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Caitlin Clark, Zendaya influencing 2024 baby names

1 month ago 14



How names are shaped by society and history

How baby names are shaped by society and history 05:12

The name Caitlin peaked in popularity in 1988, but after more than three decades, it's seeing a resurgence – likely thanks to Caitlin Clark. Mid-year baby name trends show the WNBA star isn't the only person influencing names, so are other athletes, actors and movie characters, according to BabyCenter, which has analyzed naming trends for the past 20 years.

The popularity of the name Caitlin had steadily declined since 2000 and hasn't made it into the top 500 since 2014. But the name nearly doubled in registrations so far this year, according to Baby Center.

When Caitlin Clark was born in 2002, the name was 123 on the list. But after her record-breaking college basketball career and foray into professional sports, it appears the Indiana Fever point guard is helping to garner popularity for Caitlin. The name has risen 1,599 spots on the list in 2024.

Her last name is also rising in popularity, with the name Clark for boys being pulled out of a decline for the first time since 2015, according to BabyCenter.

Around the WNBA Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) drives to the basket against New York Liberty forward Betnijah Laney-Hamilton (44) during the first half of a WNBA basketball game, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in New York. Noah K. Murray / AP

In April, South Carolina won the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament and this year, their star player Kamilla Cardoso saw her first name rise 247 spots on the list, to number 1,213.

Other names are also spiking thanks to pop culture. The name Zendaya is up this year and has been steadily increasing since the release of "Dune: Part Two" in March. The actress' name sits at number 588. The last time her name spiked was in 2021 after the release of "Dune: Part One" and it continued to increase throughout 2022. 

Zendaya plays a character named Chani in the fantasy franchise and that name has also seen a bump since the second film was release – rising 3,300 spots.

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - February 25, 2024 Zendaya attends the "Dune: Part Two" premiere at Lincoln Center on February 25, 2024 in New York City.  James Devaney/GC Images

"Percy Jackson and the Olympians" – a young adult book that has been turned into a TV series – is also inspiring names. The name Percy jumped 296 spots on the boys' name list and 700 spots on the girls' name list. His full name, Perseus, also rose 206 places on the boys list.

Other TV shows that have affected baby name trends: historical dramas. The name Peggy rose a whopping 4,934 spots and BabyCenter attributes this to Denée Benton's character in "Gilded Age."

The siblings in "Bridgerton" may have also contributed to the increase in popularity for Anthony (up five spots), Eloise (up 20), Francesca (up 84), and Gregory (up 40) this year. 

Eclipse-inspired names are also on the rise. After April's total solar eclipse, which could be seen by 31 million people in the U.S., stellar names like Aurora and Sunny increased in popularity. And while the name Eclipse is rarer, it ranked for girls for the first time since 2021.

Caitlin O'Kane

Caitlin O'Kane is a New York City journalist who works on the CBS News social media team as a senior manager of content and production. She writes about a variety of topics and produces "The Uplift," CBS News' streaming show that focuses on good news.

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