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Playground Analysis 2017: The REAL Top 50 List!

May 15, 2018 Kelli Brady

By Kelli Brady

After seeing the SSA’s 2017 Popular Baby Names list, did you wonder why you aren’t hearing the #1 name as much as a name further down on the list? Do you hear a lot more “Sophia!” on the playground than “Emma!”? One way to try to explain this is the annual Playground Analysis. When you hear a name on the playground, you do not know how it is spelled and since the SSA list is done solely by spelling, it does not give a completely accurate account of name popularity. The Playground Analysis combines the different spellings of names to reveal the true Top 50 names of 2017!

Note: These are the combined spellings of the names in the Top 1000 only. When the numbers from the entire list are added, positions could change. The main name listed below is the spelling given to the most babies in 2017 (SSA Rank is in parentheses). The others are in alphabetical order. Opinions vary on how different spellings are pronounced. I went with my best judgment.

GIRLS

Emma still remains on the top of the 2017 SSA list for girls. But while Sophia dropped from #4 to #5 on the SSA list, it still remains at the top of the 2017 Playground Analysis. When looking at the PA’s Top 50, the largest jumps that take place after adding the alternative spellings are by Adeline (#64 to #7), Mackenzie (#99 to #48), Madelyn (#63 to #15), Elena (#67 to #28), Ariana (#66 to #31) and Kaylee (#84 to #49). Some variations of names have risen into or fallen out of the SSA Top 1000, and any differences from last year have been noted in the list below.

Birth numbers are another way of showing how this analysis explains what you actually hear around town. When combining the Top 1000 names in spelling, there were more than 3,000 girls named Sophia and Sofia in 2017 than those named Emma.

1) Sophia (5) – Sofia

2) Olivia (2) – Alivia (Alyvia dropped from the SSA Top 1000)

3) Emma (1)

4) Isabella (4) – Isabela, Izabella

5) Ava (3) – Avah

6) Amelia (8) – Emelia, Emilia

7) Adeline (64) – Adaline, Adalyn, Adalynn, Addilyn, Addilynn, Adelyn, Adelynn, Adilynn

8) Mia (6) – Miah

9) Charlotte (7)

10) Riley (25) – Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie

11) Evelyn (9) – Evalyn, Evelynn

12) Aria (20) – Ariah, Ariya, Ariyah, Arya

13) Zoey (29) – Zoe, Zoie

14) Emily (12) – Emely, Emilee (Emilie dropped from the SSA Top 1000)

15)  Madelyn (63) – Madalyn, Madalynn, Madeleine, Madeline, Madelynn, Madilyn, Madilynn

16) Layla (26) – Laila, Lailah, Laylah, Leila, Leyla

17) Abigail (10)

18) Harper (11)

19) Aubrey (31) – Aubree, Aubrie (Aubri dropped from the SSA Top 1000)

20) Avery (14) – Averi, Averie

21) Elizabeth (13) – Elisabeth

22) Madison (17) – Maddison, Madisyn (Madyson dropped from the SSA Top 1000)

23) Chloe (22) – Khloe

24) Camila (23) – Camilla, Kamila

25) Scarlett (18) – Scarlet, Scarlette

26) Nora (28) – Norah

27) Lily (33) – Lillie, Lilly

28) Elena (67) – Alaina, Alayna, Elaina

29) Ella (16)

30) Leah (40) – Lea, Leia, Lia

31) Ariana (66) – Arianna, Aryanna (Aryana dropped from the SSA Top 1000)

32) Victoria (19)

33) Maya (61) – Maia, Miya, Mya, Myah

34) Grace (21)

35) Hannah (32) – Hana, Hanna

36) Penelope (24)

37) Lillian (27) – Lilian

38) Addison (34) – Addisyn, Addyson

39) Brooklyn (39) – Brooklynn

40) Paisley (45) – Paislee, Paisleigh*

41) Natalie (36) – Nataly, Nathalie (Nathaly dropped from SSA Top 1000)

42) Anna (53) – Ana

43) Hailey (72) – Hailee, Haley, Haylee, Hayley

44) Mila (30)

45) Sarah (62) – Sara

46) Allison (60) – Alison, Allyson, Alyson

47) Savannah (38) – Savanna

48) Mackenzie (99) – Makenzie, Mckenzie

49) Kaylee (84) – Caylee, Kailee, Kailey, Kayleigh, Kaylie

50) Eleanor (35)

*New spelling to the SSA Top 1000

Mila and Eleanor rose into the Top 50 of the 2017 PA, while Skylar and Katherine fell out of it.

For those of us who feel as though the –line names are different from the –lyn names, here is an additional note:

If the variations of #7 Adeline (Adaline) are separated from the variations of Adalynn (Adalyn, Addilyn, Addilynn, Adelyn, Adelynn, and Adilynn), Adalynn moves down to #22, while Adeline is pushed down to #49.

Likewise, if the variations of #15 Madelyn (Madalyn, Madalynn, Madelynn, Madilyn, and Madilynn) are separated from the variations of Madeline (Madeleine), Madelyn moves down to #34, while Madeline is pushed down to #90.

BOYS

Jackson and its alternate spellings stay firmly at #1 on the 2017 Playground Analysis, moving up from #20 on the 2017 SSA list. Probably the biggest news when comparing last year’s PA and this year’s PA is the fact that Aiden has moved down again, from #2 to #3. Liam has not only unseated Noah as the SSA #1, it has also moved Aiden down and taken over the #2 spot on the PA. When comparing the 2016 PA and 2017 PA, Greyson jumped from #16 to #9. Mateo also jumped from #43 to #29. The biggest movers from the SSA list to the PA list continue to be Kayden (#98 to #15) and Jace (#87 to #41).

While the overall numbers have decreased from 2016 to 2017, the Jacksons continue to be a dominant force on the playground… more than 4,500 boys were named a variation of Jackson over Liam in 2017. This number is no doubt aided by the addition of the variation Jaxxon to the SSA Top 1000.

1) Jackson (20) – Jaxen, Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxxon*

2) Liam (1)

3) Aiden (17) – Aaden*, Adan, Aden, Aidan, Ayden, Aydin

4) Noah (2) – Noe

5) William (3)

6) Lucas (11) – Lukas

7) James (4)

8) Mason (7) – Maison, Mayson

9) Grayson (34) – Graysen, Greysen, Greyson

10) Logan (5)

11) Elijah (8) – Alijah

12) Benjamin (6)

13) Jacob (10) – Jakob

14) Oliver (9)

15) Kayden (98) – Caden, Caiden, Cayden, Kaden, Kaiden

16) Michael (12) – Micheal (Mikael dropped from the SSA Top 1000)

17) Alexander (13) – Alexzander

18) Ethan (14)

19) Jayden (26) – Jaden, Jaiden

20) Matthew (16) – Mathew

21) Carter (24) – Karter

22) Daniel (15)

23) Henry (18)

24) Joseph (19)

25) Samuel (21)

26) Sebastian (22)

27) David (23)

28) Dylan (29) – Dilan*, Dillon

29) Mateo (42) – Matteo

31) John (27) – Jon

31) Wyatt (25)

32) Owen (28)

33) Isaac (33) – Issac

34) Caleb (50) – Kaleb

35) Luke (30)

36) Gabriel (31)

37) Julian (36) – Julien

38) Anthony (32)

39) Connor (56) – Conner, Conor, Konnor (Konner dropped from the SSA Top 1000)

40) Christopher (38) – Kristopher

41) Jace (87) – Jase, Jayce

42) Christian (52) – Cristian, Kristian

43) Jack (35)

44) Levi (37)

45) Joshua (39)

46) Andrew (40)

47) Lincoln (41)

48) Nicholas (68) – Nickolas, Nicolas, Nikolas

49) Josiah (51) – Jasiah*, Joziah

50) Cameron (60) – Camron, Kameron, Kamryn

*New spelling to the SSA Top 1000

Levi, Lincoln, and Josiah rose into the Top 50 of the 2017 PA, while Landon, Ryan, and Jonathan fell out.

Does this reflect what you are hearing on the playground? Let us know in the comments.

About the author

NameFreak!

Kelli Brady is a stay at home mom of two who needed an outlet for her name obsession. She found it at NameFreak!, a blog dedicated to a wide variety of name-related whims and fancies. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Her eBook, Name-alytics, is a look at the history of the Top 100 names in the United States. Check it out at https://gumroad.com/l/name-alytics!

View all of NameFreak!'s articles

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