Worldwide, Muhammad is an extremely popular name, and largely considered to be the most popular. According to the Independent, 150 million men and boys across the globe bear the name Muhammad. Now, the most popular name in the world has finally become one of the most popular baby names in the U.S. Muhammad cracked the list of the top 10 most popular baby names for boys, according to parenting website BabyCenter.
Popularity for the name Muhammad in the U.S. has been rising steadily since the name first entered the top 100 in 2013, but it didn't crack the top 10 until now. In 2019, Muhammad rose by four spots to come in at number 10.
BabyCenter took its information from almost 600,000 parents who shared their baby's name with the website in 2019. BabyCenter combines names that have different spellings, even though they sound the same to "capture true popularity." For example, Jayne and Jane would be combined into one. There are 14 different official spellings of Muhammad.
In comparison, the Social Security Administration also tracks the popularity of baby names, but doesn't combine spelling variations of the same name. The Social Security Administration lists Muhammad as number 345 in 2018, which is up from number 620 in 2018.
Muhammad means to "praiseworthy," and honors the prophet Muhammad. "Muslim families often choose Muhammad for firstborn sons to honor the prophet and bring blessings to the child," Linda Murray, BabyCenter's global editor in chief, explained in a news release.
Muhammad wasn't the only Arabic-origin name to make the most popular list. On the girls' side, Aaliyah was the 10th most popular baby name on BabyCenter. Muhammad and Aaliyah replaced Mason and Layla, respectively.
The names signify a shift. According to the Pew Research Center, there were 3.45 million Muslims living in the United States in 2017, which is roughly 1.1% of the U.S. population. The Pew Research Center says that the Muslim population is growing rapidly and projects that Muslims will replace Jews as the second-largest religious group after Christians by 2040. By 2050, the Muslim population in the U.S. is expected to reach 8.1 million, or 2.1% of the U.S. population.
The popularity of Muhammad also signifies that there are those who embracing their culture despite Islamophobia. "I think you see a new generation of young Muslims who are no longer accepting the way in which Islam has been vilified or demonized in politics and culture," Sylvia Chan-Malik, a professor at Rutgers University who studies the history of Islam in the United States, told the Huffington Post. "They're saying, 'I'm going to name my child Muhammad because this is meaningful to me, for my religious identity and my faith, and I'm no longer going to shy away from that.'"
Liam topped the list of top 10 baby names on the boys' side, replacing Jackson, which had held the honor for six years in a row. Sophia remained the most popular girls' name for the 10th year in a row. The fastest-rising baby name overall was Isla, and Eleanor and Miles were both the second-fastest rising baby names in 2019.
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