How Top Fandoms Influenced Baby Names in 2015

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How popular fandoms influenced baby names in 2015.
Baby steps. Image credit: Flickr user kalexanderson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Social Security has recently released its data on baby names given in 2015. While the names ranked in the top 1000 are available online, it is also possible to download the entire database of all names given each year. Do you think I could find some cool names not in the top 1000? You bet! Read on to find out which popular new movies and tv series have influenced (or not) the baby names parents used in 2015.

As we move forward, note that, for privacy reason, only names given to five or more children are included in the database. Therefore, when I say that there were 0 occurrences of a name given to a particular gender, there is a possibility that there are a handful of children with that name out there.

First things first, how did the new Star Wars movie influence baby names in 2015? Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until next year to find out. The movie came out late in the year and hasn’t yet had much of an impact. Finn currently stands at 1,881 occurrences in 2015, but that’s not out of the ordinary as it has been growing steadily over the years. Poe wavers in and out of the database from year to year, representing 9 occurrences in 2015. Rey as a female name hasn’t shown up in the database yet, but I suspect we will see it in 2016. Luke has been pretty consistently popular, but Leia has nearly doubled in 2015, from 419 occurrences in 2014 (rank #510) to 755 occurrences in 2015 (rank #421).

The sustained popularity of superhero movies and TV shows might have had some small influence too. Jessica Jones premiered in 2015 and, while Jessica has gone down in popularity (as it has every year since the 2000s), Jones as a female name has suddenly appeared in the database in 2015 with 7 occurrences. Coincidence?

While they aren’t very popular, the following Avengers continue to show up in the database every year: Stark (16 occurrences), Captain (25 occurrences), Thor (118 occurrences), Banner (39 occurrences), Natasha (425 occurrences and becoming less popular every year), Loki (114 occurrences for boys, 6 for girls), Coulson (48 occurrences), and Pepper (149 occurrences).

The number of girls named Carter increased steadily from 195 occurrences in 2011 to 579 in 2015. Probably not due to Peggy Carter as much as the popularity of the name Carter for boys naturally seeping into girl territory, but we’ll think of Agent Carter anyway.

Game of Thrones is showing some interesting results. Khaleesi, who didn’t even show up in the database until 2011, peaked at 369 occurrences in 2014 (rank #756) but is now down to 341 occurrences in 2015 (rank #816). However, Arya continues to increase from its meager pre-GOT days, from 273 occurrences in 2010 (rank #942) to 1,634 (rank #201) in 2015.

Talking about Arya, the actress Maisie Williams has been becoming increasingly popular, and it shows. Maisie represented 138 occurrences in 2010, but it finally appeared in the top 1,000 names in 2014 with 436 occurrences (rank #653) and 458 births in 2015 (rank #624).

The musical Hamilton has been immensely popular since the beginning of 2015, but the name Hamilton hasn’t benefited. Hamilton has been fairly constant around 90 occurrences from 2011 to 2015. The name Alexander has actually even decreased from 15,362 occurrences in 2014 to 14,460 occurrences in 2015.

In other fandoms, past popularity is starting to lose steam. Frozen came out in winter of 2013. We saw a spike for Elsa from 540 in 2012 and 565 in 2013 to a whopping 1,138 in 2014. I guess everyone’s letting it go now—see what I did there?—because the name is back to 653 in 2015. Anna didn’t see such spike, it’s been very steady around 5,000 every year. No surprises were in store for Kristoff or Olaf either.

So, what other fun names could I find? Sojourner as a girl name popped back into the database for the first time in years, with 5 occurrences. Could we thank The Martian perhaps? The number of girls named Tesla has more than doubled since 2011, from 70 occurrences to 166. Here are some other fun, geeky options I spotted scrolling down (endlessly) through 2015’s data:
Feynman – 0 girls, 20 boys
Griffith – 0 girls, 13 boys
Helix – 0 girls, 14 boys
Sherlock – 0 girls, 9 boys
Watson – 0 girls, 121 boys
Watts – 0 girls, 7 boys
Tron – 0 girls, 9 boys
Trek – 0 girls, 9 boys
Indie – 145 girls, 8 boys
Dresden – 10 girls, 57 boys
Darcy – 167 girls, 12 boys
Matisse – 9 girls, 14 boys
Ion – 0 girls, 11 boys
Legion – 0 girls, 21 boys
Dewey – 0 girls, 17 boys
Shadow – 11 girls, 11 boys
Fairy – 5 girls, 0 boys
Orion – 22 girls, 865 boys
Arrow – 60 girls, 94 boys
Cypher – 0 girls, 5 boys

If you like occupational baby names like Archer, Fletcher, or Mason, consider these rarer picks from 2015:
Poet – 11 girls, 8 boys
Rogue – 33 girls, 25 boys
Sailor – 234 girls, 42 boys
Scout – 232 girls, 66 boys (If you want to use Sailor Scout as first name/middle name combo, I won’t judge!)
Walker – 18 girls, 1,003 boys
Baker – 10 girls, 84 boys
Oracle – 8 girls, 0 boys
Wheeler – 0 girls, 19 boys
Racer – 0 girls, 6 boys
Emperor – 0 girls, 10 boys
Boss – 0 girls, 9 boys
Tracer – 0 girls, 6 boys
Strider – 0 girls, 21 boys
Roper – 0 girls, 19 boys
Master – 0 girls, 11 boys
Chief – 0 girls, 16 boys (Or combine them, Master Chief, for Halo fans)
Warrior – 0 girls, 8 boys
Raider – 0 girls, 31 boys
Packer – 0 girls, 7 boys
Jagger – 0 girls, 389 boys (or Jager, which apparently means “hunter” in Germain – 0 girls, 14 boys)
Booker – 0 girls, 54 boys

You may want to stay clear of these aspirations that may be harder to fulfill:
God – 0 girls, 5 boys
Goddess – 39 girls, 0 boys
Glorious – 7 girls, 0 boys
Victorious – 7 girls, 0 boys
Awesome – 0 girls, 11 boys
Clever – 0 girls, 7 boys
Savant – 0 girls, 7 boys
Famous – 0 girls, 5 boys

Whatever you do, don’t let your kid be one of the 10 named Caillou. *shivers*

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