What popularized the baby name Latoya?

La Toya Jackson's album "Heart Don't Lie" (1984)
La Toya Jackson album

The name Latoya first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the 1960s. After rising quickly during the ’70s — and seeing upticks in usage in both 1977 and 1981 — the name achieved peak popularity in 1984:

  • 1985: 3,402 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 81st]
  • 1984: 5,051 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 60th] (peak usage)
  • 1983: 3,151 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 90th]
  • 1982: 3,200 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 91st]
  • 1981: 4,267 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 69th]
  • 1980: 2,505 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 123rd]
  • 1979: 1,880 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 148th]
  • 1978: 2,040 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 135th]
  • 1977: 2,321 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 125th]
  • 1976: 2,052 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 135th]

Here’s a visual:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Latoya in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Latoya

What fueled the rise of Latoya?

The career of singer La Toya Jackson.

(The SSA removes spaces and ignores internal capitalization, which explains why the name is rendered “Latoya” in the dataset.)

Though she wasn’t a member of The Jackson 5 — the pop-soul vocal group featuring her five brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael — La Toya was often mentioned in write-ups about the Jackson family during the early 1970s.

By 1974, La Toya and the remaining Jackson siblings (Rebbie, Randy, and Janet) were participating in the group’s live performances.

Television audiences were introduced to La Toya in the musical variety series The Jacksons (1976-77), which featured all of the siblings except for Jermaine.

In 1980, she launched her solo career. She didn’t become as commercially successful as either Michael or Janet, but her single “Heart Don’t Lie” [vid] — a reggae duet with Howard Hewett of Shalamar — did reach #56 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in June of 1984.

The singer was born La Toya Yvonne Jackson on May 29, 1956 — the sixth birthday of her eldest sibling, Rebbie, coincidentally. In her autobiography, La Toya said that her mother, who had a “fondness for unusual names,” claimed to have coined “La Toya.”

What are your thoughts on the name La Toya?


One thought on “What popularized the baby name Latoya?

  1. I hate the name. Honestly, the only Jackson sibling whose name I like is Michael. Although evidently Randy’s first name is Steven, which is fine (I prefer the spelling Stephen, though).

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