Name Popularity Countdown: The waiting game!

Name Popularity Countdown: The waiting game!

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes the final countdown to the 2017 name data, names inspired by Star Wars, country music and the Amazon, and fantastic four-letter names.

Your countdown to 2017’s top names

This is not a drill: the US Social Security Administration will release the most popular baby names of 2017 tomorrow (Friday, May 11). Maybe you want to check how popular your child’s name was, or maybe you just love diving into the data. Whatever kind of name lover you are, the wait is nearly over!

Even for those of us not in the States, it’s still a big occasion. The sheer number of babies born each year means there’s a huge pool of names, and lets us see trends in finer-grained detail than for most other countries. Plus the US is the source of so many names from popular culture that go on to spread worldwide.

In the run-up to this most exciting day in the name calendar, here are some ways you can get ready.

*Enter Nameberry’s competition to guess the new Top 10 – only a few hours left!

*Make sure you know where to find the full Top 1000 list, so you can see it as soon as it’s up.

*Remind yourself which names were predicted to be hot in 2017. Will we see a rise in wild animal and feminist icon names? What about these names that got lots of interest in the run-up to 2017: will Kyd, Koa, Tatjana or Rosamund get more popular?

*While you’re refreshing your memory, see which celebrity baby names of 2016 and 2017 might have influenced parents.

*Get ready to join the conversation about the new data in the forums, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram…or all of the above.

Contemporary country names

While we’re thinking of changing trends, this article considers what bluegrass songs would sound like if we updated the names in them. Would they have the same feel if Bessie, Polly and Lulu were replaced by Harper, Savannah and Riley? I don’t know the answer, but if you’re looking for a name with both country and modern vibes, take a look at this list of country music baby names.

May the fourth babies

Star Wars baddie Kylo was one of the fastest-rising names of 2016, shooting into the Top 1000. While we wait to see if he’ll climb even higher, there are more
Star Wars names in the news this week. For the parents of boy-girl twins born on May the fourth, the choice of names was inevitable. Welcome to the world, Rowan Luke and Kai Leia!

Fab four-letter names

There have been several short and sweet names in the news this week. It’s amazing how much you can pack into just four characters.

Jordin Sparks and her husband Dana Isaiah didn’t give their son a modern spiritual name, as predicted. Instead, their new baby is Dana Isaiah Jr – his parents are calling him DJ. Dana is a name that bucks the trends. Fairly popular for boys in the 1950s and 60s, it fell in popularity as it soared for girls in the 60s, 70s and 80s. In 2016, only 31 boys were named Dana. But like Kelly, Lindsey and Ashley, it might soon cross back over and start feeling fresher on a boy.

Welsh soccer star Gareth Bale, who plays for Real Madrid, has welcomed a son, Axel Charles. What caught my eye were his big sisters’ names: Alba Violet and Nava Valentina. Three four-letter names, each with different origins and popularity, but which fit nicely together and have a contemporary feel. Well played. Other super four-letter names from last month’s babyberry announcements include Noor, Wren, Eben and Iron.

Real naming stories: E, Yo and Amazon

Remember the siblings called E and Yo? Their father, Dalton Conley, has written a lot over the years about how their names came to be (including a post for Nameberry). Now they’re young adults, here’s an update about how they’re getting on with their names – and the names they’d consider using themselves. Like Lovely and Felony.

Across the pond, parents in Scotland tell the stories of their children’s unusual names. Ransom was named after a character in a Western film – the name is rising in the US but very rare in Scotland. Amazon Atlas Spruce was named after an explorer relative, and his parents’ love of travel. You know you’re deep in name nerd territory when Atlas is the most mainstream name of the lot!

Starbaby or racehorse?

The SSA name charts are not the only annual name event this week. Think you know your starbaby names from your prize thoroughbreds? Just for fun, try this year’s edition of Bustle’s quiz, Celebrity baby name or Kentucky Derby horse?

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at