Popular Names 2010: Interesting or ho-hum?

Question of the Week: What were your responses to the new Social Security list of Popular Names 2010?

Last week we asked for your predictions of the popular names 2010, and some of you came up with very spot-on forecasts—a special shout-out to names4real for anticipating the rise of Bentley (who is shown at right).

  • Now that the dust has settled, wdyt overall?
  • Biggest surprise(s)?
  • Was it disappointing that there was so little movement in the top echelons?

  • Were you happy—or disappointed—to see one of your favorites move up?
  • Did you find the list becoming in any way more berrylike?
  • Any thoughts on the Twilight and Teen Mom impact?

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34 Responses to “Popular Names 2010: Interesting or ho-hum?”

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Brandie Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 12:41 am

I was diappointed that Zoe became even more popular but I’m slowly starting to get over it. However the twilight/teen mom impact has really got me buggin. I mean come on America!!! Is this really what we want to pull names from? I love twilight as much as the next girl but some of those names are rediculous like the made up Renesmee that is just now starting to draw interest. Why would teenage girls how don’t have the since to use birth-control be the leaders in baby names?

Sorry my little rant was over. I was pleasently surprised on the names Claudia, Katherine, and Donna though so all in all I am statisfied with the new list. No major up-roars but in this day in age with all the media and technology we have I doubt we will have many more up-sets or shockers in the future either.

Fawn Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 8:00 am

I was a bit disappointed with the rise of my daughter’s name- Jocelyn. I work in a large day care and knew no girls with the name when I was pregnant. She’s 18 months now and I know 5 others. I hate that she might have to go by Jocelyn H. for her school career. I avoided the Sophie and Emma names for that reason.

Lola Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 9:09 am

I’m very happy that Josephine’s solidly in the top 200 now. Maybe she’ll be able to find her name on things soon! On the boys side, I was pleasantly surprised at Rex moving up just a bit. Lovely! Most of the other names I love (both boys & girls) didn’t rank this year and I’m hoping they’ll stay unranked for a few more years, at least. Even my beloved Penelope moved up a teeny bit to 200. That doesn’t worry me any though. If she’d jumped to 147, now, that would worry me!

All in all, I’m pleased to see some lovely names climbing slowly. And saddened to see a lot of other, less lovely names racing. But at least those true lovelies will stand out as fabulous, solid choices for years to come!

MrsWoolfSimmons Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 10:37 am

I usually get bored with popular names, seeing them over and over again. I get a little disappointed in humanity’s lack of general creativity.

Also, if a name I loved got popular all of a sudden, I would seriously reconsider using it and would dig deeper to find another gem.

Cassia Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 10:47 am

I LOVE the 2009 master list that can be found in this blog, do you have a 2010 version? Or is there a place where I can go to see beyond the top 1000? TIA!!

Jenny Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 11:04 am

I know it’s more interesting when there are wild shifts, but I really prefer the list to change gently and slowly. Then I can predict future popularity a little better and avoid those names. (The scars of Jennifer are lasting.)

Of course, a cultural event can ruin that in a moment…I’m looking at you, Philippa of next year’s list.

Sarah A Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 11:47 am

@Jenny – I completely agree about the probable debut and rise of Philippa, though I would guess that Pippa will probably be faster. Pippa Middleton is rarely mentioned in the media by her full name. I have been astonished at how many (educated) friends of mine have NO idea that Pippa is short for Philippa. Baby namers who are so swayed by celeb/cultural moment names are probably not going to be that much more savvy, and end up using just Pippa.

I myself am continually surprised at how much television, movies, and celebrities inspire baby names. Maci? No thanks.

names4real Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Thanks for the shout out. It made my day. 🙂

Olive Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 1:17 pm

To be honest, I’m actually happy that people are taking inspiration from ridiculous places; it means that they’ll stay away from names I like! That may seem selfish and smug, and really – I would much prefer to live in a world of Josephines and Genevieves, but I mean, if they’re occupied with Bentley and Isabella then hopefully no-one will pay attention to my much adored Alec and Celeste.

I also agree with Sarah and the whole Pippa Middleton thing. I’ve loved Philippa for years, but I definitely think that it will translate to just Pippa in the US (I’m in the UK) which is such a shame.

Claire Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I’m still wondering where Hadley (for a girl) and Hudson came from! I live in South Dakota and those two names are on a definite upswing but they are such random names that I’m wondering if they came from a TV show or something like that. I’m not much of a TV person so I tend to miss those sorts of things.

Brandie Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 2:13 pm


Hadley is the name of a small-part character on the popular vampire tv drama True Blood. The character was also mentioned in the books the show is based from. I do believe that is where some of the lovely little Hadley’s are coming from. But like you I am at a complete loss for where Hudson came from.

For some reason people just like to name their children after vampires and their companions. Who knows why?

Flick Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I was kind of sad to see Olivia still in the top, but I was expecting it.

I think the top 10 are definitely more berrylike – but I don’t think our influence is *that* widely spread given that things like Madison, Addison, Alexis, Avery, Nevaeh, Ashley, Kaylee and Taylor (and others like it) are still in the top 50. I’m really confused as to how Nevaeh keeps rising.

A lot of my personal favorites are still very low on the list. Cordelia still hasn’t cracked the top 1000, neither has Ottilie or Eulalia. My boys list, unfortunately, is a bit more popular – with Morgan coming in at 63, its on a steady decline, though. Felix has been roaming around in the 300’s for the past 10 years, but I do predict that getting more popular.

I personally think the boys top 1000 is more impressive, style-wise. With the exception of Jayden being number 4 – thats still a bit mind boggling.

pam Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Cassia (and anyone else who’s wondering), here’s the link to the full master list of names used for 5 or more children: http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/limits.html The SSA keeps it kind of tucked away and it’s a big file (it contains master lists for EVERY year) so you have to download it. But it’s definitely fascinating! We tried including it on nameberry last year but it kept crashing the site….

Macy Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

For boys I’m disappointed that Jacob is yet again #1, and has actually increased in popularity. Aren’t parents sick of it? I dont think there’ll be a new number one anytime soon. I’m also annoyed that there were only 3 new entries in the boys top100. But i’m pleased that the names are getting more diverse, with the top names being less concentrated than previous years, and I liked several entries in the boys list: Theo, Channing, Landry, Tatum, Leighton, Crew, and a few others.

On the girls side, I’m disappointed that boy names are still being used abundantely, especially Alexis, Addison, Riley, Peyton and Avery. I hated that Quinn rose so much. I’m pleased to see more classic feminine names made an impact this year, especially Vera.

anniebee Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I’m glad Lola made her comment because it didn’t occur to me that an obscure name could be a bad thing. Maybe the best range for a name to be is 100-200?

I’m really surprised that Julia is so high – 55 and Harriet unranked (maybe next year?)

I’m annoyed that Charlotte (45), Natalie(14) and Abigail(7) are all so, so, so high that I can’t use them. These have been on my ‘list’ for over 10 years. Abigail is my great-grandmother’s name.

Also bummed that Amelia (41), Alice (172), Violet (123) and Caroline (88) are so popular, but relieved at the low rankings of Felicity (764), Rosemary (721), Augusta (unranked!) and Susanna/h (also unranked).

Not choosing a name anytime soon, so things may change, but these are my thoughts this year!

Valkyrie Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Was very surprised to see Vera jump up so much from last year. It’s still very low on the list, but I just hope it doesn’t get too high up by the time I consider children.

Nephele Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Anniebee, Here are the SSA rankings for those faves of yours that didn’t make the Top 1,000:

Augusta: #3,725
Susanna: #1,487
Susannah: #2,535

Looks like those names are fairly safe (for now!) from the Popularity Bug.

— Nephele

Camille Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I’m glad to see that Bryony is still not in the top 1000! Though I wish I knew what number she actually was. Was she 1001 or 2000??

JD Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Didn’t like:
AIDEN CRACKING THE TOP 10! I despise this name. It’s offshots increasing in popularity.

Stupid STUPID spellings such as Masen, Paityn etc. have cracked the Top 1000. Why oh why???

Sawyer is officially trendy now. It’s all over 🙁

Archer was not even in the Top 1000 in 2008, but now it seems to be going the way Sawyer went. By the time I have kids it’ll be trendy.

What is Zuri all about??

And finally, can’t Nevaeh just go away?


Riley for a boy gained a bit more popularity. Maybe it hasn’t gone to the girls completely…yet 🙁

Not that I particularity like those names but ethnic names like Giovanni and Alejandro, Ari, Mohammed, Josue, Menachem increasing is popularity makes me happy. Good for the non English, Irish etc. Americans to use a name from their culture.

Kaleb with a C is less popular again! At some point it was nearly as popular as Caleb and I was worried that we’d have another Aidan/Aiden scenario on our hands.

More boys named Ezekiel and Silas! Those are nice names…but I wouldn’t use them so someone ought to.

Avalon and Aviva are NOT in the Top 1000. I was so afraid they would be soon, especially Avalon b/c it was soo close to being in there in 09

Nephele Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 6:30 pm

@Camille — “Bryony” is still way down the list: #17,361.

— Nephele

Macy Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Nephele, where are you seeing that? I have seen beyond the top1000 lists, but those arent ranked in numbers. So how do you know a name is #6737 for example?

Ashton Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 6:42 pm

@Camille- Bryony is on my list too! I wouldn’t mind if it appeared a little more so that I wouldn’t have to continually correct people on how to say it.

Nora Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Looking at the twin names, I figured I might as well point out that the only one on the Girl/Girl list that I would even let cross my mind is Natalia and Olivia, actually cute! Everything else… seriously? I mean, some of those names seem just cruel. Heaven and Nevaeh? London and Paris? Mia and Mya? AAHH!!! And the other two lists were no better. Sigh. People just can’t help themselves, can they? I just can’t see two people with functioning brains saying “hey! We should subject out twin daughters to being named Heaven and Nevaeh! Smart!” *rolls eyes*.
People these days.

Nephele Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

@Macy — I use a spreadsheet program to figure the rankings beyond the top 1,000 names. I’ve also calculated the Top Names spread over all the years that the SSA includes in their listings (1880-2010). Linda blogged about it in January:


— Nephele

AJ_Bear Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Super excited that my name is in the top 400- Athena is at 360-and also super shocked tha names like Mia, Chloe and Zoe made it there.
@Nora- I love Natalia and Olivia together. Very cute and pretty. Heaven and Neveah is cruel. Eek, excited about 2010’s names!

chakrateeze Says:

May 11th, 2011 at 11:51 pm

I was checking out the SSA 1000 list and… MEMPHIS IS #609! I have lived in Memphis all of my life and never once thought it would make a cool baby name for my son. Messiah? That seems totally sacrilegious to me. Legend? I like the movie, but would NEVER name my baby boy that!

On the girls’, Esme is 921 and Willa is 968, which seems like a shame that names that so stylish and so beautiful are beat out by Kadence and Journee. But maybe that’s a good thing.


Elle2010 Says:

May 13th, 2011 at 12:07 pm

@Claire and Brandie Hudson could quite possibly be from the show Glee. The main character’s name is Finn HUDSON.

— Says:

May 15th, 2011 at 8:18 am

Pippa will be the next one in the top 10 list! – due to recent royal events and Pippa Middleton!

The dimunitive name for that is Philippa, although it isn’t common in the United States, but popular in the United Kingdom. Think of Nigel and Gemma, I haven’t heard of Americans who who named Nigel or Gemma.

Kessed Says:

May 16th, 2011 at 6:08 am

@Lola you must be happy about your daughter’s name Kylie dropping some spots!

What is her middle name?

NatalieRose Says:

May 17th, 2011 at 12:20 am

I haven’t fully studied the lists yet, but my biggest surprise in scanning the girls’ list is the number of babies being named mid-century/ baby boomer names like Nancy, Deborah, Linda, Judith, Brenda, Patricia, Janet, etc. Not that I particularly like nor dislike this, just surprising. Maybe every baby Nancy was named by her older sister after fancy nancy.
I chose my daughter’s name 15 years ago as a kid. She was born in 2010, and I happily bestowed the name despite its recent untimely use both by a celebrity and as a film character. I am glad, but not surprised, to see that it has still never cracked the top 1000. Strangers still give me vaguely confused looks when I answer their question as to what her name is, as well as her brother’s… And I like it that way.

*person* Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 6:51 pm


Kate Hudson, I think.

*person* Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Some of these names confuse me.
Nevaeh sounds decent, but will we start to have names like: Lufituaeb,Yttep, Etilop, and Tengilletni?
Renesme is actually a NAME? ARE YOU —-ING KIDDING ME?
Sarah doesn’t even sound like a name. It sounds like someone coughed.
Miley. Fine if you want your child to be a stripper.

Christina Says:

June 26th, 2011 at 2:49 am

I feel like I did such a good job with naming my first daughter, Geneva (born 07). Her name isn’t even on the lists but it’s recognizable, spellable, classic, fresh and modern. I love those turn of the century names, that’s my niche, and my second daughter’s name is Clara (born ’10) and I just adore her name and think it fits so perfect with Geneva’s, but I feel so bad that it seems to be getting so popular now!! 🙁 #167!!! 🙁 boooo. 🙁 but regardless I still love it and it fits her so it’s wonderful all the same.

what I want to know is how did Angel get to #46 for the boys??? huh? I was a fan of all the strong emerging Italian & Spanish names that popped up in the 200-300s though.

And (lets take those first 13 girl names for ex) I get that those names got to the top once, but OHmegoodness. WHY are our friends still naming their children these things?! LET THE TRENDS DIE PEOPLE. If I make “no more Emmas” t shirts will anyone wear them with me? 😉 ahhhhhhhhh!

Oh, and did you also see that there were actually TWO different spellings/entries for the name Yazmin. Yes, like after the BIRTH CONTROL pill?! really. you 1) either misspelled jasmine THAT badly or 2) you named your baby after your failed b/c. oh honey.

a nameberry Says:

August 4th, 2011 at 1:17 am

HUDSON – Finn HUDSON from Glee! Same with Quinn (She’s head cheerleader on the show)

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