How popular is the baby name Susan 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 Susan.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Susan


Posts that Mention the Name Susan

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

Game show hostess Vanna White on "Wheel of Fortune" (January, 1986).
Vanna White on “Wheel of Fortune

The baby name Vanna only saw a smattering of usage every year until the early 1980s, when it suddenly became trendy:

  • 1988: 58 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1987: 87 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1986: 111 baby girls named Vanna [peak]
  • 1985: 71 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1984: 39 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1983: 21 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1982: 7 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1981: 8 baby girls named Vanna
Graph of the usage of the baby name Vanna in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Vanna

The like-sounding names Savannah and Savanna also got a boost during that time period, and the spelling variant Vannah debuted the year Vanna hit peak usage.

What spurred all this interest in the name Vanna?

If you owned a TV set during the ’80s, you already know the answer: Vanna White, hostess of the popular game show Wheel of Fortune.

Vanna White was chosen out of a field of 200 hopefuls to join host Pat Sajak on the show in December of 1982. (The original hostess, Susan Stafford, quit in October.)

Her job essentially consisted of walking in front of a puzzle board — sometimes right to left, sometimes left to right — and turning tiles to reveal letters as contestants made their guesses. (Today she still walks back and forth, but the puzzle board letters are touch-activated.)

Wheel of Fortune became the highest-rated syndicated show on television in the mid-1980s. As a result, Vanna White became “TV’s most improbable cult heroine.” She became so popular, in fact, that the press dubbed the phenomenon Vanna-mania.

(Several years after peak Vanna-mania, one reporter noted that it “was one of the oddest phenomenons of our time, bestowing superstar status on a woman whose only obvious skill was turning letters on cue.”)

By early 1986, Vanna White knew she had multiple namesakes:

“I’ve gotten tons of fan mail,” she marvels. “Love letters, marriage proposals, children being named after me, which is quite an honor. Every year on Sept. 4, I get a picture of this adorable little Vanna.”

So, where did the original Vanna get her unusual first name?

[T]he name Vanna came from my grandmother’s next-door neighbor. Her name was Vana Woorell … and she spelled her name with one n … my mother liked the name so much, she said, Well, I’m gonna name my daughter Vanna with two n‘s.

What are your thoughts on the name Vanna? Would you use it?

Sources:

Popular baby names in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1868

19th-century Providence, Rhode Island
19th-century Providence

Years ago, I discovered three documents with relatively complete lists of births for the city of Providence, Rhode Island, for the years 1866, 1867, and 1868. I’ve already created Providence’s baby name rankings for 1866 and 1867 using the first two documents, and today (finally!) I’ve got the third set of rankings for you.

Let’s start with some stats:

  • 1,762 babies were born in Providence in 1868, by my count. According to the introduction of the document I’m using a source, however, the total number is 1,866. I don’t know how to account for this discrepancy.
  • 1,617 of these babies (791 girls and 826 boys) had names that were known at the time of publication. The other 145 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps these babies died young and never received a name.
  • 284 unique names (143 girl names and 141 boy names) were shared among these 1,617 babies.

And now, on to the names!

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1868:

Top baby girl namesTop baby boy names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Sarah
4. Ellen
5. Margaret
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

All Girl Names

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 39
  3. Sarah, 38
  4. Ellen, 31
  5. Margaret, 28
  6. Elizabeth, 25
  7. Alice, 24
  8. Anna, 20
  9. Ann, 16
  10. Emma, 14
  11. Eliza, 13
  12. Clara & Martha, 11 each (tie)
  13. Hannah & Lucy, 10 each (tie)
  14. Bridget, Grace, Jennie, Julia & Maria, 9 each (5-way tie)
  15. Annie, Florence, Jane, Minnie & Susan, 8 each (5-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Caroline, Cora, Ella & Harriet, 7 each (5-way tie)
  17. Anne, Carrie, Hattie, Ida, Mabel & Nellie, 6 each (6-way tie)
  18. Eva, Joanna, Lydia & Rosanna, 5 each (4-way tie)
  19. Abby, Charlotte, Emily, Jessie, Josephine, Lillian, Lizzie, Louisa, Louise, Marion, Phebe, Rosella & Theresa, 4 each (13-way tie)
  20. Anastasia, Bertha, Edith, Gertrude, Isabella, Nettie, Pearl, Rebecca & Susanna, 3 each (9-way tie)
  21. Ada, Almira, Edna, Fannie, Flora, Frances, Helen, Henrietta, Inez, Laura, Lelia, Lillie, Lottie, Maud, Priscilla & Virginia, 2 each (16-way tie)
  22. Addie, Adelaide, Adelicia, Adeline, Agatha, Allene, Amanda, Amy, Angelica, Antoinette, Arabella, Augusta, Aurelia, B.*, Belle, Bessie, Betsey, Catharine, Celia, Claudia, Della, Eleanor, Eleanora, Estella, Estelle, Esther, Eudavelia, Eulalie, Evelyn, Francenia, Genevieve, Georgia, Honora, Imogene, Jesse, Juliette, Kate, Leonora, Lilla, Lillias, Lorena, Luella, Luetta, Magdalena, Marian, Marietta, Matilda, Mercy, Minerva, Miriam, Myra, Myrtis, Nanoan, Nora, Pauline, Reberta, Rhoda, Roberta, Rosa, Rose, Ruth, Sabrina, Sophia, Stella & Winifred, 1 each (65-way tie)

*What do you think the “B.” might have stood for?

All Boy Names

  1. John, 112 baby boys
  2. William, 68
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 52
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 37
  7. Frederick, 25
  8. Henry, 23
  9. Joseph, 22
  10. Edward, 19
  11. Daniel & Patrick, 18 each (tie)
  12. Robert, 17
  13. Frank, 16
  14. Francis, 15
  15. Walter, 13
  16. Michael, 11
  17. Albert, 10
  18. Arthur, 9
  19. Benjamin, Peter & Samuel, 7 each (3-way tie)
  20. Freddie, Harry, Herbert & Stephen, 6 each (4-way tie)
  21. Edwin, Lawrence, Lewis, Martin & Timothy, 5 each (5-way tie)
  22. Bernard, Edmund, Eugene, Louis, Philip & Richard, 4 each (6-way tie)
  23. Alfred, Augustus, Christopher, Eben, Horace, Howard, Hugh, Jeremiah, Matthew & Willard, 3 each (10-way tie)
  24. Abel, Barney, Byron, Dennis, Edgar, Ferdinand, Gilbert, Luke, Max, Nathaniel, Owen, Roger, Solomon & Victor, 2 each (14-way tie)
  25. Alden, Alexis, Allen, Alrick, Amos, Andrew, Ansel, Anson, Archibald, Asa, Ashby, Bartholomew, Calvin, Carlos, Clarence, Clark, Clarke, Clement, Clifford, Collyer, Crolander, Darius, David, Earl, Elisha, Ellis, Eri, Ernest, Erwin, Eusebe, Everett, Felix, Forrest, Foster, Franklin, Fred, Gardner, Jacob, Jason, Jerome, Jireh, Joaneto, Josiah, Jubal, Justin, Lawson, Lodovic, Louis, Lucien, Lyman, Major, Malachi, Manuel, Melbourne, Monroe, Morey, Morris, Myron, Nelson, Nicholas, Olney, Orville, Oscar, Pendleton, Ralph, Reuben, Rolfe, Rowland, Rufus, Simeon, Simon, Steven, Stewart, Theodore, Ulysses*, Volney, Warren, Whiting, Willie & Winchester, 1 each (80-way tie)

*Ulysses was likely named in honor of Ulysses S. Grant, who was elected president in 1868.

Twins

Finally, nineteen sets of twins were born in Providence in 1868. (All of these twin names are accounted for in the rankings above.)

Girl-girl twinsGirl-boy twinsBoy-boy twins
Caroline & Harriet
Lucy & Lydia
Mary & Rosanna
Margaret & Mary
Lizzie & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Anne & Thomas
Emma & Charles
Florence & William
Hannah & Josiah
Ida & John
Isabella & John
Jennie & Horace
Charles & William
Francis & Robert
George & John
James & John
James & Stephen
(blank) & (blank)

Have any thoughts about these rankings, or about any of the specific names above?

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of the Names of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence. Number three. Providence: Millard & Harker, 1870.

Popular baby names in New York City, 1990-2019

Did you know that New York City’s website hosts vital statistics reports (PDFs) going all the way back to the 1960s? And that, from 1991 onward, these annual reports include baby name rankings for NYC?

I don’t want you to have to comb through a whole bunch of PDFs to find the city’s historical top-ten lists, though, so I gathered all the lists into a single blog post.

The name tables in the reports also incorporate several older sets rankings (from 1990, 1985, 1980, 1948, 1928, and 1898 specifically) for comparison, and those are here well — just scroll to the bottom.


2019

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2019. (Here’s my post about the 2019 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2019)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2019)
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Sophia
4. Mia
5. Isabella
6. Leah
7. Ava
8. Chloe
9. Amelia
10. Charlotte
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Ethan
4. Jacob
5. Lucas
6. Aiden
7. Daniel
8. Michael
9. David
10. Matthew

2018

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2018. (Here’s my post about the 2018 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2018)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2018)
1. Emma
2. Isabella
3. Sophia
4. Mia
5. Olivia
6. Ava
7. Leah
8. Sarah
9. Amelia
10. Chloe
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Ethan
4. Jacob
5. Aiden
6. David
7. Lucas
8. Matthew
9. Daniel
10. Alexander

2017

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2017. (Here’s my post about the 2017 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2017)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2017)
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Mia
4. Sophia
5. Isabella
6. Ava
7. Leah
8. Emily
9. Sarah
10. Abigail
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Jacob
4. Ethan
5. David
6. Lucas
7. Matthew
8. Jayden
9. Aiden
10. Daniel

2016

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2016. (Here’s my post about the 2016 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2016)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2016)
1. Olivia
2. Sophia
3. Emma
4. Isabella
5. Mia
6. Ava
7. Emily
8. Leah
9. Sarah
10. Madison
1. Liam
2. Jacob
3. Ethan
4. Noah
5. Aiden
6. Matthew
7. Daniel
8. Lucas
9. Michael
10. Dylan

2015

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2015. (Here’s my post about the 2015 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2015)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2015)
1. Olivia
2. Sophia
3. Emma (tie)
4. Mia (tie)
5. Isabella
6. Leah
7. Emily
8. Ava
9. Chloe
10. Madison
1. Ethan
2. Liam
3. Noah
4. Jacob
5. Jayden
6. Matthew
7. David
8. Daniel (tie)
9. Dylan (tie)
10. Aiden

2014

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2014. (Here’s my post about the 2014 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2014)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2014)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Olivia
4. Mia
5. Emma
6. Emily
7. Leah
8. Ava
9. Sofia
10. Chloe
1. Ethan
2. Jacob
3. Liam
4. Jayden
5. Noah
6. Daniel
7. Michael
8. Alexander
9. David
10. Matthew

2013

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2013.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2013)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2013)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Mia
6. Emily
7. Leah
8. Sofia
9. Madison
10. Chloe
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Jacob
4. Daniel
5. David
6. Noah
7. Michael
8. Matthew
9. Alexander
10. Liam

2012

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2012.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2012)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2012)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Emily
6. Mia
7. Chloe
8. Madison
9. Leah
10. Ava
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Jacob
4. Daniel
5. Matthew
6. Michael
7. Aiden
8. David
9. Ryan
10. Alexander

2011

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2011. (Here’s my post about the 2011 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2011)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2011)
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Emma
5. Mia
6. Emily
7. Madison
8. Leah
9. Chloe
10. Sofia
1. Jayden
2. Jacob
3. Ethan
4. Daniel
5. Michael
6. Matthew
7. Justin
8. David
9. Aiden
10. Alexander

2010

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2010.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2010)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2010)
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Emily
5. Madison
6. Mia
7. Emma
8. Leah
9. Sarah
10. Chloe
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Daniel
4. Jacob
5. David
6. Justin
7. Michael
8. Matthew
9. Joseph
10. Joshua

2009

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2009.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2009)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2009)
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Mia
4. Emily
5. Olivia
6. Madison
7. Sarah
8. Ashley
9. Leah
10. Emma
1. Jayden
2. Daniel
3. Ethan
4. Michael
5. David
6. Justin
7. Matthew
8. Joshua
9. Alexander
10. Christopher

2008

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2008.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2008)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2008)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emily
4. Olivia
5. Sarah
6. Madison
7. Ashley
8. Mia
9. Samantha
10. Emma
1. Jayden
2. Daniel
3. Michael
4. Matthew
5. David
6. Joshua
7. Justin
8. Anthony
9. Christopher
10. Ethan/Ryan (tied for 10th)

2007

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2007. (Here’s my post about the 2007 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2007)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2007)
1. Isabella (tie)
2. Sophia (tie)
3. Emily
4. Ashley
5. Sarah
6. Kayla
7. Mia
8. Olivia
9. Samantha
10. Rachel
1. Daniel
2. Jayden
3. Michael
4. Matthew
5. Justin
6. Joshua
7. David
8. Anthony
9. Christopher
10. Joseph

2006

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2006. (Here’s my post about the 2006 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2006)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2006)
1. Ashley
2. Emily
3. Isabella
4. Sarah
5. Kayla
6. Sophia
7. Mia
8. Madison
9. Brianna (tie)
10. Samantha (tie)
1. Michael
2. Daniel
3. Matthew
4. Joshua
5. Justin
6. David
7. Christopher
8. Joseph
9. Anthony
10. Jayden

2005

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2005.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2005)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2005)
1. Emily
2. Ashley
3. Kayla
4. Sarah
5. Isabella
6. Samantha
7. Sophia
8. Nicole
9. Olivia
10. Rachel
1. Michael
2. Daniel
3. Joshua
4. David
5. Justin
6. Matthew
7. Anthony
8. Christopher
9. Joseph
10. Nicholas

2004

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2004.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2004)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2004)
1. Emily
2. Ashley
3. Kayla
4. Sarah
5. Samantha
6. Isabella
7. Brianna
8. Sophia
9. Nicole
10. Olivia
1. Michael
2. Daniel
3. Matthew
4. Justin
5. Joshua
6. David
7. Anthony
8. Christopher (tie)
9. Joseph (tie)
10. Ryan

2003

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2003.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2003)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2003)
1. Emily
2. Ashley
3. Kayla
4. Sarah
5. Samantha
6. Brianna
7. Isabella
8. Nicole
9. Rachel
10. Jessica
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Daniel
4. Matthew
5. Christopher
6. Anthony
7. David
8. Joshua
9. Joseph
10. Kevin

2002

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2002.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2002)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2002)
1. Ashley
2. Emily
3. Kayla
4. Brianna
5. Samantha
6. Sarah
7. Nicole
8. Jessica
9. Michelle
10. Isabella
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Daniel
4. Matthew
5. Christopher
6. Joseph
7. Anthony
8. Joshua
9. Nicholas
10. David

2001

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2001.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2001)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2001)
1. Ashley
2. Kayla
3. Samantha
4. Emily
5. Jessica
6. Brianna
7. Nicole
8. Sarah
9. Destiny
10. Michelle
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Christopher
4. Daniel
5. Matthew
6. Joseph
7. Anthony
8. David
9. Joshua
10. Kevin

2000

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2000.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2000)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2000)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Kayla
4. Emily
5. Brianna
6. Sarah
7. Jessica
8. Nicole
9. Michelle
10. Amanda
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Christopher
4. Matthew
5. Daniel
6. Anthony
7. Joshua
8. David
9. Joseph
10. Kevin

1999

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1999.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1999)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1999)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Emily
4. Sarah
5. Nicole
6. Kayla
7. Jessica
8. Brianna
9. Amanda
10. Jennifer
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Matthew
4. Christopher
5. Joseph
6. Daniel
7. Anthony
8. David
9. Kevin
10. Joshua

1998

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1998.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1998)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1998)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Nicole
6. Emily
7. Jennifer
8. Sarah
9. Brianna
10. Stephanie
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Justin
4. Joseph
5. Matthew
6. Anthony
7. Daniel
8. Brandon
9. Nicholas
10. David

1997

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1997.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1997)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1997)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Jessica
4. Nicole
5. Amanda
6. Sarah
7. Stephanie
8. Jennifer
9. Emily
10. Brianna
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Joseph
4. Matthew
5. Justin
6. Daniel
7. Anthony (tie)
8. Brandon (tie)
9. David
10. Jonathan

1996

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1996.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1996)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1996)
1. Ashley
2. Jessica
3. Samantha
4. Stephanie
5. Nicole
6. Amanda
7. Jennifer
8. Sarah
9. Michelle
10. Emily
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Anthony
4. Kevin
5. Daniel
6. Joseph
7. Matthew
8. Justin
9. Jonathan
10. David

1995

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1995.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1995)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1995)
1. Ashley
2. Jessica
3. Amanda
4. Samantha
5. Stephanie
6. Jennifer
7. Nicole
8. Sarah*
9. Michelle
10. Emily
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Kevin
4. Daniel
5. Jonathan
6. Joseph
7. Anthony
8. Matthew
9. David
10. Justin

*The name was spelled “Sara” (without the h) in the 1995 annual report, but “Sarah” (with the h) on all the other reports. So, assuming that “Sara” was a typo, I’ve spelled it with the h here.

1994

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1994.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1994)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1994)
1. Ashley
2. Jessica
3. Stephanie
4. Samantha
5. Amanda
6. Nicole
7. Jennifer
8. Michelle
9. Tiffany
10. Danielle
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Kevin
4. Anthony
5. Jonathan
6. Daniel
7. Joseph
8. Matthew
9. David
10. Brandon

1993

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1993.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1993)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1993)
1. Ashley
2. Stephanie
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Samantha
6. Nicole
7. Jennifer
8. Michelle
9. Melissa
10. Christina
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Kevin
4. Jonathan
5. Anthony
6. Daniel
7. Joseph
8. David
9. Matthew
10. John

1992

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1992.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1992)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1992)
1. Ashley
2. Stephanie
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Samantha
6. Jennifer
7. Nicole
8. Michelle
9. Melissa
10. Christina
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Jonathan
4. Anthony
5. Joseph
6. Daniel
7. David
8. Kevin
9. Matthew
10. John

1991

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1991.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1991)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1991)
1. Stephanie
2. Ashley
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Samantha
6. Jennifer
7. Nicole
8. Michelle
9. Melissa
10. Christina
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Jonathan
4. Anthony
5. Joseph
6. Daniel
7. David
8. Matthew
9. Kevin
10. John

1990

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1990.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1990)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1990)
1. Stephanie
2. Jessica
3. Ashley
4. Jennifer
5. Amanda
6. Samantha
7. Nicole
8. Christina
9. Melissa
10. Michelle
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Jonathan
4. Anthony
5. David
6. Daniel
7. Joseph
8. Matthew
9. John
10. Andrew

1985

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1985.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1985)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1985)
1. Jennifer
2. Jessica
3. Christina
4. Stephanie
5. Melissa
6. Nicole
7. Elizabeth
8. Amanda
9. Danielle
10. Lauren
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Daniel
4. David
5. Anthony
6. Joseph
7. Jonathan
8. Jason
9. John
10. Robert

1980

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1980.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1980)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1980)
1. Jennifer
2. Jessica
3. Melissa
4. Nicole
5. Michelle
6. Elizabeth
7. Lisa
8. Christina
9. Tiffany
10. Maria
1. Michael
2. David
3. Jason
4. Joseph
5. Christopher
6. Anthony
7. John
8. Daniel
9. Robert
10. James

1948

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1948.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1948)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1948)
1. Linda
2. Mary
3. Barbara
4. Patricia
5. Susan
6. Kathleen
7. Carol
8. Nancy
9. Margaret
10. Diane
1. Robert
2. John
3. James
4. Michael
5. William
6. Richard
7. Joseph
8. Thomas
9. Stephen
10. David

1928

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1928.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1928)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1928)
1. Mary
2. Marie
3. Annie
4. Margaret
5. Catherine
6. Gloria
7. Helen
8. Teresa
9. Joan
10. Barbara
1. John
2. William
3. Joseph
4. James
5. Richard
6. Edward
7. Robert
8. Thomas
9. George
10. Louis

1898

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1898.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1898)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1898)
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Margaret
4. Annie
5. Rose
6. Marie
7. Esther
8. Sarah
9. Frances
10. Ida
1. John
2. William
3. Charles
4. George
5. Joseph
6. Edward
7. James
8. Louis
9. Francis
10. Samuel

NYC typically waits until the following December to release their baby name rankings, so I don’t expect the 2020 rankings to be available until the end of this year.

Sources: New York City‘s Summary of Vital Statistics for 2018 (pdf), 2017 (pdf), 2016 (pdf), 2015 (pdf), 2014 (pdf), 2013 (pdf), 2012 (pdf), 2011 (pdf), 2010 (pdf), 2009 (pdf), 2008 (pdf), 2007 (pdf), 2006 (pdf), 2005 (pdf), 2004 (pdf), 2003 (pdf), 2002 (pdf), 2001 (pdf), 2000 (pdf), 1999 (pdf), 1998 (pdf), 1997 (pdf), 1996 (pdf), 1995 (pdf), 1994 (pdf), 1993 (pdf), 1992 (pdf), 1991 (pdf)

How did Kipchoge Keino influence baby names in 1972?

Kenyan distance runner Kipchoge "Kip" Keino (in 1972)
Kipchoge “Kip” Keino

Kenyan middle- and long-distance runner Kipchoge Keino (pronounced kip-CHOH-gay KAY-noh) won a total of four medals at two different Summer Olympics: the 1968 Games in Mexico City and the 1972 Games in Munich.

Kip Keino’s most memorable race was his unlikely win in the 1,500 metre in ’68, but Kipchoge Keino‘s names — both first and last — didn’t enter the U.S. baby name data until ’72:

Boys named KipchogeBoys named Keino
1974.9
1973.13
19727*19*
1971..
1970..
*Debut

He won a gold and a silver in ’72, but a more important factor (in terms of baby names) may have been the naming climate in the U.S. in the early ’70s. A growing number of African-Americans were actively looking for African baby names at that time. (Check out this “Names from Africa” post for more.)

The name Kipchoge, a one-hit wonder in the data, means “born near the store for maize” in the Nandi language.

After retiring from competition, Kip Keino — whose full name is actually Hezekiah Kipchoge Keino — continued to work in sports. In the meanwhile, he and his wife Phyllis took in more than 100 orphaned children (and had seven of their own).

Each child has been given a name in English and Nandi, Kip’s native tongue. They include Claire/Cherop (“born when it’s raining”), Angela/Chepngetrik (“born when the cows go grazing”) and Susan/Chepchirchir (“born in a big hurry”).

For this and other humanitarian work, Keino has been honored in various ways, such as by winning the (very first) Olympic Laurel in 2016.

Sources:

P.S. Two other people who have inspired dual first-and-last name debuts are Cyd Charisse and Pier Angeli.

What turned Sway into a baby name?

sway, gone in 60 seconds, movie, character
Angelina Jolie as Sara “Sway” Wayland

The word Sway popped up for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 2001:

  • 2003: 14 baby girls and 5 baby boys named Sway
  • 2002: 12 baby girls named Sway
  • 2001: 8 baby girls named Sway [debut]
  • 2000: unlisted
  • 1999: unlisted

For a long time I assumed the main influence was MTV personality Sway Calloway. But, while I still think Sway had an influence on male usage, I’ve since discovered a much better explanation for the 2001 debut as a female name.

One of the main characters in the 2000 car heist film Gone in 60 Seconds was mechanic-slash-bartender Sara “Sway” Wayland (played by Angelina Jolie). She was the love interest of protagonist Randall “Memphis” Raines (played by Nicolas Cage), who was tasked with stealing 50 specific, expensive cars inside of 72 hours.

The film didn’t get great reviews, but I do remember appreciating the fact that each of the 50 cars was assigned a feminine code-name:

Mary, Barbara, Lindsey, Laura, Alma, Madeline, Patricia, Carol, Daniela, Stefanie, Erin, Pamela, Olga, Anne, Kate, Vanessa, Denise, Diane, Lisa, Nadine, Angelina, Rose, Susan, Tracey, Rachel, Bernadene, Deborah, Stacey, Josephine, Hillary, Kimberley, Renee, Dorothy, Donna, Samantha, Ellen, Gabriela, Shannon, Jessica, Sharon, Tina, Marsha, Natalie, Virginia, Tanya, Grace, Ashley, Cathy, Lynn, Eleanor

So, how do you feel about the name Sway? If you were having a baby girl, would you be more likely to name her something modern, like Sway, or something traditional, like Sara or Susan?

Sources: Gone in 60 Seconds (2000 film) – Wikipedia, Talk:Gone in 60 Seconds (2000 film) – Wikipedia