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Pop Culture Influences Rising Baby Names

Pop Culture Influences Rising Baby Names

Each year, a new crop of pop culture names bursts onto the scene. Some will go on to reach massive heights — former Top 10 name Madison was introduced by the movie Splash in 1984 — while others will fade (remember Sekani and Kovid?)

The pandemic years cemented celebrities and popular culture as essential forms of escapism. Despite being able to socialize freely again, streaming services, video games, and social media networks have thrived post-COVID, as we continue to crave those forms of entertainment.

So it’s no surprise that many of the fastest-rising names of the year were inspired by popular culture — TV and movies, music and sports, and celebrities themselves.

These were the biggest pop culture influences on baby names in 2022.

Yellowstone Names

The biggest pop culture influence on baby names in 2022 was, undoubtedly, Yellowstone. The TV Western drama and its spinoffs successfully launched the name Dutton into the Top 1000 — a name that only debuted five years prior.

Dutton was the fastest-rising boy name of 2022, followed by Kayce. Kayce, along with the traditional spelling Casey, rose for both sexes.

Harry Potter Names

The Harry Potter generation is all grown up and naming babies of their own. Currently popular names like Luna, Aurora, and Hugo owe some of their success to the series, and now, some of the more unusual names from Harry Potter are on the rise.

Hermione rose over 60% between 2021 and 2022, and names such as Fenrir, Sirius, and Lavender also increased in popularity.

Encanto Names

Disney names are beloved by parents, and the 2021 animated musical Encanto was especially influential.

In a rare occurance, almost every single name featured in the film became more popular between 2021 and 2022. Protagonist Mirabel saw her name grow by over 350%, and variations Mirabelle, Mirabella, and Mirabell increased in use as well.

Isabela, Julieta, Luisa, and Camilo each rose over 100 spots, and Ozma — a minor character name — debuted on the charts in 2022.

Soccer Star Names

It's no surprise soccer was a strong influence during a World Cup year — internatioanlly beloved players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Iker boosted their first names, and French footballer Kylian Mbappé's name rose over 250 spots.

Boy names Ciro, Karim, and Erling increased in use thanks to World Cup players, and Brazilian player Alisson Becker popularized his name for girls this year.

The Witcher Names

Netflix show The Witcher premiered in 2019, but names from the show really took off in 2022. The series features characters with historic names like Cahir and Coen, along with many invented names inspired by English, Irish, and Cornish names, such as Yennefer and Geralt.

The breakout name from the show is Cirilla, which rose 205% in 2022. The character's nickname, Ciri, has not seen similar success because it's too close to the Apple assistant, Siri.

Vikings Names

Viking names are currently trending, boosted by the History Channel show Vikings and it's spinoff, Vikings: Valhalla. Real Viking names, like Leif (Erikson) and Ragnar (Lodbrok) are among those rising, along with Scandinavian names featured on the show: Bjorn, Astrid, and Torvi.

Harold, long considered a grandpa name in the US, may owe its uptick to Vikings characters called Harald and Haraldson.

Star Wars Names

Leia is still going strong, but Luke is now falling in popularity, clearing the way for new Star Wars names like Anakin and Kylo. Kylo rose 90 spots and is now Number 436, while Anakin is currently ranked at Number 606.

Star Wars surnames such as Solo and Kenobi — both currently outside of the Top 1000 — increased in use, along with Jedi, perhaps inspired by the video game Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

Music Names

Khaza broke into the Top 1000 this year for boys, and is now at Number 839. Rapper Kevin Gates released an album called Khaza in 2022, named after his 8-year-old son. Khaza made its debut on the charts for girls with 19 uses.

Other musical influences of 2022 include Jireh, based on a viral Christian song by Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music, Dua, inspired by Dua Lipa, and Snoh, connected to Swedish singer Snoh Aalegra.

Design Names

Designer names were one of the biggest trends of 2021, and it continued into 2022. Amiri, the fastest rising boy name of 2021, was also among the biggest risers for girls in 2022 thanks to its on-trend sounds and connection to luxury fashion label AMIRI.

Established brand names like Armani and Celine rose last year, along with Halston, one of the trendiest fashion surnames for both sexes.

Other Pop Culture Names

These influencer, starbaby, and celebrity names are among the top risers and most notable debuts of the year. Included here are names of anime characters (Eren, Jiraiya), TV protagonists (Villanelle, Stiorra), celebrity babies (Monaco, Symphony), and stars themselves (Hathaway, Timothee).

About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top 2020s names, Gen Z names, and cottagecore baby names. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest.

Sophie Kihm's articles on names have run on People, Today, The Huffington Post, and more. She has been quoted as a name expert by The Washington Post, People, The Huffington Post, and more. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.