Friday, October 31st, 2014
Mostly False
Ramos
"The most popular name is no longer John or Steven. It's Jose, Camilo and Maria."

Jorge Ramos on Thursday, December 5th, 2013 in a broadcast of the "Daily Show"

Univision's Ramos: The names Jose, Camilo and Maria are more popular than John and Steven

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos appeared on the Dec. 5, 2013, episode of the "Daily Show."

Sandwiched between jokes on the Dec. 5, 2013, episode of the Daily Show, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos offered a factual claim that even had Daily Show host Jon Stewart asking, "Really?"

Ramos was documenting the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States. Hispanics are the country’s largest ethnic minority group at 53 million people, and by 2060, the Hispanic population is expected to reach nearly 130 million. That would equal about a third of all Americans.

Already, there are signs of a shift, Ramos said.

"The most popular name is no longer John or Steven," Ramos told Stewart. "It's Jose, Camilo and Maria."

Like Stewart, we wondered if Ramos’ claim was correct.

We got in touch with Ramos, and he clarified that when he talked about names, he had states like California and Texas in mind, not so much the entire United States. And he thought he was talking about which names were more popular (as a comparison), not the most popular overall.

The ultimate source on baby names is the Social Security Administration, which conveniently provides a database that allows you to slice and dice the information by year, state and name.

We found that in certain states, Ramos is partly right. In the five states with the highest portion of Hispanic residents, Jose is more popular than both John and Steven. We looked at other states that have some of the largest numbers of Hispanics and found that there is a break point.

When the Hispanic population is above 27 percent of the total, Jose outranks John. Below that line, John is more popular.

 

State

% Hispanic population

Jose - rank among baby names

John - rank among baby names

New Mexico

46.7

28

56

California

38.1

25

55

Texas

38.1

6

36

Arizona

30.1

28

53

Nevada

27.1

41

57

Florida

22.8

73

39

Colorado

20.9

89

38

New Jersey

18.1

91

20

New York

18

100

26

Illinois

16.1

76

26

United States

17

72

28

Source: Social Security Administration

So Ramos has a point when it comes to Jose and even more so for Steven, which fails to make the top 100 in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Ramos’ batting average falls for the rest of the names he gave. Camilo barely ranks in the top 1,000 nationwide. Maria is more popular but never does better than its rank of 58 in Texas.

We should give a nod to the creativity or maybe just the flexibility of American parents. Since 2000, the popularity has fallen for every name Ramos mentioned, except Camilo. Nationally, Jose fell from 34 to 72, John went from 14 to 28, Steven dropped from 54 to 112, and Maria from 41 to 101. Camilo only shows up in the top 1,000 starting in 2009 and its rank moved from 901 to 837.

If you were wondering, the most popular names in 2012: Jacob and Sophia.

Our ruling

Ramos said that the most popular names are no longer John or Steven, but Jose, Camilo and Maria. Afterward, Ramos said he was thinking of states with large Hispanic populations.

With that caveat, he has a bit of a point. In states with the highest percentage of Hispanics, Jose beats out John and Steven. Camilo and Maria are not really contenders. None of these names are the most popular in any state.

We rate the claim Mostly False.