Record-breaking names of 2015

Emilia Clarke

What do a royal baby, a popular television heroine and a celebrity sibling all have in common? Their names all broke records in 2015.

Summer is officially in full swing, and with the arrival of warmer weather comes the yearly boom of babies. For some, choosing the perfect name can be a daunting task. Every year names go in and out of style. Some peak, some fall, and some break records.

Using name data from the Social Security Administration, MooseRoots, a genealogy research site that’s part of Graphiq, set out to discover which names broke their own popularity records in 2015. To do this, they found the 100 most popular names, 50 from each gender, that were ranked higher in the U.S. than ever before. Only names that reached their undisputed peak in 2015 were considered — meaning names that matched their highest performance from a previous year were excluded.

Female Record-Breakers

The most popular record-breaking female name of 2015 is Charlotte.

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As illustrated in the visualization above, the name Charlotte has been on a steady popularity come up since 1999, peaking last year at No. 9. The frequency of the name Charlotte is 5,856 out of 1 million newborns. This spike could partially be explained by the arrival of the royal baby Princess Charlotte, who was born on May 2, 2015.

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Of the 50 most popular record-breaking female names, several can be connected to figures from pop culture. The popularity of the name “Arya” could partially be due to the “Game of Thrones” character Arya Stark played by actress Maisie Williams. The name “Emilia” also appears on the list, perhaps for the same reason. Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen in the hit HBO show.

A few celebrity baby names make the cut as well. “Riley”, which reached a peak popularity ranking of 35, might be due to Riley Curry, daughter of well-known NBA player Stephen Curry. “Ivy” made the list as well, perhaps due to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter Blue Ivy Carter, who made a cameo in Beyoncé’s “7/11” music video and appeared onstage with her mom at the Video Music Awards after her performance in 2014.

Male Record-Breakers

The most popular record-breaking male name of 2015 is Benjamin.

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As illustrated in the visualization above, the name Benjamin had a period of increased popularity between 1960 and 1977 and reached its peak popularity in 2015 with a ranking of 10 and a frequency of 6,714 out of 1 million newborns.

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Of the 50 most popular record-breaking male names, a few are worth highlighting. The popularity of the name “Jaxon” which reached its peak popularity ranking of 44, could be connected to pop singer Justin Bieber’s younger brother Jaxon Bieber. “Maddox” which also makes the top 50, is the name of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s adopted son, who Angelina says will help in producing her next film about Cambodia, Maddox’s birthplace.

The name “Abel” also makes the list. Abel Tesfaye, better known by his stage name “The Weeknd”, racked up seven Grammy nominations in 2015 and went on to win two of them: Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best R&B Performance.

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