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

Popular and unique baby names in Uruguay, 2020


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 10 girl names and top 10 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

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

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


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?