Popular Baby Names 2016


The most popular baby names of 2016 feature stability at the top of the list, with Emma and Noah holding tight to their Number 1 positions and contenders Olivia and Liam steady at Number 2.

The newest name in the Top 10 baby names is the Biblical Elijah, making the top ranks for the very first time. Elijah was the Old Testament prophet who rode to heaven in a chariot of fire. Last year’s newcomer Benjamin rose all the way to Number 6, while Charlotte vaulted to Number 7.

Perhaps the biggest news of 2016 is once-popular Caitlin‘s slide from the Top 1000, along with several of her spelling variations.

The entire Top 10 for girls remained the same, with some shifts in rank. Charlotte moved up the most, 3 places, with Ava, Isabella, and Mia each hopping up one place. Former Number 1 girls’ name Sophia slid to Number 4. Riley and Aria moved into the Top 25 names for girls.

Among baby boy names, Michael surprised the pundits by not only hanging on to his half-century spot in the Top 10 but moving up two places. Alexander left the Top 10 for boys. The 25 most popular boy names  feature some surprises too, with Owen and Sebastian rising in the standings.

Classic boys’ names William and James also moved up, while Ethan, Mason, and longtime Number 1 Jacob moved down.

The Top 10 baby names for 2016 in the US, with comparisons to their standings in 2015, are:


  1. Emma   =
  2. Olivia =
  3. Ava +1
  4. Sophia -1
  5. Isabella =
  6. Mia =
  7. Charlotte +3
  8. Abigail =
  9. Emily =
  10. Harper=


  1. Noah =
  2. Liam =
  3. William +2
  4. Mason -1
  5. James +2
  6. Benjamin +4
  7. Jacob -3
  8. Michael +1
  9. Elijah
  10. Ethan -4

The full Top 1000 baby names can be found here.

Emma and Noah are both also popular throughout much of the rest of the Western World. Emma, a German name that means “universal,” ranks among the top names in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe. Noah, the name of the Biblical patriarch that means both rest and wandering, ranks among the Top 100 throughout the English-speaking countries as well as in Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, and Portugal.

Britain’s Princess Charlotte propelled her name into the Top 10 for girls for the first time last year. The classic royal girls’ name, a feminization of her grandfather’s name Charles, has proven its staying power by moving further up the list, a possible contender for Number 1 in the future.

Classic baby names were also winners on the boys’ side, with traditional names William, James, Benjamin, and Michael making strides over relative newcomer Mason.

The biggest jumps in the Top 1000 are Kehlani and Kylo. Grammy nominee Kehlani Parrish propelled her name up nearly 2500 paces to rank at Number 872 for girls. And Kylo, the name of the character Kylo Ren in Star Wars who is the grandson of Darth Vader, soared nearly 2400 places to make Number 901 for boys.

The second fastest risers were Royalty for girls and Creed for boys. Celebrity names Saoirse (as in Irish actress Ronan) and Benicio (actor del Toro) were the third fastest rising, with the mythical Ophelia and Adonis coming in fourth, both making the Top 400.

Caitlin fell out of the Top 1000 for the first time in decades, decreasing over 500 places to grab the dubious distinction of being the girls’ name that decreased the most in popularity . She was followed by three spelling variations of the name: Caitlyn, Katelynn, and Kaitlynn — all now more likely to be the names of new moms rather their babies.

On the boys’ side, the fastest-falling names were the spelling variations Jonael, Aaden, and Triston.

Some familiar names that saw big drops: Denise, Lindsay, Erica, and Jenny for girls, and Freddy, Dwayne, and Ronnie for boys. Donald dropped 45 spots, from 443 to 488; it jas neem dropping in popularity since 2000.

Among the new names on the list are Nameberry favorites Sylvie, Calliope and Poppy for girls, and Ira and Fox for the boys.

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

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