How popular is the baby name Isabel 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 Isabel.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Isabel


Posts that Mention the Name Isabel

What popularized the baby name Tristan in the 1990s?

The character Tristran Ludlow (played by actor Brad Pitt) in the movie "Legends of the Fall" (1994).
Tristan Ludlow from “Legends of the Fall

The baby name Tristan saw an impressive jump in usage in the mid-1990s:

  • 1997: 4,196 baby boys named Tristan [rank: 92nd]
  • 1996: 5,458 baby boys named Tristan [rank: 68th]
  • 1995: 3,088 baby boys named Tristan [rank: 121st]
  • 1994: 492 baby boys named Tristan [rank: 452nd]
  • 1993: 567 baby boys named Tristan [rank: 409th]

The name’s rise in 1995 was the second-largest of the year (after Austin), and it reached the U.S. top 100 for the first time ever in 1996.

Here’s a visual:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Tristan in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Tristan

Many variant forms of the name saw higher usage during those years as well…

1994199519961997
Tristen736181,1881,078
Triston48372726666
Tristin34288630549
Tristian36157304287
Trystan1899182178
Treston31585860
Tryston.426975
Tristyn.286048
Trysten28†4862
Trystin6133742
Tristain.112521
Trestan.1176
Trestin511610
Trystyn.7*125
Tresten..810
Tristion..5*6
Tristine..5†.
Thristan..5*.
*Debut, †Gender-specific debut

Tristen, Triston, Tristin and Tristian all entered top 1,000 in 1995, and Trystan followed a year later.

The name that saw the largest relative increase in usage in 1995 was Tristin. In second place? Tristen.

(…And this doesn’t even account for all the Tristan-related girl names that got a mid-’90s boost.)

So, what was the influence?

The character Tristan Ludlow (played by Brad Pitt) from the movie Legends of the Fall — a saga set in rural Montana during the early decades of the 1900s.

Tristan was the rebellious middle son of rancher Col. William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins). He and his brothers — the older, ambitious Alfred (Aidan Quinn), and the younger, naïve Samuel (Henry Thomas) — all fell in love with the same beautiful woman, Susannah (Julia Ormond).

Released at the very end of 1994, the “big, robust Western love story” ranked #1 at the box office for four weeks straight in the early months of 1995.

Regarding Tristan Ludlow’s first name, one incredibly prescient reviewer noted that we should “look for [it] to be given to more than a few babies over the next few years.”

Tristan Ludlow didn’t end up with Susannah, but he did get married — to a Native American woman named Isabel (Karina Lombard). The name Karina saw it’s highest-ever usage in 1995, and the usage of Isabel also increased — though it was already on the rise, so there’s no telling how much of the increase was due specifically to the film.

Speaking of Isabel’s rise…

The fact that Legends of the Fall featured both a character named Isabel and an actor named Aidan, and that forms of these names (Isabella and Aiden) went on to reach the U.S. top 10 — peaking almost simultaneously a decade and a half later — is very interesting to me. It makes me wonder whether the movie’s impact on U.S. baby names wasn’t substantially greater (but also more complex?) than what the mid-’90s data would have us believe.

Isabella ranking, U.S.Aiden ranking, U.S.
20123rd10th
20112nd9th*
20101st*9th*
20091st*12th
20082nd16th
*Peak usage

(I began wondering about this after a friend of mine, who has a son named Aiden, mentioned that she’d had the name in the back of her mind ever since seeing Legends of the Fall as a teenager.)

What are your thoughts on this theory?

And, do you know anyone with a name that was inspired by Legends of the Fall?

Sources:

Top first letters of baby names in the U.S., 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

How did Mexican comic books influence U.S. baby names?

Partial cover of the comic book "Lágrimas, risas y amor" #78, featuring the story "María Isabel" (1964).
One of the “María Isabel” covers

In the 1960s, comic books were on their way out in the United States. But they were still going strong in Latin America.

In fact, one of Latin America’s best-selling comic books, Lágrimas, risas y amor (transl. Tears, Laughter and Love), was introduced in Mexico in late 1962.

Lágrimas, risas y amor was created by Yolanda Vargas Dulché. It featured romantic stories, each of which had its own unique set of characters. And, believe it or not, some of these stories ended up influencing U.S. baby names, particularly in states with large Spanish-speaking populations (like California and Texas). Here are some examples:

Yesenia

“Yesenia” (1965-1966) told the love story of Yesenia, a gypsy, and Osvaldo, a Mexican soldier. In 1966, we see the name Yesenia appear for the first time in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1968: 13 baby girls named Yesenia
  • 1967: 12 baby girls named Yesenia
  • 1966: 17 baby girls named Yesenia [debut]
  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: unlisted

Geisha

I don’t know anything about the plot of “Geisha” (1967), but the baby name Geisha first appeared in the U.S. data the same year:

  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: 8 baby girls named Geisha [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: unlisted
Partial cover of the comic book "Lágrimas, risas y amor" #279, featuring the story "Geisha" (1967).
One of the “Geisha” covers

Analuisa

“El atardecer de Ana Luisa” (transl. “Ana Luisa’s Middle Years”) (1971) told the story of Ana Luisa, who lost her boyfriend to another woman when she was young, but got him back years later. There’s a gap between the publication and the debut of the compound name Analuisa, but I still think it’s likely that the two events are connected.

  • 1975: unlisted
  • 1974: unlisted
  • 1973: 5 baby girls named Analuisa [debut]
  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: unlisted

…And it doesn’t end there! Many Lágrimas, risas y amor stories were later adapted for TV and film, giving them extra (and much bigger) rounds of exposure. Some examples:

Rosaisela

The comic “María Isabel” (1964) featured a character named Rosa Isela. It became a telenovela in 1966, and a year later the compound name Rosaisela first emerged in the data:

  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: 5 baby girls named Rosaisela
  • 1967: 9 baby girls named Rosaisela [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: unlisted

Yesenia (again)

“Yesenia” became a telenovela in 1970 and a movie in 1971. The one-two punch of both of these pieces of media, both made in Mexico, resulted in an huge increase in the usage of Yesenia in the United States:

  • 1973: 343 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 503rd]
  • 1972: 471 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 414th]
  • 1971: 526 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 410th]
  • 1970: 30 baby girls named Yesenia
  • 1969: 9 baby girls named Yesenia

Oyuki

The comic “El pecado de Oyuki” (transl. “The Sin of Oyuki”) (1975-1977) became a telenovela in 1987. It first aired in the U.S. on Univision, and the same year the name Oyuki debuted in the U.S. data:

  • 1989: 8 baby girls named Oyuki
  • 1988: 20 baby girls named Oyuki
  • 1987: 6 baby girls named Oyuki [debut]
  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted

Yesenia (yet again)

“Yesenia” was made into yet another telenovela in 1987, and this resulted in the name’s highest-ever usage in the U.S. the same year:

  • 1989: 1,303 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 204th]
  • 1988: 1,208 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 215th]
  • 1987: 2,003 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 137th]
  • 1986: 845 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 293rd]
  • 1985: 522 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 422nd]

Alondra

The comic “Casandra” (which came out during the ’80s) was adapted as Alondra for TV in 1995. It was renamed in honor of Yolanda Vargas Dulché’s granddaughter, orchestra conductor Alondra de la Parra. The same year, the popularity of the name Alondra (the Spanish word for “lark”) rose considerably:

  • 1997: 1,837 baby girls named Alondra [rank: 167th]
  • 1996: 2,020 baby girls named Alondra [rank: 157th]
  • 1995: 1,205 baby girls named Alondra [rank: 238th]
  • 1994: 149 baby girls named Alondra
  • 1993: 193 baby girls named Alondra [rank: 972nd]

Rosaisela (again)

“María Isabel” was made into yet another telenovela in 1997. A year later, the name saw its highest-ever U.S. usage:

  • 2000: 20 baby girls named Rosaisela
  • 1999: 33 baby girls named Rosaisela
  • 1998: 51 baby girls named Rosaisela [peak]
  • 1997: 10 baby girls named Rosaisela
  • 1996: 10 baby girls named Rosaisela

…Do you know anyone who was named with one of these comics or telenovelas in mind? Which name did they get?

Sources:

  • Foster, David William. (Ed.) Handbook of Latin American Literature. New York: Routledge, 2015.
  • Hinds, Harold E. and Charles M. Tatum. Not Just for Children: The Mexican Comic Book in the Late 1960s and 1970s. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992.
  • Lágrimas, risas y amor – Wikipedia

Images adapted from Lagrimas, Risas y Amor #78 and Lagrimas, Risas y Amor #279 from the Grand Comics Database under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Inconspicuous anagram baby names: Blake/Kaleb, Hale/Leah

letters

I recently updated my old anagram baby names post to make it much more comprehensive. As I worked on it, though, I noticed that many of those sets of names had obvious similarities, such as the same first letters and/or the same rhythm.

So I thought I’d make a second, shorter list of anagram names that were less conspicuously similar. Specifically, I wanted the second list to feature sets of names with different first letters and different numbers of syllables.

And that’s what you’ll find below — pairs of anagram names that are relatively distinct from one another. So much so that, at first glance (or listen), some might not even strike you as being anagrammatic at all. :)

Click on any name to check out its popularity graph…

Most of the names above have a clear number of syllables, but a few do not. (I categorized them according to my own interpretation/accent.) So, if you’re interested in using any of these pairings, just remember to test the names out loud first!

Which of the pairs above do you like best?

Popular baby names in Monroe (Michigan), 2020

A few days ago, a writer with the Monroe News (of Monroe County, Michigan) tallied up all the baby names mentioned in the paper’s 2020 birth announcements. The most frequently occurring names for girls were Abigail and Ava (tie), and for boys was Asher.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I don’t tend to post rankings from non-governmental sources. But, again, this set had a relatively high number of names (451) compared to the size of the county (about 150,000 residents), so here’s the full list…

Girl Names

4 baby girls named:

  • Abigail
  • Ava

3 baby girls named:

  • Athena
  • Charlotte
  • Emma
  • Madison
  • Paisley
  • Quinn

2 baby girls named:

  • Allie
  • Allison
  • Amelia
  • Eleanor
  • Elena
  • Elizabeth
  • Elliana
  • Evelynn
  • Everly
  • Hadleigh
  • Harper
  • Hazel
  • Isla
  • Layla
  • Mia
  • Nova
  • Ruby
  • Sadie
  • Sophia
  • Sophie
  • Violet

1 baby girl named:

Ada, Addaleigh, Addilynn-Rose, Adorabella, Alice, Alicia, Alita, Aliva, Alora, Alyssa, A’Meila, Amirah, Amiyah, Anastasia, Aranea, Arya, Ashlynn, Aubree, Aubrey, Aurora, Avery, Bailey, Bexley, Blakely, Brielle, Brooke, Brooklyn, Brylee, Brynn, Caia, Caiya, Camilleia, Caralena, Caroline, Cattleya, Charlynn, Claire, Cora, Dahlia, Da’yana, Delaney, Eliannah, Eliza, Ellanorah, Ellie, Ellison, Ember, Emersyn, Emmarie, Emory, Evangeline, Evie, Evodia, Faith, Genevieve, Georgia, Giovanni, Gracelyn, Gracie, Gwendolyn, Haisley, Harleigh, Harlow, Harmony, HaVen, Hayzlee, Illia, Inija, Isabel, Ivy, Iylah, Jade, Janie, Jessika, Jolee, Jolene, Joni, Jordynn, Josephine, Journae, Julianna, Kaisley, Kansas, Kendelyn, Kennedy, Kensly, Klara, Kolumbiia, Laney, Leia, Lexi, Lexie, Lila, Lillian, Lily, Lively, Logan, Luciana, Lucille, Lucina, Luna, Maeve, Mahogany, Marianna, Marilyn, Marissa, Maryszka, McKenna, Mercy, Mila, Moselle, Mya, Naomi, Nora, Novalee, Omora, Ophelia, Ora, Penelope, Prudence, Raelyn, Reese, Renlee, Rhythm, Riann, Ripley, River, Roise, Rosalie, Rosemary, Ryalin, Ryleigh, Scarlett, Sedona, Shawna, Shelby, Sinya, Skyla, Skylynn, Stella, Stellana, Skyla, Tiffany, Vayda, Victoria, Ziggy, Zoe, Zoey, Zuri

Notably: “The No. 1 girl name in 2019, Olivia, wasn’t reported to The News last year.”

Boy Names

5 baby boys named:

  • Asher

4 baby boys named:

  • Wesley

3 baby boys named:

  • Andrew
  • Brooks
  • Hudson
  • John
  • Liam
  • Oliver
  • Preston
  • Roman
  • William

2 baby boys named:

  • Arthur
  • Benjamin
  • Bentley
  • Brody
  • Bryson
  • Carson
  • Connor
  • Dallas
  • Declan
  • Donald
  • Easton
  • Emmett
  • Finn
  • Henry
  • Jameson
  • Jaxon
  • Joseph
  • Kai
  • Lucas
  • Nicholas
  • Parker
  • Raiden
  • Samuel
  • Travis
  • Trevor
  • Waylon
  • Wyatt

1 baby boy named:

Adrian, Amon, Anderson, Anthony, Archer, Armani, Ashton, Atlas, Axel, Beau, Blake, Bode, Bodie, Bowie, Boyd, Bradley, Brady, Braxton, Braziel, Bryant, Carl, Carnell, Carter, Cassius, Cayden, Charles, Charlie, Christopher, Clayton, Cohen, Cole, Colson, Colt, Colten, Conner, Craig, Cruz, Dakota, Darius, David, Dean, Denver, Dominick, Dylan, Edwin, Elijah, Eliott, Emanuel, Emmerich, Enzo, Erik, Eudon, Finney, Forrest, Fulton, Gabriel, Gage, Giovani, Giovanni, Greyson, Griffyn, Henrik, Howard, Hunter, Jace, Jackson, Jaden, James, Jared, Javiah, Jaxson, Jayceon, Jayden, Jensen, Jonah, Jordan, Josiyah, Julian, Kaine, Kairo, Kane, Kayden, Kaynen, Khalil, Kirk, Koda, Kolton, Kyair, Kyren, Laurence, Lawrence, Leon, Leopold, Levi, Lincoln, Logan, Luca, Lyric, Mack, Magnus, Malachi, Marshaine, Mason, Maverick, Maveryck, Maximus, Michael, Miles, Murphy, Nickolas, Owen, Patrick, Promise, Reece, Remy, Renlee, Rhett, Richard, Rockwood, Rowan, Rubin, Russell, Ryan, Ryder, Ryker, Sebastian, Senan, Silas, Skyler, Spencer, Tate, Thatcher, Theodore, Thomas, Trenton, Valentino, Vincent, Vincenzo, Wylder, Xander, Xavier, Zachary, Zaidyn, Zeppelin

Source: Monroe County’s baby names for 2020