How popular is the baby name Howie 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 Howie.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Howie


Posts that Mention the Name Howie

How did “Room 222” influence baby names?

The Emmy Award-winning television series Room 222 (1969-1974) was set at a racially diverse high school in Los Angeles. Ahead of its time in terms of realism and authenticity, the show frequently dealt with topical issues such as civil rights, women’s rights, drug use, and the Vietnam War.

We don’t hear much about Room 222 these days, but the series did leave a mark on baby names. Here are three Room 222-associated debuts I’ve spotted so far:

Keone

Actor Keone Young in the TV show "Room 222" (1969-1974).
Keone Young in “Room 222

The show’s second episode, “Naked Came We Into the World” (Sept. 1969), featured a character named Howie Wong played by actor Keone (pronounced kee-oh-nee) Young. The same year, the name Keone started appearing in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1971: 5 baby boys named Keone
    • all 5 born in Hawaii
  • 1970: 6 baby boys named Keone
  • 1969: 6 baby boys named Keone [debut]
    • 5 born in Hawaii
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: unlisted

Keone Young is a native of Hawaii, and the Hawaiian name Keone means “the sand” or, by extension, “the homeland.”

Tatanisha

Actor Ta-Tanisha in the TV show "Room 222" (1969-1974).
Ta-Tanisha in “Room 222

Actress Ta-Tanisha, who played the character Pam Simpson, was featured in dozens of episodes from 1969 to 1972. (She was also on other TV shows — Mod Squad, Mission Impossible, The Partridge Family, Good Times, etc. — during the same time period.) The name Tatanisha started appearing in the data in 1970:

  • 1972: 111 baby girls named Tatanisha [peak usage]
  • 1971: 57 baby girls named Tatanisha
  • 1970: 9 baby girls named Tatanisha [debut]
  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: unlisted

Usage of the similar name Tanisha also rose drastically during this time:

  • 1972: 629 baby girls named Tanisha [rank: 352nd]
  • 1971: 374 baby girls named Tanisha [rank: 506th]
  • 1970: 129 baby girls named Tanisha [rank: 978th]
  • 1969: 27 baby girls named Tanisha
  • 1968: 12 baby girls named Tanisha

Ta-Tanisha was born Shirley Cummings; her stage name is based on the Swahili word tatanisha, meaning “perplexing,” “confusing.” (The translation sometimes offered to the press was “the puzzling one.”)

Heshimu

Actor Heshimu in the TV show "Room 222" (1969-1974).
Heshimu in “Room 222

Actor Heshimu, who played the character Jason Allen, was featured in ninety episodes from 1969 to 1974. The name Heshimu started appearing in the data in 1971:

  • 1973: 9 baby boys named Heshimu
  • 1972: 15 baby boys named Heshimu
  • 1971: 6 baby boys named Heshimu [debut]
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: unlisted

Heshimu’s name is based on the Swahili word heshimu, meaning “respect.”

…Which of these three names do you like best?

Sources:

P.S. I couldn’t resist scheduling this post for 2/2/2022. ;)

Where did the baby name Howie come from?

The recent post on Yogi reminded me of an even earlier New York baseball player who seems to have influenced the charts. He wasn’t a Yankee, though — he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (now the Los Angeles Dodgers).

The baby name Howie debuted on the charts in 1943 — it was the top debut name for boys that year, in fact — and half of those baby boys were born in New York specifically:

  • 1946: 8 baby boys named Howie – 6 in New York
  • 1945: 7 baby boys named Howie
  • 1944: unlisted
  • 1943: 10 baby boys named Howie [debut] – 5 in New York
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted

The heavy New York usage makes me think the influence was Howard Henry “Howie” Schultz, a 6′ 6″ two-sport professional athlete who played first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers starting in August of 1943. The day after his impressive debut, the New York Times referred to him in a sub-headline that read: “First Sacker Wins Fans.” (“First sacker” is an old fashioned way of saying “first baseman.”)

Schultz also played a notable part in the first game of the 1946 National League tie-breaker series. This matches up nicely with the fact that 75% of the 1946 Howies were again born in New York.

That said…I’m not 100% certain Howie Schultz is the influence here. He’s my best theory so far, but just in case: Does anyone out there have any other theories about who/what might have popularized the name Howie circa 1943?

Sources: Howie Schultz Baseball Statistics [1943-1948], Howie Schultz combined major-league careers in baseball and basketball during the 1940s

P.S. The other sport Schultz played professionally? Basketball. He was on several different teams in the ’40s and early ’50s, including the championship-winning 1952 Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers).

Top debut names in the U.S. baby name data, 1881 to today

flower bud

Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.

Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.

Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing explanations tied to historical people/events. So this is more than a list of names — it’s also a list of stories.

Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)

  • 1881: Adell & Celeste, 14; Brown & Newell, 14
  • 1882: Verda, 14; Cleve, 13
  • 1883: Laurel, 12; Brady, Festus, Jewell, Odell & Rosco, 8
  • 1884: Crystal & Rubie, 11; Benjamen, Jens, Oakley & Whitney, 9
  • 1885: Clotilde, 13; Arley & Terence, 9
  • 1886: Manuelita, 10; Terrence, 10
  • 1887: Verlie, 13; Myles, 11
  • 1888: Ebba, 18; Carlisle, Hughie & Orvel, 9
  • 1889: Garnett, 12; Doyle, 9
  • 1890: Verena, 11; Eduardo & Maggie, 10
  • 1891: Gayle, Idabelle & Zenia, 9; Sheridan, 14
  • 1892: Astrid, Dallas & Jennett, 9; Corbett, 23
  • 1893: Elmyra, 12; Estel, Mayo, Shelley & Thorwald, 8
  • 1894: Beatriz, Carola & Marrie, 9; Arvel, Erby & Floy, 8
  • 1895: Trilby, 12; Roosevelt, 12
  • 1896: Lotus, 11; Hazen, 11
  • 1897: Dewey, 13; Bryon, Frankie, Mario & Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Manilla, 35; Hobson, 38
  • 1899: Ardis & Irva, 19; Haven, 9
  • 1900: Luciel, 14; Rosevelt, 20
  • 1901: Venita, 11; Eino, 9
  • 1902: Mercie, 10; Clarnce, 9
  • 1903: Estela, 11; Lenon & Porfirio, 7
  • 1904: Magdaline, 9; Adrain, Arbie, Betty, Desmond, Domenic, Duard, Raul & Severo, 8
  • 1905: Oliver, 9; Eliot & Tyree, 9
  • 1906: Nedra, 11; Domenico & Ryan, 10
  • 1907: Theta, 20; Taft, 16
  • 1908: Pasqualina, 10; Robley, 12
  • 1909: Wilmoth, 9; Randal & Vidal, 9
  • 1910: Ellouise, 12; Halley, 12
  • 1911: Thurley, 12; Colie, 16
  • 1912: Elynor, Glennis, Mariann, 12; Woodroe, 25
  • 1913: Wilba, 18; Vilas, 24
  • 1914: Floriene, 14; Torao, 17
  • 1915: Wanza, 33; Audra, 18
  • 1916: Tatsuko, 14; Verdun, 14
  • 1917: Nerine, 43; Delwyn, 14
  • 1918: Marne, 24; Foch, 58
  • 1919: Tokie, 12; Juaquin, 11
  • 1920: Dardanella, 23; Steele, 11
  • 1921: Marilynne, 13; Norberto, 14
  • 1922: Evelean, 14; Daren, 35
  • 1923: Nalda, 15; Clinard & Dorland, 9
  • 1924: Charis, 14; Melquiades, 13
  • 1925: Irmalee, 37; Wayburn, 11
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Bibb, 14
  • 1927: Sunya, 14; Bidwell, 14
  • 1928: Joreen, 22; Alfread & Brevard, 9
  • 1929: Jeannene, 25; Donnald, Edsol, Rhys & Wolfgang, 8
  • 1930: Laquita, 68; Shogo, 11
  • 1931: Joanie, 12; Rockne, 17
  • 1932: Carolann, Delano & Jenine, 11; Alvyn, Avelardo, Elena, Mannon & Wenford, 7
  • 1933: Gayleen, 23; Skippy, 10
  • 1934: Carollee & Janean, 12; Franchot, 9
  • 1935: Treasure, 16; Haile, 11
  • 1936: Shelva, 89; Renny & Shelva, 9

This is where the numbers start becoming more accurate. Why? Because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.” (SSA)

Now back to the list:

I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!

*If you ignore the baby name glitch of 1989, the top debut names of 1989 are actually Audreanna and Khiry.

Image by kazuend from Unsplash