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Latin Baby Names: Most influential choices

photo by Sara Atkins

Latin culture is influencing everything in the United States, including baby names.  With the growing prominence of Latin stars and parents of all ethnic backgrounds more interested in using culturally significant names, Hispanic choices are moving up the popularity lists.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Jessica Alba and Ricky Martin may be among the most famous Latin celebrities, but their names were inspired by the general culture and are hardly inspiring modern baby namers in search of an authentic Latin choice.  The Latin celebrities (and a few fictional characters) from the worlds of film, music, sports, and fashion whose names have proven influential in the U.S. include:

Female

AMERICA FERRARA

CAROLINA HERRERA

DAISY FUENTES

DORA the Explorer

EVA MENDES

ISABEL TOLEDO — A favorite designer of Michelle Obama‘s

OFELIA — The young heroine of Pan‘s Labyrinth

PAULINA RUBIO

PENELOPE CRUZ

SALMA HAYEK

SELENA

SHAKIRA

SONIA BRAGA

THALIA

Male

ALEX RODRIGUEZ

ANTONIO BANDERAS

DIEGO LUNA

GAEL BERNAL GARCIA

IVAN RODRIGUEZ

JAVIER BARDEM

NARCISO RODRIGUEZ

OSCAR de la RENTA

RODRIGO SANTORO

Several names that rank high on the popularity list in the U.S. have a Latin flavor and are well-used by Hispanic parents along with parents of many other ethnic backgrounds. Isabella, Olivia, Sophia, Angelina, and, for boys, Gabriel fit into this group.  Names (and variations) with a more distinctly Latin heritage that are climbing the popularity list in the United States – and are definitely not for Latin babies only — include::

Girls

ALEJANDRA

ALICIA

ALONDRA

ANA

BIANCA

CAMILA

DULCE

ELIANA

ESMERALDA

GUADALUPE

KARINA

LILIANA

MARIANA

SOFIA

VALENTINA

VALERIA

XIMENA

Boys

ANGEL

ANTONIO

CARLOS

CESAR

CRISTIAN

DIEGO

EDUARDO

EMILIANO

FERNANDO

HECTOR

JESUS

JORGE

JOSE

JUAN

LEONARDO

LUIS

MANUEL

MARCO

MATEO

MIGUEL

SANTIAGO

SERGIO

XAVIER

For parents who love Latin names but want to look for choices less well-known in the U.S., here are some names with a Spanish, Catalan, or Basque background virtually unused here but ripe for import:

Girls

AINHOA

AITANA

ALBA

BELEN

CANDELA

INES

IRATI

LAIA

LEIRE

LORENA

MAR

MIREIA

NAIARA

NEREA

NOA

NURIA

ROCIO

YAIZA

Boys

ANDRES

DARIO

GUILLEM

IKER

JOAQUIN

ORIOL

POL

UNAI

YERAY

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