Name Trends: Political Edition

Note: This post was updated on January 24, 2017.

What happens to your name if your dad or husband becomes the President of the United States? Take a look at Chelsea and Hillary, which took a nose dive after former President Bill Clinton took office. I can’t say for sure why, but I’d speculate people didn’t want their kid to share their name with someone so well known and be associated with them, whether they liked the Clintons or not. Even if you liked the name Chelsea and you voted for Bill, seeing them all over the newspapers and TV may have been nixed Chelsea off your baby list. Maybe they didn’t want people responding with “oh, like the first daughter?” or “like as in Clinton?” when told their baby’s name. I suppose some may have been turned off because of political party affiliation. Who knows, but neither name recovered, which is sad, because I think Chelsea and Hillary are nice names, but that’s just my opinion.

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Jenna Bush’s name trajectory has been a bit more of a roller coaster, but the name Jenna, like Chelsea and Hillary, also took a popularity hit once her dad became President.  However, it increased sharply shortly after her grandfather became the VP, but it’s hard to tell if that’s what caused the increase. I found no distinct correlations with Barbara, George, and Laura.

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Malia and Sasha Obama’s first names saw a spike in popularity following the 2008 election. The two girls were adorable as millions watched them during the inauguration in 2009 and not surprisingly, lots of people named their girls Malia and Sasha in 2009. But when the fuss died down, so did the names. I’m actually surprised Malia didn’t shoot up more, but maybe some people were worried about it increasing in popularity too much (plus there are many spelling varieties of Malia).

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The name Barack never appears on the SSA’s data files until 2007, when of course, Barack Obama announced his Presidency. It hit a peak in 2009 and then started to decline.

Name Year Total
Barack 2007 5
Barack 2008 52
Barack 2009 69
Barack 2010 28
Barack 2011 15
Barack 2012 16
Barack 2013 11
Barack 2014 11
Barack 2015 8

I did not see any correlations with the name Michelle and Barack Obama’s Presidency, however thinking of Jill Biden, wife of Joe Biden, I noticed her line was a bit interesting. It’s heading downward but then spikes up in 2008-2009, then starts tumbling back down. I think it’s a definite possiblity it’s related to Jill Biden entering the limelight, but trainer Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser could have contributed to this, too, as she was pretty popular during this time.  Could Gillian Anderson of The X-Files, despite a different spelling, have contributed to the rise in the mid to late 1990s?

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So what will happen to Barron Trump’s name? Only time will tell, but according to the graph below, it was already on the upswing when he was born in 2006.  The Apprentice aired for the first time in 2004, so it’s possible Donald’s popularity had an effect on the name. Taking a look at the y-axis, you can see that it has not been a very popular name with less than 100 babies per year (much less than any of the above graphs).  My prediction is that it will go slightly up in 2015 and 2016 and then start to go back down.

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Think we’ll see a spike in baby Melania’s or Ivanka’s? 🙂

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