14 baby names that have surged in popularity this year

A new analysis from BabyCenter has found names that are surging in popularity, most of which have a tie to politics.
Jun 26, 2016

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  • If you think babies are safe from the 2016 election, you're wrong.

  • A new analysis from BabyCenter, a web platform and resource for new parents, has found that there have been plenty of newborn babies whose names are connected to the ongoing 2016 election.

  • In fact, of the 115,000 names registered on the website, the name Hillary (yes, after Hillary Clinton) saw a 142 percent increase in popularity since 2015. Meanwhile, Clinton's family members Bill, Chelsea and Charlotte all saw increases of 113, 18 and 17 percent, respectively.

  • And if you think the Donald wouldn't have a say in this, clearly you haven't listened to him bark from the podium. BabyCenter reported that the name Donald jumped 8 percent since last year, while Melania (Trump's wife's name) and Ivanka (his daughter's name) increased by 36 and 4 percent, respectively.

  • Of course, BabyCenter was quick to remind prospective parents that these names will drop in popularity after the election.

  • "A presidential election is a big deal, and new parents who choose names like Hillary and Donald are placing a bet that their new baby will share the name of the next American president," Linda Murray, BabyCenter global editor in chief, stated in the press release, according to The Huffington Post. "In a sense, they're already voting for their favorite candidate. Time will tell whether they picked a winner or the next John Kerry or Mitt Romney."

  • We've seen before that politics can have a say in baby name decisions. I wrote for FamilyShare back in March that there were a host of baby names that were popular around the time of Millard Fillmore's presidency - the last president who wasn't a Democrat or Republican - that aren't so popular today.

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  • Also in its new report, BabyCenter found that modern culture influences today's baby names. The name Hamilton - yes, like Alexander Hamilton, the namesake of the Broadway play "Hamilton" - has also surged in popularity, jumping 60 percent this year.

  • "The combination of 'Hamilton's' success and the election year has parents feeling patriotic," Murray explained, according to HuffPost. "When parents reach into history to select a leader's name for their child, it's usually because they feel inspired by that person's values and legacy. The Broadway show's multi-ethnic, cross-culture story speaks to millennial parents. Hamilton is the new Lincoln or Madison."

  • Names from the recent "Star Wars" films, like Rey and Kylo, also saw a spike in popularity.

  • We've seen this before, too. In fact, the name Anakin - Darth Vader's real name, as revealed in the "Star Wars" prequels - has constantly remained popular among American baby names.

  • Pop culture usually has a pretty heavy influence. As my colleague Chandra Johnson wrote last July, the name Elsa, the name of the main character from hit Disney film "Frozen," became more popular, reaching the top 500 names list in 2014 for the first time since 1917. Other Disney-inspired names - like Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" and Jasmine from "Aladdin" - also saw spikes in popularity at the time of their respective film's release.

  • So it's clear from these reports that some names that used to be popular will see a surge either through politics or pop culture. Here's a breakdown of some of the more recent names that have seen a surge because of pop culture's influence and the political election season.

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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

Website: https://twitter.com/HerbScribner

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