Spanish Names Trending in the US
Spanish is the second language of the USA, spoken by around 60 million native and bilingual speakers – the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico!
So it’s little wonder that so many beautiful Spanish baby names feature prominently on the US popularity charts.
Handsome Spanish favorite Mateo broke into the boys’ Top 20 for the first time this year, and chic Camila now sits at #11. Rarer Spanish names rising fast include Santana and Benicio for boys, Aitana and Araceli for girls. All jumped over 100 spots last year!
Today, we look at what the latest data reveals about the hottest Spanish names and trends in the US right now.
Top Spanish Names in the US
The top Spanish names in the US are surprisingly tricky to pinpoint. Do popular cross-cultural picks like Mia, Isabella, Daniel and Sebastian count?
The limited data we have suggests that they are disproportionally popular among parents of Hispanic and Latin American heritage. For example, Biblical Ezekiel ranks #65 nationally, but is the #3 boy name in New Mexico, which is the state with the highest proportion of Hispanic residents.
But there’s no doubt that cross-cultural names like these are firm favorites across the board. The top Spanish names listed below are the highest ranking choices with a more specifically Spanish flavor. All sit well within the current Top 200 baby names in the US.
Top Spanish Girl Names
Top Spanish Boy Names
Other Spanish names that rank particularly highly in states with a large Hispanic and Latin American population – like New Mexico, Texas, California and Arizona – include Alejandro, Andres, Emiliano, Jesus, Lorenzo, Manuel and Miguel for boys, and Amaya, Andrea, Catalina, Daniela, Liliana and Mariana for girls.
Spanish Name Trends in the US
The majority of these popular Spanish names – especially on the boys’ side – are classic choices in Spanish-speaking communities. And, just like their traditional English equivalents, such as John (Juan), Joseph (Jose) or Mary (Maria), they’re currently trending downwards in the US.
The pool of names used by the Hispanic and Latin American community is widening, in step with the broader trend across the country for more innovation and individuality in naming.
Of the top Spanish names listed above, only Gael, Camila, Natalia and Alaia were given to more babies in 2020 than in 2019. All were boosted either by on-trend sounds or by high-profile people in the news this past year, like actor Gael García Bernal, singer-songwriter Camila Cabello, and Natalia Bryant, the eldest daughter of the late Kobe Bryant.
Fashionable trends in Spanish girl names include glide girl names like Alaia/Alaya, Amaia/Amaya, Cataleya and Itzayana. Girl names starting with Ya-, such as Yaretzi, Yareli, Yaritza and Yamileth, also enjoy particular popularity with Hispanic and Latin American parents.
Similarly, girl names ending in -eli (Araceli, Mayeli, Yaneli), -lany (Kailany, Leilany, Melany), and -is/-ys (Amaris, Genesis, Odalys) are especially popular in the Latin American community.
The hottest Spanish boy names of the moment include lots of handsome -el ending choices. Adriel, Aziel, Dariel, Emmanuel, Ezekiel/Ezequiel, Gael, Ismael, Misael and Rafael all rose last year, and are all disproportionally popular in states with a large Hispanic and Latin American population. Sant- boy names like Santos and Santino were also big risers in 2020 – following stylish Santiago up the charts.
Influence of Latin American Pop Culture
Spanish-language pop culture is a huge source of naming inspiration for Hispanic and Latin American parents in the US. Spanish singers Rosalía and Aitana each pushed their stylish names over 200 spots up the popularity charts in 2020, making them two of the highest climbing girl names of the year.
One of the biggest surprises from the latest data drop was the dramatic resurgence of Denise and Denisse – both of which leaped out of a longstanding decline to rank among the Top 10 fastest rising girl names of 2020. They owe the sudden bounce to reality TV star Denisse Novoa, as well as to Spanish actress Denisse Peña, who starred in the final season of the popular Netflix show Las chicas del cable, broadcast in two parts in 2020.
Other choices boosted by TV series include Dario and Aislinn (La Casa de las Flores); Alba, Xiomara and Rogelio (Jane the Virgin); and even the quirky city names Rio, Berlin and Denver for boys and Nairobi and Tokyo for girls (La casa de papel).
And reality TV stars Larry Hernandez and Kenia Ontiveros are responsible for the highest ranking totally new name of the year: Dalett (94 births, plus 16 Daleth, 6 Dalet and 5 Dalette). They invented the name for their third daughter, born in May 2020. The couple pulled off a similar feat with their two elder daughters’ names: Daleyza and Dalary, which both now rank in the US Top 1000.
Popular Names from Other Languages
Popular baby names with parents of Hispanic and Latin American heritage aren’t limited to Spanish picks, as some of the trending names above show!
Italian names are also popular in the Latin American community – no doubt because of the sound and spelling similarities between the two languages. In the few areas which release baby name data broken down by ethnicity, like New York City, Italian names like Alessandro, Enzo, Giovanni and Valentino for boys, and Arianna, Gabriella and Gianna for girls, all rank well above the national average for babies of Hispanic heritage.
Hawaiian or Hawaiian-inspired names, particularly those ending -lani for girls, are also disproportionally popular. Leilani (#92 nationally) is a Top 50 pick in three of the four states with the largest Hispanic population: New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.
And of course, names from languages indigenous to Central and South America are also widely used, notably for girls. Some of the most popular in the US today include Yaqui or Zapotec Nayeli, Tupi Anahi and Yara, Mayan Itzel and Ixchel, and Nahuatl Citlali, Xochitl and Quetzalli.
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