How popular is the baby name Hoang in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Hoang.

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Popularity of the baby name Hoang

Posts that mention the name Hoang

Parents fined for having baby, name baby after the fine

Vietnamese money

In 1987, Mai Van Cán and his wife, Do Thi Vân — a couple from Quang Nam province in central Vietnam — welcomed their fifth child.

The problem?

Several years earlier, Vietnam had put a two-child policy in place.

So, soon after the newborn arrived, the family was fined 6,500 dong (Vietnamese currency) by the government.

Mai was upset about this — his wife’s pregnancy had been unplanned, and he had to borrow money to pay the fine. In a fit of resentment, he named the baby boy Mai Phat Sáu Nghìn Ruoi, which loosely translates to “fined six thousand five hundred” (or, more precisely, “fine of six thousand and a half”).

Here are the definitions of each component of the given name:

In the late 1990s, local government officials tried to persuade Mai to change his son’s name, because the boy was being “constantly teased” by classmates.

He refused.

A few years later, they tried again.

This time, he relented.

So, in September of 2005, Mai Phat Sáu Nghìn Ruoi — now in his late teens — was renamed Mai Hoàng Long, meaning “golden dragon.”

(I had to remove most of the Vietnamese diacritics from this post because they don’t render properly on my site, unfortunately.)


Image by Niels Steeman from Unsplash

What turned Tron into a girl name (briefly) in 1969?

Young Vietnamese amputee Nguyen Thi Tron pictured in "Life" magazine (Nov. 1968).
Nguyen Thi Tron (“Tron” is her first name)

Viet, Hoang, Phuong, and other Vietnamese baby names flooded onto the U.S. baby name charts in 1975, thanks to an influx of refugees.

But the female name Tron arrived conspicuously early, in 1969:

  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: 7 baby girls named Tron [debut]
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: unlisted

Then it fell off the list again, making it a one-hit wonder.*

Where did Tron come from?

A 12-year-old Vietnamese amputee named Nguyen Thi Tron, who was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine in November of 1968. The cover showed Tron watching her new wooden leg being made at a government rehabilitation center in Saigon.

Young Vietnamese amputee Nguyen Thi Tron on the cover of "Life" magazine (Nov. 1968).
Tron on the cover of “Life”

She and two friends, Nhien and Hai, had wandered into a “free-fire zone” to collect firewood and wild vegetables when an American helicopter happened to fly by and open fire. Nhien took shelter under an oxcart, but Hai got shot in the abdomen (she later recovered) and Tron in the leg.

I’m not sure what became of Tron. Her own view of the future was bleak (“I have only one leg. I can do nothing.”) but she did aspire to become a seamstress one day.

Regardless, her name lives on via the baby name charts. In fact, “Tron” is likely the first name to debut on the U.S. charts in connection with the Vietnam War.

*It was a one-hit wonder as a female name only. As a male name, Tron has appeared in the SSA data dozens of times.

Source: Moser, Dan. “The Edge of Peace.” LIFE 8 Nov. 1968: 26-36.
Images © 1968 LIFE

How did Vietnamese immigration influence U.S. baby names in 1975?

Vietnamese family at Fort Chaffee
Vietnamese family at Fort Chaffee

The fall of Saigon in April 1975 marked not only the end of the Vietnam War, but also the start of large-scale Vietnamese immigration to the United States. (An estimated 125,000 Vietnamese refugees were evacuated to the U.S.)

The same year, dozens of Vietnamese names debuted in the U.S. baby name data. Here are the ones I’ve spotted so far…

Vietnamese boy name debuts, 1975Vietnamese girl name debuts, 1975
Viet, 23
Hung, 16
Nam, 14
Huy, 13
Long, 11
Vu, 10
Tran, 9
Duc, 8
Dung, 8
Hoang, 8
My, 8
Nguyen, 8
An, 7
Luan, 7
Phong, 7
Binh, 6
Minh, 6
Quoc, 6
Anh, 5
Hai, 5
Linh, 5
Quang, 5
Tien, 5
Yun, 5
Anh, 10
Phuong, 9
Nguyen, 7
Thu, 7
Bich, 6
Linh, 6
Thao, 6
Trang, 6
Chau, 5
Hoa, 5
Lien, 5
Ngoc, 5
Viet, 5
Yen, 5

Viet was the top boy-name debut of 1975, and the next three boy names on the list (Hung, Nam, and Huy) ranked within the top 10.

Many other Vietnamese names — including Bao, Chinh, Dao, Giang, Huong, Khanh, Lam, Nguyet, Phuc, Quyen, Suong, Thanh, and Vuong — debuted throughout the rest of the ’70s and into the early ’80s.

One of the Vietnamese babies born at Fort Chaffee in 1975 was Dat Nguyen, who went on to become the first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL. Even though he was born in America in 1975, his name, Dat, wasn’t popular enough to appear in the U.S. data (that is, it wasn’t wasn’t given to at least five baby boys within a single calendar year) until 1979.

Source: Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States
Image: Family with three children holding suitcases