Baby Mohammeds disappeared after 9/11

Last week we learned that Mohammed was the #2 name for baby boys in Britain last year, when the top 14 spellings were considered. Of course, that made me wonder, how popular is Mohammed in the United States? So I visited the website of the U.S. Social Security Administration, which provides the top 1,000 baby names for each ...

601360_070611_mohammeds_05.jpg
601360_070611_mohammeds_05.jpg

Last week we learned that Mohammed was the #2 name for baby boys in Britain last year, when the top 14 spellings were considered.

Of course, that made me wonder, how popular is Mohammed in the United States? So I visited the website of the U.S. Social Security Administration, which provides the top 1,000 baby names for each sex going back to the late 1800s. No spellings of Mohammed made it into the top 1,000 until 1976, when Muhammad came in 976th place with 73 births.

In 2006, Mohammed ranked #217, between Dominick and Rafael, when the four spellings that made it into the top 1,000 (Mohamed, Mohammad, Mohammed, and Muhammad, in order of decreasing popularity) were considered. No other spelling has ever made it into the top 1,000.

Last week we learned that Mohammed was the #2 name for baby boys in Britain last year, when the top 14 spellings were considered.

Of course, that made me wonder, how popular is Mohammed in the United States? So I visited the website of the U.S. Social Security Administration, which provides the top 1,000 baby names for each sex going back to the late 1800s. No spellings of Mohammed made it into the top 1,000 until 1976, when Muhammad came in 976th place with 73 births.

In 2006, Mohammed ranked #217, between Dominick and Rafael, when the four spellings that made it into the top 1,000 (Mohamed, Mohammad, Mohammed, and Muhammad, in order of decreasing popularity) were considered. No other spelling has ever made it into the top 1,000.

Then I wondered, were Muslims hesitant to name their sons Mohammed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks? It looks like that might have been the case, at least for a while. The graph below shows how many Mohammeds of all four aforementioned spellings were born in the United States each year since 1976, with data coming from Social Security card applications.

Interestingly, a total of 27,350 Mohammeds of the top four spellings were born from 1976 to 2006. That may sound like a lot, but 24,418 Jacobs were born last year alone.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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