How popular is the baby name Ian 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 Ian.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ian


Posts that Mention the Name Ian

Where did the baby name Sossity come from in 1972?

Jethro Tull's album "Benefit" (1970)
Jethro Tull album

While researching -ity names (like Felicity and Serenity) at one point, I happened upon the odd name Sossity, which was in the U.S. baby name data a total of twice, both times in the 1970s:

  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: 7 baby girls named Sossity
  • 1975: unlisted
  • 1974: unlisted
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: 5 baby girls named Sossity [debut]
  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The Jethro Tull song “Sossity: You’re a Woman,” which was the last track on their third album, Benefit (1970).

As made clear by the lyrics, the fictitious female Sossity is meant to be symbolic of society at large:

Sossity: You’re a woman.
Society: You’re a woman.

According to Jethro Tull singer Ian Anderson, the song “obviously [was] written as a double-meaning where I’m notionally talking about an imaginary girl in frankly a rather thin and embarrassing pun.” He also said the song was “kind of okay musically…but lyrically I was never really comfortable with it. And it’s mainly that one word, Sossity, an invented word that seemed like a rather prissy girl’s name.”

So how did the British band come to be named after a 18th-century British agriculturist/inventor?

In the late ’60s, when the group was playing small clubs, they changed their name frequently. “Jethro Tull” was a name they tried in February of 1968 at the suggestion of a booking agent, and that’s the one that stuck.

Ian has said that he since regrets choosing that name, specifically disliking the fact that it came from a real historical person: “I can’t help but feel more and more as I get older that I’m guilty of identity theft and I ought to go to prison for it, really.”

(Jethro Tull’s next and more successful album, Aqualung, featured a song about a character named Aqualung. I’m happy to report that “Aqualung” has never popped up in the SSA data.)

Sources:

Popular baby names in Puerto Rico, 2021

Puerto Rico

According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, the most popular baby names in Puerto Rico last year were Valentina and Liam.

Here are Puerto Rico’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Valentina, 197 baby girls
  2. Emma, 153
  3. Victoria, 128
  4. Amaia, 116
  5. Luna, 114
  6. Isabella, 102
  7. Gianna, 93
  8. Mia, 90
  9. Catalina, 88
  10. Milena, 87

Boy Names

  1. Liam, 260 baby boys
  2. Thiago, 200
  3. Sebastian, 196
  4. Noah, 180
  5. Dylan, 165
  6. Mateo, 164
  7. Lucas, 161
  8. Adrian, 140
  9. Ian, 131
  10. Jayden, 116

In the girls’ top 10, Milena replaced Kamila.

In the boys’ top 10, Adrian replaced Matias.

In 2020, the top names in Puerto Rico were also Valentina and Liam.

And the most popular baby names in all other U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands (combined) — in 2021 were Isla/Olivia (tie) and Ethan.

Source: Popular Names by Territory

Top 1-syllable baby names in the United States, 2021

single tree

Which single-syllable names were the most popular in 2021?

I scanned the 2021 rankings for one-syllable names and found these:

Girl Names

  1. Grace (ranked 34th overall)
  2. Claire (59th)
  3. Quinn (80th)
  4. Jade (91st)
  5. Rose (116th)
  6. Maeve (124th)
  7. Sloane (143rd)
  8. Reese (147th)
  9. Faith (169th)
  10. June (175th)

(A little lower down were Sage, Ruth, and Blake.)

Boy Names

  1. James (ranked 5th overall)
  2. Jack (11th)
  3. John (27th)
  4. Luke (32nd)
  5. Kai (71st)
  6. Brooks (77th)
  7. Beau (94th)
  8. Jace (102nd)
  9. Chase (125th)
  10. Cole (132nd)

(A little lower down were George, Rhett, and Jude.)

These lists include the same names that appeared on the 2020 lists, but in both cases the names are in a slightly different order.

And, of course, here’s the usual disclaimer: I left out the borderline boy names (Owen, Wyatt, Charles, Miles/Myles, Ryan, Ian, Rowan, Gael) that can be pronounced with either one or two syllables, depending upon the accent of the speaker. Notably, all nine of these names ranked higher than both Chase and Cole.

For more single-syllable names, check out the one-syllable girl names and one-syllable boy names posts.

Top lengths of baby names in the United States, 2021

Which lengths were the most and least popular for U.S. baby names in 2021?

Top length for girl names: 6 letters

For baby girls, the most-used length was 6 letters, followed by 5 and 7.

Graph of length popularity for U.S. baby girl names, 2021

The most popular girl names per length were…

  • 2 letters (over 200 baby girls): Bo, Jo, Zo, An, Vy, Io
  • 3 letters (over 58,300): Ava, Mia, Zoe, Ivy, Eva, Ada
  • 4 letters (over 223,800): Emma, Luna, Ella, Aria, Mila, Nora
  • 5 letters (over 348,000): Sofia, Avery, Emily, Chloe, Layla, Hazel
  • 6 letters (over 466,100): Olivia, Amelia, Sophia, Evelyn, Harper, Camila
  • 7 letters (over 307,900): Eleanor, Abigail, Madison, Addison, Lillian, Paisley
  • 8 letters (over 142,000): Isabella, Scarlett, Penelope, Victoria, Brooklyn, Savannah
  • 9 letters (over 71,800): Charlotte, Elizabeth, Valentina, Josephine, Gabriella
  • 10 letters (over 8,000): Evangeline, Alexandria, Alessandra, Jacqueline
  • 11 letters (over 300): Christianna, Ameliagrace, Anavictoria
  • 12 letters (under 100)
  • 13 letters (over 100)
  • 14 letters (under 100)
  • 15 letters (none)

Top length for boy names: 6 letters

For baby boys, the most-used length was also 6 letters, followed by 5 and 4.

Graph of length popularity for U.S. baby boy names, 2021

The most popular girl names per length were…

  • 2 letters (over 1,800 baby boys): Bo, Ty, Om, Aj, Cy, Oz
  • 3 letters (over 49,200): Leo, Eli, Kai, Ian, Ace, Max
  • 4 letters (over 288,800): Liam, Noah, Jack, Levi, Owen, John
  • 5 letters (over 453,200): James, Lucas, Henry, Mateo, Mason, Ethan
  • 6 letters (over 511,800): Oliver, Elijah, Daniel, Samuel, Joseph, Julian
  • 7 letters (over 269,000): William, Jackson, Michael, Grayson, Matthew, Gabriel
  • 8 letters (over 106,100): Benjamin, Theodore, Maverick, Santiago, Jonathan, Jeremiah
  • 9 letters (over 42,000): Alexander, Sebastian, Christian, Nathaniel, Alejandro
  • 10 letters (over 3,700): Maximilian, Alessandro, Kristopher, Montgomery
  • 11 letters (over 7,800): Christopher, Maximiliano, Constantine
  • 12 letters (over 200)
  • 13 letters (over 100)
  • 14 letters (under 100)
  • 15 letters (under 100)

Top first letters of baby names in the United States, 2021

Which first letters were the most and least popular for U.S. baby names in 2021?

Top first letters for girl names: A, E, M

For baby girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by E and M. The least-used first letter was U.

Graph of first letter popularity for U.S. baby girl names, 2021

The most popular girl names per letter were…

  • A-names (over 273,100 baby girls): Amelia, Ava, Abigail, Avery, Aria, Aurora
  • B-names (over 49,300): Brooklyn, Bella, Brielle, Blakely, Bailey, Brianna
  • C-names (over 93,100): Charlotte, Camila, Chloe, Claire, Caroline, Cora
  • D-names (over 40,300): Delilah, Daisy, Diana, Daniela, Delaney, Dakota
  • E-names (over 155,300): Emma, Evelyn, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Ella, Emily
  • F-names (over 16,500): Freya, Faith, Finley, Fiona, Fatima, Frances
  • G-names (over 42,900): Gianna, Grace, Genesis, Gabriella, Genevieve, Georgia
  • H-names (over 54,900): Harper, Hazel, Hannah, Hailey, Hadley, Harmony
  • I-names (over 44,100): Isabella, Isla, Ivy, Iris, Isabelle, Isabel
  • J-names (over 73,500): Josephine, Jade, Julia, Josie, Juniper, Jasmine
  • K-names (over 89,100): Kinsley, Kennedy, Kaylee, Kehlani, Katherine, Kylie
  • L-names (over 115,300): Luna, Layla, Lily, Leah, Lucy, Lillian
  • M-names (over 143,500): Mia, Mila, Madison, Maya, Madelyn, Madeline
  • N-names (over 58,800): Nora, Nova, Naomi, Natalie, Natalia, Nevaeh
  • O-names (over 30,200): Olivia, Olive, Oakley, Oaklynn, Octavia, Ophelia
  • P-names (over 37,600): Penelope, Paisley, Piper, Peyton, Parker, Presley
  • Q-names (over 4,100): Quinn, Quincy, Queen, Quinley, Quetzalli, Quinnley
  • R-names (over 74,800): Riley, Ruby, Rylee, Raelynn, Rose, Remi
  • S-names (over 116,400): Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett, Stella, Savannah, Skylar
  • T-names (over 24,200): Taylor, Teagan, Trinity, Tatum, Tessa, Talia
  • U-names (over 600): Unique, Uma, Ulani, Una, Unknown, Unity
  • V-names (over 32,400): Violet, Victoria, Valentina, Vivian, Valerie, Valeria
  • W-names (over 14,700): Willow, Wren, Winter, Wynter, Willa, Wrenley
  • X-names (over 4,500): Ximena, Xiomara, Xyla, Xena, Xochitl, Xitlali
  • Y-names (over 7,600): Yaretzi, Yara, Yareli, Yasmin, Yamileth, Yuna
  • Z-names (over 29,100): Zoey, Zoe, Zuri, Zara, Zariah, Zelda

Top first letters for boy names: J, A, L

For baby boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and L. The least-used first letter was U.

Graph of first letter popularity for U.S. baby boy names, 2021

The most popular boy names per letter were…

  • A-names (over 178,600 baby boys): Alexander, Asher, Aiden, Anthony, Andrew, Adrian
  • B-names (over 86,600): Benjamin, Brooks, Bennett, Beau, Bryson, Brayden
  • C-names (over 123,000): Carter, Charles, Caleb, Christopher, Cameron, Cooper
  • D-names (over 85,000): Daniel, David, Dylan, Dominic, Declan, Damian
  • E-names (over 108,700): Elijah, Ethan, Ezra, Elias, Ezekiel, Eli
  • F-names (over 20,500): Finn, Felix, Finley, Francisco, Fernando, Finnegan
  • G-names (over 53,500): Grayson, Gabriel, Greyson, Gael, Giovanni, George
  • H-names (over 50,000): Henry, Hudson, Hunter, Harrison, Hayden, Hayes
  • I-names (over 31,500): Isaac, Isaiah, Ian, Ivan, Israel, Ismael
  • J-names (over 202,800): James, Jack, Jackson, Jacob, John, Joseph
  • K-names (over 93,400): Kai, Kayden, Kingston, Kaiden, Kevin, King
  • L-names (over 133,400): Liam, Lucas, Levi, Logan, Leo, Luke
  • M-names (over 126,700): Mateo, Michael, Mason, Matthew, Maverick, Miles
  • N-names (over 57,400): Noah, Nathan, Nolan, Nicholas, Nathaniel, Nicolas
  • O-names (over 38,800): Oliver, Owen, Oscar, Omar, Orion, Odin
  • P-names (over 23,700): Parker, Patrick, Peter, Preston, Phoenix, Paxton
  • Q-names (over 3,100): Quinn, Quentin, Quincy, Quinton, Quintin, Quinten
  • R-names (over 82,800): Ryan, Roman, Robert, Rowan, River, Ryder
  • S-names (over 70,300): Sebastian, Samuel, Santiago, Silas, Sawyer, Steven
  • T-names (over 59,200): Theodore, Thomas, Thiago, Theo, Tyler, Tucker
  • U-names (over 2,500): Uriel, Uriah, Ulises, Ulysses, Uziel, Umar
  • V-names (over 11,000): Vincent, Victor, Valentino, Vincenzo, Vicente, Vihaan
  • W-names (over 49,100): William, Wyatt, Waylon, Wesley, Weston, Walker
  • X-names (over 7,200): Xavier, Xander, Xzavier, Xavion, Xavien, Xavian
  • Y-names (over 8,200): Yusuf, Yosef, Yehuda, Yousef, Yahir, Yisroel
  • Z-names (over 26,900): Zion, Zachary, Zayden, Zane, Zayn, Zander