Best Unusual Boy Names

by Abby Sandel

If you’re expecting a boy soon, you might be poring over the new most popular baby names stats for the US.

Plenty of great names have gone from under-the-radar to the next big thing. Shepherd, Gus, and Fox cracked the US Top 1,000. Wilder, Arlo, Kingsley, Hayes, and Grey all climbed more than 100 places in the rankings. Even classics like Henry, Frederick, and James gained in use.

What’s a parent to do? If you’re after a name that your son won’t share, you’ll have to look beyond today’s favorites to find possibilities that remain underused.

Luckily, there are plenty of options. Start with our list of fifty great boy names that are still unusual today.

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Best of the New Baby Names

most popular baby names

By Abby Sandel

One of the highlights of the release of the Top 1000 baby names? It’s a thrill to look at newcomers to the list, the names that debut for the very first time, as well as those that have made a comeback after many years’ absence.

Some of the newcomers represent a twist on an already popular name. Others seem like pop culture sensations, likely to fall out of favor just as quickly as they rise. Check out the whole list here. But we’ve found a dozen gems, all new to the US Top 1000 for 2016, that seem likely to stick around.

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popular names by state

Quick: What were the most popular boys’ and girls’ names of 2016? Emma and Noah, you say? Wrong — at least unless you live in Pennsylvania or Texas.

True, Emma and Noah came out on top when the Social Security Administration released its annual list of the most popular baby names of the year last week. But today, they came out with a follow-up that broke down baby name popularity by state. And this more detailed list revealed major differences in baby name popularity from state to state.

Only in Pennsylvania and Texas did Emma and Noah both rank Number 1. In the other 48 states, plus the District of Columbia, another name took the top spot for boys, girls or both.

The most striking trend — as with the past few years — was the sharp divide between the Deep South and the rest of the country. In most of the Dixie states, Ava was the top girls’ name and William was the top boys’ name.

The twin names of Olivia and Oliver also posted strong showings, especially in the northwest quadrant of the country. They were the most popular boys’ and girls’ names in Oregon, Utah, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Mia and Harper both took the top slot for girls’ in multiple states, while Charlotte, Isabella and Evelyn each hit Number 1 in one state.

On the boys’ side, Liam, the Number 2 name overall in the U.S., had another strong year, coming in first in states from Alaska to Florida. Benjamin and Elijah both took the prize in two states, and James, Henry, Wyatt, Mason and Owen all reigned supreme in one state.

Perhaps the most unusual state for baby names in 2016 was Minnesota. Neither of its two winners, Evelyn and Henry, was the top name in any other state or even in the national Top 10.

What names were Number 1 in your state? Click through to see the maps.

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by Pamela Redmond, with research by Joe Satran

If you want to give your baby a name that transcends this decade, make sure it doesn’t start with Ad-, end with –ley, contain the letter x, or honor a star who suffered a tragic death.

That’s what we found when we analyzed the Social Security baby names data of 2016 versus 2006 and identified which names have exploded in use over the past ten years and how those combine to create the major baby name trends of the decade.

Juniper and Jayceon, according to our research, may well prove as emblematic of these times as Jennifer and Jason were of the 1970s. The 40 names that have increased the most in usage over the past ten years – which also include Adalynn and Brantley, Monroe and Hendrix – may sound fresh and stylish now, but are likely to become the Brittany and Brian of the future.

Here, our statistical analysis of the dominant baby name trends of the decade and the hot baby names that influenced them.

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Baby Name News of the Week

By Clare Bristow

The big name news story of the week was, of course, the release of the US baby name data for 2016, to much rejoicing and analysis.

The top 10 names only changed a little from 2015, with some names switching places and one new entry for boys, Elijah. The most bizarre take on it I’ve seen is one newspaper’s claim that Michael, the 8th most popular name, is at risk of extinction. While it’s not in the top spot as it was for most of the late 20th century, it’s still a long way from dropping off the charts.

Here’s a look at the fastest rising and falling names of 2016, and the reasons (and people, such as Caitlyn Jenner) behind them.

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