How popular is the baby name Sheldon 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 Sheldon.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sheldon


Posts that Mention the Name Sheldon

Fastest-rising U.S. baby names (relative increase), 1881 to today

arrow, increase

Many years ago, I published a list of the top debut baby names. A few years after that, I posted a list of the top one-hit wonder baby names.

So today let’s check out another fun set of “top” names: the top rises. The names below are those that increased the most in usage, percentage-wise, from one year to the next according to the SSA data.

Here’s the format: girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the percentages represent single-year jumps in usage. (For example, from 1880 to 1881, usage of the girl name Isa grew 240% and usage of the boy name Noble grew 333%.)

  • 1881: Isa, 240%; Noble, 333%
  • 1882: Clementine, 300%; Clarance, 300%
  • 1883: Malissa, 243%; Alf, 150%
  • 1884: Belva, 1,220%; Grover, 532%
  • 1885: Phebe, 220%; Bryant, 200%
  • 1886: Felicia, 180%; Thornton, 240%
  • 1887: Ossie, 240%; Aubrey, 240%
  • 1888: Bennie, 250%; Thurman, 414%
  • 1889: Diana, 233%; Grady, 267%
  • 1890: Easter, 238%; Isaiah, 215%
  • 1891: Lutie, 200%; Colonel, 217%
  • 1892: Lollie, 271%; Pierce, 340%
  • 1893: Annabell, 240%; Lindsay, 320%
  • 1894: Versie, 320%; Alvie, 233%
  • 1895: Glenn, 283%; Alma, 220%
  • 1896: Vernice, 217%; Hobart, 744%
  • 1897: Sigrid, 200%; Roswell, 183%
  • 1898: Manila, 1,386%; Dewey, 606%
  • 1899: Tula, 280%; Rogers, 220%
  • 1900: Rosia, 480%; Wilber, 417%
  • 1901: Dellie, 180%; Kermit, 183%
  • 1902: Lolita, 420%; Judge, 260%
  • 1903: Rafaela, 280%; Jordan, 250%
  • 1904: Amber, 314%; Adelbert, 260%
  • 1905: Orma, 300%; Armand, 222%
  • 1906: Ena, 456%; Sheldon, 240%
  • 1907: Lota & Tula, 240%; Quincy, 183%
  • 1908: Bernetta & Nila, 260%; Taft, 288%
  • 1909: Laverna & Nevada, 267%; Toney, 300%
  • 1910: Cleopatra, 240%; Arturo & Sammy, 283%
  • 1911: Maryellen, 280%; Vincenzo & Wyman, 320%
  • 1912: Marina, 420%; Woodrow, 1,423%
  • 1913: Carroll, 263%; Rosendo, 320%
  • 1914: Lucyle, 280%; Irvine, 333%
  • 1915: Zudora, 460%; Charlton, 320%
  • 1916: Aldena, 291%; Tatsuo, 850%
  • 1917: Liberty, 617%; Masami, 338%
  • 1918: Kazuko, 320%; Quentin, 567%
  • 1919: Verbie, 300%; Belvin, 360%
  • 1920: Marcene, 386%; Harding, 718%
  • 1921: Elwanda, 1,860%; Gareth, 560%
  • 1922: Carley, 320%; Colie, 340%
  • 1923: Eris, 1,313%; Coolidge, 820%
  • 1924: Janeth, 517%; Phyllis, 260%
  • 1925: Murlene & Normalee, 260%; Estell & Unknown, 214%
  • 1926: Ileana, 633%; Jarrell & Lenoard, 240%
  • 1927: Charmaine, 825%; Lindbergh, 867%
  • 1928: Jeannine, 1,147%; Hoover, 522%
  • 1929: Dorla, 800%; Davey, 889%
  • 1930: Arlayne, 317%; Derl, 1,060%
  • 1931: Marlene, 745%; Colbert, 280%
  • 1932: Harlene, 270%; Delano, 1,057%
  • 1933: Sharleen, 425%; Delano, 289%
  • 1934: Adriana, 283%; Kelvin, 360%
  • 1935: Norita, 1,171%; Darwyn, 458%
  • 1936: Shelba, 2,667%; Lonzie, 320%
  • 1937: Deanna, 2,009%; Tyrone, 788%

The SSA data isn’t perfect, but it does get a lot more accurate starting in the late 1930s, because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data” (SSA). Now, back to the list…

  • 1938: Danielle, 878%; Dion, 355%
  • 1939: Brenda, 308%; Hall, 280%
  • 1940: Scarlett, 743%; Clemmie, 257%
  • 1941: Jerilyn, 1,250%; Rulon, 250%
  • 1942: Michal, 1,520%; Macarthur, 2,740%
  • 1943: Shaaron, 456%; Suzanne, 240%
  • 1944: Dorinda, 568%; Kennedy, 280%
  • 1945: Lauren, 709%; Dorian, 220%
  • 1946: Jacalyn, 740%; Cornel, 533%
  • 1947: Jolinda, 388%; Brock, 364%
  • 1948: Sharman, 275%; Kevan, 260%
  • 1949: Lorry, 360%; Hanson, 240%
  • 1950: Vallorie, 717%; Brion, 400%
  • 1951: Krystal, 588%; Denise, 350%
  • 1952: Pandora, 1,100%; Corby & Wilhelm, 240%
  • 1953: Angelique, 1,157%; Shane, 392%
  • 1954: Sheree, 756%; Dain, 360%
  • 1955: Sabrina, 711%; Davy, 509%
  • 1956: Venetia, 543%; Cheyenne, 680%
  • 1957: Tammy, 1,591%; Tammy, 467%
  • 1958: Keely, 1,100%; Bret, 680%
  • 1959: Torri, 411%; Efrem, 963%
  • 1960: Lisha, 1,096%; Stephon, 1,200%
  • 1961: Marisol, 481%; Parrish, 1,460%
  • 1962: Penne, 447%; Chance, 350%
  • 1963: Tamiko, 1,440%; Tal, 617%
  • 1964: Deneen, 7,191%; Temple, 420%
  • 1965: Fontella, 880%; Branden, 340%
  • 1966: Tabatha, 9,900%; Heath, 1,070%
  • 1967: Anisa, 1,600%; Garrison, 320%
  • 1968: Coretta, 2,485%; Dustin, 778%
  • 1969: Lalena, 640%; Jeromy, 514%
  • 1970: Shiloh, 540%; Jermaine, 3,320%
  • 1971: Ashli, 1,900%; Jermaine, 494%
  • 1972: Catina, 9,033%; Demond, 3,920%
  • 1973: Cicely, 1,827%; Caine, 780%
  • 1974: Nakia, 16,100%; Rashad, 1,100%
  • 1975: Rasheda, 988%; Jamaal, 688%
  • 1976: Rhiannon, 1,713%; Seneca, 1,429%
  • 1977: Shawntae, 686%; Lavar, 5,480%
  • 1978: Aja, 3,407%; Dequan, 988%
  • 1979: Renada, 780%; Yoel, 525%
  • 1980: Genese, 1,920%; Rayshaun, 440%
  • 1981: Krystle, 1,623%; Cavin, 833%
  • 1982: Jere, 1,000%; Colt, 1,620%
  • 1983: Ciji, 2,950%; Remington, 657%
  • 1984: Santana, 3,467%; Ryne, 424%
  • 1985: Kayleigh, 2,914%; Jaymes, 769%
  • 1986: Kyrie, 3,180%; Orry, 789%
  • 1987: Janay, 1,168%; Jareth, 400%
  • 1988: Whitley, 916%; Nico, 860%
  • 1989: Audriana, 3,467%; Alexande, 4,917%
  • 1990: Alannah, 1,583%; Tevin, 4,569%
  • 1991: Tanairi, 820%; Devante, 1,356%
  • 1992: Darian, 703%; Jalen, 3,980%
  • 1993: Coraima, 4,320%; Savon, 2,457%
  • 1994: Aaliyah, 6,495%; Romario, 1,940%
  • 1995: Iridian, 1,845%; Tristin, 747%
  • 1996: Alanis, 1,047%; Json, 880%
  • 1997: Yulisa, 2,729%, Ennis, 620%
  • 1998: Jazsmin, 960%; Denilson, 900%
  • 1999: Tionne, 1,100%; Sincere, 647%
  • 2000: Litzy, 1,189%; Elian, 2,413%
  • 2001: Nevaeh, 1,111%; Jaheim, 5,440%
  • 2002: Lashanti, 2,060%; Omarion, 8,260%
  • 2003: Azeneth, 1,913%; Andon, 2,200%
  • 2004: Betzaida, 1,233%; Jakwon, 1,260%
  • 2005: Mikalah, 1,906%; Talan, 2,130%
  • 2006: Bethzy; 2,636%; Dereon, 1,217%
  • 2007: Jaslene, 9,920%; Leonidas & Renner, 700%
  • 2008: Dayami, 3,464%; Barack, 940%
  • 2009: Baya, 1,020%; Dhani, 520%
  • 2010: Collins, 1,557%; Bentlee, 733%
  • 2011: Thaily, 1,400%; Neymar, 900%
  • 2012: Cataleya, 2,182%; Long, 740%
  • 2013: Daleyza, 1,055%; Jaiceon, 1,057%
  • 2014: Aranza, 1,297%; Jameis, 720%
  • 2015: Vail, 700%; Rhydian, 667%
  • 2016: Kehlani, 571%; Kylo, 580%
  • 2017: Westlynn, 600%; Oseias, 1,080%
  • 2018: Maleni, 950%; Atreus, 1,888%
  • 2019: Yalitza, 1,490%; Ermias, 3,360%
  • 2020: Ehlani, 2,100%; Omere, 460%
  • 2021: Thyri, 1,033%; Calian, 914%

(Did you catch all the doubles? Tula, Delano, Tammy, Jermaine, and Davey/Davy.)

I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and I plan to write about many of the others. In the meanwhile, though, feel free to beat me to it! Leave a comment and let us know what popularized Dorla in 1929, or Lauren in 1945, or Dustin in 1968, or Kayleigh in 1985, or Talan in 2005…

Do We Need to Talk About Kevin?

The character Kevin McCallister from the movie "Home Alone" (1990).
Kevin from “Home Alone”

Have you heard of Kevinism? It’s Europe’s bias against people who have first names that are “culturally devalued” like Kevin, Chantal, Mandy and Justin — names that were popularized by American pop culture, typically.

In the case of Kevin, it became trendy overseas in the late ’80s and early ’90s, thanks largely to American actors like Kevin Costner and Kevin Bacon — not to mention the very successful 1990 Christmas movie Home Alone, in which the lead character was a young boy named Kevin.

In fact, the name hit #1 in several European countries, including France and Switzerland.

In France specifically, the name Kevin was a top-10 name from 1988 to 1996, ranking #1 for six years straight:

  • 1997: 4,320 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 18th]
  • 1996: 5,842 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 10th]
  • 1995: 7,609 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 5th]
  • 1994: 9,865 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 1st]
  • 1993: 11,225 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 1st]
  • 1992: 12,648 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 1st]
  • 1991: 13,330 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 1st]
  • 1990: 11,418 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 1st]
  • 1989: 11,353 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 1st]
  • 1988: 8,378 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 5th]
  • 1987: 6,731 baby boys named Kevin [rank: 11th]
Graph of the usage of the baby name Kevin in France (INSEE).
Usage of Kevin in France (INSEE)

And those numbers don’t include the usage of the spelling “Kévin,” which was given to hundreds more baby boys per year during the same period.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Kévin in France (INSEE).
Usage of Kévin in France (INSEE)

After the trend cooled off, the backlash began.

It’s so bad now that, just a few years ago, a German schoolteacher told researchers that Kevin is “not a name, but a diagnosis.”

Which makes this recent observation by Andrew Gruttadaro of The Ringer all the more interesting: “Of the scripted shows on the four major [U.S.] networks that currently include a first name in the title–Kevin Can Wait, Young Sheldon, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Bob’s Burgers, Will & Grace, and Marlon–33 percent of them feature a Kevin.”

It’s a fascinating juxtaposition. Kevin has apparently hit some sort of nostalgic sweet-spot for American TV audiences, and, at the same time, it’s so disliked overseas that an entirely new word has been coined to describe the prejudice.

I wonder if those American shows are being seen in Europe and, if so, whether they’ll affect Kevinism. Will they exacerbate it? Eradicate it?

Where do you live, and how do you feel about the name Kevin?

Sources: Kevin, Chantal among worst names for online dating, We need to talk about Kévin: Why France fell in (and out of) love with a name, Why Are There So Many Kevins on TV?, INSEE

Baby Name Needed: Boy Name Similar to William

A reader named Ashley writes:

I have a nearly 4 year old named William Benjamin, both family names. For the next child, we are considering Gillian (with a traditional J sound) for a girl. I would like another boy name that has an L in the middle, to sound similar to Will. I’ve considered Dillon, Elliot, Nolan, Nelson, Phillip. I know there must be others out there I’m not thinking of. Which one would match well?

This is a fun question. :)

Here’s a bunch of other names with an L-sound in the middle. (I left off W-names, figuring Ashley wouldn’t be interested in those.)

Alan
Albert
Alfred
Alistair
Alvin
Caleb
Calum
Calvin
Coleman
Collin
Colvin
Cullen
Delton
Delvin
Ellis
Ellsworth
Elton
Elwood
Felix
Fuller
Galen
Gilbert
Gilford
Gilman
Halbert
Halsey
Holden
Hollis
Julian
Kellen
Kelton
Kelvin
Malcolm
Malachi
Melvin
Milburn
Milford
Milton
Millard
Miller
Raleigh
Roland
Sheldon
Solomon
Salvador
Tilman
Tolbert
Volney

The names in boldface are the ones I personally like best with William. (I also think Elliot would be a great choice.)

Which name(s) do you guys like best with William? What other names would you suggest?