Popular Desi Baby Names In the USA

The US Social Security Administration has released, on the eve of Mother's Day, their annual list of the top 1000 most popular baby names for the preceding year. Forget web searches and all that, this is what parents are actually naming their kids. In summary:

Emily has topped the list since 1996. Jacob has done so since 1999. Elizabeth returns to the top ten after a two year absence.

I was curious how many (if any) desi names made the list for 2007. So, I took a look and here's what I found on the boys' side:

510. Rohan
729. Arjun
749. Aditya
821. Nikhil
829. Samir
881. Pranav
958. Rishi
959. Arnav

Quite frankly, I was surprised to see so many. But perhaps if you think about proportions, 8 out of 1000 is 0.8%, roughly 1%, which is in line with the size of the desi diaspora in the USA. I'll have to look at the lists from previous years to see if there's been an uptick. One notable omission, as noted by the SSA themselves:

Although “American Idol’s” Sanjaya did not influence this year’s list, other young celebrities influenced the naming of American children.

Heh, heh. As for the girls, another surprise - I only found Maya at position 62. The other name that came close was Saniyah at 565. There were two others, "India" at 690 and "Karma" at 859 but those aren't names desi parents assign to their daughters, not that I've heard of anyway.

You can find the lists here.

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- May 10, 2008 10:22 AM // General