Which girl names increased in usage the most from 2020 to 2021?
Here’s a table of the fastest-rising girl names of 2021. On the left are the top 25 increases in terms of absolute numbers of babies, and on the right are the top 25 increases in terms of relative numbers of babies.
*Also at 250%, were Lakeyn, Nimrat, Vamika, and Zienna.
Some possible explanations…
Thyri is a character on the TV series Vikings.
“Yomii” is a song by rapper Moneybagg Yo (lyric: “Let’s have a lil’ girl and name her Yomii”).
Raya is the title character in the Disney movie Raya and the Last Dragon (2021).
Lilibeth is very close to Lilibet, the name of the daughter (b. June 2021) of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
If you can explain any of the other rises, please leave a comment!
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the most popular baby names in England and Wales last year — for the fifth year in a row — were Olivia and Oliver.
Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:
Olivia, 3,640 baby girls
Oliver, 4,225 baby boys
In the girls’ top 10, Ivy and Rosie replaced Grace and Freya.
In the boys’ top 10, Archie replaced Charlie. (No doubt Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to name their first child Archie in 2019 gave the name a boost, but Archie was on the rise in England and Wales long before it became a royal baby name.)
The fastest-rising names within the top 100 were…
Arabella, Mabel, Lyra, and Maeve (for girls)
Roman, Milo, Otis, and Myles (for boys)
(The popular British TV series Sex Education features main characters named Otis and Maeve.)
Here are the top 10 lists for England and Wales separately:
Liliwen comes from lili wen, one of the Welsh words for snowdrop (a small, white flower that blooms during the winter). The hyphenated variant Lili-wen was also given to three baby girls last year, bringing the grand total to six.
Also given to six baby girls last year? The name Eirlys, from eirlys, another Welsh word for snowdrop. :)
Dinas Komunikasi Informatika Statistik: A baby boy born in Indonesia in December 2020 was named Dinas Komunikasi Informatika Statistik (Department of Statistical Communication) after his father’s workplace. (NZ Herald)
Hypertext Markup Language: A baby boy born in the Philippines in June 2021 was named Hypertext Markup Language (a.k.a. HTML) reportedly because his father is a web developer. (Coconuts Manila)
Lilibet Diana: The baby girl born in California in June 2021 to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was named Lilibet Diana — first name inspired by Queen Elizabeth II (whose family nickname is Lilibet), middle name inspired by Diana, Princess of Wales. (NYT)
Mia: A baby girl born in a restroom at Miami International Airport (MIA) in June 2021 was named Mia after her birthplace. (Miami Herald)
Saint Leo and Thunder (Bolt): The twin boys born to Jamaican sprinter Usain St. Leo Bolt and his girlfriend Kasi Bennett sometime during the first half of 2021 were named Saint Leo and Thunder. (Twitter)
It’s hard to put into words just how bizarre 2020 was.
Despite this…people still had babies in 2020, and people still paid attention to pop culture in 2020. (In fact, thanks to quarantine, many people probably paid a lot more attention to pop culture than usual last year.) So, let’s put the seriousness of 2020 aside for a second and kick off the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!
Of course, “pop culture” includes not just things like movies and music and social media, but also anything that was in the news — including COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the U.S. presidential election.
Which baby names will see higher usage — or appear for the very first time — in the 2020 SSA baby name data thanks to pop culture?
Here are some initial ideas (plus some context):
Aalam, DJ Khaled’s baby
Ahmaud, shooting of Ahmaud Arbery
Amala, Doja Cat album
Azula, character from Avatar: The Last Airbender (made available on Netflix in mid-2020)
Some of the names from the 2019 game could be applicable to the 2020 data as well.
Also, feel free to zoom out and consider name trends this year. Here are a few ways in which baby-naming may have been influenced by our collective experience of COVID-19, for instance:
“In my opinion this unprecedented situation will affect naming towards something “bolder” or “more badass” baby names and so you’ll probably see a spike of certain names like King, Major or Royal.” (Gheba)
“I’d bet on the rise of virtue names, or at least modern version of virtue names, like Brave/Bravery, Courage, Honor, etc. And I’d say names like Legend, Messiah, Legacy, Major, King, will probably rise some more too.” (Skizzo)
“I think it will also affect which media influence names this year. Eg we’ll miss out on names inspired by Olympic athletes, but might see even more from Netflix and YouTube.” (Clare)
What other names (or name trends) should we add to the list? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Just remember to make a note of the pop culture influence!
I’ll post the results as soon as I can after the SSA releases the 2020 data (in May of 2021, hopefully).
*Did you know that the actress who played Kamiyah in that Lifetime movie is named Rayven Symone Ferrell? Certainly a nod to Raven-Symoné…