Barack Obama became U.S. President-elect on November 4th. Regardless of where you stand politically, it can't be denied that this historic election has made big headlines across the globe. How has it been influencing baby names around the world?
Well, some of the first news about Obama-inspired baby names came from Kenya, which is the country where Obama's father was born and raised. At one hospital in the town of Kisumu, for instance, more than half of the babies born the day after the election were given a name related to the U.S. President-elect. The names included Barack, Obama, Michelle, and Baracka. (Two of the babies--one of the Baracks and one of the Michelles--were twins, in fact.)
Similar names began popping up elsewhere in Africa as well. Six (out of ten) male babies born the morning of November 5th at the main maternity hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone were named Barack Obama.
Next came news of Obama-mania hitting maternity wards across the United States. The names I've seen so far include Barack, Obama, Sasha and Malia. One of these babies, Benjamin Barack Kimbrough, is the newborn son of Walter Kimbrough, president of the historically black Philander Smith College in Arkansas. Another, Pierre Obama Adell Willis of Atlanta, Georgia, already has nickname: The Little President.
The name Barack has never been one of the top 1,000 names in the U.S., but it could realistically make the list in 2008 if enough parents use Barack as a first name during the final two months of 2008. (Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that these names are primarily being used as a middle names, though.) Michelle is already a popular girl name, but it's in danger of falling out of the top 100 in 2008...that is, if Michelle Obama's influence doesn't give it a bump. Malia is now around the 400 mark (rankings-wise) and Sasha is slightly higher, at about the 350 mark. We'll have to wait and see if Obama's two daughters help give these two names a boost in the popularity department...
Do you know of any Obama-based baby names in your area? If so, let us know in the baby name forum!