What gave the baby name Jolene a boost in 1974?

Dolly Parton's album "Jolene" (1974)
Dolly Parton album

The baby name Jolene had been on the decline for more than a decade when, all of a sudden, usage more than tripled in 1974:

  • 1976: 766 baby girls named Jolene [rank: 301st]
  • 1975: 999 baby girls named Jolene [rank: 248th]
  • 1974: 1,052 baby girls named Jolene [rank: 245th]
  • 1973: 293 baby girls named Jolene [rank: 562nd]
  • 1972: 266 baby girls named Jolene [rank: 599th]

Here’s a visual:

What gave the name a boost that year?

Dolly Parton’s memorable song “Jolene,” which was released as a single in October of 1973.

It reached the #1 spot on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart in February of 1974. It even crossed over to the pop charts, peaking at #60 on the Hot 100 chart in March.

The narrator of the Grammy-nominated song begs a beautiful woman named Jolene not to steal her man. (“You could have your choice of men / But I could never love again / He’s the only one for me, Jolene.”)

Here’s what the song sounds like:

The song’s antagonist was (loosely) based on a real person: A particularly pretty bank teller who would flirt with Dolly’s husband Carl during the early days of their marriage.

The character’s name, however, came from a different source. Here’s how Dolly explained it:

One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably 8 years old at the time. And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, and beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding, you know, for an autograph. And I said, “Well, you’re just the prettiest little thing I’ve ever seen.” I said, “What is your name?” And she said, “Jolene.” And I said, “Well, Jolene, Jolene. Jolene.’ I said, “That is pretty.” I said, “That sounds like a song. I’m gonna write a song about that.”

What are your thoughts on the name Jolene?

Sources:

What popularized the baby name Deron in the mid-1960s?

Baseball player Deron Johnson (1938-1992)
Deron Johnson

The baby name Deron, which first appeared in the U.S. baby data in the mid-1950s, hit peak popularity in the mid-1960s:

  • 1968: 185 baby boys named Deron [rank: 556th]
    • 24 (13%) born in Ohio
  • 1967: 212 baby boys named Deron [rank: 516th]
    • 38 (18%) born in Ohio
  • 1966: 270 baby boys named Deron [rank: 465th]
    • 58 (21%) born in Ohio
  • 1965: 263 baby boys named Deron [rank: 479th]
    • 65 (25%) born in Ohio
  • 1964: 127 baby boys named Deron [rank: 683rd]
    • 27 (21%) born in Ohio
  • 1963: 26 baby boys named Deron
  • 1962: 26 baby boys named Deron
  • 1961: 48 baby boys named Deron
  • 1960: 20 baby boys named Deron

The usage of the name tracks with the career of baseball player Deron Johnson, a power hitter who played for nine different teams during his 16 seasons in the major leagues.

After graduating from high school in 1956, Johnson signed with the New York Yankees — though he didn’t get called up from the minor leagues until 1960.

During the short time he was with the Yankees (and being touted as the next Mickey Mantle), there was an uptick in the usage of the name.

Usage was highest while Johnson was playing for the Cincinnati Reds, from 1964 to 1967. His second season in Ohio was one of his best: he hit 32 homers and drove in 130 runs to become that year’s National League RBI leader.

A final uptick in 1973 — while the name was on the decline — correlates to the year Johnson became a World Series Champion with the Oakland Athletics.

What are your thoughts on the name Deron?

Sources:

Image: Deron Johnson trading card

What popularized the baby name Latoya?

La Toya Jackson's album "Heart Don't Lie" (1984)
La Toya Jackson album

The name Latoya first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the 1960s. After rising quickly during the ’70s — and seeing upticks in usage in both 1977 and 1981 — the name achieved peak popularity in 1984:

  • 1985: 3,402 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 81st]
  • 1984: 5,051 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 60th] (peak usage)
  • 1983: 3,151 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 90th]
  • 1982: 3,200 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 91st]
  • 1981: 4,267 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 69th]
  • 1980: 2,505 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 123rd]
  • 1979: 1,880 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 148th]
  • 1978: 2,040 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 135th]
  • 1977: 2,321 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 125th]
  • 1976: 2,052 baby girls named Latoya [rank: 135th]

Here’s a visual:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Latoya in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Latoya

What fueled the rise of Latoya?

The career of singer La Toya Jackson.

(The SSA removes spaces and ignores internal capitalization, which explains why the name is rendered “Latoya” in the dataset.)

Though she wasn’t a member of The Jackson 5 — the pop-soul vocal group featuring her five brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael — La Toya was often mentioned in write-ups about the Jackson family during the early 1970s.

By 1974, La Toya and the remaining Jackson siblings (Rebbie, Randy, and Janet) were participating in the group’s live performances.

Television audiences were introduced to La Toya in the musical variety series The Jacksons (1976-77), which featured all of the siblings except for Jermaine.

In 1980, she launched her solo career. She didn’t become as commercially successful as either Michael or Janet, but her single “Heart Don’t Lie” [vid] — a reggae duet with Howard Hewett of Shalamar — did reach #56 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in June of 1984.

The singer was born La Toya Yvonne Jackson on May 29, 1956 — the sixth birthday of her eldest sibling, Rebbie, coincidentally. In her autobiography, La Toya said that her mother, who had a “fondness for unusual names,” claimed to have coined “La Toya.”

What are your thoughts on the name La Toya?

Sources:

Popular and unique baby names in each U.S. state in 2023

USA topographic map

Which baby names were the most popular in each U.S. state in 2023?

And which names appeared in the data for just one state last year?

Here are all the answers! (Any unique name that also popped up in last year’s post is in boldface.)

Alabama (AL)

  • Alabama’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Alabama’s top boy name: William
  • Alabama’s 7 unique girl names: Maeleigh, Dominga, Huntley, Cerenity, Jabria, Kenslei, Weslyn
  • Alabama’s 8 unique boy names: Bankston, Kylar, Gates, Jakaiden, Ladarrius, Taylan, Wheeler, Zaylan

Alaska (AK)

  • Alaska’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Alaska’s top boy name: Liam/Oliver (tie)
  • No unique girl names.
  • Alaska’s 1 unique boy name: Atigun
    • Atigun, the name of a river in northern Alaska, debuted last year in the national data with five baby boys — all five of whom (we now know) were born in-state.

Arizona (AZ)

  • Arizona’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Arizona’s top boy name: Liam/Mateo (tie)
  • Arizona’s 5 unique girl names: Ariza, Payson, Aolanis, Zo, Zanovia
  • Arizona’s 3 unique boy names: Aleister, Bradyn, Rosario

Arkansas (AR)

  • Arkansas’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Arkansas’s top boy name: Liam
  • Arkansas’s 1 unique girl name: Savvy
  • Arkansas’s 1 unique boy name: Emmit

California

  • California’s top girl name: Olivia
  • California’s top boy name: Noah
  • California’s top 10 unique girl names: Emiko, Gurnaaz, Amada, Avina, Mannat, Zephyr, Amairany, Arzoi, Aveah, Divina (total of 490)
  • California’s top 10 unique boy names: Aren, Armen, Angad, Tigran, Gurfateh, Mehtab, Davit, Hayk, Nirvair, Dara (total of 336)

Colorado

  • Colorado’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Colorado’s top boy name: Liam
  • Colorado’s 2 unique girl names: Fae, Imogene
  • Colorado’s 2 unique boy names: Cale, Gustav
    • Hockey player Cale Makar is a star defenseman for the Colorado Avalanche.

Connecticut

  • Connecticut’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Connecticut’s top boy name: Noah
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Delaware

  • Delaware’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Delaware’s top boy name: Noah
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

District of Columbia

  • D.C.’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • D.C.’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Florida

  • Florida’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Florida’s top boy name: Liam
  • Florida’s top 10 unique girl names: Abigael, Talani, Daisha, Daliyah, Elianys, Kloe, Yari, Akeelah, Jasmyn, Kelsi (total of 84)
  • Florida’s top 10 unique boy names: Marvens, Antwan, Ahmari, Maikol, Wensley, Woodley, Gaspar, Javaris, Wood, Bane (total of 102)

Georgia

  • Georgia’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Georgia’s top boy name: Liam
  • Georgia’s top 10 unique girl names: Christian, Israel, Lawson, Markayla, Dallis, Julian, Landree, Loralei, Makiya, Aaryn (total of 39)
  • Georgia’s top 10 unique boy names: Flint, Deontae, Tyrus, Cyxx, Kaimir, Kamani, Laksh, Zakhari, Chapel, Epic (total of 31)

Hawaii

  • Hawaii’s top girl name: Isla
  • Hawaii’s top boy name: Elijah
  • Hawaii’s 5 unique girl names: Mahina, Hilinai, Kealani, Kahealani, Malie
  • Hawaii’s top 10 unique boy names: Keahi, Kaipo, Kawika, Kanaloa, Kealii, Kiai, Makana, Haaheo, Ioane, Kaena (total of 15)

Idaho

  • Idaho’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Idaho’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Idaho’s 1 unique girl name: Mesa
  • No unique boy names.

Illinois

  • Illinois’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Illinois’s top boy name: Noah
  • Illinois’s top 10 unique girl names: Maja, Anastasija, Ainslie, Namari, Saliha, Ajla, Alexie, Bellamie, Dalylah, Imaan (total of 19)
  • Illinois’s top 10 unique boy names: Andrej, Marshawn, Petar, Teodor, Bogdan, Danylo, Kacper, Nikodem, Alim, Eldon (total of 24)

Indiana

  • Indiana’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Indiana’s top boy name: Liam
  • Indiana’s 5 unique girl names: Taylynn, Elnora, Haevyn, Mable, Maylie
  • Indiana’s 8 unique boy names: Infantmale, Dewayne, Lynx, Makiah, Abbott, Holdyn, Nymeir, Quinlan

Iowa

  • Iowa’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Iowa’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • Iowa’s 2 unique boy names: Jens, October

Kansas

  • Kansas’s top girl name: Amelia
  • Kansas’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Kentucky

  • Kentucky’s top girl name: Amelia
  • Kentucky’s top boy name: Liam
  • Kentucky’s 2 unique girl names: Embry, Hazeleigh
  • Kentucky’s 1 unique boy name: Weller

Louisiana

  • Louisiana’s top girl name: Amelia
  • Louisiana’s top boy name: Liam
  • Louisiana’s 8 unique girl names: Kaislee, Jersei, Kacelyn, Amiree, Jalyric, Jori, Khaza, Khylie
  • Louisiana’s top 10 unique boy names: Nylan, Caston, Jhai, Kaven, Kharter, Cevyn, Demauri, Jeanluc, Khyler, Kruze (total of 11)

Maine (ME)

  • Maine’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Maine’s top boy name: Theodore
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Maryland (MD)

  • Maryland’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Maryland’s top boy name: Liam
  • Maryland’s 3 unique girl names: Meklit, Melona, Syncere
  • Maryland’s 6 unique boy names: Record, Access, Karon, Oluwadamilare, Tavon, Tobechukwu
    • “Record” seems to be a placeholder name (like “Infantmale,” “Babygirl,” and so forth).

Massachusetts (MA)

  • Massachusetts’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Massachusetts’s top boy name: Noah
  • Massachusetts’s 8 unique girl names: Aylla, Mariaalice, Eloah, Emilly, Mariajulia, Lunna, Annaliz, Indira
  • Massachusetts’s 6 unique boy names: Murilo, Bento, Keiden, Zayvian, Conall, Konstantinos

Michigan (MI)

  • Michigan’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Michigan’s top boy name: Noah
  • Michigan’s top 10 unique girl names: Zahraa, Aryam, Anhar, Arha, Ellanora, Kendyll, Manar, Maysa, Shahd, Zionna (total of 20)
  • Michigan’s 8 unique boy names: Taim, Amer, Bassam, Clint, Juwan, Martell, Mousa, Neko

Minnesota (MN)

  • Minnesota’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Minnesota’s top boy name: Theodore
  • Minnesota’s top 10 unique girl names: Maryama, Anzal, Munira, Nawal, Afnan, Mumtaz, Ayan, Ibtisam, Ikhlas, Sabrin (total of 26)
  • Minnesota’s top 10 unique boy names: Mubarak, Suhayb, Majid, Muzamil, Nels, Yonis, Muscab, Sven, Abdifatah, Griffen (total of 13)

Mississippi (MS)

  • Mississippi’s top girl name: Ava
  • Mississippi’s top boy name: John
  • Mississippi’s 3 unique girl names: Jalaysia, Loxley, Mamie
  • Mississippi’s 1 unique boy name: Khysen

Missouri (MO)

  • Missouri’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Missouri’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Missouri’s 4 unique girl names: Lakota, Irelynn, Kamoni, Kimberlynn
  • Missouri’s 2 unique boy names: Creedence, Bayler

Montana (MT)

  • Montana’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Montana’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Nebraska

  • Nebraska’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Nebraska’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Nebraska’s 1 unique girl name: Atley
  • Nebraska’s 1 unique boy name: Creighton
    • Creighton University (which has a strong athletics program) is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Nevada

  • Nevada’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Nevada’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • Nevada’s 1 unique boy name: Robel

New Hampshire

  • New Hampshire’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • New Hampshire’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

New Jersey

  • New Jersey’s top girl name: Olivia
  • New Jersey’s top boy name: Liam
  • New Jersey’s top 10 unique girl names: Penina, Lianny, Ettel, Aanvi, Adelle, Avisha, Ruchama, Serayah, Dhara, Selin (total of 11)
  • New Jersey’s top 10 unique boy names: Binyomin, Michoel, Karas, Aras, Drin, Elazar, Nakai, Tuvia, Ason, Henrique (total of 12)

New Mexico

  • New Mexico’s top girl name: Olivia
  • New Mexico’s top boy name: Liam
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

New York

  • New York’s top girl name: Emma
  • New York’s top boy name: Liam
  • New York’s top 10 unique girl names: Faigy, Malky, Rivky, Raizy, Yitty, Goldy, Hindy, Shaindy, Esty, Blimy (total of 190)
  • New York’s top 10 unique boy names: Usher, Mendy, Lipa, Lazer, Hershel, Simcha, Yossi, Moishe, Shloma, Meilech (total of 184)

North Carolina

  • North Carolina’s top girl name: Olivia
  • North Carolina’s top boy name: Liam
  • North Carolina’s top 10 unique girl names: Wrenn, Yulani, Layanna, Skylan, Wisteria, Zalani, Alayla, Amillia, Aryya, Bethel (total of 20)
  • North Carolina’s top 10 unique boy names: Henderson, Graylen, Kaidence, Larson, Worth, Alegend, Avett, Chayton, Jahmel, Jalani (total of 17)

North Dakota

  • North Dakota’s top girl name: Evelyn
  • North Dakota’s top boy name: Oliver
  • North Dakota’s 1 unique girl name: Girl
  • North Dakota’s 1 unique boy name: Boy

Ohio

  • Ohio’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Ohio’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Ohio’s top 10 unique girl names: Hanan, Ramiyah, Mahala, Bexleigh, Emmelyn, Giavonna, Roseann, Rowena, Zaryiah, Aahana (total of 24)
  • Ohio’s top 10 unique boy names: Rayshawn, Larkin, Aavyan, Findley, Kari, Carmello, Cheikh, Darion, Dirk, Khyair (total of 31)

Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Oklahoma’s top boy name: Liam
  • Oklahoma’s 5 unique girl names: Cing, Lyndi, Niang, Parklynn, Wilder
  • Oklahoma’s 1 unique boy name: Sampson

Oregon

  • Oregon’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Oregon’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Pennsylvania’s top boy name: Noah
  • Pennsylvania’s top 10 unique girl names: Barbie, Suzanne, Verna, Suhaylah, Azarah, Elisia, Roux, Abagail, Kendal, Niamh (total of 29)
  • Pennsylvania’s top 10 unique boy names: Benuel, Mahlon, Aasir, Azir, Nasai, Cashel, Lavern, Amaree, Freeman, Joash (total of 21)

Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Rhode Island’s top boy name: Noah
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

South Carolina

  • South Carolina’s top girl name: Olivia
  • South Carolina’s top boy name: Noah
  • South Carolina’s 4 unique girl names: Kheumani, Ellorie, Khole, Elloree
  • South Carolina’s 3 unique boy names: Drayton, Asiyah, Grainger

South Dakota

  • South Dakota’s top girl name: Ava
  • South Dakota’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Tennessee

  • Tennessee’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Tennessee’s top boy name: Liam
  • Tennessee’s 4 unique girl names: Hampton, Lemon, Lorna, Rivers
  • Tennessee’s 8 unique boys names: Neyland, Hendon, Ryman, Deshun, Jamario, Javontae, Manning, Stiven
    • Neyland Stadium is the home of the Tennessee Volunteers football team.
    • Ryman Auditorium, a concert hall that dates back to the 1890s, is located in Nashville, Tennessee.
    • Peyton Manning played football for the Tennessee Volunteers in the 1990s.

Texas

  • Texas’s top girl name: Emma
  • Texas’s top boy name: Liam
  • Texas’s top 10 unique girl names: Eugenia, Dariela, Analucia, Gretel, Eleonor, Karyme, Landyn, Zailey, Katelynn, Kobi (total of 536)
  • Texas’s top 10 unique boy names: Stoney, Eugenio, Pete, Whitten, Brayson, Eliud, Homero, Weldon, Dimas, Ediel (total of 399)

Utah

  • Utah’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Utah’s top boy name: Liam
  • Utah’s 7 unique girl names: Boston, Bentlee, Swayzie, Adalaide, Quincey, Rossi, Swayzee
  • Utah’s top 10 unique boy names: Hyrum, Mckay, Ammon, Stockton, Covey, Dallin, Heber, Hesston, Jeter, Nix (total of 13)
    • Hyrum Smith was an early leader of the LDS Church. (He was one of Joseph Smith’s siblings.)
    • David O. McKay was one of the leaders of the LDS Church during the mid-20th century.
    • John Stockton played basketball for the Utah Jazz from 1984 to 2003.
    • Dallin H. Oaks is one of the current leaders of the LDS Church.
    • Heber C. Kimball was an early leader of the LDS Church.

Vermont

  • Vermont’s top girl name: Amelia/Eleanor (tie)
  • Vermont’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Virginia

  • Virginia’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Virginia’s top boy name: Liam
  • Virginia’s 4 unique girl names: Aviya, Hayleigh, Meylin, Yemariam
  • Virginia’s 2 unique boy names: Lochlann, Azan

Washington

  • Washington’s top girl name: Olivia
  • Washington’s top boy name: Oliver
  • Washington’s 8 unique girl names: Lucile, Babygirl, Ellinor, Kiah, Mercer, Ravenna, Winnifred, Yoadan
  • Washington’s top 3 unique boy names: Ruvim, Advay, Kipp

West Virginia

  • West Virginia’s top girl name: Amelia
  • West Virginia’s top boy name: Oliver
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin’s top girl name: Charlotte
  • Wisconsin’s top boy name: Theodore
  • Wisconsin’s 2 unique girl names: Amarianna, Gretta
  • Wisconsin’s 2 unique boy names: Loren, Renley

Wyoming

  • Wyoming’s top girl name: Evelyn
  • Wyoming’s top boy name: Henry/Jack (tie)
  • No unique girl names.
  • No unique boy names.

Do you have thoughts about any of the single-state names above?

Source: Popular Names by State – SSA

Image: Topographical Map of the USA by NOAA