What popularized the baby name Jovi?

The 1986 album "Slippery When Wet" (picture disc) by Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi album

The story about the Canadian baby named Jovi made me wonder: How many U.S. babies have been named Jovi after Bon Jovi?

I mean, the band has been around for decades. And it’s an American band, after all. Surely a few American babies have been named Jovi over the years.

According to SSA data, there wasn’t much interest in the name Jovi in the early 1980s. Not too surprising, as Bon Jovi’s breakthrough album Slippery When Wet wasn’t released until August of 1986.

Right on cue, babies named Jovi began popping up in 1987:

Girls named JoviBoys named Jovi

Usage began to wane in the mid-1990s, but began picking up steam again in the mid-2000s (the decade).

Why is it more popular now than ever before? Here are some possible explanations.

First, Bon Jovi started releasing country-tinged material in 2006. They put out an entire country rock album, Lost Highway, in 2007. So perhaps country music fans had a lot to do with this increase.

Second, the teens who listened to Bon Jovi in the 1980s would have started having kids of their own in the 1990s and 2000s. Maybe these long-term fans are using the name now as a belated tribute.

Third, Jovi could be piggybacking on any of several baby-naming trends:

  • The unique name trend
  • The symbolic surname trend (Jagger, Emerson, Kennedy)
  • The ethnic name trend (Giovanni, which is related to Jovi/Giovi, is currently at an all-time high)

These trends may make Jovi sound appealing even to those who aren’t big Bon Jovi fans. (If those people even exist! I doubt it.)

Would you ever consider using the name Jovi for a baby? If so, would you use it as a boy name, a girl name, or would gender not matter?

P.S. Bon Jovi takes its name from the lead singer’s real-life Italian surname, Bongiovi.

4 thoughts on “What popularized the baby name Jovi?

  1. I HAVE your answer. The reason that the name Jovi picked up steam around 2005 is because there was a very popular movie that came out in 2003 called ELF starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel. Deschanel’s lovable character was named JOVI. After I saw this movie, I fell in love with the name and put it on my personal Top 10 Baby Girls Names list. I’m sure many others did, too. One reason I am hesitant to name my daughter this is because I am NOT a Bon Jovi fan; however, it is currently at the top of my list, anyway. It has astronomical origins (Jupiter) which could be considered a plus or minus. Truly, I’m shocked to have stumbled upon this article without mention of the movie Elf! Young people having kids today probably know a lot more about Saturday Night Live alum and their movies than they do about 80’s rock bands.

  2. Jackie, thank you so much!

    You’re right — in Elf (2003), Zooey Deschanel plays Jovie, and in 2004 the name Jovie debuts on the SSA’s list:

    2012 – 161 baby girls named Jovie
    2011 – 164 baby girls named Jovie
    2010 – 124 baby girls named Jovie
    2009 – 112 baby girls named Jovie
    2008 – 88 baby girls named Jovie
    2007 – 67 baby girls named Jovie
    2006 – 34 baby girls named Jovie
    2005 – 22 baby girls named Jovie
    2004 – 12 baby girls named Jovie [debut]
    2003 – unlisted

    I’ve never seen the movie Elf, so I had no idea the character existed. (I’m assuming her name was derived from the word “jovial”…?)

    This theory makes much more sense than any of my theories. I have no doubt this is what caused Jovie/Jovi to gain popularity in the early 2000s.

    Thanks again!

  3. Our daughter was born 6.16.2013 and we named her Jovi. My husband is a huge Bon Jovi fan and I loved the name from the movie Elf.

  4. I named my daughter Jovi after the movie Elf, the female love interest of Buddy was Jovie. I just loved the name, but preferred it without the e. Nothing to do with Bon Jovi, but as you can see the popularity rose after the release of Elf in 2003.

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