The name Nevaeh was virtually unheard of before the year 2000. The earliest Nevaeh I’ve spotted in the records was born in 1904, and only a handful were born between that point and the mid-1990s.
The name managed to see enough usage in 1997 to debut in the U.S. baby name data with 5 baby girls (which is the minimum number required for inclusion in the publicly available version of the dataset, for safety reasons).
Nevaeh didn’t become the Next Big Thing, however, until it was spotlighted by MTV.
The documentary series MTV Cribs, which featured tours of the private homes of various celebrities, premiered in September of 2000.
In October of 2000 — just a few episodes in — the California-based Christian metal band P.O.D. appeared on the show. When P.O.D.’s vocalist Paul Joshua “Sonny” Sandoval — who, along with this wife, had welcomed a baby girl named Nevaeh Aurelia Sandoval in March of that year — introduced his daughter to the world via MTV Cribs, he succinctly explained the origin of her first name:
This is Nevaeh right here, that’s heaven spelled backwards. She’s my first, she’s 6 months old.
(Her middle name was likely chosen in honor of Sonny’s late mother, Aurelia.)
The following year, usage of the baby name Nevaeh exploded:
- 2005: 4,558 baby girls named Nevaeh [rank: 69th]
- 2004: 3,181 baby girls named Nevaeh [rank: 104th]
- 2003: 2,300 baby girls named Nevaeh [rank: 145th]
- 2002: 1,699 baby girls named Nevaeh [rank: 189th]
- 2001: 1,199 baby girls named Nevaeh [rank: 266th]
- 2000: 99 baby girls named Nevaeh
- 1999: 8 baby girls named Nevaeh
The name didn’t merely break into the top 1,000 — it shot straight into the top 300. And it kept climbing, cracking the top 100 just four years later.
Nevaeh’s sudden trendiness gave rise to all sorts of spelling variants. The following graph shows how many baby girls in the U.S. have been given the name Navaeh or a variant since the late 1990s:
(Spelling-specific popularity graphs: Nevaeh, Neveah, Navaeh, Nevaeha, Naveah, Neviah, Niveah, Navaya, Nevayah, Nevah, Nevaya, Naviah, Naveyah, Neaveh, Navayah, Naveya, Navea, Navah, Nevae, Nevea, Naviyah, Neveyah, Navae, Neviyah, Naevia, Naviya, Neveaha, Nivaeh, Nivaya, Niviah, Nyveah, Nevaiah, Neveya, Niveyah, Niveya, Navaiah, Neavah, Nyvaeh, Nevaha, Navaeha, and Nevaehia.)
And that’s not all. Hundreds of other babies were given names with that unorthodox “-aeh” ending:
Upward trends can’t last forever, though.
In terms of raw usage, Nevaeh’s best year on record was 2007. In terms of rank, it peaked at 25th in 2010 — a decade after that fateful MTV Cribs episode aired. Since then, though, the name has been losing steam.
|Year||Girls named Nevaeh||Ranking of Nevaeh|
And this makes me wonder…now that it’s no longer on the rise, now that we’ve had a few years to get used to it, is Nevaeh less reviled today than it once was?
If you were a Nevaeh-hater in the beginning, are you still as adamantly against the name today? Or do you find it more tolerable now?
- Sonny Sandoval – Wikipedia
- Sonny Sandoval’s Instagram (specifically, for Sonny’s mother’s first name and Nevaeh’s middle name)
P.S. Sandoval and his wife went on to have two more children: a daughter named Marley, and a son named Justice.