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By Matthew Woods, liquidsymbol.com

Some names become popular for a few years, and then fade out of use. Other names remain common for decades at a time. There are names you will find across the U.S., and names that only become popular in part of the country.

It’s difficult to pin down all of the factors parents consider when deciding what to name their baby. There’s the family history, how the name fits with the last name, whether or not the name has already been used by friends and family, and the impact of people we have known with that name. The sound and the meaning both matter. A name is something a person carries with them throughout their life, after all, and its choice is an intimate reflection of who the parents are, and what they want for their child. But despite the personal nature of the naming process, or maybe even because of it, the popularity of a name depends strongly on where and when the child was born.

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Not Your Mother’s Baby Names

kai

There’s an entire generation of new baby names that are moving rapidly up the popularity list and that distinguish themselves by being recently minted–and by the fact that grandparents do a double take the first time they hear them. For even if they existed as surnames or place names or occupations, they’ve rarely been used before as first names.  Many of these new baby names are morphed versions of names that were used in another form earlier, while others have been spun from thin air.

Some are clearly celebrity-sourced—as when Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale gave their son a name inspired by their own personal associations with the island of Jamaica—and it wasn’t long before the name Kingston jumped onto the list.  Similarly, the singular name Miley has spread like wildfire with the fame of its onetime exclusive bearer.

Putting aside the legion of offshoots and variations—in rhyming and spelling—of  names related to Riley, Ryan, Bailey, Aiden, Tyler and Tyson, which already seem so 20th century– we’ve come up with a list of some of the most prominent nouveau names.  Although a precise demarcation can’t be drawn, and some of them were coming onto the radar in the 90s, these are the new baby names that definitely have a 21st century feel.

Girls (mostly)

ADDISON
AINSLEY
ARIA
ASHBY
AUDRINA
CADENCE
CALI
ELLE
HADLEY
HARLOW
HAVEN

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