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?
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on May 4th, 2015 at 6:24 am
This countdown to the baby name Super Bowl is on! This year, I am more interested than ever. My husband and I are expecting our first baby in December. There are a lot of names that I hope DO NOT become more popular! It is still very early in my pregnancy, but we have been talking baby names since we were dating. We have seen many of our favorites get the boot from our list because of rising popularity. (Elsa topped our list for a girl back in 2010. Ha!) We plan to be surprised by the baby’s sex, so I am very eager to see both the girls’ and boys’ lists.
Everly and all of its spellings seem likely to rise fast. I know a baby girl named Everlee who was born in South Dakota in December 2014. I know an Everly born in California in January 2015. It is definitely on the fast track.
I know a baby Jaxon in Texas, a baby Atticus in Iowa and a baby Coraline Elizabeth in Iowa. Her name is one of my all-time favorite baby names. Her parents started calling her “Cora Beth” in the hospital, which is so spunky and feminine.
on May 4th, 2015 at 7:02 am
Congratulations, loislane1222! And oh yes – I think we’ll all be watching Elsa this year!
on May 4th, 2015 at 8:50 am
I think Liam will take the crown this year and I really hope Sophia is usurped, perhaps it will be by Olivia.
I adore Everly but hope it doesn’t crack the Top 100. I’ve loved Elsa since 2012-ish because of Victoria’s Secret Angel Elsa Hosk. I hated Frozen though, but a name is a name and I don’t care about movie popularity like some *other* people on here.
I think I’ll have to actually see the new popularity list before I make any new opinions. It’ll be dramatically different from last year’s, I can already sense that.
on May 5th, 2015 at 11:40 pm
I like Coralie…….
on May 5th, 2015 at 11:50 pm
The niece of one of my girlfriends is a Zelda. She’ll be three sometime this year. Another friend is expecting a girl & on her list are Zelda, Inara, Tessa or Tess, Vera, Rosa, Layla, Mira, & Nova.
on May 6th, 2015 at 9:17 am
I named my little man Liam in 2008 before I realized how popular it was becoming, it was just a name I loved. He’s the only Liam in his class but one of two Liam’s on his t-ball team. The fact that it looks likely to be the #1 name annoys me, but I’ll just have to be more aware in the future. I hope the current trend of names continues to rise as they are not to my taste at all, so my favorites continue to sink in popularity.
on May 6th, 2015 at 10:06 am
Going to do two separate posts for boys and girls.
Here’s the girls…
In terms of the girls, it was very close between Sophia (#1) and Emma (#2) in 2013, with just 287 uses separating them, with Olivia at #3 used 2,819 times less than Sophia was, but I still think Olivia could challenge the #1 spot as I heard it being used a lot for babies last year. Back home in New York, I swear it seems like every other baby girl was being named Olivia. Having said that, I think Sophia might just have hung on in there last year, with Olivia taking the #2 spot from Emma.
I think Alice is going to hit the Top 100 this year. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, it was mainly hanging about in the lower-mid part of the Top 500, floating from positions in the 300s and 400s. However since 2008, where it ranked #327, it has risen 220 places to #107 in 2013. I would be surprised if it didn’t break into the Top 100 in 2014, and then I expect its rise to continue, possibly breaking Top 20 within another five years.
I also expect to see Eleanor (#106) continue its steady climb over the last couple of decades and finally break into the Top 100 and it’s long overdue. Cora (#127) has been ascending rapidly in recent years, thanks I’m sure in no small part, to Downton Abbey. It may have just missed out on the Top 100 in 2014, but I think it may just be outside it, ready to break in this year.
But yes, like a lot of other name nerd types, my eyes are going to be firmly fixed on Elsa. It was ranked #528 in 2013, and it’s difficult to predict just how far it will have climbed, thanks to the Frozen effect. I think it’s either only going to have risen a handful of places, or to borrow from Miley Cyrus, it’s going to have come in like a wrecking ball and jumped at least 100 places. Although is there a possibility it may have had the opposite impact and it has actually fallen down the list? Perhaps just perhaps, Elsa might be the next generation’s ‘Madison from Splash’ name, i.e. lots of little girls today are going to grow up and name their daughters Elsa as it was in a film. Elsa’s time therefore might come in a couple of decades and not right now!
on May 6th, 2015 at 10:29 am
Now for the boys…
With Liam (#2) used only 82 times less than Noah in 2013, and Jacob (#3) used just 114 times, and even Mason at #4 just 499 times less, I could see any of these three names claiming the #1 spot from Noah last year. In Jacob’s case, of course, it would be reclaiming it as it’s been there for many years before. If I was going out on a limb, I do think it will be Liam that usurps Noah, if any name does indeed usurp it. However I wouldn’t be surprised if either of the other two names did so.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Leo break into the Top 100, it has been heading up and up and up for several years now, and was #112 in 2013.
And it breaks my heart to say, but I think Asher will break Top 100 too, it was #104 in 2013. Until a couple of years ago, it had been climbing rapidly, but then its ascent seemed to ease off. I thought it was going to break into the Top 100 last year, when it was 108, and I was wrong it just climbed four places. I would love to be wrong again, and for it to start falling, rather than break into the Top 100 but I fear I’ll be disappointed.
I think there’s a possibility that Declan could break into the Top 100, it has been on a rapid ascent since it first hit the Top 1000 in 1998 (when it was #712), and was #121 in 2013. It could have just missed out in 2014, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we do see it just inside the Top 100.
on May 6th, 2015 at 12:22 pm
I’m interested to see where Harper will fall this year. Last year Harper was in the top five names for several states, so I could see her getting very close to the top 10 or even making the top 10.
on May 6th, 2015 at 12:39 pm
I agree that LIam has a very good possibility of taking the number one boy’s spot. I also agree that Olivia and Sophia will be super close, but I think Olivia likely could be number one for girls.
I do also think the Cora- names will rise (a bummer because I love Coraline!)
I think Silas is going to at least make the top 100, if not rise even farther than that.
I can see Finn/Finley/Flynn/Quinn rising further (especially Finn).
I think some of the Irish boys names will go up, ex: Finnegan, Declan, Sullivan, Lochlan,
I think boys -x names will be quite popular, Maddox, Xander, Jaxon, Dexter, Phoenix, Felix.
I predict more use of occupation/word type names like Porter, Sawyer, and Archer.
I think some variation of Max (probably Maxwell) will definitely be in the top 100.
I predict “old/vintage” comeback names to enter (or get close to) the top 100- Eleanor (another one of my favorites 🙁 ), Alice, Leo, George, maybe even Theodore.
I think the -ett boys names will get closer to top 100 (Bennett, Beckett, Everett, Emmett).
I too am anxious to see where Elsa will land, also curious similar sounding names, such as Elsie or Elise.
As far as my favorite names go, I really hope Everly doesn’t jump too high, but I can see it doing so. I also predict Henry (my favorite boys name which is too popular for me to use) will be in the top 20.
on May 6th, 2015 at 6:41 pm
As far as boys’ names go, I hope that Jayden falls off the Top 10 and that Liam becomes the number one name. I wouldn’t even mind if Jacob took its number one status back, I just really don’t like Noah. I would like to see Declan move a little further up; it’s just such a handsome name. I know it’s a pipe dream, but I wish names like Joshua and Zachary would move back up a few places. I am a big fan of the older but not “old” choices.
As far as girls’ names are concerned, I can see Harper moving even further up, and Sophia and Olivia dropping. I can see Charlotte shooting up to the Top 5 in 2015, but for now it is too soon after the birth of the new Princess to make much of an effect. I don’t think there will be much change to the girls’ Top 10, to be honest.
on May 6th, 2015 at 10:07 pm
I agree that the old vintage or “old lady” names will be flying up the list. Names like Adelaide, Eleanor, Millicent and Beatrice. Although I prefer trendier names these all have very cute nn’s. For boys I think the surnames will flourish. IMO…Jackson, Cooper, Parker and Asher would be among those rising on the list.
on May 7th, 2015 at 10:44 pm
I was hoping they would do the “Predict the Top 10” contest again, but either I missed it or they didn’t 🙁 So here’s my predictions regarding the top 10 names:
1) Sophia ~20,400
2) Emma ~20,300
3) Olivia ~18,100
4) Isabella ~16,100
5) Ava ~14,900
6) Mia ~14,200
7) Emily ~12,700
8) Abigail ~11,800
9) Charlotte ~10,600
10) Harper ~10,000
So basically I’m HOPING Charlotte and Harper enter the Top 10, edging out close competition from Avery, Madison, Sophia, and Elizabeth. I am also interested in how high Amelia, Evelyn, and Aria will rise, but I don’t think they’ll crack the Top 10 yet this year.
1) Liam ~19,000
2) Noah ~18,300
3) Jacob ~17,000
4) Mason ~16,700
5) Ethan ~16,600
6) William ~16,100
7) Michael ~14,900
8) Alexander ~14,500
9) Daniel ~13,900
10) Jayden ~13,600
So I definitely think Liam will overtake Noah. Otherwise it is largely a game of “which name will decline the most”…which is kind of boring to predict, in my opinion. My numbers have Ethan overtaking William and Daniel overtaking Jayden. I dislike Jayden, so I will be happy to be wrong and see Elijah, James, Benjamin or Jacob edge Jayden out of that #10 spot! But I don’t quite see it happening this year. I’m also interested in seeing how much Lucas rises this year.
on May 7th, 2015 at 10:51 pm
*correction “close competition from Avery, Madison, SOFIA and Elizabeth”
on May 8th, 2015 at 7:24 am
1. Noah Emma
2 Liam Olivia
3 Mason Sophia
4 Jacob Isabella
5 William Ava
6 Ethan Mia
7 Michael Emily
8 Alexander. Abigail
9 James Madison
10 Daniel Charlotte
on May 8th, 2015 at 8:09 am
I was right about Eleanor, it climbed all the way up to 78, from 106. Alice has also just sneaked in at 97. Cora just missed out on the Top 100, at 103, again which I thought would happen. Emma went to the top though, so was wrong about that, but was right to say Olivia would claim second.
Noah still at #1 for the boys, and it widened its gap this time. I was right about Asher (*weeps*) and Leo climbing into the Top 100. Wrong about Declan though, it hasn’t climbed, it slipped once place.
And finally, as for Elsa, well it did indeed come in like a wrecking ball, climbing a whopping 242 places to #286. Wonder if it will continue to rise this year, of if parents will tire of it easily.
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