The Fastest-Rising Names of 2021
Want to know the hottest names around? The fastest-rising names in the Nameberry chart give us an idea of what’s on parents’ minds.
We love predicting up-and-coming names and trends. One way to do this is through our website data, which tells us not just which names get the most views, but also which are increasing their views fastest.
We compared viewer figures for February 2021 versus February 2020 to find out which names have had the biggest rise in traffic in the last year. If you see a 🔥 flame emoji on a name page (for example, Lavender), that means it’s risen significantly.
(The stats part: the average page got 22% more views in this time period. We’ve added a flame to every name that got over 45% more views, double the average.)
These aren’t necessarily the most popular names on Nameberry: the current top girl name, Luna, doesn’t make the list because it’s been a favorite for a while now. But the top boy name, Arlo, has seen a lot more interest recently, so it makes the list.
Read on for some well-kept secrets: names that you might not have considered or even heard of… yet. From Acacia to Zephyr, here’s our guide to what’s on the rise for name-seekers.
Top 10 fast-rising names
The highest-climbing boy name animal-inspired Ox, which got over 16 times more views than this time last year. No doubt this was from people searching for names to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Ox. Sure there are more well-known options, like Boaz (another of our fast risers) or names that mean strength. But Ox itself would be a pretty cool choice.
For girls, Naya saw the greatest increase, with 4.5 more views than last year. Naya ranks at Number 1001 in the USA, so it tops our unique names chart, encouraging more people to read about it. It may also be on more people’s radar from the media coverage following actress Naya Rivera’s tragic death last year.
Among the other fastest-rising names are Harry Potter influences (Bellatrix and Draco), offbeat biblical choices (Jerusha and Aziel), and unisex names (Kai for girls, August for boys).
Fast-rising unisex baby names
Short and sweet is the order of the day for gender-neutral names, with lots of interest in monosyllables like Ren, Rue and Rain (yes, names starting with R are big too). Other unisex trends include an X sound (Onyx, Lennox), and nature (Aspen, Lark).
Our hottest unisex name was Unique, which got almost 20 times more views than it did last year. This name attracts a lot of interest (helped by search engines and the way our links work) even though it’s on a downward trend in the US: a classic example of a name that embodies modern individualism and the trend for word and value names.
These are our Top 20 fastest-climbing unisex names:
Currently hot names
As well as Ox, several hot names on the list have a timestamp, and it’s clear why they’ve been on people’s minds recently.
August was the name of two high-profile announcements in February: Princess Eugenie’s and Mandy Moore’s sons. Celebrity baby names may also explain the interest in Rhodes (Emma Roberts and Garrett Hedlund), Sloane (Ashlyn Hariss and Ali Krieger), Kali (one of basketball player Damian Lillard’s twin names), and Rafe (British entertainers Chris and Rosie Ramsey).
Other names are influenced by the season. There are several Valentine’s Day names on the list: Aphrodite, Venus, Eros, and Valentine itself. The festival of Purim fell in February this year, giving a boost to Esther and Hadassah. Amethyst, the birthstone for February, was even more popular this year. Winter names like Lumi, Eira, and Neve make the list too. Specific to 2021, winter storm names Uri and Tabitha got a lot of attention as they happened.
Many of the hottest names are lesser-used options within current trends. There are rare biblical names like Ephraim, Jethro and Jerusha, and unusual mythological names like Hera, Nyx and Osiris. Fresh botanical names include Lavender, Fern and Primrose, and there are alternatives to well-known Irish names, like Fiadh, Fergus and Lorcan.
Popular sounds include “Cass” for both sexes (Cassandra, Cassiopeia, Casimir, Caspian, Cassian and Cassius), and girl names with “Thea”: not just Theodora and Dorothea, but also Althea and Alethea.
Names with impactful X and Z spellings are well-represented, from Calix and Ozias to Xanthe and Zephyrine. While many of the hottest names are ancient and well-established, more modern ones include Ace, Reign and Danger.
There are also some surprisingly retro (but not yet vintage) names on the list. Whatever the reason for the growth in interest, we suspect it’s not time for Stephanie, Deborah and Jared to make a comeback just yet.
On the up and up...and up
These names were among our hottest names last time we did this, six months ago, and are still on the hotlist now. No flashes in the pan here: these are surefire ones to watch.
Extra-hot girl names
Extra-hot boy names
Extra-hot unisex names
Check out the full list of our fastest-rising names, and look out for the 🔥 on name pages — if you see it, you know it’s hot!