How popular is the baby name Leah 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 Leah.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Leah


Posts that Mention the Name Leah

Popular baby names in New York City, 2021

New York City

New York City, located in southeastern New York state, is the most populous city in the United States.

In 2021, New York City welcomed 99,262 babies — 48,648 girls and 50,614 boys.

What were the most popular names among these babies? Emma and Liam.

Here are New York City’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Emma, 434 baby girls
  2. Olivia
  3. Mia
  4. Sophia
  5. Leah
  6. Ava
  7. Isabella
  8. Amelia
  9. Luna
  10. Sofia

Boy Names

  1. Liam, 703 baby boys
  2. Noah
  3. Ethan
  4. Lucas
  5. Jacob
  6. Joseph
  7. David
  8. Daniel
  9. Aiden
  10. Benjamin

In the girls’ top 10, Luna and Sofia replaced Sarah and Chloe.

In the boys’ top 10, Benjamin replaced Alexander.

Names in the top 100 included: Grace, Lily, Violet, Aurora, Angel, Ruby, Rose, Harper, Axel, Melody, Summer, Serenity, Iris, Autumn, Jade, Chase, August, Angelina, Ivy, Eden, Goldy, Daisy, Journey, and Faith. (Genders weren’t specified, but most of these look like girl names to me.)

If you’d like to compare 2021 to earlier years, here are NYC’s 2020 rankings, and here’s a round-up of all the NYC rankings from 2019 all the way back to 1990 (plus a few from even earlier).

Source: Health Department Announces Top Baby Names in New York City
Image by mscamilaalmeida from Pixabay

Popular baby names in Greenland, 2021

greenland

Greenland, which is part of the kingdom of Denmark, is both the largest island in the world and the least densely populated country in the world.

Last year, Greenland welcomed 761 babies. The top names among these babies were…

  • Lea and Luna for baby girls
    • Lea is a form of the Biblical name Leah, which is likely derived from a Hebrew word meaning “wild cow.”
    • Luna is Latin for “moon.”
  • Aputsiaq and Marco for baby boys
    • Aputsiaq is Greenlandic for “snow flake.”
    • Marco is a form of the ancient Roman name Marcus, which is likely derived from the name of the Roman god Mars.

Two years earlier, in 2019, the top names in Greenland were Naja/Nina (tie) and Liam/Inuk (tie).

Sources: Greenland in Figures – Statistics Greenland (2022 PDF), Nordic Names, Behind the Name

Popular baby names in Austin (Texas), 2017

Austin, Texas

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a set of baby name data for Austin, Texas, for the year 2017. While it isn’t current, it does seem to be complete — so it includes hundreds of rare and single-use names (which are always fascinating!).

The data accounts for nearly 19,900 births (9,733 girls and 10,163 boys), and features nearly 6,100 names (3,431 given to girls, 2,656 given to boys).

According to this data, which comes from the City of Austin’s Open Data Portal, the top baby names in the capital of Texas five years ago were Emma and James.

Here are Austin’s top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2017:

Girl Names

  1. Emma, 98 baby girls
  2. Isabella, 88
  3. Olivia, 84
  4. Mia, 81
  5. Evelyn, 77
  6. Sophia, 75
  7. Ava, 73
  8. Abigail, 59 (tie)
  9. Charlotte, 59 (tie)
  10. Emily, 58
  11. Camila, 56 (tie)
  12. Elizabeth, 56 (tie)
  13. Harper, 53
  14. Amelia, 52
  15. Penelope, 51 (tie)
  16. Sofia, 51 (tie)
  17. Scarlett, 46
  18. Ella, 45
  19. Avery, 43 (tie)
  20. Zoe, 43 (tie)
  21. Lillian, 41
  22. Layla, 40 (tie)
  23. Madison, 40 (tie)
  24. Eleanor, 39
  25. Victoria, 38
  26. Allison, 37
  27. Claire, 36 (3-way tie)
  28. Elena, 36 (3-way tie)
  29. Luna, 36 (3-way tie)
  30. Aria, 35 (tie)
  31. Chloe, 35 (tie)
  32. Ellie, 34 (tie)
  33. Katherine, 34 (tie)
  34. Samantha, 33
  35. Hannah, 30 (4-way tie)
  36. Hazel, 30 (4-way tie)
  37. Mila, 30 (4-way tie)
  38. Stella, 30 (4-way tie)
  39. Leah, 29
  40. Cora, 28 (5-way tie)
  41. Genesis, 28 (5-way tie)
  42. Grace, 28 (5-way tie)
  43. Natalie, 28 (5-way tie)
  44. Ximena, 28 (5-way tie)
  45. Clara, 27 (3-way tie)
  46. Eliana, 27 (3-way tie)
  47. Ruby, 27 (3-way tie)
  48. Audrey, 26 (tie)
  49. Sarah, 26 (tie)
  50. Alexa, 25 (3-way tie)
  51. Everly, 25 (3-way tie)
  52. Lily, 25 (3-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. James, 104 baby boys
  2. Noah, 85
  3. Daniel, 83
  4. Benjamin, 82
  5. William, 80
  6. Oliver, 75
  7. Liam, 74
  8. Alexander, 73
  9. Sebastian, 70
  10. Henry, 67
  11. Elijah, 66 (tie)
  12. Mateo, 66 (tie)
  13. Ethan, 65
  14. Jackson, 63
  15. Anthony, 61
  16. Jacob, 60
  17. Aiden, 59 (tie)
  18. Luke, 59 (tie)
  19. David, 58 (tie)
  20. Samuel, 58 (tie)
  21. John, 56
  22. Isaac, 55 (tie)
  23. Julian, 55 (tie)
  24. Michael, 54
  25. Charles, 53 (3-way tie)
  26. Jack, 53 (3-way tie)
  27. Matthew, 53 (3-way tie)
  28. Jose, 52 (tie)
  29. Joshua, 52 (tie)
  30. Wyatt, 50
  31. Aaron, 49 (4-way tie)
  32. Grayson, 49 (4-way tie)
  33. Joseph, 49 (4-way tie)
  34. Levi, 49 (4-way tie)
  35. Dylan, 48
  36. Hudson, 47
  37. Josiah, 46 (3-way tie)
  38. Logan, 46 (3-way tie)
  39. Santiago, 46 (3-way tie)
  40. Jayden, 45
  41. Nathan, 44
  42. Christopher, 43 (tie)
  43. Thomas, 43 (tie)
  44. Andrew, 42 (4-way tie)
  45. Gabriel, 42 (4-way tie)
  46. Luis, 42 (4-way tie)
  47. Owen, 42 (4-way tie)
  48. Lucas, 41
  49. Adrian, 40 (3-way tie)
  50. Axel, 40 (3-way tie)
  51. Christian, 40 (3-way tie)

On the girls’ list, Allison caught my eye. It ranked 26th in Austin in 2017, but 61st nationally the same year. Interesting.

Further down on the boys’ list was Austin itself, in 95th place — vs. 75th nationally — with 21 baby boys. Much further down was Texas, with 2 baby boys.

And now it’s time for the unique names!

One-of-a-kind names were given to 24% of the baby girls and 17% of the baby boys born in Austin in 2017. Here’s a sampling of the names that were bestowed just once:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Aubrion, Autry, Blue Jay, Cadeau, Ceiba, Dulceluna, Eeriemoon, Fiza, Gilana, Holleen, Itzigueri, Jill, Kasleen, Lillabee, L’Oreal, Mauzie, Millioni, Nincye, Nobelina, Orchid, Princess Plethora, Qiwei, Roshnee, Scepter, Shanze, Thais, Tsumugi, Umutoni, Vyga, Wengiel, Xyzla, Ynafets, ZieglindAshton Alchimist, Bruges, Cayenne, Dalbus, Eames, Fenghua, Ganesh, Getsai, Hackett, Itzae, Jizael, Kavelli Kaine, Linnaeus, Linux, Mazoree, Mistral, Naranna, Nimbus, Olince, Penn, Qhing, Rigveda, Shooter, Syphax, Tavoric, Templar, Urfan, Vetri, Wajahat, Xavi, Yoonbin, Zaxton

Some possible explanations/associations for a few of the above:

  • Cadeau is the French word for “present, gift.”
  • Ceiba is a type of tree.
  • Tsumugi Shirogane is a character from the 2017 video game Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony.
  • Ynafets is “Stefany” spelled backwards.
  • Bruges is the capital of West Flanders (a province of Belgium).
  • Mistral is a strong late-winter wind in southern France.
  • The Rigveda is a sacred Hindu text.

I’ve never posted rankings for Austin before, but I have posted rankings recently for two nearby Texas cities: Houston (which is more than twice the size of Austin, population-wise) and College Station (which is about an eighth of the size of Austin).

Sources: From Aadhav to Zyva: 6,087 Names of Babies Born in Austin in 2017 | Open Data | City of Austin Texas, Wiktionary
Image by MJ Tangonan on Unsplash

Common Amish names: Jacob, Malinda, Benuel, Naomi

Amish man in a buggy

Which names are the most common among the Amish?

The simplest answer is “Biblical names,” but that’s not the full answer.

Because certain Biblical names are preferred over others, and Biblical names aren’t used exclusively.

Plus, the prevalence of a name could vary depending upon the specific Amish settlement you’re talking about.

I’ve gathered about 100 of the most common Amish names below. Before we get into specifics, though, here’s a bit of background on the Amish…

Who are the Amish?

The Amish are an Anabaptist group that intentionally maintain a degree of separation from the wider world. They wear plain clothing, eschew modern conveniences (like cars), and partake in traditional occupations such as farming, carpentry, blacksmithing, and (for women) homemaking.

The Anabaptist movement began in Europe in the 1520s, at the time of the Protestant Reformation. The Anabaptists were particularly known for the practice of adult baptism. They were also opposed to war, and they believed in the separation of church and state.

Considered radicals, the Anabaptists were widely persecuted.

In 1693, the Swiss branch of the Anabaptist movement (a.k.a., the Swiss Brethren) experienced a schism. Those who followed reformer Jacob Amman came to be known as the Amish, whereas those who did not came to be known as the Mennonites (after Dutchman Menno Simons, one of the original Anabaptist leaders).

In the early 1700s, many Amish (and Mennonites) immigrated to the New World — specifically to the Province of Pennsylvania, which had been founded upon the principle of religious freedom.

Today, over 367,000 Amish live in the U.S., and roughly two-thirds of them reside in three states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.

Amish men and women.

Common Amish names

The most comprehensive source of Amish names I came across was also the oldest, so let’s go through all the sources chronologically.

In 1960, researcher Elmer L. Smith published data on the most common male and female names among the Amish of southeastern Pennsylvania from 1890 to 1956.

The 1,337 Amish males in the study shared a total of just 72 different first names. Over a quarter of the males had one of the top three names (John, Amos, or Jacob), and over 81% had one of the top 20 names.

The 1,356 Amish females in the study shared even fewer first names: only 55. Over a quarter of the females had one of the top three names (Mary, Sarah, or Annie), and over 88% had a top-20 name.

According to Smith’s research, these were the 20 most common names per gender (plus their frequency of usage):

Amish female namesAmish male names
1Mary, 10.0%John, 11.9%
2Sarah, 7.9%Amos, 7.3%
3Annie, 9.1%*Jacob, 6.5%
4Katie, 7.1%David, 6.4%
5Lizzie, 6.4%Samuel, 6.2%
6Rebecca, 6.1%Christian, 6.1%
7Fannie, 5.3%Daniel, 5.5%
8Barbara, 5.1%Benjamin, 3.8%
9Rachel, 5.1%Levi, 3.7%
10Lydia, 4.9%Aaron, 3.1%
11Emma, 3.8%Jonas, 3.0%
12Malinda, 3.5%Elam, 2.8%
13Susie, 3.2%Stephen, 2.8%
14Sadie, 2.5%Isaac, 2.5%
15Leah, 1.9%Henry, 2.4%
16Hannah, 1.5%Jonathan, 1.8%
17Naomi, 1.4%Eli, 1.7%
18Mattie, 1.3%Gideon, 1.6%
19Lavina, 1.1%Moses, 1.5%
20Arie, 1.1%Joseph, 1.1%
*Annie was ranked below Sarah in the research paper, but this seems to be a typo, given the percentages.

Smith also wrote the following:

Other given names for males may reflect the important place the martyred forefathers hold in the minds of the sect members. The given name Menno is frequently found; this honors Menno Simmons [sic] an early leader of the plain sects. Ammon is also quite common, and is traced to Jacob Amman for whom the Amish sect is named; otherwise given names are from the Bible.

(Menno, a form of the Dutch name Meine, can be traced back to the Old High German word magan, meaning “strength.” The occupational surname Amman(n), which was derived from the German word amtmann, originally referred to someone employed as an official or administrator.)

A couple of years after Smith’s study came out, Dr. William Schreiber (a professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio) published a book about the Amish of east-central Ohio. In one paragraph, he mentioned some of the names he’d encountered:

One learns here that the good old biblical names are still common with the Amish but are in competition with modern or more euphonious ones. The names of the children of large families are often a study in contrasts. In one family there are, for example, Benjamin, Samuel, Isaac, Stephen, John, Israel, Christ, Barbara, Mary, Hannah, Annie, Mattie, and Lizzie. Another family has chosen these names for its children: Sarah, Lizzie, Samuel, Benjamin, John, Annie, Marie, Daniel, David, Enos, Sylvia, and Malinda. Then there are three Amish brothers named Isaac, Levi, and Elmer. One wonders how Vesta, Delila, Dena, Saloma, Drusilla, or Verba, or boys’ names like Junie, Venus, or Aquilla came into strict Christian families?

Speaking of east-central Ohio, Barbara Yoder Hall — who was born in 1940 and grew up with ten siblings in the Amish community of Holmes County — recalled in her book Born Amish (1980) the following first names:

First names for girls are usually Cora, Mattie, Annie, Lizzie, Barbara, Fannie, Katie, Mary, Naomi, Emma, Jemima, Ella, Sarah, Levina and Mandy.

First names for boys are John, Mose, Ferdinand, Dannie, Sam, Amos, Albert, Emanual, Levi, Rudy, Enos, Eli, Jacob and Joseph.

Amish men in a wagon.

Now for a pair of sources from the digital age…

The website Amish America, run by Erik Wesner (who is not Amish, but has visited Amish communities in 15 different states), lists the following names as being common among the Amish. He found many of the male names in Raber’s Almanac, which “contains a listing of Amish church ministers,” while many of the female names came from various church directories.

Common Amish female namesCommon Amish male names
Elizabeth
Emma
Fannie
Hannah
Katie
Linda
Lizzie
Lovina/Lavina
Martha
Mary
Miriam
Naomi
Rebecca
Ruby
Ruth
Sadie
Sarah
Waneta
Abram
Amos
Atlee
Eli
Elmer
Harley
Isaac
Jacob
John
Lavern
Leroy
Mark
Melvin
Mervin
Samuel
Vernon
Wayne
Willis

Some of Erik’s commentary…

  • Eli: “You see a lot of Elis among Amish, but not many Elijahs.”
  • Leroy: “Seems to be more common in Midwestern communities.”
  • Lizzie: “Lizzie is a popular form in some Pennsylvania communities.”
  • Naomi: “Amish, at least in Lancaster County, pronounce this ‘Nay-oh-mah.'”
  • Ruby: “Quite a few Rubies in northern Indiana.”
  • Vernon: “[P]retty common in places like northern Indiana and Holmes County, Ohio.”

Finally, according to the blog Amish Heritage, written by a woman named Anna (who grew up Amish in Pennsylvania), common Amish names include…

Common Amish female namesCommon Amish male names
Amanda
Anna/Annie
Barbara
Betty
Clara
Edna
Elizabeth
Esther
Fannie
Hannah
Lavina
Lena
Lydia
Malinda
Martha
Mary
Miriam
Naomi
Priscilla
Rachel
Rebecca
Ruth
Sadie
Sarah
Susie
Aaron
Abner
Abram
Amos
Benuel
Christian/Christ
Daniel
David
Eli
Elmer
Emmanuel
Henry
Isaac
Jacob
John
Jonas
Leroy
Lloyd
Mark
Melvin
Mervin
Moses
Omar
Paul
Samuel
Steven/Stephen
Vernon

Both websites noted that some Amish communities (particularly New Order Amish communities) have recently started giving their children less traditional first names.


So how do these lists square with what we’ve observed in the U.S. baby name data?

It’s hard to tell with historically popular names like Mary and John, but we can see some interesting things when we focus on relatively rare names.

For instance, the names Atlee, Benuel, Delila, Dena, Lavina, Menno, Saloma, and Willis have all been mentioned recently in my posts about names with a high degree of state specificity (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). As you’d expect, they were associated with the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and/or Indiana. (Benuel, in fact, has only ever appeared in the Pennsylvania data — going all the way back to the 1940s.)

Several of the other names — including Amos, Elam, Fannie, Malinda, and Mervin — saw higher usage in Pennsylvania than in any other state in 2021.

I was surprised that none of my sources listed the name Barbie. Most of them mentioned Barbara (one of them was even named Barbara), and all of them included nicknames (like Lizzie). But Barbara’s diminutive form was curiously absent — even though most of its usage occurs in Pennsylvania:

Girls named Barbie, U.S.Girls named Barbie, Penn.
20213722 (59%)
20202617 (65%)
20193320 (61%)
20182113 (62%)
20172916 (55%)
20162814 (50%)

Rhoda and Mahlon are two more names that I somewhat expected to see.

Ammon is a very interesting case, because the name also has significance to an entirely different religious group: the Mormons. (The Book of Mormon features two prominent figures named Ammon.) From the 1910s to the 1960s, the name Ammon — much like Benuel — only appeared in the Pennsylvania data. Since the 1980s, though, the state with the largest number of baby boys named Ammon has been Utah.


What are your thoughts on the first names used by the Amish? Which of the above do you like the most?

And, for anyone out there with close ties to an Amish family/community: What other names would you add to this list?

P.S. This post is dedicated to my delightful commenters alex and Andrea. :)

Sources:

Images by Chris Chow from Unsplash, Amyd from Pixabay, and Clark Young from Unsplash