2016 Baby Names: The Playground Analysis

The real top names with combined spellings

By Kelli Brady

The 2016 SSA list of top baby names says that Noah and Emma are the number one names in the country. However, in your daily life, haven’t you heard more parents yelling out for Jackson or Sophia? To help explain this, the 2016 Playground Analysis is an annual look at the truly more popular names as determined by combining the different spellings of each name. Because on the playground, you may hear a name but not know how it is spelled, and since the SSA list only lists the names as they are given, we need to add up the numbers for each spelling of the names to show where names really rank!

Note: These are the combined spellings of the names in the Top 1000 only. When the numbers from the entire list are added, positions could change. The main name listed below is the spelling given to the most babies in 2016 (SSA Rank is in parentheses). The others are in alphabetical order. Opinions vary on how different spellings are pronounced. I went with my best judgment.

GIRLS

Emma remains on the top of the SSA list for girls. There are minor changes in the Top 10 of the SSA list when comparing the numbers from 2015 to 2016, however there are some pretty significant adjustments to the Top 10 of the 2016 Playground Analysis… Ava jumps up a spot both in the SSA list and the PA list, but after that there is a bit more movement. When comparing the 2015 PA list to the 2016 PA list, Adeline jumps to #6 from #9, Mia drops from #6 to #7, Amelia moves up from #10 to #8, Charlotte jumps from #15 to #9, and Riley moves up from #17 to #10! Emily and Zoey drop from the Top 10. The largest jumps that take place after adding the alternative spellings are by Elena (#94 to #32), Adeline (#63 to #6), Madelyn (#62 to #14), Mackenzie (#85 to #41), and Katherine (#90 to #50).

Birth numbers are another way of showing how this analysis explains what you hear around town. When combining the Top 1000 names in spelling, there were almost 6,000 more girls named Sophia and Sofia in 2016 than named Emma.

1. Sophia (4) – Sofia

2. Olivia (2) – Alivia, Alyvia

3. Emma (1)

4. Ava (3) – Avah

5. Isabella (5) – Isabela, Izabella

6. Adeline (63) – Adaline, Adalyn, Adalynn, Addilyn, Addilynn, Adelyn, Adelynn, Adilynn

7. Mia (6) – Miah

8. Amelia (11) – Emelia, Emilia

9. Charlotte (7)

10. Riley (22) – Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie

11. Zoey (26) – Zoe, Zoie

12. Emily (9) – Emely, Emilee, Emilie

13. Abigail (8)

14. Madelyn (62) – Madalyn, Madalynn, Madeleine, Madeline, Madelynn, Madilyn, Madilynn

15. Evelyn (12) – Evalyn, Evelynn

16. Aria (23) – Ariah, Ariya, Ariyah, Arya

17. Aubrey (25) – Aubree, Aubri, Aubrie

18. Madison (15) – Maddison, Madisyn, Madyson

19. Layla (30) – Laila, Lailah, Laylah, Leila, Leyla

20. Harper (10)

21. Chloe (20) – Khloe

22. Elizabeth (13) – Elisabeth

23. Avery (16) – Averi, Averie

24. Lily (24) – Lillie, Lilly

25. Ariana (54) – Arianna, Aryana, Aryanna

26. Scarlett (18) – Scarlet, Scarlette

27. Camila (32) – Camilla, Kamila

28. Ella (17)

29. Leah (37) – Lea, Leia, Lia

30. Nora (36) – Norah

31. Brooklyn (34) – Brooklynn

32. Elena (94) – Alaina, Alayna, Elaina

33. Grace (19)

34. Addison (29) – Addisyn, Addyson

35. Victoria (21)

36. Natalie (31) – Nataly, Nathalie, Nathaly

37. Maya (64) – Maia, Miya, Mya, Myah

38. Hannah (33) – Hana, Hanna

39. Lillian (28) – Lilian

40. Allison (49) – Alison, Allyson, Alyson

41. Mackenzie (85) – Makenzie, Mckenzie

42. Sarah (57) – Sara

43. Penelope (27)

44. Kaylee (70) – Caylee, Kailee, Kailey, Kayleigh, Kaylie

45. Hailey (68) – Hailee, Haley, Haylee, Hayley

46. Anna (51) – Ana

47. Skylar (42) – Skyler

48. Paisley (46) – Paislee

49. Savannah (38) – Savanna

50. Katherine (90) – Catherine, Kathryn

Penelope and Savannah rise into the Top 50 of the 2016 PA, while Kylie and Peyton fall out of it.

BOYS

There is quite a shuffling of the Top 10 boy names in the SSA list when comparing 2016 to 2015. However, when comparing the 2016 PA to the 2015 PA, Jackson remains at the top and nothing else really changes until you see William take over #6 from Jacob, which drops to #7. Then it gets really fascinating! James jumps from #12 to #8, Lucas from #15 to #9, Benjamin from #16 to #10! And while Aiden stays at #2, two other “–ayden” names, Jayden (#8 to #18) and Kayden (#9 to #15) were huge droppers, probably because some of their alternative spellings have dropped out of the Top 1000. Even so, Kayden was still one of the biggest movers when comparing the SSA list to the PA list (#101 to #15), along with Jace (#76 to #36).

And again, you may be hearing about more baby Jacksons than Noahs because after combining the Top 1000 names in spelling, there were 5,000 more boys named Jackson (and his alternative spellings) in 2016 than named Noah.

1. Jackson (17) – Jaxen, Jaxon, Jaxson

2. Aiden (16) – Adan, Aden, Aidan, Ayden, Aydin

3. Noah (1) – Noe

4. Liam (2)

5. Mason (4) – Maison, Mayson

6. William (3)

7. Jacob (7) – Jakob

8. James (5)

9. Lucas (14) – Lukas

10. Benjamin (6)

11. Michael (8) – Micheal, Mikael

12. Elijah (9) – Alijah

13. Ethan (10)

14. Alexander (11) – Alexzander

15. Kayden (101) – Caden, Caiden, Cayden, Kaden, Kaiden

16. Grayson (37) – Graysen, Greysen, Greyson

17. Matthew (15) – Mathew

18. Jayden (27) – Jaden, Jaiden

19. Oliver (12)

20. Daniel (13)

21. Carter (26) – Karter

22. Logan (18)

23. David (19)

24. Joseph (20)

25. Samuel (21)

26. Henry (22)

27. Dylan (32) – Dillon

28. John (28) – Jon

29. Owen (23)

30. Sebastian (24)

31. Caleb (44) – Kaleb

32. Gabriel (25)

33. Isaac (31) – Issac

34. Luke (29)

35. Anthony (30)

36. Jace (76) – Jase, Jayce

37. Connor (54) – Conner, Conor, Konner, Konnor

38. Wyatt (33)

39. Christopher (36) – Kristopher

40. Andrew (34)

41. Christian (46) – Cristian, Kristian

42. Joshua (35)

43. Mateo (59) – Matteo

44. Julian (39) – Julien

45. Cameron (57) – Camron, Kameron, Kamryn

46. Nicholas (63) – Nickolas, Nicolas, Nikolas

47. Jack (38)

48. Landon (53) – Landen, Landyn

49. Ryan (40)

50. Jonathan (56) – Johnathan, Jonathon

Mateo rises into the Top 50 of the 2016 PA, while Nathan falls.

How does this analysis compare to what you are hearing at the playground?

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