means “boy” or “little boy.”
  • Nyquist
  • Perlcy
  • Rowdy Chance
  • Skogen
  • Sosereyvatanack
  • Tysaiah Jay
  • Whidjley Densly
  • Woobs Therly
  • Zogan

For more sets of rankings, check out the name rankings category.

Source: Retraite Québec – List of Baby Names

Popular Baby Names in ACT, 2015

According to data from Access Canberra, the most popular baby names in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in 2015 were Charlotte and William.

Here are the ACT’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Charlotte
2. Olivia (tie)
2. Zoe (tie)
4. Ava
5. Sophie
6. Mia
7. Amelia (tie)
7. Chloe (tie)
7. Grace (tie)
10. Emily
1. William
2. Oliver
3. Jack (tie)
3. James (tie)
5. Alexander
6. Thomas
7. Henry (tie)
7. Lachlan (tie)
9. Charlie (tie)
9. Oscar (tie)

On the girls’ list, Mia replaces Ruby. On the boys’ list, Alexander, Charlie and Oscar replace Cooper, Noah and Lucas.

Here are the rankings for 2014, if you’d like to compare.

For more sets of rankings, see the name rankings category. For rankings from Australia and New Zealand specifically, see the Australia & New Zealand name rankings subcategory.

Sources: Top 10 Baby Names – Access Canberra (pdf)