How popular is the baby name Nairobi 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 Nairobi.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Nairobi


Posts that Mention the Name Nairobi

How did “Money Heist” influence baby names?

The character Nairobi from the TV series "Money Heist" (2017-2021).
Nairobi from “Money Heist”

Eight thieves — six men and two women — all dressed in red jumpsuits, all donning Salvador Dalí masks — break into the Royal Mint of Spain (in Madrid) with the aim of printing 2.4 billion in Euros over 11 days, then making a clean getaway.

That’s what happens at the start of the Spanish-language crime drama series Money Heist, which became a worldwide hit in 2018, thanks to Netflix.

Upon the success of the first two seasons of the show (which had originally aired on Spanish TV in 2017), Netflix renewed Money Heist — producing and releasing three more seasons over the next three years.

Impressively, Money Heist: Part 3, Money Heist: Part 4, and Money Heist: Part 5 currently rank 5th, 3rd, and 2nd (respectively) on Netflix’s list of most popular non-English TV series of all time.

So…what does this have to do with U.S. baby names?

Characters from the TV series "Money Heist" (2017-2021).
The eight robbers of “Money Heist”

Well, to maintain their anonymity, the eight thieves went by city-inspired code-names: Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, Nairobi, Rio, Denver, Helsinki, and Oslo.

While Moscow and Helsinki have never appeared in the U.S. baby name data, the six other city names have — and each one saw higher usage after Money Heist premiered on Netflix.

Let’s start with the biggest boosts…


Nairobi

(female character, played by Alba Flores)

Female usage of the baby name Nairobi began accelerating in 2018. (That massive jump in 2020 corresponds to a tragic Part 4 plot-twist.) Right now, the name is sitting just outside the girls’ top 1,000.

  • 2021: 241 baby girls named Nairobi [rank: 1,044th]
  • 2020: 215 baby girls named Nairobi
  • 2019: 65 baby girls named Nairobi
  • 2018: 37 baby girls named Nairobi
  • 2017: 23 baby girls named Nairobi
  • 2016: 21 baby girls named Nairobi
Graph of the usage of the baby name Nairobi in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Nairobi

Rio

(male character, played by Miguel Herrán)

Male usage of the baby name Rio has risen significantly since 2018:

  • 2021: 396 baby boys named Rio [rank: 672nd]
  • 2020: 303 baby boys named Rio [rank: 776th]
  • 2019: 193 baby boys named Rio
  • 2018: 171 baby boys named Rio
  • 2017: 132 baby boys named Rio
  • 2016: 134 baby boys named Rio
Graph of the usage of the baby name Rio in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Rio

Denver

(male character played by Jaime Lorente)

The baby name Denver, which was already on the rise for boys, began rising even faster in 2018:

  • 2021: 577 baby boys named Denver [rank: 505th]
  • 2020: 540 baby boys named Denver [rank: 526th]
  • 2019: 422 baby boys named Denver [rank: 638th]
  • 2018: 370 baby boys named Denver [rank: 674th]
  • 2017: 273 baby boys named Denver [rank: 821st]
  • 2016: 268 baby boys named Denver [rank: 840th]
Graph of the usage of the baby name Denver in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Denver

Oslo

(male character, played by Roberto García Ruiz)

Male usage of the baby name Oslo has been rising steadily since 2018:

  • 2021: 49 baby boys named Olso
  • 2020: 38 baby boys named Olso
  • 2019: 29 baby boys named Olso
  • 2018: 22 baby boys named Olso
  • 2017: 14 baby boys named Olso
  • 2016: 12 baby boys named Olso
Graph of the usage of the baby name Oslo in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Oslo

Tokyo

(female character, played by Úrsula Corberó)

The baby name Tokyo, which had appeared in the data as a boy name a couple of times, finally debuted as a girl name in 2019:

  • 2021: 10 baby girls named Tokyo
  • 2020: 15 baby girls named Tokyo [peak usage]
  • 2019: 7 baby girls named Tokyo [gender-specific debut]
  • 2018: unlisted
  • 2017: unlisted
  • 2016: unlisted

Berlin

(male character, played by Pedro Alonso)

Male usage of the baby name Berlin increased slightly in 2019 and 2020:

  • 2021: 26 baby boys named Berlin
  • 2020: 29 baby boys named Berlin
  • 2019: 17 baby boys named Berlin
  • 2018: 11 baby boys named Berlin
  • 2017: 9 baby boys named Berlin
  • 2016: 5 baby boys named Berlin

Which of the above names to you like best? What other city names do you think work well as human names?

Sources:

P.S. Why were city names used as code-names on Money Heist? Álex Pina, the show’s creator, explained during an interview in 2018 that he’d been trying to come up with a theme for the code-names when, “one day, someone turned up with a T-shirt bearing the word Tokyo and that’s how it all began.”

Popular and unique baby names in Uruguay, 2020

uruguay

According to Uruguay’s Dirección Nacional de Identificación Civil (DNIS), the most popular baby names in the country in 2020 were Emma and Juan. (Though, if the two renderings of Maria — accented “María” and unaccented “Maria” — were combined, Maria would easily be the #1 girl name.)

Here are Uruguay’s top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Emma, 682 baby girls
  2. María, 564
  3. Julieta, 495
  4. Martina, 477
  5. Isabella, 400
  6. Catalina, 383
  7. Maria, 378
  8. Sofía, 372
  9. Emilia, 368
  10. Delfina, 320
  11. Olivia, 310
  12. Zoe, 249
  13. Emily, 236 (tie)
  14. Paulina, 236 (tie)
  15. Renata, 233
  16. Francesca, 227
  17. Clara, 220
  18. Ana, 208
  19. Mía, 203
  20. Valentina, 199
  21. Maite, 194 (3-way tie)
  22. Josefina, 194 (3-way tie)
  23. Juana, 194 (3-way tie)
  24. Agustina, 192
  25. Alfonsina, 186
  26. Bianca, 170
  27. Mia, 161
  28. Camila, 149
  29. Victoria, 148
  30. Oriana, 142
  31. Milagros, 137
  32. Alma, 131 (tie)
  33. Pilar, 131 (tie)
  34. Julia, 127
  35. Faustina, 111
  36. Maia, 106
  37. Lara, 105
  38. Sofia, 103
  39. Guillermina, 102
  40. Ámbar, 100
  41. Lucía, 98
  42. Federica, 96
  43. Luciana, 94 (tie)
  44. Sara, 94 (tie)
  45. Luana, 90
  46. Aitana, 86 (tie)
  47. Bruna, 86 (tie)
  48. Florencia, 85
  49. Joaquina, 83
  50. Jazmín, 79

Boy Names

  1. Juan, 861 baby boys
  2. Mateo, 611
  3. Felipe, 460
  4. Lorenzo, 408
  5. Thiago, 354
  6. Santino, 347
  7. Lucas, 334
  8. Dante, 330
  9. Lautaro, 327
  10. Benjamín, 315
  11. Bautista, 312 (tie)
  12. Santiago, 312 (tie)
  13. Joaquín, 259
  14. Francisco, 235
  15. Luis, 222 (tie)
  16. Bruno, 222 (tie)
  17. Carlos, 220
  18. Facundo, 215
  19. Emiliano, 211
  20. Valentino, 209
  21. Tomás, 192
  22. Luciano, 188
  23. Bastian, 186
  24. Enzo, 184
  25. Dylan, 182
  26. Agustín, 180
  27. Nahitan, 175
  28. Jorge, 172
  29. Valentín, 167
  30. Liam, 164
  31. José, 160
  32. Renzo, 159
  33. Franco, 155 (tie)
  34. Manuel, 155 (tie)
  35. Benicio, 154
  36. Ian, 152
  37. Ignacio, 150
  38. Diego, 143
  39. Pedro, 140
  40. Vicente, 129 (3-way tie)
  41. Camilo, 129 (3-way tie)
  42. Guillermo, 129 (3-way tie)
  43. Noah, 128
  44. Ciro, 127
  45. Salvador, 126
  46. Alfonso, 125
  47. Ramiro, 124
  48. Daniel, 120
  49. Máximo, 117
  50. Faustino, 115

I’ve never looked at rankings for Uruguay before, so I don’t have past rankings to compare these to. But here are some of the names from lower down on the list (which, like a couple of other sets of rankings* we’ve seen lately, wasn’t two gender-specific lists but a single list that combined both genders).

  • 83 babies were named Celeste, which is the nickname (El Celeste, “the sky-blue”) of Uruguay’s national soccer team.
  • 11 were named Edinson, which is the first name of Uruguayan soccer player Edinson Cavani.
  • 8 were named Nairobi, which is a female character from the popular Spanish-language TV series La casa de papel (English title: Money Heist).
  • 2 were named Tabaré, which was the first name of Uruguayan president Tabaré Vázquez (who both left office and passed away in 2020).

Finally, here’s a selection Uruguay’s single-use baby names of 2020:

Atahualpa, Brislady, Crisbely, Duckenson, Elubina, Fritznel, Garibaldi, Hartmut, Izpabelli, Juanfer, Khantuta, Leovisnel, Missber, Norquides, Olgalisy, Pierangely, Quinto, Roismerl, Szabolcs, Tonatiuh, Tonantzín, Urumana, Viorky, Wanderson, Xilianny, Yusnavi, Zolanch

Some possible explanations/associations:

  • Atahualpa – the last emperor of the Inca
  • Garibaldi – 19th-century Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi
  • Pierangely – Italian actress Pier Angeli
  • Tonatiuh – Nahua (Aztec) sun deity
  • Tonantzín – Nahuatl honorific title meaning “our mother”

Sources: Diógenes, Luc, Coromoto: mirá los nombres más raros y más populares de Uruguay en 2020, Los nombres más raros y más populares de Uruguay en el 2020

*New Brunswick‘s 2021 rankings, Manitoba‘s 2020 rankings.

What gave the baby name Nairobi a boost in the 1980s?

Screenshot from the CBS promo for the TV movie "Nairobi Affair" (1984).
CBS promo for “Nairobi Affair”

Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, takes its name from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nairobi, which means “cold water.” It refers to the river that flows through the city.

In the 1970s, the city name began popping up as a boy name in the U.S. baby name data. This isn’t surprising, given African-Americans’ growing interest in baby names associated with Africa during that decade (e.g., 1971, 1973, 1977).

In 1984, though, Nairobi saw a small spike in usage — as a girl name. The spelling variant Nairoby also emerged.

Nairobi usageNairoby usage
19865 baby girls5 baby girls
19857 baby girls6 baby girls
198413 baby girls11 baby girls [debut]
19835 baby girlsunlisted
1982unlistedunlisted

Why?

Because of a television movie called Nairobi Affair. It was filmed in Kenya and aired on CBS in October 1984. (Coincidentally, another African place name, Etosha, was also given a boost by a show that aired on CBS in 1984.)

Advertisement for the TV movie "Nairobi Affair" (1984).
1984 “Nairobi Affair” ad

The film starred Charlton Heston, who played “the owner of a Kenyan safari camp who [was] having an affair with his estranged son’s former wife.” The former wife was played by former Bond girl Maud Adams.

What are your thoughts on Nairobi as a baby name?

Sources: