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Popular culture baby names

Choosing a baby name is a huge decision for parents and guardians, as it could shape their child’s identity for the rest of their lives. It can also play a big part in creating a first impression.

If you have a little one on the way, it’s important to protect them for the future. One of the best ways you can do this is by getting life insurance to help support them when you’re gone.

Baby sat on the bed looking down playing on an iPad

Baby name inspiration can come from all kinds of places, including from the worlds of movies, TV and music. Sometimes this could be a name that has made its way into the mainstream after the show, or maybe something a little more out there. But which names have influenced us the most?

Here’s a look at the popularity of some popular culture-inspired baby names, and how much they increased after first appearing on our screens.

 

UK popular culture baby names with the biggest increases

Chart showing the biggest increase percentage of pop culture baby names

1. Jax (Sons of Anarchy) - 6,325% increase

  • Initial number of names (2008): 8
  • Peak number of names (2017): 514

Jax was a name rarely heard before 2008, with just 8 baby boys called Jax being born that year. However, it’s also the year that TV’s Sons of Anarchy debuted, starring Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller. Almost a decade later, and 3 years after the show had finished, the name Jax jumped in popularity by 6,325% with 514 babies in 2017.

2. Harper (daughter of David & Victoria Beckham) - 4,135% increase

  • Initial number of names (2011): 48
  • Peak number of names (2018): 2,033

We’re often inspired by the choices of our favourite celebrities, which seems to have been the case with Harper, the name of the Beckham’s daughter.

There were 48 Harpers born in 2011, the year the Beckhams welcomed their only daughter. The name peaked in 2018 with 2,033 girls being named Harper, an increase of 4,135% compared to 2011. When we compare this to 2020, Harper is still one of the most common girls’ names in the country.

Reign (Son of Kourtney Kardashian & Scott Disick) - 4,133% increase

  • Initial number of names (2014): 3
  • Peak number of names (2020): 127

Just behind Harper is another celebrity baby name, Reign. Reign is the name of Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick’s second son, who was born in 2014. Reign is a regal-sounding name and 3 baby boys were named this in 2014. In 2020 however, its popularity had risen to 127 babies, an increase of 4,133%.

Rank Name Known from... Category Gender Came to prominence in Number of names when it came into prominence Peaked in the year Peak number of names Difference
1
Jax
Sons of Anarchy
TV
Male
2008
8
2017
514
6,325%
2
Harper
Daughter of David & Victoria Beckham
Celebrity baby
Female
2011
48
2018
2,033
4,135%
3
Reign
Son of Kourtney Kardashian & Scott Disick
Celebrity baby
Male
2014
3
2020
127
4,133%
4
Amelie
Amélie
Film
Female
2001
33
2012
1,236
3,645%
5
Juno
Juno
Film
Female
2007
5
2018
126
2,420%
6
Luna
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Film
Female
2007
52
2020
1,303
2,406%
7
Kylo
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Film
Male
2015
10
2020
199
1,890%
8
Khloe
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
TV
Female
2007
9
2011
174
1,833%
9
Buddy
Elf
Film
Male
2003
10
2016
188
1,780%
10
Renesmee
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1
Film
Female
2011
5
2018
59
1,080%
 

UK popular culture baby names that are dying out

Chart showing the biggest decrease in pop culture baby names

1. Alexa (Amazon Alexa) - 95% decrease

  • Initial number of names (2013): 355
  • 2020 names: 18

Some names can actually be negatively impacted by popular culture. For example, back in 2013, Alexa was a fairly popular girls’ name, with 355 being named.

But the release of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant saw the name’s popularity plummet, with just 18 being named Alexa in 2020. It’s easy to see why, with the thought of smart devices beeping to life every time you mention your child’s name. It doesn’t exactly sound appealing.

2. Chad (High School Musical) - 84% decrease

  • Initial number of names (2006): 45
  • 2020 names: 7

Chad is definitely a name you’d expect to hear more in the US than here in the UK. However, there were still a few babies with this name in the UK back in 2006 (45).

That quickly changed though, with just 7 UK babies being named Chad in 2020. Just how much this was influenced by the name being featured in High School Musical is up for debate, but it could have played a part.

3. Carrie (Sex and the City) - 82% decrease

  • Initial number of names (1998): 88
  • 2020 names: 16

Carrie was a relatively popular name when Sex and the City premiered in 1998, with Sarah Jessica Parker playing the lead, Carrie Bradshaw. In total, 88 babies were named Carrie in the year that the show premiered.

But despite a slight peak in the following years as the show’s popularity increased, its popularity has fallen since. Just 16 baby girls were named Carrie in 2020, a decrease of 82%.

Rank Name Known from... Category Gender Came to prominence in Number of names when came into prominence Number of names in 2020 Difference
1
Alexa
Amazon Alexa
Technology
Female
2013
355
18
-95%
2
Chad
High School Musical
Film
Male
2006
45
7
-84%
3
Carrie
Sex and the City
TV/Film
Female
1998
88
16
-82%
4
Troy
High School Musical
Film
Male
2006
242
71
-71%
5
Annalise
How to Get Away with Murder
TV
Female
2014
139
48
-65%
6
Kim
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
TV
Female
2007
16
8
-50%
7
Travis
Travis Scott
Music
Male
2015
213
112
-47%
8
Bridget
Bridget Jones's Diary
Film
Female
2001
56
35
-38%
 

The UK’s most common baby names from films

Top 3 UK film pop culture baby names

Logan (X-Men) - 1,679 baby boys

Logan is the alias of Wolverine in the X-Men comics, which came into the public consciousness after the release of X-Men in 2000. Logan is also one of the most popular baby names in the UK, with over 1,600 boys being named this in 2020 (the most recent year that data was available).

Rank Name Known from... Gender 2020 babies
1
Logan
X-Men
Male
1,679
2
Matilda
Matilda
Female
1,465
3
Luna
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Female
1,303
4
Aurora
Maleficent
Female
840
5
Amelie
Amélie
Female
661
6
Lara
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Female
556
7
Gabriella
High School Musical
Female
384
8
Primrose
The Hunger Games
Female
323
9
Maximus
Gladiator
Male
258
10
Belle
Beauty and the Beast
Female
211
 

The UK’s most common baby names from TV

Top 3 UK TV pop culture baby names

Jax (Sons of Anarchy) - 485 baby boys

The number of babies named Jax saw an increase of over 6,000% after Sons of Anarchy launched in 2008. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see that it is also one of the most popular TV-inspired names in the UK.

485 baby boys were named Jax in 2020, which means ‘son of Jack’ and can be an alternative to Jackson, Jason or Jaxon.

Rank Name Known from... Gender 2020 babies
1
Jax
Sons of Anarchy
Male
485
2
Dexter
Dexter
Male
466
3
Arya
Game of Thrones
Female
412
4
Elena
The Vampire Diaries
Female
408
5
Piper
Orange is the New Black
Female
361
6
Stefan
The Vampire Diaries
Male
186
7
Serena
Gossip Girl
Female
130
8
Yara
Game of Thrones
Female
92
9
Dawson
Dawson's Creek
Male
80
10
Belle
Beauty and the Beast
Female
211
 

The UK’s most common baby names from music

Top 3 UK music pop culture baby names

Willow (Willow Smith) - 2,165 baby girls

The name Willow has steadily been on the increase since 2000, when Willow Smith, daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith was born. However, far from just being another celebrity baby name, Willow has forged her own successful music career over the years. Data shows over 2,000 babies were named Willow in 2020.

Rank Name Known from... Gender 2020 babies
1
Willow
Willow Smith
Female
2,165
2
Florence
Florence + the Machine
Female
2,026
3
Ariana
Ariana Grande
Female
395
4
Niall
One Direction
Male
141
5
Zayn
One Direction
Male
315
6
Billie
Billie Eilish
Female
261
7
Lana
Lana Del Rey
Female
235
8
Dua
Dua Lipa
Female
213
9
Etta
Etta James
Female
205
10
Lennon
John Lennon
Male
197
 

The UK’s most common baby names from gaming

Top 3 UK gaming pop culture baby names

Nate (Uncharted) - 159 baby boys

When it comes to gaming, Nathan Drake, better known as Nate, is one of the most popular protagonists of recent years. The name Nate appeared in the Uncharted series and 159 babies were named this in 2020. This was more than the slightly unusual gaming choices such as Zelda and Link.

Rank Name Known from... Gender 2020 babies
1
Nate
Uncharted
Male
159
2
Mario
Super Mario
Male
80
3
Zelda
The Legend of Zelda
Female
54
4
Raiden
Metal Gear/Mortal Combat
Male
48
5
Link
The Legend Of Zelda
Male
14
6
Luigi
Super Mario
Male
12
7
Jak
Jak and Daxter
Male
10
8
Alyx
Half-Life 2
Female
10
9
Peach
Super Mario
Female
6
10
Ryu
Street Fighter
Male
5
 

The USA’s most common baby names from films

Top 3 US film pop culture baby names

Logan (X-Men) - 8,786 baby boys

Just like in the UK, Logan is the most popular movie-inspired baby name in the USA. Over 8,000 boys were born with this name in 2021 (the most recent year with data available). However, Logan has traditionally been more of a popular name in the States than in the UK.

8,786 Logans were born in the US in 2020 compared to 1,679 in the UK, so the impact of the X-Men movies is likely to be lower here.

Rank Name Known from... Gender 2021 babies
1
Logan
X-Men
Male
8,786
2
Luna
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Female
8,173
3
Aurora
Maleficent
Female
5,466
4
Gabriella
High School Musical
Female
3,087
5
Ace
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Male
2,432
6
Ariel
The Little Mermaid
Female
1,331
7
Maximus
Gladiator
Male
1,307
8
Octavia
The Hunger Games
Female
1,231
9
Trinity
The Matrix
Female
1,133
10
Leia
The Star Wars Franchise
Female
1,067
 

The USA's most common baby names from TV

Top 3 US TV pop culture baby names

Elena (The Vampire Diaries) - 4,252 baby girls

While Elena is a popular girls’ name generally, it’s also associated with a couple of fictional characters, including Elena Gilbert, of The Vampire Diaries. In total, 4,252 baby girls were given this name in 2021.

Rank Name Known from... Gender 2021 babies
1
Elena
The Vampire Diaries
Female
4,252
2
Sawyer
Lost
Male
3,229
3
Piper
Orange is the New Black
Female
2,727
4
Arya
Game of Thrones
Female
2,320
5
Dawson
Dawson's Creek
Male
1,815
6
Kylie
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Female
1,794
7
Khloe
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Female
1,666
8
Jax
Sons of Anarchy
Male
1,444
9
Kendall
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Female
1,041
10
Blair
Gossip Girl
Female
1,023
 

The USA's most common baby names from music

Top 3 US music pop culture baby names

Camila (Camila Cabello) - 8,005 baby girls

One of the biggest pop stars of recent years is Camila Cabello, and it seems that many newborn girls are sharing her name, with just over 8,000 Camilas born in 2021. Camila is of Latin origin and the name has peaked in popularity since the former Fifth Harmony member went solo in 2016.

Rank Name Known from... Gender 2021 babies
1
Camila
Camila Cabello
Female
8,005
2
Willow
Willow Smith
Female
5,143
3
Ariana
Ariana Grande
Female
2,967
4
Taylor
Taylor Swift
Female
1,533
5
Selena
Selena Gomez
Female
1,443
6
Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
Male
1,243
7
Zayn
One Direction
Male
1,220
8
Prince
Prince
Male
969
9
Mariah
Mariah Carey
Female
937
10
Travis
Travis Scott
Male
842
 

The USA's most common baby names from gaming

Top 3 US gaming pop culture baby names

Mario (Super Mario) - 929 baby boys

With a large Italian population and many descendants of Italians, the fact that the US has more Marios than the UK isn’t surprising. However, like many other names here, it’s undeniable that the name is associated with Nintendo’s iconic mascot for most people.

Rank Name Known from... Gender 2021 babies
1
Mario
Super Mario
Male
929
2
Raiden
Metal Gear/Mortal Combat
Male
835
3
Zelda
The Legend of Zelda
Female
490
4
Link
The Legend Of Zelda
Male
155
5
Nate
Uncharted
Male
99
6
Ryu
Street Fighter
Male
77
7
Sora
Kingdom Hearts
Male
51
8
Luigi
Super Mario
Male
32
9
Jak
Jak and Daxter
Male
31
10
Alyx
Half-Life 2
Female
22

Louise Thomas, life insurance expert at Confused.com comments:

“With millions of names to choose from, selecting the perfect name for your baby can be a daunting task for parents and it can be hard to know where to begin. The research shows that some parents-to-be are clearly turning to popular culture to gain baby name inspiration, with the likes of Willow, Luna and Harper proving popular.

“When choosing a baby name, there are several factors parents should consider. First, it’s important to contemplate all possible nicknames their child could be given, by both family and future school friends. Parents may also want to think about what their child’s initials will be if given the name they’re considering. While the meaning of a name is important, a quick Google search can reveal the meaning behind your favourite monikers!

“If you have a baby due in the coming months, have a young family already or are considering children in the near future, it’s important to consider investing in life insurance to protect your family if you aren’t around to do so.

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