How popular is the baby name Ben in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Ben.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ben


Posts that Mention the Name Ben

Name quotes #113: Oscar, Mackenzie, Bailey

double quotation mark

It’s time for another batch of name quotes!

From a recent Daily Mirror article about schoolteachers Lainey Clarke and Ben Hubbard, who live in Buckinghamshire with their newborn…plus two spirits named Dave and Andy:

Dave even helped them when it came to deciding baby names.

“Every name we liked we’d then remember a naughty school kid we’d taught — it was a nightmare,” laughs Ben.

“We did a spirit box session [one person asks questions and another sits blindfolded with headphones on and relays messages from the spirit world] and the word Apollo was spoken. We listened back after he was born and were stunned to find that Dave had named our baby.”

From a Today.com article published earlier this year about like-named twins who married like-named twins:

Identical twins Briana and Brittany, 35, married identical twins Josh [Joshua] and Jeremy Salyers, 37, and now they’re introducing the world to their babies, who are so genetically similar that the cousins are more like brothers.

[…]

The Salyers are parents to Jett, who turned 1 in January, and Jax, who will turn 1 in April, and the cousins share more than the same first initial. Their unique situation makes them genetic brothers.

(Many U.S twins born in the early 2000s were also given similar names.)

From an article about British politician Penelope “Penny” Mordaunt (b. 1973):

It was a position she was well cut out for, given her strong military background — her father was a parachuter and she was a member of the Royal Navy from 2010 to 2019, making her the only woman MP currently who is a navy reservist. … (Fun fact: Penny was named after the Royal Navy frigate HMS Penelope.)

American actress Amandla Stenberg on the pronunciation of her name [vid], via TikTok:

Most of the time I introduce myself as ah-man-dluh … which, a lot of Westerners, Europeans, they think, “Oh, you’re parents took Amanda and slipped an l in there.”

[…]

No, it’s ah-maan-dluh as in Amandla! Awethu!, which means “power to the people” in Zulu and Xhosa. And this was an understanding that I grew up with that this had significant weight in history, that Amandla! Awethu! was a rallying cry that was utilized during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, that amandla means “power,” and that my mom gave me this name because she wanted me to aspire towards embodying this concept, right? Which I’m so grateful for.

The thing is, she Westernized my name because she didn’t want me to struggle in school. So, she named me ah-man-dluh not ah-maan-dluh because she thought people would be able to say it more easily, and I would have to struggle less. So she kinda like, in this diasporic way, was trying to help me assimilate.

(As we learned in Name quotes #67, though, Amandla wasn’t named for the rallying cry directly. Instead, she was named for the 1989 Miles Davis album Amandla.)

From a recent Morley Kert woodworking video, part of a discussion between Morley and a male client named Mackenzie who he’d just met in-person:

Morley: “So I have something I need to tell you.”

Mackenzie: “Oh?”

Morley: “I fully assumed from your name that you were female.”

Mackenzie: “I think a lot of people do. Technically, technically, 52% of Mackenzies are female now. Which is — we’re losing the battle.”

(I’m curious where Mackenzie found that number, because the balance between male and female babies named Mackenzie hasn’t been close to 50% since the mid-1970s.)

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

From a mid-October episode of the Merloni, Fauria & Mego podcast, Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe (born in 1999) answering a question about whether or not his mom had a crush on Bailey Salinger from Party of Five when she chose to name him after the character:

Her and my dad I guess were together, so I can’t — I don’t think she’ll publicly say she had a crush on him. … I think she said that she liked that he was the main character, I guess she was pregnant with me at the time, so … I guess that’s how I got the name.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

What gave the baby name Jacy a nudge in the early 1970s?

The character Jacy Farrow (played by Cybill Shepherd) from the movie "The Last Picture Show" (1971).
Jacy Farrow from “The Last Picture Show”

The name Jacy, which had been in the U.S. baby name data since the early ’60s, saw a modest jump in usage in 1972:

  • 1974: 47 baby girls named Jacy
  • 1973: 36 baby girls named Jacy
  • 1972: 25 baby girls named Jacy
  • 1971: 9 baby girls named Jacy
  • 1970: 7 baby girls named Jacy

Why?

Because of the coming-of-age film The Last Picture Show, which was released in October of 1971.

The film, shot in black-and-white upon the advice of Orson Welles, was set in north Texas in the early 1950s. One of the main characters was Jacy Farrow (played by Cybill Shepherd), who was both the prettiest and the wealthiest girl in the small town of Anarene.

The Last Picture Show was one of the highest-grossing films of 1971, and ended up with eight Oscar nominations (and two wins — for supporting actor Ben Johnson and supporting actress Cloris Leachman).

The movie was based on the 1966 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry, who was also the writer behind the movie Hud.

The name Jacy saw another rise in usage in the early 1990s, possibly because The Last Picture Show‘s sequel, Texasville, came out in mid-1990.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Jacy?

Sources: The Last Picture Show – Wikipedia, AFI Catalog Spotlight: The Last Picture Show, SSA

Popular baby names in Switzerland, 2021

switzerland

Last year, the country of Switzerland welcomed 89,644 babies.

What were the most popular names among these babies? Mia and Noah.

Here are Switzerland’s top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Mia, 467 baby girls
  2. Emma, 416
  3. Elena, 322
  4. Lina, 315
  5. Mila, 307
  6. Emilia, 303
  7. Sofia, 298
  8. Olivia, 279
  9. Nora, 270
  10. Alina, 260
  11. Anna, 259
  12. Lea, 256
  13. Lia, 255
  14. Lara, 251
  15. Lena, 243
  16. Julia, 241
  17. Ella, 240
  18. Elin, 238
  19. Laura, 233
  20. Malea, 231
  21. Nina, 225
  22. Leonie, 220
  23. Giulia, 213
  24. Sophia, 211
  25. Chiara, 208
  26. Alice, 203
  27. Elina, 197 (tie)
  28. Valentina, 197 (tie)
  29. Luna, 195
  30. Luana, 193
  31. Livia, 191
  32. Sara, 187 (tie)
  33. Sophie, 187 (tie)
  34. Yara, 176
  35. Eva, 174
  36. Emily, 171
  37. Aurora, 170
  38. Amelia, 167
  39. Ava, 160 (3-way tie)
  40. Juna, 160 (3-way tie)
  41. Zoé, 160 (3-way tie)
  42. Elisa, 155
  43. Alea, 147
  44. Melina, 146 (tie)
  45. Victoria, 146 (tie)
  46. Jana, 144
  47. Hana, 141
  48. Maria, 140
  49. Mara, 137
  50. Charlotte, 136

Boy Names

  1. Noah, 559 baby boys
  2. Liam, 391
  3. Matteo, 385
  4. Luca, 368
  5. Gabriel, 327
  6. Leon, 315
  7. Elias, 303
  8. Louis, 272
  9. Lio, 270
  10. Nino, 258
  11. Leo, 256
  12. Leonardo, 248
  13. Samuel, 243
  14. Leano, 229
  15. Ben, 227
  16. David, 226
  17. Julian, 218
  18. Diego, 206
  19. Aaron, 204 (tie)
  20. Elia, 204 (tie)
  21. Lian, 201
  22. Levi, 199
  23. Finn, 197
  24. Nico, 192
  25. Robin, 185
  26. Elio, 183 (tie)
  27. Mateo, 183 (tie)
  28. Malik, 179
  29. Levin, 178
  30. Arthur, 177
  31. Tim, 176
  32. Luan, 175
  33. Alessio, 170 (tie)
  34. Jonas, 170 (tie)
  35. Nael, 169
  36. Adam, 168
  37. Lenny, 162
  38. Dario, 159
  39. Benjamin, 157 (tie)
  40. Milo, 157 (tie)
  41. Laurin, 156
  42. Leandro, 154
  43. Emil, 153
  44. Lucas, 152
  45. Noé, 148
  46. Luis, 147
  47. Alexander, 146
  48. Mattia, 144 (tie)
  49. Nathan, 144 (tie)
  50. Gian, 143 (tie)
  51. Jan, 143 (tie)

Home to more than 8.5 million people, Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Here are the top baby names among the speakers of each of these languages:

Girl NamesBoy Names
German speakers
(62.3% of the population)
1. Mia, 343
2. Emilia, 277
3. Emma, 272
4. Lina, 261
5. Elena, 256
1. Noah, 385
2. Matteo, 293
3. Luca, 288
4. Leon, 287
5. Lio, 266
French speakers
(22.8% of pop.)
1. Emma, 125
2. Alice, 108
3. Olivia, 104
4. Mia, 95
5. Eva, 93
1. Gabriel, 165
2. Noah, 149
3. Liam, 139
4. Arthur, 116
5. Lucas, 98
Italian speakers
(8.0% of pop.)
1. Sofia, 30
2. Mia, 26
3. Noemi, 24
4. Alice, 23
5. Aurora, 22
1. Leonardo, 44
2. Alessandro, 30
3. Liam, 24
4. Noah, 23
5. Tommaso, 20
Romansh speakers
(0.5% of pop.)
1. Luana/Mia/Nora, 3 (tie)
2. Andrina/Anuk/Bigna/Melody/Valentina, 2 (tie)
1. Luca/Lucas/Manuel/Nico, 3 (tie)
2. Andrin/Elio/Fabio/Flurin/Jon/Leon/Noah/Valerio, 2 (tie)

And here’s a selection of names from the other end of the spectrum — names that were given to just 2 babies each in Switzerland in 2021:

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Annigna, Bignia, Cinzia, Dragana, Eirini, Flutra, Gresa, Hermine, Ishana, Jonida, Kari, Lamia, Milijana, Nangsel, Orela, Philia, Rialda, Sidona, Tylia, Umay, Vilja, Yua, ZayleeAtréju, Boiken, Cuno, Dorijan, Elvedin, Floki, Gionatan, Hristijan, Iori, Jasha, Klodian, Lendrit, Maurizio, Namkha, Orik, Pieter, Roland, Senna, Toivo, Urs, Viliam, Ylano, Zejn

Finally, here’s a link to Switzerland’s 2020 rankings, if you’d like to compare last year to the year before.

Sources: Prénoms des nouveau-nés – Office fédéral de la statistique, Languages of Switzerland – Wikipedia

Name change: Bob Miller to Ben Lexcen

Winged keel of the Australia II racing yacht, winner of the 1983 America's Cup
Winged keel of the Australia II

In 1936, Robert “Bob” Miller was born in the Australian outback — “in bone-dry Boggabri, a long day’s voyage from the sea.”

So it’s intriguing that, in his teens, Miller developed an interest in sailboat design. He went on to become a professional marine architect.

In the early 1960s, Bob Miller and his friend Craig Whitworth founded a boat-building and sail-making company called Miller & Whitworth in Sydney.

Miller continued doing his own design work on the side, though. Most notably, he began collaborating with Australian millionaire Alan Bond on a series of racing yachts in the late 1960s.

The most famous of these yachts was the Australia II, which, in 1983, became the first non-American yacht to win the America’s Cup. This was the cup that Thomas Lipton had failed to win 5 times in a row, from 1899 to 1930, and that Bond and Miller themselves had also failed to win 3 times previously, from 1974 to 1980.

Except…by 1983, Bob Miller wasn’t “Bob Miller” anymore. He was Ben Lexcen.

Why the name change?

Because, in the mid-1970s, Miller and Whitworth had had a falling-out:

Miller left the firm, but found he could not take his name with him. “I had had a great design business, a fantastic business, and I lost all that,” says Lexcen. “They were advertising everywhere, and all my mail was going to them. I tried to get the post office to change it. Noooo. I just had to do something, so I changed my name. Lexcen was one of my wife’s family names from way back. I had a friend who had a computer check it against the mailing lists of the Reader’s Digest and American Express to see if there was anybody with that name, and there wasn’t, at least not in Australia.” And Ben? “I wanted the same number of letters.”

But that’s not the only version of the name-change story.

In another variation, when the time came Lexcen borrowed a word from the project he was working on at the moment — Lexan hatch covers — and added it to the name of his recently deceased dog, Benjie.

Specifics aside, Ben Lexcen (formerly Bob Miller) and the other members of the Australia II team became national heroes following their historical victory. In fact, a baby born in Melbourne around the time of the win was named Charles Australia II John Bertrand Ben Lexcen.

Sources:

Image: Adapted from Winged Keel of Americas Cup Yacht Australia II by Ken Hodge under CC BY 2.0.