How did Erik Estrada influence baby names?

Actor Erik Estrada in the TV show "CHiPs."
Erik Estrada in “CHiPs

The main characters of the television show CHiPs (1977-1983) were two motorcycle-riding highway patrolmen of the California Highway Patrol (CHP — hence the weird capitalization of CHiPs).

One of those two patrolmen was Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, played by actor Erik Estrada. (In his case, Erik was short for Enrique, the Spanish version of Henry.)

The show was most successful during the 1979-1980 season, in terms of ratings. Also in 1979, Erik Estrada was voted one of “The 10 Sexiest Bachelors in the World” by People magazine.

So it’s not surprising that the baby name Erik saw peak usage in 1980, and that the more popular spelling, Eric, saw a spike in usage that year as well:

Boys named ErikBoys named Eric
19823,63419,882
19813,92320,724
19804,918†22,629
19794,63920,272
19783,26519,781
19772,78820,747
19762,75621,369
†Peak usage

There were also two CHiPs-related one-hit wonders in the baby name data. One was Estrada:

  • 1982: unlisted
  • 1981: unlisted
  • 1980: 5 baby boys named Estrada [debut]
  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: unlisted

The other, Poncho, doesn’t quite match Ponch or Poncherello, but was still likely influenced by the show:

  • 1982: unlisted
  • 1981: unlisted
  • 1980: 5 baby boys named Poncho [debut]
  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: unlisted

Finally, I did manage find a handful of U.S.-born males with “Erik Estrada” as their first and middle names. Most of them were born during the years CHiPs was on the air.

A decade after CHiPs was cancelled, what was Erik Estrada up to? Hosting the “Kebrina’s Psychic Answer” infomercial.

Sources: Erik Estrada – Wikipedia, Ratings – CHiPs Wiki

3 thoughts on “How did Erik Estrada influence baby names?

  1. Most of them were born during the years CHiPs was on the air. Where is this information?

  2. It’s available at most genealogy or vital records sites. The site I like best right now is FamilySearch. If you look up “erik estrada” as a first-middle combo, you’ll see that more than half were born in the late ’70s and early-to-mid ’80s.

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