Maverick is the sixth most popular baby boys name in Iowa this year — and one generation’s ‘need for speed’ may be the reason.
“My husband and I are 80s babies, and we were at dinner one night when I was early on in my pregnancy and we were talking about baby names,” Tiffany Fox of Grimes said. “Something came up about ‘Top Gun’, and we were thinking of names that were in ‘Top Gun’ and we were like ‘Maverick, that’s a cool name.'”
Tom Cruise starred as fighter pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the original 1986 action movie “Top Gun,” which follows Maverick as his reckless confidence puts him at odds with other people in his fighter school. More than 30 years later, Cruise reprized his role in the recently-released sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”
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The sequel has been much-anticipated for Fox, who shares a love of “Top Gun” with her husband Michael.
“When we were dating, we dressed up as Maverick and Goose from Top Gun (for Halloween),” Fox said. “Lo and behold, like seven years later we named our kid after Maverick.”
According to data from the Social Security Administration, Maverick has been in the top 100 most popular Iowa boys names since 2015—placing at 93rd in 2015, 75th in 2016, 25th in 2017, 23rd in 2018, 11th in 2019, ninth in 2020 and 14th in 2021.
Nationally, Maverick has gone from 864th most popular baby boys name in 2000 to 47th most popular last year. Fox believes at least some of this recent rise in popularity can be attributed to the new “Top Gun: Maverick” movie.
“I just think it’s a really cool name period, even without the ‘Top Gun’ reference,” Fox said. “It was starting to rise in popularity when we were thinking about that, but now it’s really popular. But I’m sure the movie didn’t hurt. I’m sure there are plenty of 80s babies like us who were huge Top Gun fans and part of it came from there.”
For four-year-old Maverick Fox, the “Top Gun”-inspired name could not be more fitting.
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“If you look up the name, ‘strong-willed, independent person’ is the meaning,” Fox said. “We ended up going with that name and he’s really proven to be a Maverick, he’s the epitome of a boy. He loves loud things, he loves to go fast, he loves dirt, everything.”
The Fox family plans to see the movie in theaters—giving Maverick a chance to see his namesake on the big screen.
“We’ve been anticipating it all through COVID when they kept delaying it. We couldn’t wait for it to come out,” Fox said. “We plan to take Maverick to see it, because he loves all that action. He’s already watched [‘Top Gun’] with us, we try to incorporate as many of the best old movies as we can.”
Kate Kading of Casey, Iowa may have to wait until her 19-month-old son Maverick Kading is older before introducing him to the “Top Gun” movies that inspired his name.
“I think it’ll definitely be something that they’ll all watch together, my four boys,” Kading said. “My husband is a ‘Top Gun’ fan and we both like Tom Cruise, his older stuff about him. I have an older brother, so I definitely watched ‘Top Gun’ quite a bit and so did my husband.”
Kading has noticed the name Maverick gaining popularity in recent years and looks forward to seeing ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ in theaters.
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“There’s one other little boy I know from our area whose middle name is Maverick and they call him Maverick,” Kading said. “It’s funny how it’s such a trend in names, they pop up more and more.”
What are the most popular boys’ names in Iowa in 2021?
According to the Social Security Administration, the top ten baby boy names in Iowa last year were:
What are the most popular girls’ names in Iowa in 2021?
The top ten baby girl names in Iowa last year were:
What are the most popular boys’ names in the US?
Nationally, the SSA reported that the top ten baby boy names in 2021 were:
What are the most popular girls’ names in the US?
The top ten baby girl names nationally were:
Grace Altenhofen is a news reporter for the Des Moines Register. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gracealtenhofen.