As the Hispanic population increases across the U.S., its influence is reaching deep into American culture. It's even changing what non-Hispanic whites are naming their children, according to baby-naming website Belly Ballot. Among the most popular names are Ernesto, Maria and Miguel.
Belly Ballot predicts that Hispanic names will surge among whites through 2014.
"Hispanic is definitely in," Belly Ballot editor and baby name expert Lucie Strachonova said in a statement. "We have seen strong indications of white parents selecting Latino baby names in greater numbers, and the trend continues to grow. Fall 2013 through 2014 will certainly be a pivotal year."
When asked why, parents say they want their children to fit in as the culture changes.
"Hispanic culture is growing rapidly here in Tennessee," said Tiffany Wilson, whose ancestry is Irish and German. Her daughter's "friends are Hispanic, her future bosses will be Hispanic ... we just don't want her to be different. I think having a Latino name has helped her make friends."
Having a Hispanic name can open the doors of opportunity, too, said Shaina Heimpel of Colorado Springs, who named her daughter Isabella.
"I did well in school with a 3.5 GPA ... but doors didn't open, there were no scholarships for someone like me," she said. "My Hispanic friends, on the other hand, got scholarships and grants. Isabella will now have every opportunity available to her, and not go through what I did. Although she's already a quarter Hispanic, that name is the only thing I can do for her that will pave the way for her life."
Nadia Villapudua, a California school psychologist, confirms the cultural shift seen by parents.
"Elementary education is where we are seeing a large demographic change," she said. "In historically white communities, Hispanics have now become either a significant minority or an outright majority."
Most popular names
Giving U.S. kids a Hispanic name isn't necessarily new, Belly Ballot points out. Sofia, Mia and Olivia are not only familiar, but are already popular.
Hispanic names that have begun to trend among whites are a bit more surprising, though, including:
For a full list of Hispanic baby names, click HERE.
Baby Ballot can be visited at http://babynames.net/.
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