Popular Baby Names: The next top names


Popular baby names aren’t always replaced at the top by similar names, though sometimes it feels that way.  Emily moves down, Emma moves up.  Jason slips, while Jacob and Mason rise.

With the new US popularity list due out in less than a month, we thought it would be fun to look at today’s most popular baby names and guess which similar choices might move in to replace them — if not at the next tally, then at some point in the future.  Our picks:


SophiaSister names that might theoretically replace the gorgeous classic Sophia include her cuter, more irreverent French cousin Sophie, which has risen from obscurity over the past 30 years to reach Number 51, and Seraphina, which has never been in the Top 1000 but is finding favor thanks to its choice by Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck.

IsabellaIsabella triumphed over also-ran sisters Isabel, Isabelle, and Bella, so we think the next to rise to the top will be the similar-but-different Arabella, a Brit Lit favorite that has risen from outside the Top 1000 in 2005 to Number 335.

EmmaEmma may have replaced Number 1 Emily, but we see Emma‘s replacement as Ellaa choice that’s similarly classic yet simple.

Olivia – The girls’ name most likely to rise on the coattails of the lovely Olivia might be the equally classic yet more plain-spoken Olive, which has been zooming straight up thanks to finding favor as a starbaby and movie character name, and the upstart Alivia, a Top 200 invention that melds Olivia‘s sound with the trendy initial A.

Ava – There are several names rising thanks to the popularity of Ava.  Our candidates to make the Top 10 include the more elaborate Aveline, the simpler Eveor the soundalike Ada.

EmilyEmily has been in the Top 10 for 20 years now.  Our picks to take her place: Amelia, the new Number 1 girls’ name in the UK, or Emmeline.

Abigail — The Biblical Abigail, sweet and ladylike, may be replaced by Adelaide or Adelinewith short form Addie or Addy taking over for Abby.

MadisonBoth Addison and Madeline had their chance, so we see a less similar androgynous choice rising to take over from Madison, like maybe Harper or Hadley.

Mia — The simple, mildly exotic Mia has a clear successor: Milawhich has risen nearly 600 places in the past five years and seems headed straight for the top.

Chloe – The gentle Chloe may be replaced in the Top 10 by the zippier Zoe or even her phonetically-spelled twin Zoey, which is even more popular.


Jacob – We predict that British and Australian top name Jack may rise to Number 1 taking over from Jacob here, or the honor may go to popular Jackson.

MasonMason may well bump Jacob out of the Number 1 spot next year.  And the new Mason? Grayson or Maxon.

WilliamWilliam is the reigning king of classic boys’ names.  Next up: Henry or (this will take a little longer) Walter.

JaydenJayden is another Jason descendent.  Rising on its heels is the classier Hayden.

NoahNoah is a streamlined biblical favorite.  A name we see taking its place is the similar-sounding Owenwhose pedigree is Welsh rather than Hebrew.

Michael – As the top boys’ name for 40 years , Michael spawned many imitators.  Those that might take his place include Malachi, Milo, Micah, or Miles.

Ethan –  The sleek biblical Ethan rose to the top spot in many states.  Other traditional-yet-trendy E names ready to take its place include Elijah, Eli, and Ezra.

Alexander — The ancient, elaborate Alexander‘s successor may be the equally ancient, elaborate Sebastian.

Aiden – There are so many soundalike names that might theoretically be the next Aiden, from Brayden to Kaiden to Zaiden.  But we think parents are tired of the whole raft of them, so we’d opt instead for something similar but more traditional, such as Adrian.

Daniel — Like Noah, the substitute for Daniel may be not another choice from the Bible but a more modern name with a phonetic twist, such as Landon.

What names do you think are most likely to take over for those in the current Top 10?

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.