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Best New Baby Names in the Top 1000

Best New Baby Names in the Top 1000

America’s brand new top baby names are here!

And while there are some surprising changes at the top of the charts – like Theodore jumping 13 spots to enter the Top 10 – it’s further down the hallowed Top 1000 list that you can really see the trends starting to emerge.

The number of babies receiving a name in the Top 1000 is at a record low: just under 72% in 2021. And the gender gap continues to close. Boy names, which have historically been much more stable and traditional, are now catching up with the diversity of the girl name pool.

To make the Top 1000 in 2021, a name had to be given to at least 254 girls or at least 217 boys. The #1000 names were Annabella and Davian, although others given to the same number of babies that just missed out on a spot in the Top 1000 for alphabetical reasons include Ansley and Ingrid for girls and Foster and Harris for boys.

This year, 36 new girl names and 41 new boy names debuted in the Top 1000 or returned after a hiatus.

The highest-ranking new entrant for girls is Jaylani, in at #795, which picks up the popular Hawaiian -lani suffix from names like Leilani and Kailani. And at #712, cute yet edgy nickname Ozzy is the highest new entrant for boys.

They replace dropouts including fading midcentury stars like Karen and Susan, Terry and Jerome, as well as spelling variants that have fallen out of favor, like Kaylie and Aislinn, Maison and Xzavier.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most promising new names in this year’s Top 1000. You can also find a full tally of 2021’s new entrants below.

Hot New Girl Names in the Top 1000

The Top 5 fastest-rising girl names to enter the Top 1000 this year include two stars of popular telenovelas: Angelique (Boyer, Imperio de mentiras), which leapt 306 places, and Arleth (Terán, La reina soy yo), up 259 spots.

Other rapid-rising choices include Emberlynn, a mashup of fashionable Ember and the popular -lynn suffix, and Ocean, which debuted in the Top 1000 for boys last year.

Here, a selection of our favorites from this year’s new intake.

Billie

Made eternally cool by the iconic Billie Holliday, and given a big boost more recently by superstar Billie Eilish, this boyish nickname is back! It’s already a hit elsewhere, ranking highly in Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium and the UK.

Clover

The lucky connotations of the four-leaf clover make this fresh botanical name a perfect choice for pandemic baby girls. And 2021’s new parents agreed: it leapt 203 spots up the charts last year.

Goldie

A sunny nickname with retro appeal, Goldie has overtaken longer forms like Golda or Marigold to reenter the Top 1000 as a standalone at #883. Another sweet and chirpy short form trending is Birdie. Both have been big favorites with celebrity parents in recent years.

Guinevere

Okay, we called it! Queenly Guinevere makes her debut this year, as parents look for alternatives to sophisticated choices like Genevieve and Josephine. Like those names, Guinevere comes with plenty of history and excellent nickname potential.

Indigo

Indigo and India both joined the list this year, following quirky nickname Indie up the charts. Indigo boasts an irresistibly bright, bold rhythm and that oh-so-cool O ending.

Salma

A cross-cultural classic, Salma is an Arabic name with a peaceful meaning that is also popular in French and Spanish-speaking regions. Its most famous bearer in the US is Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek, who starred in the Marvel film Eternals in 2021.

Soraya

The fastest-rising name of the year was Raya, which may have lent a boost to this stunning soundalike, with its lovely celestial meaning.

Vida

Absent from the US Top 1000 since 1946, Vida leapt 285 spots last year and seems like a strong contender for stardom in the future. Short, punchy and international, it boasts the stylish V from names like Ava, Ivy, Vera and Vada, as well as a meaning that will speak to many new parents: “life”.

New Top 1000 Girl Names

And here are all 36 new entrants to the girls’ Top 1000 in 2021, listed in order of popularity.

Cool New Boy Names in the Top 1000

Luxury fashion label Amiri was the runaway boy name success of 2021: up 534 places to rank at #757. With its similarity to popular names like Amir and Amari, it’s a good example of how a fashionable sound can combine with a cool pop culture connection to produce a hit.

Other rapid-rising boy names include Eliam, an ancient Biblical name with a very on-trend sound, and Khai, a Kai alternative boosted into the limelight by Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid, who chose it for their daughter in September 2020.

Here, a selection of the coolest boy names from this year’s new intake.

Azriel

Already big on Nameberry, Azriel is just one of a host of similar-sounding names making their mark in the US right now: see also Aziel, Azael, Azrael and Azariah. It has a dark backstory as the Angel of Death in several religious traditions, but today's parents are increasingly willing to push boundaries with their babies’ names.

Benedict

Until recently viewed as too papal by many modern parents, Benedict has been given a new lease of life by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and a Brigderton brother. It has a wonderful meaning, “blessed”, and shortens naturally to easygoing nicknames Ben or Ned.

Bowie

We’ve been watching Bowie for what feels like forever – and, finally, it broke the Top 1000 in 2021! Part tribute to the late great musical hero David Bowie, part on-trend surname name, Bowie has potential to rise higher: a natural successor to Beau and Bodhi.

Cassian

Cassian is a name that went undiscovered in the US for literally forever: As recently as 2010, it was given to only 14 baby boys. Now this ancient saint's name related to Cassius has caught on in a big way, along with many other names with the Cas- beginning.

Elio

Light, bright and international, Elio has all the right ingredients to be the next Leo, Milo or Arlo. It’s already a Top 200 choice in France, Italy and Switzerland. Perhaps its new status as a Top 1000 name will give it the extra shot of visibility it needs to really take off on this side of the Atlantic too.

Evander

Evander is surprisingly multicultural: deriving separately from Greek and Roman mythology, where it belongs to an Arcadian hero, and from the Scottish Gaelic name Iomhar, meaning “bow warrior”. Either way, it’s a strong and dashing choice that is among the most searched boy names on Nameberry.

Jiraiya

The American love for all things Japanese is increasingly extending to baby names! This intriguing choice – pronounced “jee-RYE-ya” – belongs to a popular character in the manga and anime series Naruto.

Loyal

Out of the Top 1000 since 1948, Loyal is back with a bang – up 300 spots to #753. It’s a powerful, wholesome virtue name which fits right in with contemporary favorites like Legend, Royal and Saint. Loyalty also debuted for girls this year.

Mustafa

We’re seeing many more ethnically diverse names breaking into the US Top 1000 in recent years, as parents reject the outdated idea that names should be “Americanized” for ease of use, or the fear that a non-English name could lead to future discrimination. Mustafa is one of the most classic examples: long popular with Muslim families, it means “the chosen one” in Arabic.

New Top 1000 Boy Names

And here are all 41 new entrants to the boys’ Top 1000 in 2021, listed in order of popularity.

READ NEXT: Most Popular and Fastest Rising Names

About the Author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from the baby names to watch in 2022 to how not to choose the next big baby name. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks several languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and four young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.