Popular baby names in Finland, 2021

Finland

The country of Finland is located in Northern Europe and shares land borders with Russia, Sweden and Norway.

Most of the people in Finland speak Finnish (86.5%), but the rest of the population speaks either Swedish (5.2%), Sami (0.04%), or some other language (8.3%) such as Russian, Estonian, or Arabic.

Last year, Finland welcomed over 51,000 babies. At the time the country released its baby name data, 50,547 of these babies — 24,764 girls and 25,783 boys — had been named.

And what were the most popular names overall? Olivia and Leo.

Finland’s baby name data is broken down by language group, so lets start with the Finnish speakers…

Finnish speakers

Of the 41,478 (named) babies born to Finnish speakers in Finland last year, 20,301 were girls and 21,177 were boys.

Here are the top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 312 baby girls
  2. Lilja, 274
  3. Eevi, 272
  4. Sofia, 271
  5. Venla, 254 (3-way tie)
  6. Aino, 254 (3-way tie)
  7. Isla, 254 (3-way tie)
  8. Aada, 240
  9. Emma, 233
  10. Aava, 230
  11. Helmi, 225
  12. Linnea, 214 (tie)
  13. Ellen, 214 (tie)
  14. Kerttu, 202
  15. Pihla, 201
  16. Ella, 197
  17. Viola, 195
  18. Hilla, 189
  19. Elli, 188
  20. Seela, 187
  21. Enni, 179
  22. Emilia, 178
  23. Alma, 168
  24. Livia, 160
  25. Minea, 159
  26. Matilda, 157
  27. Elsa, 154
  28. Ilona, 140 (tie)
  29. Mila, 140 (tie)
  30. Hilda, 138
  31. Amanda, 134 (tie)
  32. Alisa, 134 (tie)
  33. Elsi, 132 (tie)
  34. Alina, 132 (tie)
  35. Hilma, 125
  36. Frida, 124
  37. Mette, 120
  38. Hertta, 119 (tie)
  39. Lumi, 119 (tie)
  40. Nella, 117
  41. Aurora, 115
  42. Siiri, 113
  43. Vilma, 110
  44. Saimi, 107 (tie)
  45. Selma, 107 (tie)
  46. Viivi, 105 (tie)
  47. Iida, 105 (tie)
  48. Oona, 104
  49. Martta, 102
  50. Neela, 92

Boy Names

  1. Leo, 397 baby boys
  2. Eino, 394
  3. Oliver, 371
  4. Elias, 362
  5. Väinö, 361
  6. Onni, 301
  7. Eeli, 279
  8. Noel, 276
  9. Toivo, 259
  10. Joel, 245
  11. Aatos, 230 – a Finnish term meaning “thought”
  12. Hugo, 229
  13. Emil, 224
  14. Leevi, 218
  15. Vilho, 211
  16. Alvar, 202
  17. Eemil, 186
  18. Eetu, 179
  19. Oiva, 178 – means “splendid” in Finnish
  20. Julius, 177
  21. Viljami, 176
  22. Nooa, 172
  23. Niilo, 168
  24. Otso, 157 – means “bear” in Finnish
  25. Lenni, 153
  26. Daniel, 151
  27. Anton, 149
  28. Luka, 148
  29. Aapo, 143
  30. Kasper, 142
  31. Aarni, 140
  32. Eelis, 139 (tie)
  33. Matias, 139 (tie)
  34. Veikko, 138 (tie)
  35. Aaron, 138 (tie)
  36. Mikael, 135
  37. Edvin, 134
  38. Benjamin, 130
  39. Jasper, 127 (3-way tie)
  40. Samuel, 127 (3-way tie)
  41. Rasmus, 127 (3-way tie)
  42. Eemeli, 126 (3-way tie)
  43. Milo, 126 (3-way tie)
  44. Niklas, 126 (3-way tie)
  45. Jooa, 123
  46. Iivo, 120 (3-way tie)
  47. Veeti, 120 (3-way tie)
  48. Max, 120 (3-way tie)
  49. Lucas, 117
  50. Urho, 116

Minna Saarelma-Paukkala, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, had this to say about Finland’s unique baby names:

Many of them are nature-related, such as Havu (Sprig), Vadelma (Raspberry), Skysy (Autumn) or Tyrsky (Wave). Many new names are also created on the basis of older names, such as snow (Lumi) related ones like Lumia, Lumiina and Lumitähti.

She also noted that names trendy in Finland in the 1940s — particularly those beginning with the letter r, such as Ritva and Raimo — could be coming back. “Reino, for example, has already risen into the top 100.” (Reino is the Finnish form of Reynold.)

Swedish speakers

Of the 3,458 (named) babies born to Swedish speakers in Finland last year, 1,698 were girls and 1,760 were boys. Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names:

Girl NamesBoy Names
1. Saga, 35
2. Stella, 29
3. Ellen, 27
4. Edith, 24
5. Olivia, 23
6. Astrid, 21 (tie)
7. Ebba, 21 (tie)
8. Elsa, 20
9. Selma, 19
10. Tove/Iris/Livia, 18 each (3-way tie)
1. Liam, 35
2. Oliver, 29
3. Benjamin, 28
4. William, 27
5. Alvar, 26
6. Hugo, 25
7. Theo, 23 (5-way tie)
8. Emil, 23 (5-way tie)
9. Frans, 23 (5-way tie)
10. Leon/Elias, 23 each (5-way tie)

Interestingly, Alice and Noah — the top names in Sweden — weren’t as popular among the Swedes of Finland. Alice didn’t even make the top 50. (Noah ranked 50th exactly.)

Other languages

Of the 5,611 (named) babies born in Finland last year to parents who speak something other than Finnish or Swedish, 2,765 were girls and 2,846 were boys. Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names:

Girl NamesBoy Names
1. Sofia, 48
2. Maria, 24
3. Eva, 20
4. Emma, 19 (tie)
5. Mia, 19 (tie)
6. Anna, 18
7. Emilia, 17 (3-way tie)
8. Mila, 17 (3-way tie)
9. Sara, 17 (3-way tie)
10. Mira/Olivia, 16 each (tie)
1. Adam, 38
2. Elias, 35
3. Daniel, 27
4. Leo, 26
5. Muhammad, 21
6. Mark, 20
7. Oliver, 17
8. Benjamin, 15 (3-way tie)
9. Lucas, 15 (3-way tie)
10. Mikael, 15 (3-way tie)

Finally, here’s a link to Finland’s 2020 rankings, if you’d like to compare last year to the year before.

Sources: Suosituimmat Etunimet | Digi- ja väestötietovirasto, Olivia and Leo Finland’s most popular baby names in 2021, Population and Society – Statistics Finland, Behind the Name

Where did the baby name Quisto come from in 1984?

The character Quisto Champion from the TV western/soap opera "The Yellow Rose" (1983-1984).
Quisto from “The Yellow Rose

The curious name Quisto debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the middle of the 1980s:

  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted
  • 1984: 9 baby boys named Quisto [debut]
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted

While Quisto was only in the data once, it debuted impressively enough to tie for top one-hit wonder boy name of 1984.

Where did it come from?

The short-lived nighttime soap opera/western The Yellow Rose (1983-1984), which was set in West Texas on the sprawling “Yellow Rose” ranch. The ranch had been built by the late Wade Champion, but was now being run by Wade’s young widow Colleen (played by Cybill Shepherd) and his sons Roy and “Quisto” (real name Ramon).

I don’t know how the character acquired his nickname (if anyone out there watched the show and remembers, please leave a comment!), but I can tell you about the cowboy slang term quisto. It refers to a quirt — a woven-leather whip with a short handle and “a lash of three or four heavy, loose thongs.” The word quirt is derived from the Mexican Spanish word cuarta, “whip,” which comes from the Spanish word cuerda, “cord.”

And Quisto wasn’t the only Yellow Rose character to have an impact on baby names. Chance McKenzie — a “lanky, taciturn” ex-convict and ranch-hand played by Sam Elliott — gave the baby name Chance a boost in 1984:

  • 1986: 508 baby boys named Chance [rank: 368th]
  • 1985: 650 baby boys named Chance [rank: 313th]
  • 1984: 880 baby boys named Chance [rank: 249th]
  • 1983: 230 baby boys named Chance [rank: 555th]
  • 1982: 186 baby boys named Chance [rank: 636th]

What are your thoughts on the names Chance and Quisto? Which one would you be more likely to use?

Sources:

Name quotes #114: Aubrey, Stamford, Kyuss

double quotation mark

Here’s a batch of quotes for the final month of 2022!

From an article about Dutch soccer player Denzel Dumfries, who helped the Netherlands knock the U.S. out of the World Cup tournament over the weekend:

[Denzel Dumfries] was named after none other than no-nonsense movie icon Denzel Washington, star of films such as “Remember The Titans,” “Training Day” and “Courage Under Fire.”

“I don’t have [any] connection with the United States, but, yes, I was named after Denzel Washington,” Dumfries said. “My parents gave me that name. I am incredibly proud of it, because Denzel Washington is a really strong personality who voices his views on certain issues, and I am incredibly proud to be named after someone like that.”

From an interview with Australian surfer Kyuss King in Stab Magazine:

Yeah, music is definitely a massive part of my life, from listening to it to playing it! And metal is 100% at the top of my genre — there’s nothing like headbanging to some chunky riffs. Yeah, I was named after the band Kyuss. It was my dad’s favorite band through the ’90s. Funny story, my dad actually had the song Green Machine blasting in the hospital while my mum was in labor with me haha. I guess I kinda came into the world to that kind of music.

From an article about political candidate Krystal Ball, who was asked about her name while campaigning in 2010:

The answer: Her father has a doctorate in physics and did his dissertation on crystals.

So after her mother named older sisters Heidi and Holly, it was dad’s turn.

Ball said she doesn’t mind the questions, though, or the jokes.

And she’ll certainly be hoping a lot of people remember that name now that she’s running for Congress.

A name-change story (contributed by a Missouri woman named Nancy) from a Washington Post article about changing babies’ names:

We named our daughter Joan because we imagined that she would be serious and studious, and this name seemed to encapsulate the proverbial bookworm. Both my husband and I are academicians, so a bookworm daughter didn’t seem a stretch.

[…]

Within the first six weeks, Joan proved not only to be a lusty eater but a very social and cuddly baby who loved long warm baths, in other words, a hedonist in the making.

One night, the credits for Masterpiece Theater were playing and the name of Aubrey rolled across the screen, which happened to be the title of one of our favorite songs from high school. My husband and I looked at each other and simultaneously said, “She’s an Aubrey.” We submitted the paperwork for her name change the next day.

[This source also made an appearance in quotes #112.]

From an article about the trendiness of giving human names to pets in The Atlantic:

Long, long ago — five years, to be precise — Jeff Owens accepted that his calls to the vet would tax his fortitude. When the person on the other end asks his name, Owens, a test scorer in Albuquerque, says, “Jeff.” When they ask for his cat’s name, he has to tell them, “Baby Jeff.” The black exotic shorthair, a wheezy female with a squashed face and soulful orange eyes, is named for Owens, says his partner, Brittany Means, whose tweet about Jeff and Baby Jeff went viral this past spring. The whole thing started as a joke several years ago, when Means started calling every newcomer to their home — the car, the couch — “Baby Jeff.” Faced with blank adoption paperwork in 2017, the couple realized that only one name would do.

Two highlights from a recent study of American Jewish names by Sarah Bunin Benor and Alicia B. Chandler. The first:

Over the decades, American Jews became more and more likely to give their children names of Jewish origin (English or Hebrew Biblical, Modern Hebrew, etc.), with a major uptick after the 1960s. 14% of Jews in the oldest age group have names of Jewish origin, compared to 63% in the youngest group. The top 10 names for Jewish girls and boys in each decade reflect these changes, such as Ellen and Robert in the 1950s, Rebecca and Joshua in the 1970s, and Noa and Ari in the 2010s.

…and the second:

Jews with distinctively Jewish names are much more likely to sometimes use a “Starbucks name” than Jews with names that are not distinctively Jewish. But some Jews with common American names take on a more Jewish name as their Starbucks name, and some have an “Aroma name” for service encounters in Israel.

From a Yahoo News UK article about a mother and son named Chelsea and Stamford after the football club and the club’s stadium, respectively:

Football fanatic Chelsea Bottomley, 32, an administrator from Paddington, London, said she hopes more blind football games will be made available for her son Stamford.

[…]

Named after the London club’s Stamford Bridge stadium, Stamford has cerebral palsy which, according to the NHS, affects movement and coordination — and impaired vision is common for children with the lifelong condition.

[…]

She added: “My mum had named me Chelsea after the club and, when my boy was born, my mum was such a strong support for me that I named him Stamford for her.”

And, finally, a line from a New York Post story about a baby born aboard an airplane in September:

Skylen Kavon-Air Francis, who was named after his airborne arrival, was carried off the plane as everyone clapped and welcomed the new passenger.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

The 6 siblings of Burl Ives

Singer/actor Burl Ives (1909-1995)
Burl Ives

Grammy-winning singer and Oscar-winning actor Burl Ives was born in rural Illinois in 1909. His birth name? Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives.

I don’t know the story behind his unique given names, but I do know that his parents, Levi Franklin (“Frank”) and Cordellia (“Dellie”), gave several of their six other children interesting names as well:

  1. Audry Jane, b. 1899
  2. Artie Morris, b. 1901
  3. Clarence Estie, b. 1903
  4. Argola Marie, b. 1906
  5. Burl Icle Ivanhoe, b. 1909
  6. Lilburn Verger, b. 1914
  7. Norma, b. 1919

(During that area, the next-door state of Missouri had a community called Argola — I wonder if that’s where Argola Marie’s name came from…?)

Today, Burl Ives may be best remembered as the voice of Sam the Snowman in the 1964 stop-motion TV movie Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer — the longest-running Christmas special in history.

What are your thoughts on the first name Burl?

(And…did you know that Rudolph was almost named Reginald?)

Sources:

Image: Burl Ives – LOC

Where did the baby name Arkham come from in the 2010s?

Arkham Asylum as it appears in the video game "Batman: Arkham Asylum" (2009)
Arkham Asylum

The rare name Arkham first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 2014:

  • 2016: 14 baby boys named Arkham
  • 2015: 9 baby boys named Arkham
  • 2014: 7 baby boys named Arkham [debut]
  • 2013: unlisted
  • 2012: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Well, we know it came from Batman — from the Arkham Asylum, where Batman villains are sent for imprisonment/treatment.

But it’s hard to know what (if anything) caused the debut specifically. Arkham Asylum was being depicted in various media around that time, including…

  • the TV series Gotham (which premiered in 2014),
  • the direct-to-video movie Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014), and
  • several video games, such as Batman: Arkham Origins (2013).

Given the ubiquity of Arkham Asylum these days, it’s interesting to note that Arkham is a relatively recent addition to the Batman universe.

The first Batman comic book was published in 1940, but the comics didn’t introduce Arkham Asylum until 1974. (So, Adam West’s televised version of Batman wouldn’t have had any knowledge of an asylum in Gotham City back in the 1960s.)

According to the backstory, Arkham Asylum was founded in 1921 by psychiatrist Amadeus Arkham. He remodeled the Arkham family mansion into a hospital for the mentally ill following the death of his mother, Elizabeth. The asylum’s official name is the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane.

The word “Arkham” was taken from writings of H. P. Lovecraft, who used the Salem-inspired fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, as a setting for his unsettling stories. We don’t know how the town’s name was coined, but we do know that it was home to a sanitarium.

What are your thoughts on Arkham as a given name? Would you use it?

Sources:

Image: Adapted from Arkham Asylum by Shane Crotty under CC BY-SA 4.0.