How Will Coronavirus Affect Baby Names?

We’ve seen data suggesting that the health of the economy has an influence on baby names — specifically, that strong markets embolden expectant parents to go for uncommon names, whereas weak ones have the opposite effect (because times of uncertainty/fear make us want to blend in, not stand out).

With this in mind…what do you think will happen to baby names during 2020?

Our lives have not just been dominated by the news of the Coronavirus outbreak, but totally disrupted due to various containment measures: the closing of businesses, the practice of social distancing, etc. Anxiety levels have been running high for weeks, and no doubt this will continue for weeks to come.

If the prevailing social mood really does affect baby names, should we expect name creativity to plummet in 2020? Or, do you think (like Zoe on Twitter does) that the crisis will instead inspire parents to take more risks, because it’s reminding us that “life is fragile”?

Culturally Significant Kazakh Names

Researchers in Kazakhstan, using data from the Statistics Committee of the Ministry of National Economy, have discovered some interesting Kazakh personal names that correspond to various cultural and political events. Some examples…

Nursultan: In honor of Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first president, elected in 1990. In fact, more than 45,000 Kazakh boys ended up with the name Nursultan. (And new names like Nurzhamal and Nuraina were invented by adding the prefix “Nur” to traditional names.)

Mangilik (Kazakh for “independence”): A name created after Kazakhstan became independent from the Soviet Union in late 1991.

Abai: The top name of 1995, the year that Kazakh national poet Abai Qunanbaiuly would have turned 150.

Alikhan: Popularized in 2011, the year writer and political figure Alikhan Bokeikhanov would have turned 145.

Aziada (Russian for “Asian Games”): Given to 56 baby girls in 2011, the year that Kazakhstan hosted the Asian Winter Games.

Samit (apparently a Russian transliterations of “summit”): Given to 66 boys around the time of the OSCE summit in Kazakhstan in 2010.

Nurlyzhol: A name taken from the Nurly Zhol (“hallowed path”) economic stimulus plan, announced by Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2014.

The researchers also noted that, currently, the most popular baby names in Kazakhstan are Aizere (girl name) and Alikhan (boy name).

Source: Naming children after events is trend in Kazakhstan, say researchers

Names in the News: Arrow, Burrow, Winter

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…

Alam: DJ Khaled’s second baby boy, born in January of 2020, was named Alam* (SheKnows). At the 2020 Grammys, where he co-won the award for Best Rap/Sung Performance, DJ Khaled announced both the birth and the name:

I just had a new baby boy a week ago. His name is Alam. It means “the world” in Arabic.

Arrow: A baby boy born in Missouri on a recent Super Bowl Sunday was named Arrow after Arrowhead stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs (KCTV). In light of the fact that Arrow was born with a congenital heart defect that ultimately required a heart transplant, his mother had this to say about his name:

His name has been so fitting for his journey and everything he’s been through. I think we couldn’t have chosen a better name for him and his life. […] I’ve had people tell me an arrow must be pulled back before it can be launched, and I think about that a lot. He’s had a lot of things that have pulled him back but he’s being launched into his future and it’s going to be a very beautiful future.

Burrow: A baby boy born in Louisiana in January of 2020 was named William Burrow McKnight, middle name in honor of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (TigerDroppings.com).

Raddix: Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden’s first child, a baby girl born in December of 2019, was named Raddix Chloe Wildflower Madden. (The Blast). Here’s what Cameron posted on Instagram:

Happy New Year from the Maddens! We are so happy, blessed and grateful to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden. […] While we are overjoyed to share this news, we also feel a strong desire to protect our little one’s privacy. So we won’t be posting pictures or sharing any more details, other than the fact that she is really, really cute!! Some would even say RAD:)

Winter & Winter: The first baby born in the Fredericksburg, Virginia, region in 2020 was a baby girl named Winter Wren Kagarise. The second 2020 Fredericksburg baby was a boy who was also named Winter: Winter Gael Aparicio. (Fredericksburg.com — thank you Ellyn for the link!)

*Not “Another One” as I had hoped. ;)

[For more names in the news, check out the name news category.]

Names in the News: Tia, Gylfi, Bulbuli

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names (plus a funny name-change) collected from various news sites…

Bulbuli: Two baby girls born in Bangladesh during Cyclone Bulbul (Nov. 2019) were named Bulbuli after the storm. (Daily Star)

Dorian: A baby boy born in Florida during Hurricane Dorian (Sept. 2019) was named Tadashi Dorian, middle name to commemorate the storm. (CNN)

Evalina: A baby girl born with “a rare combination of life-threatening heart defects” at Evelina London Children’s Hospital in 2017 was named Evalina [sic] in honor of the care she received from hospital staff. (Mirror)

  • “The original Evelina Hospital for Sick Children opened in 1869 on Southwark Bridge Road, London. Funded by Austrian Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, it was built in memory of his wife, Evelina. Evelina had died three years earlier along with their son who was premature.” (NHS)

Gylfi: A baby boy born in Indonesia in November of 2017 was named Gylfi after Icelandic soccer player Gylfi Sigurðsson, who plays for Everton FC. (TWNews)

Kentut: In April of 2018, a 31-year-old Indonesian man legally changed his name from the single word Kentut (which means “fart”) to Ihsan Hadi. (BBC)

KVIIIlyn: A baby girl born in Queensland, Australia, circa 2016 was named KVIIIlyn — Kaitlyn, with the Roman numeral VIII (eight) in place of the “ait.” (Metro)

Malaysia: At least 74 people born in Malaysia have been named Malaysia, the earliest in 1962, “before Malaysia was officially formed,” and the most recent in 2017. (The Star)

Sambo: A baby boy born in Korea in November of 2019 — at the time of the Sambo world championships, to a father teaches martial arts — was named Sambo. (FIAS)

Sky: A baby girl born in an airport in North Carolina in November of 2019 — during what was supposed to have been a 20-minute layover between two legs of a flight from Florida to Pennsylvania — was named Sky. (WFLA)

Tessa: A baby girl born in England in July of 2019 to Ella Mills (of Deliciously Ella) was named Skye Tessa Camilla, first middle name in honor of Ella’s late mother-in-law, Tessa Jowell. (Evening Standard)

Tia: A baby girl born in Norway in July of 2019 to Liverpool FC supporters was named Tia Louise — TIA being the acronym for “This is Anfield.” (Echo)

  • Tia’s older sister, born in early 2018, was named Ynwa Sofie — YNWA being the acronym for “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” (Echo)
  • The first Ynwa I discovered, also born in Norway, pronounces her name “yee-nwa.” The second pronounces her name “unn-wah.”