According to Italy’s ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), the most popular baby names in the country in 2020 were Sofia and Leonardo.
Here are Italy’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:
Sofia, 5,604 baby girls (2.87%)
Leonardo, 8,604 baby boys (4.15%)
In the girls’ top 10, Matilde replaced Greta (now in 16th place).
The boys’ top 10 includes the same names, but in a slightly different order.
Notably, Leonardo held an even more commanding lead in 2020 (4.15%) than in 2019 (3.64%). More than 1 in 25 baby boys were named Leonardo last year.
Also notable is the rise of Azzurra during the early 21st century. I didn’t realize until writing about a Scots-Italian baby named Azzurra last year that this name could be a reference to Italy’s national soccer team, known as gli Azzurri (“the Blues”) because the players wear Savoy azure. The baby name Azzurra entered Italy’s top 50 in 2017 and was ranked 27th for girls last year.
2020: 1,334 Italian baby girls named Azzurra (ranked 27th)
2019: 1,059 Italian baby girls named Azzurra (ranked 38th)
2018: 1,041 Italian baby girls named Azzurra (ranked 40th)
2017: 926 Italian baby girls named Azzurra (ranked 47th)
2016: 788 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2015: 848 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2014: 628 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2013: 652 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2012: 540 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2011: 459 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
How high do you think it could climb?
In 2019, the top two names in Italy were also Sofia and Leonardo.
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.]
According to Italy’s ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), the most popular baby names in the country in 2019 were (again) Sofia and Leonardo.
Here are Italy’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:
Sofia, 5,851 baby girls (2.87%)
Leonardo, 7,786 baby boys (3.64%)
In the girls’ top 10, Vittoria replaced Anna (now ranked 11th).
(One girl name with top-10 potential is the intriguing Ludovica, which — unlike cousins Luisa, Louisa, and Louise — has seen very little usage in the United States. Ludovica was Italy’s 30th most popular girl name — give or take a few spots — from 2008 to 2015, but in the last few years it has reached 15th twice.)
The boys’ top 10 includes the same 10 names, but in a slightly different order.
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…
While the name Nipsey didn’t debut in 2019, Nipsey Hussle’s legal first name, Ermias, was the fastest-rising boy name of 2019 (in terms of relative increase).
Dua, one of the rising names in last year’s game, stayed perfectly level this time around — exactly 72 baby girls in both ’18 and ’19. (In the UK, on the other hand, Dua’s usage increased quite a bit.)
What are your thoughts on the results this year? Did anything surprise you?
[The usual 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 each case, I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence.]