The Number Of Babies Named Ivanka Or Melania Has Skyrocketed — But Eric & Donald Aren't So Popular
If you're looking for baby names — we should clarify, female baby names — maybe look no further than the White House. According to a new analysis of social security data, the number of babies named Ivanka or Melania has skyrocketed since before President Trump took office. On the other hand, Eric and Donald aren't looking so popular.
According to a "Baby Name Breakdown" analysis by AreaVibes, the number of babies named Melania jumped 227 percent from 2015, and the number named Ivanka spiked a whopping 362 percent. Meanwhile, the original report found that Donald and Eric fell by 11 and 6 percent, respectively. AreaVibes' analysis is based on data from the Social Security Administration.
To be clear, we're still only in the hundreds with the total number of babies being named either Melania or Ivanka. According to Refinery29, in 2017 the country welcomed 164 baby girls named Ivanka, and 283 named Melania. So even with the relative surge, neither name is looking particularly popular.
Laura Wattenburg, author of The Baby Name Wizard, told LiveScience that at least in Ivanka's case, she thinks the low numbers have something to do with the way the consonants fit together. "That N-K is just a nonstarter," she said. "There is literally no fashionable name with the letters N-K for either sex at this point — like 'Frank' is at an all-time low." In fact it's true, the name Frank has been declining since the 1960s.
The popularity of the two Trump women's names does not align with their approval ratings, however. Since the president began his term in 2017, Melania's has risen to 54 percent as of October, while Ivanka's has stayed in the low 40s — it was 43 percent in June.
The president's approval rating bounces around the low-40s as well, but Don Jr.'s and Eric's have registered at the low end of the family, coming in at 36 and 32 percent, respectively, in January. In fact, though Eric has always been a pretty common name, the name Donald reached its peak in the late 1930s as the 6th most popular name in America — incidentally, the president was born in 1946 — and has been dropping off ever since.
First families' influence on baby names is pretty well known. During the Obama administration, the number of babies named Sasha and Malia spiked, and the same thing happened with the name Chelsea during the Clinton presidency.
In 2010, according to CBS, the name Maliyah, an alternative spelling of Malia, moved up 342 spots to the 296th most popular name in America. Sasha jumped up, too, by 101 positions to the 261st most popular. It still happens, of course, but Wattenburg said that the tendency to name children after political figures used to be a lot more common.
"There was a clear turning point in American history where we went from routinely naming after political and military leaders and avoiding them at all costs," she explained to LiveScience, noting that the drop-off came around the middle of the 20th century. Wattenburg suggested that maybe cynicism in politics is to blame. She added in her interview, "Names are now emblems more of style than meaning."