Fact Check: Nikki Haley Did NOT Shed Her Birth Name -- 'Nikki' And 'Haley' Have Both Been Her Legal Names

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Nikki Haley Did NOT Shed Her Birth Name -- 'Nikki' And 'Haley' Have Both Been Her Legal Names Her Real Names

Did former South Carolina governor and Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley shed her birth name? No, that's not true: Haley, whose birth name is Nimrata (also spelled "Nimarata") Nikki Randhawa, has explained that the middle name on her birth certificate is "Nikki". Like other married women, she changed her last name when she married her husband Michael Haley.

The claim was insinuated in a post (archived here) on Facebook on September 17, 2023. The post included an image of Haley with a text overlay that read:

Supports forcing kids to use birth name
Birth name: Nimarata Randhawa

This fact check will focus on the implication that Haley changed her name.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

nikki haley name FB post.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Sep 21 18:24:02 2023)

According to Haley, the middle name on her birth certificate is "Nikki," which she explained in a social media post from 2018. Lead Stories searched "Nimrata Randhawa" and "Nimarata Randhawa" using the genealogy database Ancestry and found records showing that Haley's middle name has been listed as "Nikki."

Haley, who is Indian American, has noted that "Nikki" is a name meaning "little one" in Punjabi, a language spoken by people from the Punjab region of Pakistan and India. Her middle name has also been referenced before her role in public office, as seen in high school yearbook photos (where her first name is listed as "Nimarata").

Haley married her husband Michael in 1996, taking on his last name. According to a 2023 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, eight out of 10 women married to men legally change their last names to match their husband's last name.

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