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Best New Names in the Top 1000

September 7, 2020 Emma Waterhouse
new names in the top 1000

One of the best things about getting the latest baby names data from the SSA is seeing which new names joined the hallowed ranks of the Top 1000!

Ninety new names entered (or reentered) the US Top 1000 in 2019 – 40 for girls, and 50 for boys. A whopping half of them have never featured in the Top 1000 before.

This year’s new entrants replace some surprising dropouts, like Etta, Scout and Marisol for girls, and Bowie, Justus and Torin for boys.

Overall, the percentage of babies who are given names in the Top 1000 continues to trend downwards. 33% of boys and almost 43% of girls born in 2019 received a name less popular than Rome or Dixie – the #1000 names for boys and girls, respectively. A generation ago, the same number of births would have put those names at #690 and #762!

We’ve rounded up ten of the most intriguing new baby names in the Top 1000 for each sex, listed in order of popularity. You can find the full list of 2019 new entrants below.

Best New Girl Names in the Top 1000

Salem (+260 to #752)

The highest ranking new name in the girls’ Top 1000 is Salem, a Biblical and American place name from the Hebrew word for “peace”. One of the hottest unisex names of the moment, Salem also entered the boys’ Top 1000 for the first time this year.

Yaritza (+406 to #810)

Yara joined the Top 1000 in 2017, thanks in part to the influence of Game of Thrones. Yaritza is a sparky Latin American variant which may also be related to Top 500 pick Yaretzi.

Navy (+459 to #811)

Color name meets occupation name Navy almost doubled in use last year, with 355 births compared to just 181 in 2018. It has already spawned a host of variant spellings, including Navi (104 births), Nayvie (17), Navee (15) and Naveigh (8).

Theodora (+548 to #859)

It was only a matter of time! The Berries have long loved Theodora, a vintage gem which feels both frilly and feisty and comes with a plethora of great nicknames. Adding the alternative spelling Theadora would put it all the way up at #731.

Persephone (+154 to #924)

Parents looking for an uncommon alternative to Penelope have been increasingly drawn to mythological Persephone, whose journeys to and from the underworld were said to bring about the changing of the seasons.

Halo (+154 to #962)

Light, bright Halo is one of the new spiritual baby names on the rise, joining faith-inspired names like Saint and Blessing, the latter of which also debuted on the girls’ list this year at #917. Its fashionable O ending no doubt lends to its appeal.

Cleo (+139 to #967)

Talking of O-endings, cute and quirky Cleo made its first appearance in the Top 1000 since 1956. It’s already a Top 200 pick in England and Wales – as well as here on Nameberry, where it ranks at #151.

Amoura (+1045 to #979)

The fastest rising girl name of 2019 was Amoura, up over 1000 places. This slightly frillier French spelling follows in the footsteps (or should that be jet stream?) of the Spanish hit Amora, which only joined the Top 1000 in 2017 and has shot up to #353 already!

Beatrix (+163 to #986)

With the X sound so fashionable right now, we’ve been rooting for Berry favorite Beatrix to join the Top 1000 – and here she is! Beatrix blends sweet storybook charm with a strong and striking sound, and boasts one of the best meanings around: “she who brings happiness”.

Best New Boy Names in the Top 1000

Eliel (+471 to #664)

An uncommon alternative to Elias or Elliot, Biblical Eliel was the second-highest new entry to the boys’ Top 1000 in 2019, behind Ermias – the birth name of rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was killed in March 2019.

Kyro (+623 to #719)

Three years ago, Star Wars-inspired Kylo joined the Top 1000 as the fastest rising boy name of 2016. Fast-forward to 2019, and it’s Kyro’s turn to leap up the popularity charts as the third-highest ranking new entrant. Soundalikes Cairo and Kairo also made significant gains this year.

Amias (+666 to #819)

Despite being a very old name (Edmund Spenser used the Amyas spelling for a character in his 1590 epic poem The Faerie Queene), Amias didn’t rank in the US at all until 2000. Its soft, strong sound and lovely meaning make Amias a great choice.

Bellamy (+251 to #832)

Bellamy is one of those bouncy surname names that’s just plain fun to say – think Sullivan, Rafferty, Finnegan. It staged a dramatic gender-switch in 2019, given to more boys (269) than girls (251) for the first time ever.

Robin (+153 to #865)

Here’s another name that switched genders in 2019… well, sort of. Although Robin was actually given to four fewer boys (254) than girls (258), it ranked over 100 places higher – #865 for boys and #996 for girls. That’s due to the fact that a greater proportion of boys than girls are given the most popular names, so the number of births it takes to make the Top 1000 is lower for boys (208 in 2019) than girls (256).

Mac (+135 to #870)

Laid-back Mac last made the Top 1000 in the mid seventies, but it’s back as a cool nickname name that feels fresher than Max or Zac.

Sekani (+6159 to #872)

No, that’s not a typo – Sekani leapt over 6000 places in 2019! Along with fellow new entrant Seven, it featured in the 2018 movie The Hate U Give. Sekani means “laugh” in the Tumbuka language of Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

Callahan (+133 to #892)

Add the Callaghan spelling and this jaunty Irish surname would actually have debuted in 2018 at #950, but it made it official in 2019! Cool-guy nickname Cal no doubt adds to Callahan’s appeal.

Yahya (+73 to #947)

An Arabic, Persian and Turkish form of John, in Islamic tradition Yahya honors the prophet John the Baptist. It’s one of the most popular Muslim names in both the UK and Italy, where it ranks in the Top 200.

Ambrose (+516 to #955)

Out of the Top 1000 since the mid fifties, Ambrose staged a dramatic return to the charts in 2019 with 222 births – almost double last year’s number and surpassing its previous peak of 209 births back in 1920. It’s a hugely popular pick here on Nameberry, ranking all the way up at #80!

All Girl Names New to the Top 1000

(Starred names have never ranked in the US Top 1000 before)

Aila*
Ainhoa*
Alaiya*
Amoura*
Beatrix
Blessing*
Chandler
Cleo
Denver*
Dixie
Elodie
Emani*
Emerald
Fallon
Flora
Freyja*
Halo*
Harriet
Indie*
Kaisley*
Kamari
Kaya
Kimora
Luisa
Luz
Magdalena
Malayah*
Navy*
Nellie
Oakleigh*
Paityn
Persephone*
Renee
Salem*
Sevyn*
Theodora
Winnie
Yaritza
Yasmin
Zendaya

All Boy Names New to the Top 1000

(Starred names have never ranked in the US Top 1000 before)

Aayan*
Alistair
Ambrose
Amias*
Atreus*
Ayan
Aziel*
Azrael*
Banks*
Bellamy*
Blaise
Callahan*
Calum*
Colter
Dhruv*
Dilan
Eithan*
Eliel*
Emir*
Ermias*
Foster
Jair
Jakari*
Jovanni
Kenny
Kiaan*
Kolten
Kylian*
Kyro*
Legacy*
Mac
Malakhi*
Marquis
Mylo*
Niklaus*
Remi*
Robin
Rome
Salem*
Santos
Sekani*
Seven*
Simeon
Stone
Tru*
Wes
Yadiel
Yahya
Yisroel
Zyon*

Which are your favorite new names in the Top 1000? Which names are you sad to see go? Where did your favorites rank in 2019? Tell us below!

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.

View all of Emma Waterhouse's articles

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