Uptick in baby girls named Jacob – why?

Here’s something I noticed yesterday:

  • 2007 – 34 baby girls named Jacob
  • 2006 – 37 baby girls named Jacob
  • 2005 – 40 baby girls named Jacob
  • 2004171 baby girls named Jacob
  • 2003 – 47 baby girls named Jacob
  • 2002 – 41 baby girls named Jacob
  • 2001 – 38 baby girls named Jacob

I’m stumped. I can’t come up with an explanation for why the popularity of Jacob — the #1 boy name in the nation since 1999 — spiked for girls in 2004. Any ideas?

5 thoughts on “Uptick in baby girls named Jacob – why?

  1. My first thought was that it had to do with Cobie Smulders, of How I Met Your Mother – she’s really Jacoba.

    Only How I Met Your Mother didn’t debut until 2005.

    But it turns out that Cobie Smulders was on a short-lived ABC sci-fi series called Veritas: The Quest: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0324431/

    Could that be just enough to explain it?

  2. Those Twilight fans are an odd bunch. I’m seeing lots of boy names for girls so maybe combined with the Twilight books…? Very odd to have it spike for one year!

  3. Most of those female Jacobs are probably male, since the SS applications are filled out by hand, it’s bound to happen. In 2004 there were also:

    126 females named Ethan
    119 females named Joshua
    118 males named Emily
    102 males named Emma

    This doesn’t explain the upswing though, because that was the only year the numbers were so high.

    2003 – 36 females named Ethan
    2005 – 29 females named Ethan
    2003 – 45 females named Joshua
    2005 – 43 females named Joshua

    2003 – 41 males named Emily
    2005 – 33 males named Emily
    2003 – 37 males named Emma
    2005 – 36 males named Emma

  4. Inspecting names by state, the female Jacobs from 2004 all come from one state, namely Kentucky:


    Looks like some kind of glitch in the statistics if no one comes up with a state-specific reason.

  5. elbowin, terrific catch!

    And it’s such a wild swing that it does seem more like a glitch than anything else.

    I mean, if it were legit, that would have made Jacob the 17th most popular *girl* name in Kentucky that year, and that certainly wasn’t the case.

    Thank you for solving this one!

    P.S. Hey Kentucky, what’s up with your crazy 2004 data?

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