And here are the late bloomers — names that were part of the 2019 game, but didn’t rise/debut until 2020.
Donna increased by 20%.
Nipsey debuted with 7 baby boys.
Luce returned to the data with 7 baby girls.
Maleficent returned to the data with 5 baby girls.
Miren returned to the data with 5 baby girls.
Finally, regarding our theories about how Covid might have affected 2020’s names…I didn’t notice anything definitive. For instance, both Gheba and Skizzo mentioned “prestige” names (e.g., King, Legend, Major, Messiah and Royal). What I found was that some went up, some went down. Same with the modern virtue names (e.g., Courage, Honor, Brave, Bravery, Freedom).
What are your thoughts on these results? Which name surprised you the most?
[Disclaimer: Some of the names above were already moving in the direction indicated. Others were influenced by more than a single pop culture person/event. In all cases, I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence.]
Wondering which first letters were the most popular in 2020?
For baby girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by E and M. The least-used first letter was U. More than 272,000 baby girls got an A-name last year, whereas fewer than 700 got a U-name.
The three most-used girl names per letter last year were…
A: Ava, Amelia, Abigail
B: Brooklyn, Bella, Brielle
C: Charlotte, Camila, Chloe
D: Delilah, Daisy, Daniela
E: Emma, Evelyn, Ella
F: Faith, Freya, Finley
G: Gianna, Grace, Genesis
H: Harper, Hazel, Hannah
I: Isabella, Isla, Ivy
J: Josephine, Jade, Julia
K: Kinsley, Kennedy, Kaylee
L: Luna, Layla, Lily
M: Mia, Mila, Madison
N: Nora, Nova, Natalie
O: Olivia, Olive, Oakley
P: Penelope, Paisley, Piper
Q: Quinn, Queen, Quincy
R: Riley, Ruby, Rylee
S: Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett
T: Taylor, Teagan, Trinity
U: Unique, Uma, Una
V: Victoria, Violet, Valentina
W: Willow, Winter, Willa
X: Ximena, Xiomara, Xena
Y: Yaretzi, Yara, Yareli
Z: Zoey, Zoe, Zara
For baby boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and L. The least-used first letter was, again, U. More than 205,000 baby boys got a J-name last year, whereas fewer than 2,500 got a U-name.
The three most-used boy names per letter last year were…
A: Alexander, Aiden, Asher
B: Benjamin, Brooks, Bennett
C: Carter, Charles, Christopher
D: Daniel, David, Dylan
E: Elijah, Ethan, Ezra
F: Finn, Felix, Francisco
G: Grayson, Gabriel, Greyson
H: Henry, Hudson, Hunter
I: Isaac, Isaiah, Ian
J: James, Jacob, Jackson
K: Kai, Kayden, Kingston
L: Liam, Lucas, Logan
M: Mason, Michael, Mateo
N: Noah, Nathan, Nolan
O: Oliver, Owen, Oscar
P: Parker, Patrick, Peter
Q: Quinn, Quentin, Quincy
R: Ryan, Roman, Robert
S: Sebastian, Samuel, Santiago
T: Theodore, Thomas, Tyler
U: Uriel, Uriah, Ulises
V: Vincent, Victor, Valentino
W: William, Wyatt, Wesley
X: Xavier, Xander, Xzavier
Y: Yusuf, Yosef, Yehuda
Z: Zachary, Zion, Zayden
Finally, here are the totals for girls and boys side-by-side on the same chart:
Overall, the top first letter was A and the least popular first letter was (of course!) U.
It’s hard to put into words just how bizarre 2020 was.
Despite this…people still had babies in 2020, and people still paid attention to pop culture in 2020. (In fact, thanks to quarantine, many people probably paid a lot more attention to pop culture than usual last year.) So, let’s put the seriousness of 2020 aside for a second and kick off the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!
Of course, “pop culture” includes not just things like movies and music and social media, but also anything that was in the news — including COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the U.S. presidential election.
Which baby names will see higher usage — or appear for the very first time — in the 2020 SSA baby name data thanks to pop culture?
Here are some initial ideas (plus some context):
Aalam, DJ Khaled’s baby
Ahmaud, shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
Amala, Doja Cat album
Azula, character from Avatar: The Last Airbender (made available on Netflix in mid-2020)
Some of the names from the 2019 game could be applicable to the 2020 data as well.
Also, feel free to zoom out and consider name trends this year. Here are a few ways in which baby-naming may have been influenced by our collective experience of COVID-19, for instance:
“In my opinion this unprecedented situation will affect naming towards something “bolder” or “more badass” baby names and so you’ll probably see a spike of certain names like King, Major or Royal.” (Gheba)
“I’d bet on the rise of virtue names, or at least modern version of virtue names, like Brave/Bravery, Courage, Honor, etc. And I’d say names like Legend, Messiah, Legacy, Major, King, will probably rise some more too.” (Skizzo)
“I think it will also affect which media influence names this year. Eg we’ll miss out on names inspired by Olympic athletes, but might see even more from Netflix and YouTube.” (Clare)
What other names (or name trends) should we add to the list? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Just remember to make a note of the pop culture influence!
I’ll post the results as soon as I can after the SSA releases the 2020 data (in May of 2021, hopefully).
*Did you know that the actress who played Kamiyah in that Lifetime movie is named Rayven Symone Ferrell? Certainly a nod to Raven-Symoné…