Top boy-name debuts of all time in the U.S. baby name data (1-10)

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The final installment of the top baby name debuts for boys!

10 to 1:

Unnamed, #10

Jahiem, #9

  • Jahiem debuted with 155 baby boys in 2001.
    Inspired by R&B singer Jaheim.

Khiry, #8

  • Khiry debuted with 159 baby boys in 1989.
    Inspired by singer Khiry Abdulsamad, a member of The Boys.

Shyheim, #7

  • Shyheim debuted with 168 baby boys in 1994.
    Inspired by rapper Shyheim.

Cordero, #6

  • Cordero debuted with 173 baby boys in 1986.
    Inspired by Cordero Roberts, a character on the soap opera One Life to Live.

Yurem, #5

  • Yurem debuted with 206 baby boys in 2007.
    Inspired by Yurem Rojas, winner of the reality TV show Buscando a Timbiriche, La Nueva Banda.

Kunta, #4

  • Kunta debuted with 215 baby boys in 1977.
    Inspired by Kunta Kinte, a character on the TV miniseries Roots.

Levar, #3

  • Levar debuted with 523 baby boys in 1977.
    Inspired by LeVar Burton, an actor in the TV miniseries Roots.

Nakia, #2

  • Nakia debuted with 611 baby boys in 1974.
    Inspired by Nakia Parker, a character on the TV movie/show Nakia.

Christop, #1

  • Christop debuted with 1,082 baby boys in 1989.
    Not inspired by anything — just part of the great baby name glitch of 1989.

And there it is! The top boy name debuts ever, so far. Did any of the names this week surprise you?

More of the top 50 baby name debuts for boys: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1

Image: Adapted from LotusBud0048a (public domain) by Frank “Fg2” Gualtieri

[Latest update: 7/2021]

7 thoughts on “Top boy-name debuts of all time in the U.S. baby name data (1-10)

  1. Seriously, I’d expected Nevaeh and Tyrese to be in this list. But there were some precursors already listed by the SSA when the names went across the roof.

  2. Those are really good guesses for this list! But you’re right — they weren’t “debuts” when they took off, so they don’t count.

    One day I’ll have to put together a list of the biggest popularity spikes of all time. Nevaeh and Tyrese would probably make a list like that.

    Update, 2019: This list of the Top Baby Name Rises by year isn’t quite a list of the “biggest popularity spikes of all time,” but there’s definitely some overlap…

  3. Shaquille is another great guess. Same problem, though — not technically a debut when it started picking up steam:

    1993: 1784 boys named Shaquille
    1992: 524 boys named Shaquille
    1991: 198 boys named Shaquille
    1990: 92 boys named Shaquille
    1989: 14 boys named Shaquille [debut]

    If “92” had been the debut number, Shaquille would have come in 13th on this list.

  4. Another well-known problem with the debut names is that the sampling (counting from 1 January to 31 December) prefers names that started becoming popular early in the year. So there are other interesting questions:

    What names had the best second year after their debut? (This prefers both names debuting late and names enjoying a continuous rise).

    What names had the best first three years counting from their debut? (Should level out month effects)

    Another parameter to play with is the debut threshold, what happens by raising it from 5 to, say, 10? (Makes some names count a a big debut that currently don’t)

  5. I inspected and found that “Unnamed” originates mainly from WI, not from NY. So some change in creating the statistics is involved here, but it is something different from the NY thing leading to the Great Baby Name Glitch of 1989.

    I also found a suspicious peak of “Unknown” in AL around 1954 …

    And Notnamed is an AZ speciality, missing the debut list (both for boys and girls) because of a few precursors in 1999.

  6. elbowin – Thank you for doing all that digging!

    So the Unnamed debut was caused by Wisconsin, not New York. Huh. I wonder if it still wasn’t due to a technology issue somehow, given the year. (And there was a second surge in “Unnamed” babies in Texas two years later — could be technology in that case as well.)

    Harder to explain the Notnamed surge in AZ, though, as that was in the year 2000. Maybe it was a law change, i.e., a change in the way unnamed babies are officially recorded.

    And those are some really good questions, re: other ways to analyze debuts. I’m going to bookmark your comment to remind myself to try some analyses like that at some point. Thanks again!

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