Blog

Popular baby names in Finland, 2022

Finland

The sauna-loving country of Finland is located in Northern Europe and shares a border with three other countries: Sweden, Norway, and Russia.

Most of the people in Finland speak Finnish (85.9%), but the rest of the population speaks Swedish (5.2%), Sami (0.04%), or some other language (8.9%) such as Russian, Estonian, or Arabic.

Last year, Finland welcomed 46,809 babies. At the time the country released its baby name data (in mid-April), 46,486 of these babies — 22,742 girls and 23,744 boys — had been named.

What were the most popular names overall? Olivia and Leo.

Finland’s baby name data is broken down by language group, so let’s kick things off with the Finnish speakers…

Finnish speakers

Of the 37,365 (named) babies born to Finnish speakers in Finland last year, 18,261 were girls and 19,104 were boys. Here are the top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2022:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 276 baby girls
  2. Aino, 256
  3. Aada, 248
  4. Lilja, 238
  5. Eevi, 235
  6. Isla, 232
  7. Helmi, 227
  8. Venla, 219
  9. Sofia, 212
  10. Ellen, 210
  11. Aava, 209
  12. Hilla, 200
  13. Emma, 199
  14. Linnea, 194
  15. Pihla, 193
  16. Viola, 191 (tie)
  17. Kerttu, 191 (tie)
  18. Ella, 188
  19. Emilia, 156 (tie)
  20. Elli, 156 (tie)
  21. Enni, 148
  22. Seela, 136
  23. Hilma, 134 (tie)
  24. Hilda, 134 (tie)
  25. Elsa, 133
  26. Livia, 132
  27. Alisa, 131
  28. Alma, 128
  29. Oona, 124
  30. Ilona, 121
  31. Mila, 119
  32. Alina, 118
  33. Frida, 115
  34. Elsi, 114
  35. Matilda, 113
  36. Minea, 111
  37. Vilma, 108
  38. Mette, 105
  39. Aurora, 102
  40. Hertta, 101 (tie)
  41. Lumi, 101 (tie)
  42. Amanda, 100 (tie)
  43. Selma, 100 (tie)
  44. Viivi, 98
  45. Nella, 95
  46. Bea, 93
  47. Saimi, 89 (tie)
  48. Vivian, 89 (tie)
  49. Siiri, 87
  50. Stella, 86

Boy Names

  1. Leo, 376 baby boys
  2. Väinö, 364
  3. Eino, 349
  4. Oliver, 342
  5. Elias, 316
  6. Onni, 313
  7. Emil, 239
  8. Eeli, 225
  9. Toivo, 216
  10. Leevi, 210
  11. Noel, 199
  12. Hugo, 186
  13. Joel, 185
  14. Aatos, 184 (tie)
  15. Vilho, 184 (tie)
  16. Alvar, 181
  17. Eemil, 172
  18. Oiva, 169
  19. Otso, 159
  20. Nooa, 156
  21. Mikael, 154
  22. Aarni, 153 (tie)
  23. Viljami, 153 (tie)
  24. Niilo, 149
  25. Lenni, 148
  26. Luka, 144
  27. Daniel, 139
  28. Benjamin, 137
  29. Anton, 135
  30. Kasper, 132
  31. Edvin, 129
  32. Aaron, 128
  33. Viljo, 126
  34. Jooa, 121
  35. Julius, 120 (tie)
  36. Eetu, 120 (tie)
  37. Olavi, 119
  38. Aapo, 118
  39. Milo, 115
  40. Eelis, 114
  41. Lukas, 113
  42. Eemi, 112
  43. Leon, 111
  44. Matias, 105
  45. Urho, 104
  46. Rasmus, 101 (tie)
  47. Max, 101 (tie)
  48. Samuel, 99 (tie)
  49. Luukas, 99 (tie)
  50. Iivo, 97

Swedish speakers

Of the 3,157 (named) babies born to Swedish speakers in Finland last year, 1,552 were girls and 1,605 were boys. Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names:

Girl NamesBoy Names
1. Saga, 29
2. Ellen, 23
3. Alva, 20
4. Emma, 19
5. Stella, 17
6. Edith, 16 (4-way tie)
7. Olivia, 16 (4-way tie)
8. Astrid, 16 (4-way tie)
9. Alma, 16 (4-way tie)
10. Elsa, 15
1. Oliver, 33
2. William, 28
3. Liam, 23
4. Anton, 21 (tie)
5. Emil, 21 (tie)
6. Edvin, 20 (tie)
7. Max, 20 (tie)
8. Hugo, 19 (tie)
9. Benjamin, 19 (tie)
10. Felix/Leon, 18 each (tie)

Other languages

Of the 5,964 (named) babies born in Finland last year to parents who speak something other than Finnish or Swedish, 2,929 were girls and 3,035 were boys. Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names:

Girl NamesBoy Names
1. Sofia, 36
2. Maria, 26
3. Olivia, 22
4. Eva, 21
5. Emilia, 19
6. Mia, 18
7. Aurora, 17
8. Alisa, 16
9. Emma, 15
10. Aisha/Anna/Mira/Sara, 14 each (4-way tie)
1. Adam, 46
2. Elias, 30 (tie)
3. Muhammad, 30 (tie)
4. Mark, 29
5. Leo 28
6. Daniel, 25
7. Ali, 22
8. Mohamed, 18 (tie)
9. Noah, 18 (tie)
10. Liam/Martin/Oliver, 16 each (3-way tie)

Finally, here are Finland’s 2021 rankings, if you’d like to compare last year to the year before.

Sources: Most popular children’s names – Digital and Population Data Services Agency, Olivia and Leo are still the most popular children’s names in Finland, Population and Society – Statistics Finland

Image by Mikko from Pixabay

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

LeVert's single "Casanova" (1987).
LeVert single

The name Casanova — made famous during the 18th century by Italian adventurer and womanizer Giacomo Casanova — started popping up in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1980s. It saw a modest increase in usage a few years later:

  • 1989: unlisted
  • 1988: 14 baby boys named Casanova
  • 1987: 11 baby boys named Casanova
  • 1986: unlisted

The spelling variant Cassanova debuted around the same time, in 1987.

What was influencing these names?

The catchy song “Casanova” by R&B vocal trio LeVert. It was released in mid-1987 and peaked at #5 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart. Though the group had multiple songs reach #1 on the R&B chart, “Casanova” was their strongest showing on the pop chart.

The group consisted of brothers Gerald and Sean LeVert — sons of O’Jays lead vocalist Eddie LeVert — and a third member, Marc Gordon.

Thanks to the success of the song, the French surname LeVert also saw its highest-ever usage in the late 1980s:

  • 1989: 17 baby boys named Levert
  • 1988: 19 baby boys named Levert [peak usage]
  • 1987: 7 baby boys named Levert
  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted

(The surname is rendered “Levert” in the data because the SSA strips out internal capitalization.)

Getting back to Casanova, though…what are your thoughts on “Casanova” as a first name?

P.S. Another member of the O’Jays, Walter Williams, was behind the peak usage of Shalawn and Seandra in the mid-1970s.

Sources: LeVert – Wikpedia, SSA

Baby names with DG: Ledger, Bridger, Judge

hedgehog

Feeling nudged to choose a baby name that contains the letter-pair DG?

It’s an uncommon combination, but I’ve tracked down a few dozen options for you in this post!

Before we get to the names, though, let’s learn…

Where did -DGE come from in English?

French scribes, essentially.

In Old English, the “soft g” sound was rare, and it only occurred at the end of a word. When it did pop up, it was spelled with the digraph CG.

After the Norman Conquest in 1066, the ruling class of England spoke Anglo-Norman French. Over time, “the French-educated scribes [began] imposing traditional French spelling rules on English.”

The Normans had brought with them “soft g” words that utilized the letters G and I (which later evolved into J), but for native English words that contained the same sound, they decided to swap out CG for the trigraph DGE.

Some examples…

Old EnglishModern English
brycgbridge
ecgedge
hecghedge
hrycgridge
wecgwedge

Words derived from Anglo-Norman that happen to have the same ending include judge, pledge, and badge, and budge.

Now, on to the names!

Names with DG

Below are names that feature either DGE or the letter-pair DG (if it represents the same “soft G” sound). All of these names come from the SSA’s baby name data.

  • Adger
  • Adgie
  • Aldridge
  • Bridge
  • Bridger
  • Bridges
  • Bridget, Bridgett, Bridgette, Bridgete
  • Bridgetta
  • Bridgid
  • Bridgit, Bridgitt, Bridgitte
  • Cambridge
  • Coleridge
  • Condredge
  • Cooledge, Coolidge
  • Dandridge
  • Dodge
  • Dodger
  • Edge
  • Edgel
  • Edger
  • Edgerrin, Edgerin
  • Edwidge
  • Elbridge
  • Eldredge
  • Eldridge
  • Elridge
  • Etheridge
  • Ethridge
  • Gadge
  • Gidget, Gidgette
  • Hodge
  • Hodges
  • Judge
  • Knowledge
  • Ledgen
  • Ledgend
  • Ledger
  • Madge
  • Madgel
  • Madgie
  • Midge
  • Midgie
  • Milledge
  • Naledge
  • Padgett
  • Pledger
  • Redge
  • Redgie
  • Redginald
  • Ridge, Rydge
  • Ridger
  • Ridgely
  • Ridgeway
  • Ridgway
  • Rodger
  • Rodgerick
  • Rodgers
  • Rutledge
  • Sedgie
  • Sedgwick
  • Talmadge

Which DG name do you like most? Let me know in the comments!

Sources:

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

Where did the baby name Rajai come from in 1980?

Iranian politician Mohammad-Ali Rajai (1933-1981)
Mohammad-Ali Rajai

The name Rajai first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1980, and its usage increased in 1981:

  • 1982: unlisted
  • 1981: 13 baby boys named Rajai [peak usage]
  • 1980: 9 baby boys named Rajai [debut]
  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: unlisted

After that, though, it dropped out of the data again (and didn’t return until the early 2000s).

What was influencing the name in the early ’80s?

Iranian politician Mohammad Ali Rajai, who served briefly as Iran’s second president in 1981.

Rajai was born into poverty the early 1930s, and became politically active as a young man. He was involved in the Iranian Revolution (1978-79), which overthrew the monarchy (under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi*) and established an Islamic republic (under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini).

After Rajai was selected as Iran’s prime minister in August of 1980, his name started to pop up in the U.S. newspapers.

Those newspaper mentions became a lot more frequent the following summer. Rajai was elected president in late July, and he began his term in early August. But on August 30 — after less than a month in office — Rajai and many other government officials (including the new prime minister) were killed by a bomb blast in Tehran.

I haven’t been able to figure out the etymology of Rajai, but it could be related to the Arabic names Raja (meaning “hope”) and Rajiya (“hopeful”).

Interestingly, one of the 1980 babies named Rajai is former professional baseball player Rajai Davis (who played against Anthony Rizzo in 2016 World Series).

What are your thoughts on the baby name Rajai?

*Two of the Shah’s wives, Soraya and Farah, also had an influence on U.S. baby names…

Sources: Mohammad-Ali Rajai – Wikipedia, Mohammad Ali Raja’i – Britannica, Iranian Revolution – Wikipedia, Behind the Name, SSA
Image: Adapted from Banisadr & Rajai