Where did the baby name Ikea come from in 1985?

IKEA store

In May of 2002, Linda Dagless of the UK welcomed her fourth baby girl. Inspired by an advertisement for the furniture company Ikea, she decided to name the baby Ikea.

The name was so unusual that it made headlines:

At the time, she told her local paper in Norwich: “I was pregnant, sitting on the sofa with my boyfriend and trying to think of a name for the little girl I was going to have when I noticed the Ikea advert.

“I saw the name Ikea and thought it would make a nice name for my baby.

“I have seen the Ikea adverts on the telly and in magazines and thought they always had nice furniture, but I’ve never been to the shop. I’m now planning to go there with my mum.

The name Ikea has been just as unusual in the U.S., at least over the last decade:

  • 2013: unlisted
  • 2012: 5 baby girls named Ikea
  • […]
  • 2007: 5 baby girls named Ikea
  • 2006: 8 baby girls named Ikea
  • 2005: 8 baby girls named Ikea
  • 2004: 7 baby girls named Ikea
  • 2003: 6 baby girls named Ikea
  • 2002: 6 baby girls named Ikea
  • 2001: unlisted
  • 2000: 6 baby girls named Ikea

If you go back a bit further, though, this is what you’ll see:

  • 1999: 14 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1998: 18 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1997: 20 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1996: 23 babies named Ikea
  • 1995: 29 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1994: 33 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1993: 31 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1992: 43 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1991: 45 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1990: 65 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1989: 72 baby girls and 9 baby boys named Ikea
  • 1988: 27 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1987: 44 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1986: 30 baby girls named Ikea
  • 1985: 35 baby girls named Ikea [debut]
  • 1984: unlisted

Nearly 600 babies in the U.S. have been named Ikea (and dozens more named Ikeia and other spelling variants) since the name first popped up on the SSA’s baby name list in 1985. This is the year the Swedish company — whose name is an acronym for Ingvar Kamprad (the founder), Elmtaryd (his childhood homestead), Agunnaryd (his hometown) — opened its first store in the U.S.

Even more interesting is the spread of the baby name Ikea across America, following Ikea store openings:

First Ikea opens near Philadelphia, PA.
35 baby girls named Ikea: 25 in PA, 7 in NJ.

Second Ikea opens near Washington, D.C. (in Virginia).
30 baby girls named Ikea: 10 in D.C., 9 in PA, 6 in VA.

No new Ikea stores.
44 baby girls named Ikea: 12 in D.C., 9 in PA, 7 in NJ, 5 in MD.

Third Ikea opens near Baltimore, MD.
27 baby girls named Ikea: 8 in MD, 6 in PA.

Fourth Ikea opens near Pittsburgh, PA.
72 baby girls named Ikea: 19 in MD, 7 in NC, 6 in PA, 6 in MI.
9 baby boys named Ikea: 7 in D.C.

Fifth and sixth Ikeas open near Los Angeles and new New York City (in New Jersey).
65 baby girls named Ikea: 14 in MD, 7 in LA, 7 in PA, 5 in NJ. (Ikea appears on the state lists for both California and New York during the ’90s.)

Usage of the baby name Ikea tapered off after 1990, perhaps because most Americans were aware that “Ikea” was the name of a furniture store by that point.

Have you ever met a person named Ikea?

Sources: A child called Ikea: Myth or reality?, The Store That Runs on a Wrench, How Ikea Became America’s Furniture-Selling Powerhouse
Image: Adapted from IKEA – Portland, Oregon by Kingofthedead under CC0 1.0.

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Ikea come from in 1985?

  1. I haven’t met an Ikea, but during my last trip to Germany I learned that “Ikeakind” – literally, “Ikea child” – is slang for “Swede.” It’s probably pejorative…

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