Which boy names increased in usage the most from 2020 to 2021?
Here’s a table of the fastest-rising boy 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.
Luca (and Luka) may have been given a boost by the 2021 Pixar film Luca. And it looks like Calian is a character on a TV series called Don’t Look Deeper.
If you can explain any of the other rises, please leave a comment!
One, born in mid-August to Mr. and Mrs. Ben R. Isenhower of Chatsworth, Georgia, was named Adlai Stevenson Isenhower. His older brother, Dwight David Isenhower, had been born eight years earlier and was (of course) named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, “whose forces were then spearheading the European coastal invasion.”
Another, born during the wee hours of the morning on election day (Nov. 4) to Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Smith of Richlands, North Carolina, was named Adlai Stevenson Smith.
“He’s Named, Win or Lose.” Evening Star [Washington, D.C.] 4 Nov. 1952: A-2.
“Political Influence.” Kokomo Tribune 8 Aug. 1952: 23.
Wondering which first letters were the most popular in 2020?
For baby girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by E and M. The least-used first letter was U. More than 272,000 baby girls got an A-name last year, whereas fewer than 700 got a U-name.
The three most-used girl names per letter last year were…
A: Ava, Amelia, Abigail
B: Brooklyn, Bella, Brielle
C: Charlotte, Camila, Chloe
D: Delilah, Daisy, Daniela
E: Emma, Evelyn, Ella
F: Faith, Freya, Finley
G: Gianna, Grace, Genesis
H: Harper, Hazel, Hannah
I: Isabella, Isla, Ivy
J: Josephine, Jade, Julia
K: Kinsley, Kennedy, Kaylee
L: Luna, Layla, Lily
M: Mia, Mila, Madison
N: Nora, Nova, Natalie
O: Olivia, Olive, Oakley
P: Penelope, Paisley, Piper
Q: Quinn, Queen, Quincy
R: Riley, Ruby, Rylee
S: Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett
T: Taylor, Teagan, Trinity
U: Unique, Uma, Una
V: Victoria, Violet, Valentina
W: Willow, Winter, Willa
X: Ximena, Xiomara, Xena
Y: Yaretzi, Yara, Yareli
Z: Zoey, Zoe, Zara
For baby boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and L. The least-used first letter was, again, U. More than 205,000 baby boys got a J-name last year, whereas fewer than 2,500 got a U-name.
The three most-used boy names per letter last year were…
A: Alexander, Aiden, Asher
B: Benjamin, Brooks, Bennett
C: Carter, Charles, Christopher
D: Daniel, David, Dylan
E: Elijah, Ethan, Ezra
F: Finn, Felix, Francisco
G: Grayson, Gabriel, Greyson
H: Henry, Hudson, Hunter
I: Isaac, Isaiah, Ian
J: James, Jacob, Jackson
K: Kai, Kayden, Kingston
L: Liam, Lucas, Logan
M: Mason, Michael, Mateo
N: Noah, Nathan, Nolan
O: Oliver, Owen, Oscar
P: Parker, Patrick, Peter
Q: Quinn, Quentin, Quincy
R: Ryan, Roman, Robert
S: Sebastian, Samuel, Santiago
T: Theodore, Thomas, Tyler
U: Uriel, Uriah, Ulises
V: Vincent, Victor, Valentino
W: William, Wyatt, Wesley
X: Xavier, Xander, Xzavier
Y: Yusuf, Yosef, Yehuda
Z: Zachary, Zion, Zayden
Finally, here are the totals for girls and boys side-by-side on the same chart:
Overall, the top first letter was A and the least popular first letter was (of course!) U.
The unlikely name Bronco first popped up in the U.S. baby name data in 1960:
1960: 5 baby boys named Bronco [debut]
Around the same time, the streamlined name Ty became markedly more popular:
1963: 372 baby boys named Ty [rank: 417th]
1962: 357 baby boys named Ty [rank: 423rd]
1961: 323 baby boys named Ty [rank: 452nd]
1960: 254 baby boys named Ty [rank: 495th]
1959: 188 baby boys named Ty [rank: 571st]
1958: 82 baby boys named Ty [rank: 831st]
1957: 64 baby boys named Ty [rank: 952nd]
Both names were influenced by the same thing: TV western Bronco (1958-1962), which starred actor Ty Hardin as former Confederate officer Bronco Layne.
(The names Layne and Lane also saw upticks in usage in 1959 specifically.)
Ty Hardin was initially hired to play Bronco Layne on the series Cheyenne while there was a contract dispute going on between Warner Brothers and Cheyenne star Clint Walker. After the dispute ended and Clint returned to Cheyenne, the company decided to create a spin-off series featuring Hardin’s character.
So why was the character called “Bronco”? Here’s what the show’s theme song said: “There ain’t a horse that he can’t handle, that’s how he got his name.”
And how did Ty Hardin get his name? It wasn’t from his parents; his birth name was Orison Whipple Hungerford. Here’s one explanation:
He took the name Ty Hardin — according to some news accounts, Ty was short for a childhood nickname, Typhoon, and Hardin was a reference to the western outlaw John Wesley Hardin — after signing with Warner Bros.
Another explanation is simply that his agent was Henry Willson, who had a knack for coining catchy stage names (e.g., Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter).