How Archer Affects Baby Names

Tonight the newest season of Archer debuts on television.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, it’s basically James Bond in cartoon form.  The eponymous character does everything you would expect 007 to do, but with more vulgarity.  For most of the series, he works for a spy organization called ISIS (this changed when the conflict in the Middle East erupted).  His mother is his boss and the show’s equivalent of M.  Also working in the organization are a plethora of lively characters who are sometimes even more insane than Archer or his mother (note: Krieger).  Yet despite being the farthest thing from family-friendly, the show has actually managed to affect baby names.  A few names from the show have become more popular since its inception in 2009. 

My popularity analysis of the character names:

Archer: This name hadn’t even been in the American top 1000 since 1889.  The year the show hit the airwaves, Archer reentered the rankings with a ranking of #681 – impressive!  Admittedly the name was starting to build traction in the earlier years of the 2000s, but probably as an occupational name.  Still, there’s no denying that the series has catapulted Archer back into general use.  In 2014, it ranked at #303 with over 1,000 uses.  I project that it will climb further in the 2015 data. 

Sterling: This is Archer’s first name.  Sterling has the rare distinction of being in the top 1000 every year since 1880, but Archer has definitely affected its usage.  Sterling had his lowest-ever ranking of #897 in 2009, but has been climbing back ever since.  In 2014, this came in at #505, and I project that it will rise further.

Lana: Archer works with another spy, Lana Kane, with whom he eventually has a child.  This name doesn’t necessarily appear to be affected that much by the show, as it actually declined in popularity for a couple years afterwards.  But, the past couple of years it’s started to rebound.  So, it’s possible.

Cyril: Cyril Figgis is an office-worker who used to date Lana.  Cyril is currently a rare name in the U.S., and looking at usage data it doesn’t appear to be rising or falling.  He might be a namesake for a few children, but even so the show has had negligible effects on this appellation.  If anything, the name has stabilized in the range of 40-50 uses per annum.

Cheryl: Cheryl Tunt is an insane office-worker who happens to be a multi-millionaire. Cheryl fell out of popularity years ago, and continues to decline in usage.  It appears that there were a few more Cheryls in 2010 than 2009, but otherwise the show hasn’t affected popularity.

Pam: Pam is the human resources person, and absolutely hilarious.  But, as far as I can find, there’s no known record of any Pams born since the 1990s.

Krieger: Dr. Krieger is a mad German-Brazilian scientist who has a holographic Japanese wife and finds out that he’s one of several clones.  I have found no evidence of any baby Kriegers.

Ray: Like Archer and Lana, Ray is a field agent.  Ray is actually still popular, but is declining.  Like Sterling, it also has the distinction of being perpetually in the American top 1000.  However, Archer has little to no affect on usage here.

Malory: Malory is Sterling Archer’s middle name and his mother’s first name.  This name isn’t popular anymore, and if I can see anything it’s that Archer’s mother has actually made this name even *less* popular.  If you’re as familiar with the character as I am, it’s really not surprising.

If you’re interested in seeing the numbers yourself, I looked at these two awesome websites, Behind the Name and Nancy’s Baby Names.  Both use the SSA data that is publicly accessible to everyone.


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