Predictions for the New Most Popular Baby Names

Predictions for the New Most Popular Baby Names

By Abby Sandel

The US Social Security Administration is expected to release their annual list of the most popular baby names at the end of the week, just in time for Mother’s Day.

There are unofficial lists galore, including the ever-stylish Nameberry 100. But the Social Security data is the most accurate and complete record of all births registered in the US in calendar year 2014. Plus, they share a complete list of every single name given to at least five newborns in 2014.

It’s a lot of names. And yes, around here it’s like Christmas morning and the Super Bowl all rolled into one!

Will you be watching to see if your favorite names have become more popular? Are you hoping that a certain trend is over? Or are you cheering for a handful of names to catch on?

Here are nine questions I can’t wait to answer when we finally see the data on the most popular baby names.

Will Noah still be Number 1? Jacob dominated the top spot for boys’ names in the US for years. Then along came Noah in 2013. I have my doubts about Noah for 2014, though. For a new Number 1, my money is on Liam. In 2013, only 88 births separated Number 1 Noah from Number 2 Liam. And likable Liam, with those Irish roots and that L sound, feels like the kind of name that could unseat Noah.

Will Charlie remain equally popular for boys and girls? In 2013, there were 1,551 newborn boys named Charlie, and 1,315 girls given the same name. That’s almost even. Will it stay that way? I’d say yes. Not so long ago, parents shied away from any boy’s name that seemed to be catching on for girls. Over the last decade, we’ve seen names like Jordan and Rowan remain popular for both genders. Charlie could be a great addition to the club.

Will Everly continue to rise? The musical surname name was almost unknown when Anthony Kiedis welcomed a son named Everly Bear in 2007. But Everly was irresistible for a girl – the Ev sound of Eva, Evelyn, and Evangeline, plus the –y ending of names from Dorothy to Kimberly to Emily. In 2012, Everly entered the US Top 1000 at #907, and leapt to #382 in 2013. I think we’ll see another jump for Everly – as well as Everleigh – in 2014.

Are ‘s’ ending boy names catching on? For years, we’ve been all about two-syllable, ends-in-n names for boys, trading Jason and Ryan for Dylan and Aiden. Lately, parents have been more interested in ‘r’ ending names, like Parker, Sawyer, and Asher. But I’m curious about ‘s’ ending choices, from ancients like Silas and Atticus to new surname name possibilities, like Brooks and Ames. There are some great, seldom-heard possibilities in that last group: Briggs, Keats, or Harris, anyone?

Which spelling will be most popular? The Social Security Administration records every spelling as a separate name, which makes it easy to track the spellings parents prefer. I’m watching Jackson, Jaxon, and Jaxson. In 2013, all three spellings made the Top 100. Will Jaxon be more popular than Jackson this year? Maybe. Another one to watch: Vivian and Vivienne. At Number 119, Vivian is still more popular than Number 280 Vivienne. With so many high profile birth announcements and our affection for names like Genevieve and Madeleine, this could be Vivienne’s year.

Ooh baby! Is ‘u’ the cool new vowel? Luna, Lucy, Luca, Jude, June. There are lots of names that share this vowel sound, and they all have a cool, current feel. It’s much too soon to say that ‘oo’ is the new ‘ay’, but with names like Juniper catching on quickly, it’s a sound worth listening for.

Will Cora and company catch on? Not so long ago, it was Lily. Lily made the US Top 20, and brought Lillian, Lilianna, and Lillia – choose your spelling – along. This year, my eye is on Cora and company. Cora, Coraline, Corinne, and Kora all rose in 2013. Other possibilities abound, like the Shakespearean Cordelia, surname Corliss, and romantic Corisande.

Will these celebrity baby names enter the US Top 1000? Not every celebrity baby name is trend-setting, but here are six that I think could catch on: Winnie, Marlowe, and Liv for girls, plus Ford, Wilder, and Dashiell for boys. All of them appeared on celebrity baby birth announcements over 2012 and 2013 – some more than once!

How about these stylish names? Let’s end with six more than I’m watching, some of which were also used by celebrities in years past. For girls, jazz age Zelda has gotten a lot of attention recently. Tallulah is an Old Hollywood name with an interesting sound. And how about Kensington? Ken– and Kin- names for girls remain popular, and with the palace in the headlines, Kensington could catch on.

For boys, I’m watching short, one-syllable names. Leif is a Viking name known to every school kid, but just outside of the US Top 1000 in 2013. Preppy surname Smith has a Western vibe, thanks to Alias Smith and Jones. And how about Fox? Animal names have gone mainstream, and shares the ‘x’ ending of Alex, Max, and Felix.

Which names are you watching? Do you have any guesses about which names will catch on next?