Baby Name Trends 2020
The 2019 baby name data is the final chapter in a decade of baby naming, but also a preview of baby name trends for 2020 and the decade ahead. Certain established trends of the latter half of the 2010s will continue to gain favor in the 2020s, such as spiritual names and those from Greek mythology. But 2019 gave us a taste of the new sounds that will come to define 2020s name trends. Over the next ten years, we’ll see less Ava and Jaxon and more Alaia and Jakari.
We analyzed the 2019 data and identified the top twelve baby name trends of 2020 and beyond.
Double-A Girl Names
Bookended by As, with only a consonant or two in between, these names are feminine and soft, but not delicate. The consonants in question — L and M — are key figures. Each allows for continuous and smooth pronunciation. The harder R is a supporting player, only used as a secondary consonant. In comparison to the Alaias and Amoras, Aria and co. have not seen as dramatic of a rise.
Alaia will almost certainly be a Top 100 name in 2020.
Names Ending in I
As a group, name ending in I are exceptionally popular. You wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at the Top 100 — Levi is the first ends-with-I name to rank for boys at Number 25, and Naomi for girls at Number 59. However, the sheer number of I-ending names on the charts is greater now than ever before (even than the 1960s era of Lori, Terri, et al.).
One driving factor is the popularity of Hawaiian-origin names including Leilani and Kehlani, which have also inspired parents to invent pseudo-Hawaiian names such as Meilani. Another is the rise of gender-neutral names. Many names that end in I are inherently unisex, such as Amari, Remi, and Yuri.
I-ending names are among the top 2020s name trends to watch. Below are ten names ending in I that will likely continue to increase in use over the next few years. Among them is Sekani, the fastest-rising boy name of 2019.
Biblic-iel Boy Names
Although I takes the cake as the overall hottest baby name suffix of the year, -iel wins the title when looking at boy names alone. The -iel suffix is Hebrew in origin and often associated with biblical names such as Gabriel and Ezekiel. In Hebrew, ‘el means “God,” so any name with this ending is divine in nature.
Three new -iel names joined the Top 1000 of 2019 — Aziel, Eliel, and Yadiel. Azriel, Adiel, and Gadiel didn’t make the cut, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they made the list within the next decade. Another up-and-coming ending for boy names is -ias, as seen in Ermias and Amias, two of the fastest-rising boy names of 2019.
Here, ten biblic-iel boy names that are on our list of names to watch:
The hottest name prefix of 2020 is going to be Ever. Blame it on Everly — the feminine surname-name that took the world by storm in the 2010s. It’s launched a number of spinoffs, from respellings Everleigh and Everlee to new combinations such as Everlyn, and for boys, Everson.
And Ever — full stop — is also trending upward. It will likely receive a further boost in 2020 thanks to a high-profile celebrity birth announcement by Lea Michele, who welcomed her son Ever Leo in August.
Below, ten of the Ever names we’re going to be paying attention to next year and beyond:
It’s Ya Girl
The Ya- family of girl names has never been hotter — it’s one of the 2020s name trends that will continue to grow throughout the decade. Five Ya- names for girls rank in the 2019 Top 1000. The Aztec name Yaretzi is the most common at Number 422 but could one day be unseeded by Yaritza or Yalitza, two of the fastest-rising names that may be among the top baby names 2020. Two pop culture references likely boosted the names’ popularity — Puerto Rican actress and athlete Yaritza Medina, and Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio, star of the 2018 film Roma.
Ya- names as a whole are on the rise — below are ten that we have our eye on:
Many of the most fashionable place names today are those of ancient locales. Ancient place names represent the best of both worlds for many parents — these names have contemporary style and are recent additions to the name pool yet are grounded in history, which gives them a sense of legitimacy that some new names lack.
The hottest among them fall into three distinct categories — Egyptian place names, such as Cairo and Egypt; Italian city names, including Rome and Milan; and biblical place names, such as Salem and Zion. The following trending choices make ancient place names one of the top baby names trends of 2020.
On the flip side, American parents are also embracing place names that are closer to home. Those looking to go beyond Austin and Savannah have discovered Boston and Memphis, Aspen and Dallas. There are also names taken from popular city nicknames, such as Nash for Nashville, and Nola for New Orleans.
In 2020, when international travel is rare and people are staying at home, American city baby names will likely see an even greater rise. These ten are currently trending and make this one group of the top baby name trends of 2020 and beyond:
Across the board, names related to heroes and legends is one of the defining trends of our current baby naming era. Among them are heroic word names — Legend, Legendary, and Legacy were three of the fastest-rising names of 2019.
But it’s names from Greek Mythology that have made the biggest impression on parents. Choices such as Atreus, Adonis, and Persephone saw massive gains last year, and the already-beloved Athena and Apollo continued their ascent. Also notable are names from Norse mythology, such as Freya, Freyja, Odin, and Loki.
These are the Greek mythological names we expect to dominate in the years to come:
When it comes to 2020s name trends, spiritual names are operating on two sides of the same coin. There are the nouveau spiritual names, particularly modern Christian names, such as Blessing and Creed, Saint and Messiah. But we’re also seeing a resurgence of traditional renderings of names connected to biblical and qur’anic figures, such as Rivka and Yehuda in the Jewish community and Maryam and Zainab among Muslims.
Names related to gems have been on our radar for a while, but have really taken off as of late. As predicted, Emerald finally broke into the Top 1000, and names such as Esme (which means “emerald”) and Opal are attracting parents at an impressive rate. But gemstone names aren’t just for girls — Jasper and Onyx are two of the hottest choices for boys right now.
The names we choose for our children say a lot about us and our dreams and hopes for the child. Names inspired by designer labels, a subset of aspirational names, project wishes of wealth, class, and of course, high fashion. Kenzo, Dior, and Armani are currently three of the biggest names to grace both runways and birth certificates.
Nicknames in general are going to be on the rise throughout the 2020s. We reached a major milestone in 2019 when onetime nickname name Jack surpassed its parent name John in popularity for the first time in recorded history. However, the vintage nickname trend is most pronounced among girl names.
Names with the diminutive -ie suffix dominate the category. Winnie, Nellie, and Dixie were newcomers to the Top 1000 in 2019 and are expected to grow in use throughout the decade. Billie sits just outside the official list but will handily rank in the 800s by 2020 if its growth rate stays consistent. The association with young singer-songwriter Billie Eilish only adds to the appeal.
Which 2020s name trends are your favorites? What other trends do you think will define the decade?
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Rachamim F Said
on September 26th, 2020 at 9:56 am
For the A bookend names, try Adora, Amada, Adara, Amina, Ashira or Anaya. Or bring back Alondra, Amanda or Anita.
Ends-in-I names you might not know yet: Amadi, Amzi, Dovi Naftali, Lowri, Tapani and Femi
-iel names that are unusual but still pronounceable to English speaking people:
Zadkiel, Zuriel, Katriel (which is gender neutral!), Doriel, Paltiel, Pehniel and Malkiel.
Searching for names containing “Ever” brings up some interesting ideas for the adventurous namer – including various forms of Severin and word names Everglade, Reverie and Forever.
If you want an Ever- name but are worried about popularity, perhaps Averil or inventing Averly, Averett, Averton or Averlyn?
Ya- names to watch: Yaffa, Yarden
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