WASHINGTON: As the number of Muslims living in the US continues to increase, the number of newborn babies named Muhammad and Aaliyah is on the rise.
For the first time in America, the two traditionally Arab and Muslim names are now ranked among the top 10 baby names according to a study managed every year by the website BabyCenter.com.
The growing popularity of Muhammad and Aaliyah, including various alternate spellings, is reflected by their rise in recent years. In 2018, Muhammad ranked as the 14th most popular name for newborn American boys, with Aaliyah the 17th most popular name for newborn girls.
This year, both names tied as the 10th most popular names for 2019.
“Muhammad has been rising on BabyCenter top baby name lists around the world, so we knew it would soon break into the US top 10,” said Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s global editor in chief.
She added: “Muslim families often choose Muhammad for firstborn sons to honor the prophet and bring blessings to the child. The name also has multiple spellings, and that helps a name get into the top 10.”
Murray said that the name Muhammad is also one of the most popular names in the world, and its popularity has been rising each year. While non-Muslim families have a seemingly limitless range of possible names to choose from, tradition is still very important for Muslim families, according to BabyCenter research, and includes the custom of naming a son after the Prophet.
The name is so popular that many parents who name their babies Muhammad often shorten the name to “Md,” “Mohd” and “Muhd” or go by a less common Americanized names such as “Mike.”
BabyCenter’s top 100 list is based on the names of hundreds of thousands of babies born in 2019 to parents registered on its website.
The most popular name for girls is Sophia, which is a popular name among all religions. The most popular name for boys is the Irish name Liam.