Stealthily Climbing Name: Camila

Camila is remarkable. This name has dramatically ascended the U.S. charts with very little fanfare. Last year, Camila entered the top 50 at #48. Only four years ago, Camila entered the top 100 at #83 in 2008. Camila first entered the top 1000 in 1997 at #879.

Yet this name doesn’t get a lot of internet buzz.

Searching nameberry for “Camila” yields only 269 results.* This number may seem high, but when put into context, the search results are low. For example, Calla is not even in the top 1000 yet there are 2,297 results for “Calla” on nameberry. I wanted to include Calla as one of our surprising garden variety names, but decided the name got too much attention despite its low numbers and nixed it. OK, so Calla is just one example. Are there other examples outside the top 1000 that get many search results on nameberry? You bet.

Looking at these numbers, you can see why I was surprised these four names had not yet reached the top 1000 in 2011.

So maybe nameberry readers (or “nameberries” or “berries” as they call themselves) are a unique segment of people and give a limited impression of names by themselves.

If you want further support that Camila seems less popular than it is, check out Camila’s ranking on BabyCenter compared to the U.S. Social Security ranking in 2011:

  • #48 in the U.S.
  • #146 on Baby Center.

Note that Camila is trending up both among the U.S. population and BabyCenter readers. BabyCenter already has rankings for 2012 which place Camila at #135 at the time of writing. But the difference in popularity between BabyCenter readers and the U.S. population is staggering.

So what? You may ask.

Camila is another example of how U.S. Social Security rankings are only part of a name’s story.

Camila’s popularity is not really that surprising. Southern European inspired names like Gianna (#63) are fashionable and the Spanish/Portuguese Camila fits that style. The diminutive Mila was also the fourth fastest rising name last year, climbing 190 places from #364 in 2010 to #174 in 2011. What is surprising is that Camila isn’t discussed on online baby name forums and blogs more often.

There are names like Mason that get much publicity after being used on a celebrity baby (Kourtney Kardasian’s son) and this publicity helps the name’s U.S. Social Security rankings. Then there are names like Philippa that also get much publicity due to a celebrity (Philippa Middleton), yet this publicity fails to elicit huge increases in the name’s rankings. Philippa, one of our Watch List names, has gone up in popularity a bit, but the name is still outside the top 1000.

And then there are names like Camila that sneak out in the middle of the night to scale that mountain when no one is looking and suddenly people ask, “Whoa! How did this name reach that summit?” Or, “Whoa! Who is Camila Alves and how did she snag the handsome Matthew McConaughey?”

Camila has celebrity clout just like Mason and Philippa, yet more attention seems to go to Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves’ childrens’ names, Levi and Vida. I’m left asking, why aren’t more people talking about Brazilian model’s name?

These kinds of names I may feature in a new Spotlight Name series on “stealthily climbing” names. These are names in the top 100 that have trended upwards dramatically the past decade that don’t seem to get a lot of attention. I haven’t committed to doing this series yet because I do not know if there are enough names that fit this category. Serenity (#66) is the other name being considered for this series. Before embarking on this series, I would like to hear from readers: Are there any other names you consider “stealthily climbing”?

Readers: What do you think of Camila?

* These nameberry search result numbers are as of September 16, 2012 and could change at any time.

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  1. Camila is lovely! My guess is that she seems stealthy because the parents considering her aren’t going to baby name websites for inspriation, or at least not the same ones you and I are going to. Nameberry is a primarliy English-speaking site and the parents of many of those little Camilas are likely Spanish-speaking. Is there an equivalent Spanish-language baby-name website? I’ve tried looking for one in the past, as I live in a city with a huge Spanish-speaking population, and I wanted to check out my favorite names to see if they have ugly connotations or huge popularitity that I hadn’t realized.

    • I think you are right that Camila may be popular among Spanish speaking Americans who don’t go to the mainstream English baby name sites. I checked Google keywords to see how many searches there were for “Camila” or “baby name Camila” but I didn’t think the findings would be meaningful without a lot of explanation and examples, and didn’t want to bog readers down with data.

      But for Google Searches the #1 name Sophia gets more global searches than Camila and Camila gets more global searches than outside the top 1000 Calla. BUT – the number of Google searches for outside the top 1000 Louisa and Philippa is comparable. There are 140 global monthly searches each for “baby name Camila”, “baby name Louisa” and “baby name Philippa”. If you only search for the names though, Camila still gets more global monthly searches. However for Local monthly searches (U.S. only) Louisa actually gets more monthly searches than Camila.

      Whew! I hope I didn’t bog you down with the data. If I was a betting woman, I would bet Louisa will hit the top 1000 in 2012 and will probably rank relatively high – like above the 900s. But the spotlight is on Camila. I agree it is lovely and would still stand out on an English speaking girl despite its high ranking.

  2. I also think that Camila is so high on the SS list because of its high use among Latino families in the US. On babycenter en español, it is the #1 name for Latinos living in the US, in fact:
    It also places high on the babycenter en español list for families in Spanish-speaking countries. I know it is very popular in Argentina right now. It is a beautiful name, and it is one that works well in both English and Spanish.


  1. […] appear on both the lists, but with big differences in rankings. Number three on the Hispanic list, Camila is a good example. Camila isn’t nearly as popular for the general U.S. population, but ranked […]

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