With the release of the Social Security Administration's 2014 data of most popular baby names (released in May), there came a multitude of press items about trends and popularity. Indeed I, as co-founder of BabyNames.com, took a part in such writing for several Huffington Post blog items. However, one trend neglected in the press has been the influence of Latino popular culture on the popularity of baby names in the U.S.
When I looked at names on the list that were increasing in popularity (not necessarily the most popular names, but names that increased in rank more than double), 30 percent of the top 10 names were of Latino origin. Last year's number one rising girl's name was Aranza, the name shared by the Mexican singer who performed the theme song for the ultra-popular telenovela, Mirada de Mujer.
In 2013, the fastest rising girl name was Daleyza, a name made fashionable by American Spanish-language superstar Larry Hernandez and his girlfriend, Kenia Ontiveros. This year, Daleyza ranked as 8th, showing the persistent popularity of this name and the ongoing influence of Latino popular culture and celebrity. The popularity of Ariadne (7th) is likely reflective of Ariadne Diaz, Mexican actress and former model, with recent appearances on Mexican television shows, including La Mujer del Vendaval. Other Spanish-language girl names rising on the list include Frida, Amia, Naya, Nova and Amina.
Looking at the Social Security Administration's top 10 popular names in the United States overall, there are two ultra-popular Latina names: Sophia and Isabella (#3 and #4, respectively). In fact, both names have been in the top 10 for several years in a row now. In the top 150, there are even more names that are distinctly Latina, such as Ximena, Valentina, Maria, Liliana and Luna. Latino male names are not as frequently represented on the upwardly trending names. However, there are 5 names that are regularly represented in the Social Security Administration's top 100 names: Angel, Dominic, Jose, Juan and Luis.
There is a tradition in the United States regarding baby names for one culture to become more popular than others for a period of time -- just like male Irish names in the 1990s and 2000s (Aiden, for example). American pop culture also has influenced baby names such as names rising in popularity (Maisie and Khaleesi due to Game of Thrones) as well as names waning in popularity (Mylie and Rihanna). However, the rise of Latino names may be more than just a trend. It is my prediction that as the American Latino population continues to grow, so will Latino popular culture's influence on baby names in the U.S.