How popular is the baby name Brandon 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 Brandon.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Brandon


Posts that Mention the Name Brandon

Where did the baby name Draven come from in 1994?

The character Eric Draven (played by Brandon Lee) from the movie "The Crow" (1994).
Eric Draven from “The Crow

The name Draven first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1994. Rather unusually, it debuted for both genders in the very same year:

Boys named DravenGirls named Draven
1996163 (rank: 853rd)16
1995182 (rank: 797th)16
199454*9*
1993..
1992..
*Debut

Here’s a visual:

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

Where did the name Draven come from?

The dark movie The Crow, which was released in May of 1994.

The film was set in “some decaying urban hell […] where armed gangs prowl the alleyways and common people are driven inside to merely survive.”

The main character was resurrected rock star Eric Draven. He and his fiancée had been murdered by gang members the night before their wedding. Exactly one year later, Eric rose from the dead to avenge their deaths.

The Crow starred actor Brandon Lee, son of martial arts superstar Bruce Lee. Sadly, Brandon was fatally wounded by a prop gun during filming. He died in March of 1993. The same year, usage of the compound name Brandonlee more than tripled:

  • 1995: 12 baby boys named Brandonlee
  • 1994: 11 baby boys named Brandonlee
  • 1993: 20 baby boys named Brandonlee
  • 1992: 6 baby boys named Brandonlee
  • 1991: unlisted

What are your thoughts on the baby name Draven?

Sources:

(Other dual-gender debuts include Chaffee, Dasani, Dondi, Illya, Rikishi, and Sundown.)

Popular baby names in Belgium, 2021

Belgium

According to data from Statistics Belgium, the country’s most popular baby names last year were Olivia and Noah.

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

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 580 baby girls
  2. Emma, 500
  3. Louise, 455
  4. Mila, 435
  5. Alice, 416
  6. Camille, 403
  7. Lina, 394
  8. Sofia, 359
  9. Ella, 352
  10. Juliette, 346
  11. Nora, 342
  12. Mia, 325
  13. Marie, 317
  14. Lucie, 314
  15. Anna, 303
  16. Jade, 296
  17. Elena, 281
  18. Eva, 280
  19. Julia, 279
  20. Noor, 263
  21. Nina, 256
  22. Léa, 252
  23. Victoria, 249
  24. Chloé, 244
  25. Alix, 235
  26. Lou, 232
  27. Elise, 220
  28. Zoé, 215
  29. Giulia, 212
  30. Ellie, 210 (tie)
  31. Luna, 210 (tie)
  32. Liv, 209
  33. Renée, 207
  34. Amélie, 204
  35. Inaya, 202
  36. Rose, 194
  37. Charlotte, 191
  38. Jeanne, 188 (tie)
  39. Lily, 188 (tie)
  40. Lena, 187
  41. Sara, 176
  42. Manon, 171
  43. Julie, 170
  44. Mona, 160
  45. Alba, 159
  46. Livia, 155
  47. Billie, 154 (tie)
  48. Sophia, 154 (tie)
  49. Amira, 146
  50. Clara, 144 (tie)
  51. Stella, 144 (tie)

Boy Names

  1. Noah, 627 baby boys
  2. Arthur, 584
  3. Louis, 558
  4. Liam, 537
  5. Jules, 526
  6. Adam, 474
  7. Lucas, 426
  8. Gabriel, 422
  9. Victor, 416
  10. Oscar, 336
  11. Leon, 310
  12. Mathis, 294 (tie)
  13. Mohamed, 294 (tie)
  14. Finn, 289
  15. Léon, 275
  16. Matteo, 264
  17. Lewis, 251
  18. Hugo, 245
  19. Nathan, 238
  20. Luca, 234
  21. Elias, 225
  22. Raphaël, 223
  23. Théo, 221
  24. Amir, 217 (tie)
  25. Eden, 217 (tie)
  26. Rayan, 209
  27. Lou, 208
  28. Milo, 205
  29. Yanis, 204
  30. Achille, 201
  31. Otis, 194
  32. Sacha, 191 (tie)
  33. Vic, 191 (tie)
  34. Felix, 190
  35. Marcel, 187
  36. Basile, 185
  37. Aaron, 179
  38. Léo, 178
  39. Maurice, 174
  40. Alexander, 173
  41. Maël, 171
  42. Emiel, 168 (tie)
  43. Georges, 168 (tie)
  44. Jack, 167 (tie)
  45. William, 167 (tie)
  46. Emile, 163 (tie)
  47. Vince, 163 (tie)
  48. Samuel, 161
  49. Gaston, 159
  50. Oliver, 158

If Leon and Léon had been counted as a single name, their combined total (585) would have been enough to edge Arthur (584) out of second place on the boys’ list.

And the gender-neutral name Lou managed to pop up on both lists in nearly the same spot: 26th for girls, 27th for boys.

Map of the three regions of Belgium
Belgium’s three regions

The top baby names within each of Belgium’s three regions were…

Girl NamesBoy Names
Flanders
(57.6% of the population)
Language: Dutch
1. Olivia, 328
2. Ella, 303
3. Marie, 275
4. Mila, 266
5. Nora, 261
1. Noah, 399
2. Arthur, 321
3. Jules, 311
4. Leon, 288
5. Louis, 284
Wallonia
(31.8% of pop.)
Language: French/German
1. Emma, 204
2. Olivia, 203
3. Louise, 190
4. Alice, 188 (tie)
5. Lucie, 188 (tie)
1. Gabriel, 266
2. Louis, 235
3. Liam, 233
4. Arthur, 208
5. Jules, 191
Brussels-Capital
(10.6% of pop.)
Languages: Dutch/French
1. Lina, 89
2. Sofia, 83
3. Emma, 60 (tie)
4. Nour, 60 (tie)
5. Olivia, 49
1. Mohamed, 118
2. Adam, 112
3. Gabriel, 82
4. Amir, 70
5. Noah, 62

And here’s a selection of names from the other end of the spectrum — names that were given to just 5 babies each in Belgium last year:

Rare Girl NamesRare Boy Names
Anabia, Believe, Caro, Dea, Elaïa, Fallone, Gaby, Heike, Iluna, Jennifer, Kessy, Lyssia, Mahsa, Nihal, Otice, Puck, Queen, Ramla, Siloé, Toos, Vlera, Wassila, Yseult, ZuriAloys, Brandon, Celle, Doruk, Erion, Fedde, Gustav, Hazar, Ilyass, Jip, Karsten, Lothar, Maksim, Nellis, Obi, Paulin, Qays, Riff, Silvio, Tille, Vidar, Wiebe, Yavuz, Zjef

(I’m a little surprised that as many as 5 baby girls in Belgium got the English word “believe” as their first name. I wonder if something specific was influencing that usage…?)

This time around, Belgium also highlighted the girl and boy names that saw the largest increases and decreases in usage over the last decade (2011-2021). The top 5 in each category were…

  • Girl names
    • Largest increases: Alba, Ellie, Ellis, Alya, Cilou
    • Largest decreases: Lisa, Laura, Julie, Lotte, Anaïs
  • Boy names
    • Largest increases: Georges, Lio, Gaston, Otis, Lyam
    • Largest decreases: Maxime, Thomas, Simon, Wout, Nathan

Finally, here’s a link to Belgium’s 2020 rankings, if you’d like to compare.

Sources: First names for boys and girls | STATBEL, Demographics of Belgium – Wikipedia

Map: Adapted from Regions of Belgium by Ssolbergj under CC BY 3.0.

The Jackson 5…and their five other siblings

Seven of the Jackson siblings: Jackie, Michael, Tito, Marlon, Randy, La Toya, Rebbie, and Janet (in 1976)
Seven of the Jackson siblings

We’ve all heard of the Jackson 5, but did you know that there were actually ten siblings in the Jackson family?

Katherine and Joe Jackson of Gary, Indiana, welcomed ten children — seven boys and three girls — over the course of 16 years. Here are the names of all ten, in order:

  1. Maureen Reillette, “Rebbie” (b. 1950)
  2. Sigmund Esco, “Jackie” (b. 1951)
  3. Tariano Adaryll, “Tito” (b. 1953)
  4. Jermaine LaJuane (b. 1954)
  5. La Toya Yvonne (b. 1956)
  6. Brandon (twin, b. 1957) — he died soon after birth
  7. Marlon David (twin, b. 1957)
  8. Michael Joe (b. 1958)
  9. Steven Randall, “Randy” (b. 1961)
  10. Janet Damita Jo (b. 1966)

Here are Jermaine’s thoughts on some of the Jackson family names, from his memoir:

I have often wondered how many names my parents went through before agreeing on the final nine. Not that it mattered in the end, because the choice of “Sigmund Esco” for their first son morphed into “Jackie” when Papa Samuel thought it easy to refer to him as “Jackson boy,” then laziness shortened it some more. And “Tariano Adaryl” [sic] became “Tito” because it was easier for us all. I was forever curious as a child about how two people’s taste could go from the exotic-sounding “Jermaine LaJuane” to “Michael Joe.” From somewhere, and especially after Michael’s death, a rumor began that his middle name was Joseph. Maybe this myth prefers the echo with our father’s name because the crossover reads better about a father and son who struggled to see eye to eye. “Joe” was his middle name, as recorded on his birth certificate. His first name was almost “Ronald,” at the suggestion of Mama Martha, but Mother quickly quashed that one.

(Papa Samuel was Jermaine’s paternal grandfather; Mama Martha was his maternal grandmother.)

Which Jackson sibling name do you like best?

Sources:

Name quotes #110: Marné, Wulfstan, Brandon

double quotation mark

Time for another batch of name quotes!

From the book A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis (2013) by Devin Brown:

Although born and baptized as Clive [Staples Lewis], Lewis soon took a disliking to the name his parents had given him. Sometime around the age of four, he marched up to his mother and, pointing at himself, declared that he was now to be known as “Jacksie.” This name, later shortened to Jacks and then to just Jack, became the only name he would answer to. In his book Jack’s Life, Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson, provides the following background on why Lewis chose this name: ‘It was actually because of a small dog that he was fond of that he picked the name Jacksie, which was what the dog was called. It was run over (probably by a horse and cart as there were almost no cars in the time and place where he was a child), and Jack, as he later became known just took the name for himself.’

From a lecture on writing sci-fi and fantasy [vid] given by author Brandon Sanderson, an aside [at 36:05] about the name Brandon:

When I grew up in Nebraska, I was the only Brandon, like, in my school. It was a really original, interesting name. I’m like, ‘My parents came up with this great, original, interesting name.’ And then I moved to Utah to go to BYU and there were five in my freshman dorm. And then I realized: It’s a Mormon name! Who would have thought? It’s not in any of the scriptures but it totally is a Mormon name. There’s a ton. Brandon Flowers, right? Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson. There’s a lot of Brandons out there with an LDS background. Who knew?

[Brandon Flowers is the lead singer of The Killers, while Brandon Mull — like Sanderson — writes fantasy. Brandon Sanderson is behind the debuts of the baby names Kaladin and Sylphrena, btw.]

Speaking of Mormon names…from a recent Deseret News article about Utah’s unusual baby names by Meg Walter:

Heather Marné Williams-Young is named after Marné Whitaker Tuttle. According to legend, Marné Whitaker Tuttle’s mother named her Marne (with no accent) after the French town on the frontlines of World War I, thinking Marne, which rhymes with barn, was a beautiful name.

But Marné disagreed, so she added the acute accent over the e, and pronounced it “Mar-nay.” “There is nothing more Utah to me than women of a certain generation trying make their names more French by putting accents places they shouldn’t be,” Williams-Young says.

[Marné Tuttle (1920-2014), the wife of LDS church leader A(lbert) Theodore Tuttle, served as “temple matron” in the Provo Utah Temple in the early 1980s. During that time, Heather’s mother worked as a Temple employee. Both Heather’s mother and Heather’s mother’s roommate ended up giving their future daughters the middle name Marné.]

“There are a handful of us around Utah County who were all named after the same woman with the made-up name,” Williams-Young says. “I feel such a kinship with them.”

[One of Marné Tuttle’s own daughters, Clarissa, was also given Marné as a middle.]

From a 2015 article in History Today about Anglo-Saxon personal names by James Chetwood:

While it is hard to tell exactly how important the meaning of name elements were, it seems likely that people were aware, to some extent, that names carried some kind of meaning. Indeed, one of the most famous, or infamous, Anglo-Saxons is most often known to us today as Ethelred the Unready, the king who lost his kingdom to Cnut. However, the name Ethelred signified ‘noble counsel’. So, when his contemporaries labelled him Æðelræd Unræd they were not calling him ‘unready’, but using the meaning of his name to mock his lack of good counsel. Similarly, when Archbishop Wulfstan entitled his homily to the English people ‘Sermon of the Wolf to the English’, he was clearly doing so in the knowledge that the first part of his name did not just sound like, but signified, ‘wolf’. Surely it cannot be coincidence that ‘rich’, ‘strong’ and ‘beautiful’ were used in names, where ‘poor’, ‘weak’ and ‘ugly’ were not.

A feature of this naming system was flexibility. There was a finite number of elements, but they could be combined in a multitude of ways. This meant that, in essence, a name was created for, rather than given to, each person. So, while elements could be repeated to emphasize parentage and family links, there was very little repetition of full names and it would be unlikely that any two people within a community or family would have the same name.

From a recent article about baseball player Zebulon Vermillion in the New York Post:

Zebulon Vermillion, as he has to explain to just about everyone he meets, was born in Vail, Colo., not too far from the Rocky Mountains and a summit known as Pikes Peak. His parents, the outdoorsy type, read that the apex was named after Zebulon Pike, and it stuck with them.

Vermillion’s last name is Nordic and middle name — Cassis — French, after a fishing port in Southern France. His mother, who is trilingual, loves the city.

From the book Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (2022) by Brad Stone, on the process of naming Amazon’s Alexa:

Bezos said he wanted the wake word to sound “mellifluous” and opined that his mother’s name, Jacklyn, was “too harsh.” His own quickly discarded suggestions included “Finch,” the title of a fantasy detective novel by Jeff VanderMeer; “Friday,” after the personal assistant in the novel Robinson Crusoe; and “Samantha,” the witch who could twinkle her nose and accomplish any task on the TV show Bewitched.

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

Girl names that debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 2021

Which girl names emerged in the U.S. baby name data in 2021 for the first time ever?

A total of 603 girl names debuted in the data last year, and the most impressive debut was made by Namaari. Here are the other top debuts:

  1. Namaari, 43 baby girls
  2. Parklynn, 36
  3. Sayori, 35
  4. Arianelly, 26
  5. Sanem, 23
  6. Nezuko, 20
  7. Adrielly, 17
  8. Imaray, 17
  9. Franyeli, 15
  10. Kaiori, 15
  11. Kaliani, 15
  12. Treu, 15
  13. Xylo, 15

Namaari was a character in the animated Disney movie Raya and the Last Dragon (2021). (The name Raya also saw a rise in usage last year.)

I’m not sure yet what was influencing Treu, but it was also one of last year’s fast-rising boy names.

Here are some more debuts:

13 baby girlsArzoey, Daneliya, Zyn
12 baby girlsEmrielle, Hiraya, Namani, Pruitt, Rivia
11 baby girlsDaneiris, Emris, Ixia, Knoxleigh, Kyori, Novamarie, Oyku, Zunaisha
10 baby girlsDini, Harir, Jehiely, Keilanni, Kolly, Kuvira, Meiomi, Nylynn, Renfri, Rinn
9 baby girlsArlenny, Azley, Celaena, Elysani, Emmaluna, Europe, Giannagrace, Giorgiana, Khazi, Lailonni, Livvi, Miyanni, Shreyanvi, Solaire, Xori, Xureila, Yoadan
8 baby girlsCallum, Eclipsa, Ellowen, Emoriee, Este, Hartford, Himawari, Hiraeth, Invy, Isani, Jaior, Kasper, Khemistry, Kyloni, Lupine, Nabi, Nareth, Oak, Rhue, Romyn, Saivi, Savae, Siylah, Solaia, Suleidy, Summerreign, Willowgrace, Wrenlie, Xilenia, Yeilany, Zaiyana, Zaloni

Renfri is a character from the Netflix series The Witcher. And Este may have been inspired by the Taylor Swift song “No Body, No Crime,” which features a character named Este (named after musician Este Haim).

Finally, here’s a selection of the rest of the debuts:

  • 7 baby girls: Alileth, Aristella, Dandelion, Dutton, Eluney, Elvana, Everlynne, Joseane, Kiyomii, Mazeleigh, Neon, Parklyn, Sevgi, Styles, Swae, Virsavia, Yemariyam, Yimo
  • 6 baby girls: Arka, Avaluna, Azuria, Bruchie, Cleobella, Culture, Darlet, Ettalie, Glacier, Ice, Jerusalema, Jynx, Kauai, Mawata, Melkam, Nelliana, Onyxia, Quimby, Rayzel, Rischel, Sevy, Tatev, Thendral, Yemi, Zamoura, Zaza
  • 5 baby girls: Aonani, Azami, Bellezza, Callidora, Camoura, Cleissy, Dvosia, Ekhlas, Falasteen, Hiyabel, Icylinn, Iveel, Jonesy, Kiswa, Kohinoor, Leiko, Lisaira, Maeverly, Maravilla, Nolvia, Nymira, Ozzlynn, Praisely, Rimna, Rissy, Savia, Sibi, Solaria, Sylphrena, Sypha, Thyrie, Vignette, Woodlyn, Yule, Zae, Zuna

Sevgi is Turkish for “love,” Maravilla is Spanish for “wonderful,” and Sylphrena (like Kaladin) is a character from the Stormlight Archive series of epic fantasy books by Brandon Sanderson.

If you can explain any of the other debuts, please leave a comment!