On Saturday, Humans of New York shared a photo of a shy young woman with an attention-grabbing name: Beyoncé. Her story quickly went viral, thanks in part to the many sympathetic comments she received from Facebook users who also share their names with celebrities.
Don’t worry, young Beyoncé. You’re not alone. Far from it, in fact.
Beyoncé Knowles’ unique first name was an homage to her mother’s maiden name, Beyincé, but according to Social Security Administration data, there are now at least 1,904 women named Beyoncé in America. (There are almost definitely more — the most recent year for which SSA baby name data is available is 2013.) More than 1,000 of the entertainer’s namesakes were born between 2000 and 2004.
Knowles was born in 1981. SSA records don’t account for any Beyoncés until 1998, the year her girl group Destiny’s Child released its first, self-titled album. The popularity of the name hit an all-time high in 2001, in conjunction with the blockbuster success of Destiny Child’s Survivor, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and remained there for two weeks. (As for the smaller peaks in 2003 and 2007, it’s worth noting that those years saw the release of Beyoncé’s first solo album, Dangerously in Love, and her first worldwide concert tour, respectively.)
In recent years, Beyoncé has become more famous than ever, but the popularity of her name has declined significantly. We suspect that’s because — while it’s one thing to name your child after a celebrity — it’s another to name her after a full-blown mononym superstar. You don’t run into too many babies named Cher or Madonna, either.