10 Years of Baby Names
In that decade, 40 million babies were born in the US, and 235 million people viewed 1.5 billion pages of our site. The Social Security Administration recorded 56,000 baby names, and Nameberry’s database cimbed to 70,000 names, along with nearly 500 curated lists, 3728 blogs, over 180,000 lists created by visitors, and 3,386,947 forum posts.
This decade has seen enormous changes in both the world and in what and how people name their babies. Back in 2008, our names of the year included Joe (the Plumber), Trig (Palin), and Edward (from Twilight). Beyonce and Jay-Z got married, Brad and Angelina had twins, and mansplaining became a thing.
So far in 2018, the US birthrate fell to a new low, down 10 percent from a decade ago. Beyonce and Jay-Z are now the parents of twins, Brad and Angelina are divorcing, and mansplaining….is still a thing.
Over the next 10 days, we’ll be celebrating our 10th anniversary by tracking all the amazing changes we’ve seen in the past 10 years of baby names. Today: The seismic shifts in baby names 2018 compared with 2008.
A NEW ERA FOR BOYS’ NAMES
Girls’ names always moved up and down in popularity more quickly than boys, with choices based more on style than tradition and more girls given unusual names.
This decade has turned that age old naming pattern on its head, with boys’ names changing more rapidly than girls and parents becoming as adventurous in naming their sons as their daughters.
The first piece of evidence: Every single one of the Top Five boys’ names has changed in the past 10 years.
For girls, by comparison, only ONE name has changed in the Top 5 lineup:
The number of girls’ names in general use has dropped 10 percent in line with the birth rate, but the number of boys’ names is down by only three percent.
Fewer boys are given a Top 100 name now compared with a decade ago — 39 percent vs. 45 percent — while the percentage of girls who get a Top 100 name has remained steady at about 30 percent.
And there are half as many megahit names given to more than 10,000 boys as there were 10 years ago, meaning that even the most popular boys’ names today are unlikely to become pandemic the way dad’s name Jason or grandpa’s John did.
The most popular first initials remained fairly stable for both genders, with A leading for girls and J for boys. But the letter L entered the Top 5 for both genders and E joined the Top 5 for girls. A third of girls still are given names that end in A and a third of boys still get names that end in N.
When you go from the most popular baby names to names making the biggest moves up the charts over the past decade, the changes become more dramatic.
HOTTEST NAMES OF THE DECADE
Which names have gained the most in popularity over the past 10 years? Here are the 10 names for each gender that have grown the most in usage in the US since 2008:
Given the dip in birth rate, the sheer number of names in use each year hasn’t increased, but every year old names fall away and new ones are coined. More than a quarter of the 30,000 names on the official US 2017 baby names roster, for instance, did not appear on the 2008 list.
MOST POPULAR NEW NAMES
Which of the new names coined over the past decade are most likely to stick around? Here are the 10 most popular new names, five for girls and five for boys, created since 2008, along with the celebrities, pop culture events, and name trends that inspired them..
Daleyza – Beauty blogger Kenia Ontiveros and Mexican-American singer Larry Hernandez invented this name for their daughter, born 2010; all three starred in the reality show Larrymania. Daleyza Hernandez has 480,000 Instagram followers – 60,000 for every year she’s been alive. Younger sister’s invented name Dalary is growing in popularity too.
Kehlani – Mononymous singer Kehlani began performing at age 14, and has been the namesake for thousands of girls since then, under various spellings.
Bexley – One of many, many, many names ending in -ley, -ly or -leigh that’s become popular in the last few years.
Kiaan – One of many South Asian names that have soared in popularity in recent years; Bollywood actress Karisma Kapoor used it for her son.
UNISEX NAMES THAT SWITCHED GENDERS
The legalization of same-sex marriage and an expansion of our collective views of gender are two of the most significant cultural shifts of the past decade, with accompanying shifts in the gender identity of many baby names. The names here crossed over in the past 10 years from being used primarily for one sex to being used more often for the other.
10 Names that flipped from masculine to feminine
Quinn – 28% to 80% girls
Peyton – 45% to 77% girls
Charlie – 28% to 52% girls
Dakota – 43% to 58% girls
Skyler – 41% to 56% girls
Lennon – 20% to 65% girls
Leighton – 27% to 74% girls
Oakley – 45% to 52% girls
Justice – 41% to 56% girls
Sutton – 26% to 64% girls
10 Names that flipped from feminine to masculine
Kyrie – 14% to 91% boys
Milan — 36% to 64% boys
Raylan — 44% to 91% boys
Bentlee – 32% to 84% boys
Camdyn – 43% to 65% boys
Dominique – 42% to 61% boys
Arrow – 44% to 64% boys
Jaidyn – 32% to 65% boys
Tru — 47% to 70% boys
Linden – 48% to 57% boys
Over the coming 10 days we’ll bring you lots more analysis and highlights of how baby names have changed over Nameberry’s first decade. We’ll be looking at the booming Berry community and the most influential celebrity names, at the top trends of the past 10 years and predictions for the next 10, with contributions from Nameberry’s top editors and writers.
Thanks to Joe Satran for the statistical analysis here and on upcoming blogs and to our partner and Nameberry engineer Hugh Hunter, without whom we’d be reading this on paper, or more accurately, not reading it at all.
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on October 15th, 2018 at 1:48 am
Fascinating to see that plenty of names have made the crossover girl-boy too! Milan, Linden and Arrow are all particularly cool.
Happy anniversary, Nameberry!
on October 15th, 2018 at 12:38 pm
@katinka yes! and thank you!!
on October 15th, 2018 at 1:25 pm
more excited for nameberry’s birthday than my own haha
on October 15th, 2018 at 3:51 pm
Aw thanks, @mamamia!
on October 15th, 2018 at 4:03 pm
Yay for Nameberry! Glad to be here to enjoy it’s anniversary. The site is interesting and awesome then and now! Good job to all the staff for making it so great!
on October 16th, 2018 at 11:24 am
Happy anniversary to one of the most addicting (addictive?) websites in the wide world.
Re: new names and Bexley, the couple I know who chose Bexley were Ohio State alums…
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