We encounter all sorts of names daily here at HHC. And as a parent who had a doozy of a time choosing names for her own two children, I find the statistics and name trends fascinating. We’ve noticed a lot of trends over here through the years and grew curious if some of the trends we were seeing, were happening on a larger scale so we tracked down the list of the top 50 boys and girls names and scoped out the trends.
Choosing a baby name is one of the first decisions parents need to make — and also one of the most important (and difficult!). There are so many things that go into making the decision: Do you want to honor a relative? Do you need to uphold any family traditions? Do you want to choose a name that's obviously a baby boy name or a baby girl name, or do you want to pick a gender-neutral baby name? Do you have any negative associations with a particular name? Plus, you and your spouse need to agree!! It can feel like an impossible task!
One huge factor, of course, is the popularity of a baby name and that is where these lists and data come into play. Some parents want to be trendy, others want to choose something traditional and classic that most people can easily pronounce and spell. Other parents are looking for more unusual and unique baby names, to stand out from the crowd. But which names are which? And what trends affected our choices in 2020 and continue to do so in 2021?
Every year, the Social Security Administration releases its list of the most popular baby names in the United States. You can see the top 50 for girls and boys below, but the reigning champs for girls in 2020 were Olivia, Emma, Ava, Charlotte and Sophia and Liam, Noah, Oliver, Elijah and William for boys. Overall, these aren't too different from 2019: The top 10 girls' names are exactly the same and for boys, Henry and Alexander entered the top 10, bumping Mason and Ethan down.
If you want to know what's most popular so far this year, you have to look at the list of the fastest climbers. Lucky for us, the SSA keeps track of these names too. For girls, the up and comers are Avayah, Denisse, Jianna, Capri and Rosalia; for boys, they're Zyair, Jaxtyn, Jakobe, Kylo and Aziel. As you can see, alternate spellings and twists on popular names are coming back (although in our humble opinion they never left) as in Denisse for Denise (which is the No. 6 climber), or Jaxtyn, which feels like a riff on the more popular Jackson (currently No. 17) or Jaxon (No. 48). And, while short, four-letter names were once the stand out trend (like Luna or Luca), forecasting shows that longer names are coming back into favor.
So if the Avayahs and Zyairs are on their way up, who's on their way down? The SSA also keeps track of the names that have seen the biggest drops in rank.
For boys, it's a mix of names: Vivaan, Alexzander, Javion, Reyansh, Kenny and Yisroel are all on the list of names that are losing popularity. It doesn't seem like there's one theme that unites them all — parents just aren't feeling it anymore.
For girls, while ending with an -a is popular, not every -a name is climbing the charts: Yaritza, Marissa, Annabella, Amiya, Patricia, Tatiana and Miah all saw a big drop, along with names like Ariadne, Jayde, Jillian, Casey and, of course, the meme-ifed Karen. Remember, research shows us that names are cyclical, and of course these can always come back around, but for now they're losing steam.
Nameberry, a popular baby naming site, tracks interest in names among its users, which may give a more up-to-the minute look compared with the SSA, which takes a year to compile and release its data. What has it noticed as a huge trend among baby names? Place names are getting big again. "The hottest among them fall into three distinct categories," the site reports. "Egyptian place names, such as Cairo and Egypt; Italian city names, including Rome and Milan and biblical place names, such as Salem and Zion." Cities in the United States are becoming popular, too, like Aspen, Austin, Boston, Dallas, Denver and Memphis. What's most interesting about these trends is that these are mostly gender-neutral names.
In addition, BabyCenter does a similar tracking of interest among its users. When it released its Top Names of 2020, there were a few names in their top 25 that didn't make the SSA's top 50 that year (which was for the names of 2019), so look for Aaliyah, Eliana, Adalyn and Gianna to become more popular for girls, and Caden, Muhammad and Luca to become more popular for boys.
BabyCenter also uncovered another hot baby naming trend last year - the site noted that names from the news tended to dominate. This includes political names like Kamala (up 104%), Reagan (up 26%) and Jill (up 66%); departed celebrities like Kobe (up 175%) and Gianna (up 216%); and names associated with the racial justice movement, like Breonna (up 108%).
Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of BabyNames.com, has also noticed a rise in what she calls "Power Names," like Rogue, Maverick, Remington, Freya or Apollo. "I believe that parents want to infuse strength into their children during these difficult times," Moss said in a release.
According to the Social Security Administration, these are the 50 most popular names for girls in the United States:
According to the Social Security Administration, these are the 50 most popular names for boysin the United States:
Do you see your kiddos name on this list? Is YOUR name on this list? What factors did you consider when naming your little ones? Tell us below in the comments!