How popular is the baby name Raya 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 Raya.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Raya


Posts that Mention the Name Raya

Pop culture baby name game results, 2021

Baby name game results, 2021

Which of the names in the 2021 pop culture baby name game saw higher usage last year?

The following names increased in usage from 2020 to 2021. They’re ordered by relative size of increase.

NameActionIncrease (%)’20 to ’21 usage
Lilibet*re-emerged200%, at least? to 12 baby girls
Caelebincreased200%5 to 15 baby boys
Rayaincreased130%274 to 631 baby girls
Icedebuted125%, at least? to 9 baby boys
Wandaincreased112%17 to 36 baby girls
Jovitaincreased60%5 to 8 baby girls
Suniincreased60%5 to 8 baby girls
Kananincreased59%102 to 162 baby boys
Mykaylaincreased59%17 to 27 baby girls
Letoincreased50%6 to 9 baby boys
Sterlingincreased49%122 to 182 baby girls
Sylvie*increased46%351 to 514 baby girls
Daphne*increased46%749 to 1,097 baby girls
Divinity*increased33%43 to 57 baby girls
Sylvesterincreased31%52 to 68 baby boys
Augustincreased29%2,423 to 3,133 baby boys
Renniere-emerged25%, at least? to 5 baby boys
Enderincreased22%103 to 126 baby boys
Ridleyincreased16%79 to 92 baby boys
Jupiterincreased8%119 to 129 baby girls
Phineasincreased7%121 to 129 baby boys
Khaiincreased5%21 to 22 baby girls
Simon*increased1%1,404 to 1,423 baby boys

*Suggestions made by elbowin, k8eshore, and KM

Chapel and La’akea were near-misses — both made gains, but for the wrong genders.

The following names did not increase in usage from 2020 to 2021. These names saw equal usage, less usage, or weren’t in the data at all.

Amanda, Ariarne, Atreides, Chani, Cruella, Dolph, Hidilyn, Ikaris, Janja, Javicia, Jeh, Kenna, Kizzmekia, Lalisa, Makkari, Mare, Mauz, Mecole, Nakano, Nevin, Ozuna, Rauw, Robinette, Sersi, Shacarri, Shein, Swavy, Tessica, Tianwen, Warrior

And here are the late bloomers — names that were part of the 2020 game, but didn’t rise/debut until 2021.

  • Win re-emerged with 14 baby boys.
  • Kaori increased by 106%
  • Gervonta debuted with 8 baby boys
  • Theodosia increased by 75%
  • Anaia increased by 71%
  • Wednesday increased by 47%
  • Hamilton increased by 30%
  • Lenin increased by 19%
  • Liberty increased by 8%
  • Zaya increased by 7%

What are your thoughts on these results? Which name surprised you the most?

[Disclaimer: Some of the names above were already moving in the direction indicated. Others were influenced by more than a single pop culture person/event. In all cases, I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence.]

Girl name debuts in the United States, 2021

Which girl names emerged in the U.S. baby name data in 2021 for the first time ever?

A total of 603 girl names debuted in the data last year, and the most impressive debut was made by Namaari. Here are the other top debuts:

  1. Namaari, 43 baby girls
  2. Parklynn, 36
  3. Sayori, 35
  4. Arianelly, 26
  5. Sanem, 23
  6. Nezuko, 20
  7. Adrielly, 17
  8. Imaray, 17
  9. Franyeli, 15
  10. Kaiori, 15
  11. Kaliani, 15
  12. Treu, 15
  13. Xylo, 15

Namaari was a character in the animated Disney movie Raya and the Last Dragon (2021). (The name Raya also saw a rise in usage last year.)

I’m not sure yet what was influencing Treu, but it was also one of last year’s fast-rising boy names.

Here are some more debuts:

13 baby girlsArzoey, Daneliya, Zyn
12 baby girlsEmrielle, Hiraya, Namani, Pruitt, Rivia
11 baby girlsDaneiris, Emris, Ixia, Knoxleigh, Kyori, Novamarie, Oyku, Zunaisha
10 baby girlsDini, Harir, Jehiely, Keilanni, Kolly, Kuvira, Meiomi, Nylynn, Renfri, Rinn
9 baby girlsArlenny, Azley, Celaena, Elysani, Emmaluna, Europe, Giannagrace, Giorgiana, Khazi, Lailonni, Livvi, Miyanni, Shreyanvi, Solaire, Xori, Xureila, Yoadan
8 baby girlsCallum, Eclipsa, Ellowen, Emoriee, Este, Hartford, Himawari, Hiraeth, Invy, Isani, Jaior, Kasper, Khemistry, Kyloni, Lupine, Nabi, Nareth, Oak, Rhue, Romyn, Saivi, Savae, Siylah, Solaia, Suleidy, Summerreign, Willowgrace, Wrenlie, Xilenia, Yeilany, Zaiyana, Zaloni

Renfri is a character from the Netflix series The Witcher. And Este may have been inspired by the Taylor Swift song “No Body, No Crime,” which features a character named Este (named after musician Este Haim).

Finally, here’s a selection of the rest of the debuts:

  • 7 baby girls: Alileth, Aristella, Dandelion, Dutton, Eluney, Elvana, Everlynne, Joseane, Kiyomii, Mazeleigh, Neon, Parklyn, Sevgi, Styles, Swae, Virsavia, Yemariyam, Yimo
  • 6 baby girls: Arka, Avaluna, Azuria, Bruchie, Cleobella, Culture, Darlet, Ettalie, Glacier, Ice, Jerusalema, Jynx, Kauai, Mawata, Melkam, Nelliana, Onyxia, Quimby, Rayzel, Rischel, Sevy, Tatev, Thendral, Yemi, Zamoura, Zaza
  • 5 baby girls: Aonani, Azami, Bellezza, Callidora, Camoura, Cleissy, Dvosia, Ekhlas, Falasteen, Hiyabel, Icylinn, Iveel, Jonesy, Kiswa, Kohinoor, Leiko, Lisaira, Maeverly, Maravilla, Nolvia, Nymira, Ozzlynn, Praisely, Rimna, Rissy, Savia, Sibi, Solaria, Sylphrena, Sypha, Thyrie, Vignette, Woodlyn, Yule, Zae, Zuna

Sevgi is Turkish for “love,” Maravilla is Spanish for “wonderful,” and Sylphrena (like Kaladin) is a character from the Stormlight Archive series of epic fantasy books by Brandon Sanderson.

If you can explain any of the other debuts, please leave a comment!

Rising girl names in the United States, 2021

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.

RankGirl nameAbsolute riseGirl nameRelative rise
1Isla950Thyri1,033%
2Willow766Xaila800%
3Eleanor693Esmeray586%
4Nora674Melek547%
5Maeve603Enola500%
6Leilani584Kaileen475%
7Eloise569Ivoree400%
8Ivy551Eveny400%
9Ayla544Kove400%
10Nova537Yomii350%
11Hazel 477Salah317%
12Oaklynn405Zeanna317%
13Oakley398Bloom290%
14Iris397Jasira280%
15Lainey374Ayzel267%
16Wren361Janari260%
17Violet360Khylani260%
18Lily357Yomi260%
19Raya357Aylee257%
20Luna355Aara257%
21Eliana355Jehilyn256%
22Daphne348Evren256%
23Stevie345Zohemy255%
24Sage344Lilibeth254%
25Magnolia339Haisleigh*250%

*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!

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2021

Happy birthday, Elvis!

Tomorrow would have been Elvis Presley’s 86th birthday. (Happy birthday, Elvis!)

You guys know what that means…time for the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!

Think back to the pop culture of 2021 — movies, music, TV shows, online shows, social media, video games, sports, news, cultural events, politics, products, brands, etc.

Which of these things had an influence on U.S. baby names, do you think?

More specifically, which baby names will see higher usage (or appear for the very first time) in the 2021 U.S. baby name data thanks to 2021 pop culture?

Here are some initial ideas…

Plus…

  • Names from the movie Eternals (like Sersi, Ikaris, Makkari)
  • Names from the movie Dune (like Chani, Atreides, Leto)
  • Turkish names from any of the Turkish dramas being aired in Spanish on Univision/Telemundo
  • Names from any new sci-fi/fantasy series (like Shadow and Bone, The Nevers, The Wheel of Time)

Some of the names mentioned in the 2020 game might be see increases in 2021 as well.

What other names should we add to the list? Let me know by leaving a comment!

I’ll post the game results after the SSA releases the 2021 baby name data (in May of 2022).

Name Quotes #84: Al, Gene, Sonatine

Welcome to the monthly quote post! There are a lot of celebrities in this one, so let’s start with…

Actor Emilio Estevez — who pronounces his surname ESS-teh-vez, instead of the Spanish way, ess-TEH-vezdiscussing his name [vid] on Talk Soup with Nessa in 2019:

So I was born on 203rd Street in South Bronx. And, at the time, my father had this very Hispanic-sounding last name. […] A lot people, a lot of these agents, and folks said, if you wanna work in this business, you gotta have a more Anglo-sounding name. Of course times have changed, but there was that moment where he was finally on Broadway — 1965, ’66 — and his father came from Dayton (he was from Spain, of course) and looked up on the marquee, and saw the three names that were starring in the play, and one of them was “Martin Sheen” and not his real name, Ramón Estévez. And my grandfather just looked up, and he just shook his head, and he was so disappointed. And my father saw that. And so when I began to get into this business, we had that conversation. And he said, don’t make the same mistake I did.

…A few sentences later, Estevez added:

I can’t tell you how many people have stopped me on the street and said, you know, just seeing your name on a poster, just seeing your name on screen, meant so much to me, you have no idea.

(Martin Sheen’s stage name was created from the names of CBS casting director Robert Dale Martin and televangelist archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.)

Singer Billy Idol, born William Broad, discussing his stage name [vid] with Karyn Hay on the New Zealand TV show Radio with Pictures in 1984:

Q: Why did you choose the name Billy Idol, especially in a time when [there’s] Johnny Rotten, Ret Scabies, you know?

A: Exactly, I mean that’s the point. That’s exactly the point. […] I thought, first of all, of course, of I-D-L-E, you know, idle. Cause this chemistry teacher when I was at school — I got 8 out of 100 for chemistry, I hated chemistry — so he wrote, “William is idle,” right? And I thought that was great to get 8 out of 10 [sic] for chemistry, cause I hated the hell out of it. So I thought that was respectable, so I thought it was worthwhile being called I-D-O-L, idol. Also, it’s good fun making fun of show business. I’m not into show business, I’m into rock ‘n’ roll.

Composer Bear McCreary’s baby name announcement from mid-2014:

Raya and I are proud to announce our greatest collaboration is finally here. 

Sonatine Yarbrough McCreary was born 6/2/14 and is filling our lives with joy, music… and poop.

(The musical term sonatina means “small sonata” in Italian. A sonata refers to a piece that is played — as opposed to a cantata, a piece that is sung.)

From an article about Amy Schumer legally changing her son’s name:

The I Feel Pretty star revealed her decision to change her 11-month-old son’s name on the newest episode of her podcast 3 Girls, 1 Keith on Tuesday. Schumer and her husband Chris Fischer named their first child Gene Attell Fischer, born May 5, with his middle name serving as a tribute to their good friend comic Dave Attell.

“Do you guys know that Gene, our baby’s name, is officially changed? It’s now Gene David Fischer. It was Gene Attell Fischer, but we realized that we, by accident, named our son ‘genital,'” Schumer told cohosts Rachel Feinstein, Bridget Everett, and Keith Robinson.

…More to the point, from Amy’s Instagram:

Oh, like you never named your kid Genital fissure!!!!!!!

Three quotes from a fantastic article in the NYT about Weird Al Yankovic (discovered via Nancy Friedman).

…On his Alfred-ness:

Although Alfred’s grades were perfect, and he could solve any math problem you threw at him, his social life was agonizing. Imagine every nerd cliche: He was scrawny, pale, unathletic, nearsighted, awkward with girls — and his name was Alfred. And that’s all before you even factor in the accordion.

…On how his surname turned him into an accordion player:

[The accordion] came from a door-to-door salesman. The man was offering the gift of music, and he gave the Yankovics a simple choice: accordion or guitar. This was 1966, the golden age of rock, the year of the Beatles’ “Revolver” and the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” and Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde.” A guitar was like a magic amulet spraying sexual psychedelic magic all over the world. So Yankovic’s mother chose the accordion. This was at least partly because of coincidence: Frankie Yankovic, a world-famous polka player, happened to share the family’s last name. No relation. Just a wonderful coincidence that would help to define Alfred’s entire life.

…On his Alfred-ness again:

The nickname “Weird Al” started as an insult. It happened during his first year of college. This was a fresh start for Alfred — a chance to reinvent himself for a whole new set of people. He had no reputation to live down, no epic humiliations. And so he decided to implement a rebrand: He introduced himself to everyone not as Alfred but as “Al.” Alfred sounded like the kind of kid who might invent his own math problems for fun. Al sounded like the opposite of that: a guy who would hang out with the dudes, eating pizza, casually noodling on an electric guitar, tossing off jokes so unexpectedly hilarious they would send streams of light beer rocketing out of everyone’s noses.

The problem was that, even at college, even under the alias of Al, Yankovic was still himself. He was still, fundamentally, an Alfred.

Comedian Kevin Hart on choosing baby names:

I wish I could say that I am the main guru, [but] I am awful when it comes to the names. That is not my expertise. […] I say the same thing every time. It’s either Kevin or Kevina. I got two names. That’s it. So if you never go with either one of those then I’m no good to you.