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A lot more Americans are naming their babies Melania and Ivanka. Donald, not so much

Reuters/Leah Millis
Rising above her husband.
  • Nikhil Sonnad
By Nikhil Sonnad


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

One Trump-family member can claim to be the inspiration for one of the fastest-growing American baby names. It is not Donald.

That honor belongs to Melania. In 2016, 131 Americans gave their babies the same name as the women who would soon be their first lady. The year after, the number more than doubled to 283 births, according to new data from the US Social Security Administration.

Melania is not the only Trump woman to inspire a naming boost. The name “Ivanka” also rose considerably, by about 50%, to 164 total births. “Donald” did not enjoy such newfound popularity. From 2016 to 2017, the number of Donalds dropped by a few percentage points. (Overall, however, the president’s name remains more common than his wife’s and daughter’s, with just under 600 new Donalds born last year.)

The ascent of Melania is noteworthy beyond just outpacing Donald. It was the sixth-fastest-growing baby name last year—looking only at those popular enough to be given to at least 100 newborns—behind fellow rapid-risers like Oaklynn, Dream, and Emberly.

name% increase from 2016

It’s pretty clear that the new popularity of the name Melania is related to the first lady, and not due to some coincidence. There were virtually no Melanias in the US until 2005, when Melania Knauss married Donald Trump. That year, the name rose slightly in popularity, and leveled off until it jumped again after Donald Trump’s election. Now, Melania is now about as common as names like Toby and Adrienne.

A new CNN poll shows the original Melania’s popularity rising, with 57% of Americans reportedly expressing a favorable opinion of her this month, up from 47% in January. Donald, meanwhile, has the approval of just 42% of Americans. The data on baby names seems to reflect that preference.

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