Category: popular names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

Kindergarten teachers across the US are learning the names of all their new students, which might present an especially big challenge this year.

Children entering school this fall were most likely born in 2010 or 2011, when the Number 1 names both years were Jacob for boys and Sophia for girls. (Even when Isabella took first place in 2010, Sophia and Sofia together outnumbered her.) That makes nearly 100,000 children named Jacob, Sophia, or Sofia starting kindergarten this fall, an average of 2000 in every state.

If you throw Jake and Sophie into the mix, that’s nearly as many children as were named Michael and Jennifer in 1983, the year today’s average kindergarten parent was born. Welcome to school, new generation of kids destined to be known as Jacob R. and Sophia W.

Other kindergarten students most likely to have a last initial appended to their popular first names are little boys named Ethan, William, and Jayden, and girls called Emma, Olivia, and Ava.

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The Reddest and Bluest Baby Names

popular baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

If you name your baby something traditional like Maya or Maximilian, you’re probably a Democrat, while a new-fangled choice such as Brylee or Braylen might peg you as a Republican.

Blue State parents may be more apt to vote liberal than their Red State counterparts, but their taste in baby names is far more conservative.

We analyzed which of the Top 500 names were used most often last year in Red States vs. Blue. Our findings: Red State baby names tend to defy convention in spelling, gender identity, and the very definition of a first name, while the Bluest Names toe the traditional line.

Every single one of the Top 25 Reddest Names for both genders lies outside the traditional lexicon of proper names. Red State favorites include first names adapted from surnames such as Number 1 Reddest Names Blakely for girls and Kason for boys, word names such as Haven for girls and Kash for boys, and diminutives such as Millie and Hattie used as full names. .

Parents in Blue States, on the other hand, choose relatively conventional first names for their babies. All of the Top 25 Bluest Names for girls are traditional female choices, ranging from Number 1 Francesca to Alexandra to Miriam. In the boys’ Top 25, the only name that diverges from the usual lexicon of first names is surname-name Finnegan.

The first traditional girls’ name in the Red State tally, by contrast, is Mary, all the way down at Number 51, with the first traditional boys’ name ranking even lower: Abram at Number 76.

Other markers of traditional naming in the list of Blue State favorites include girls’ names that are feminizations of male names, such as Gianna and Daniella, and Biblical and/or royal boys’ names, such as Leo, Nicholas, and Peter.

Red State parents are also much more likely to invent new spellings for baby names, with popular girls’ names including Kyleigh and Journee and four different spellings of Kason dominating the boys’ list. And the Reddest Names tend to push gender boundaries, with McKinley ranking in the Top 10 for girls and Lane in the Top 20 for boys.

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Most of  the vintage names that have gained in popularity this year have obvious charms—Tobias, say, and Clementine, sweet Adeline and Matilda and spunky Mabel— names that might elicit coos from admiring older relatives. But there are others on the rise that feel more midcentury than antique, and which could completely bewilder your mother-in-law or Gran, who still associate them with their own in-laws or Grans.

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posted by: NameFreak! View all posts by this author

By Kelli BradyName Freak!

You must be aware of the 2015 SSA top baby name list by now, but are you a bit confused by the #1 names? Maybe you hear a lot more “Jackson!” than “Noah!” yelled at the playground? Well, by combining the different spellings of each name, we can determine which name is truly more popular. Because when you hear a name, you don’t necessarily know how it is spelled, but you do know you hear the name a lot. Where does it really rank compared to other names?

Note: These are the combined spellings of the names in the Top 1000 only. When the numbers from the entire list are added, positions could change. The main name listed below is the spelling given to the most babies in 2015 (SSA Rank is in parentheses). The others are in alphabetical order. Opinions vary on how different spellings are pronounced. I went with my best judgment.


On the 2015 SSA list, Emma remains #1 in 2015 after taking over the top spot from Sophia in 2014. The rest of the Top 5 changes a bit, with Ava and Isabella switching places. However, the top 5 of the Playground Analysis has not changed from last year at all. Sophia is still on top when you add the alternate spelling Sofia. Emma is down to #3 after the variant of Olivia is also included. And Isabella passes Ava with its various spellings added. The changes between the SSA list and the Playground Analysis are plentiful however. The largest jumps that take place after adding the alternative spellings are by Adalynn (#123 to #9), Elena (#106 to #39), and Madelyn (#59 to #12). Adalynn also makes a huge jump in the Playground Analysis from 2014 to 2015 (#23 to #9).


  1. Sophia (3) – Sofia
  2. Olivia (2) – Alivia
  3. Emma (1)
  4. Isabella (5) – Isabela, Izabella
  5. Ava (4) – Avah
  6. Mia (6) – Miah
  7. Emily (8) – Emely, Emilee, Emilie, Emmalee
  8. Zoey (23) – Zoe, Zoie
  9. Adalynn (123) – Adaline, Adalyn, Addilyn, Addilynn, Adeline, Adelyn, Adelynn, Adilynn
  10. Amelia (12) – Emelia, Emilia
  11. Abigail (7)
  12. Madelyn (59) – Madalyn, Madalynn, Madeleine, Madeline, Madelynn, Madilyn, Madilynn
  13. Madison (11) – Maddison, Madisyn, Madyson
  14. Aubrey (21) – Aubree, Aubrie
  15. Charlotte (9)
  16. Chloe (17) – Khloe
  17. Riley (35) – Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie
  18. Layla (30) – Laila, Lailah, Laylah, Leila, Leyla
  19. Avery (16) – Averi, Averie
  20. Evelyn (15) – Evalyn, Evelynn
  21. Harper (10)
  22. Ariana (46) – Arianna, Aryana, Aryanna
  23. Elizabeth (13) – Elisabeth
  24. Aria (29) – Ariah, Ariya, Ariyah, Arya
  25. Lily (25) – Lillie, Lilly
  26. Scarlett (22) – Scarlet, Scarlette
  27. Brooklyn (31) – Brooklynn
  28. Allison (39) – Alison, Alisson, Allyson, Alyson
  29. Addison (24) – Addisyn, Addyson
  30. Ella (18)
  31. Natalie (27) – Natalee, Nataly, Nathalie, Nathaly
  32. Leah (36) – Lea, Leia, Lia
  33. Grace (19)
  34. Victoria (20)
  35. Maya (69) – Maia, Miya, Mya, Myah
  36. Mackenzie (73) – Makenzie, Mckenzie
  37. Nora (41) – Norah
  38. Hannah (28) – Hana, Hanna
  39. Elena (106) – Elaina, Alaina, Alayna
  40. Lillian (26) – Lilian
  41. Kaylee (61) – Caylee, Kailee, Kailey, Kayleigh, Kaylie
  42. Camila (43) – Camilla, Kamila
  43. Hailey (64) – Hailee, Haley, Haylee, Hayley
  44. Kylie (66) – Kiley, Kylee, Kyleigh
  45. Anna (44) – Ana
  46. Sarah (58) – Sara
  47. Skylar (42) – Skyler
  48. Peyton (72) – Paityn, Payton
  49. Katherine (84) – Catherine, Kathryn
  50. Paisley (45) – Paislee

Skylar and Paisley enter the Top 50 of the 2015 Playground Analysis, while Gabriella and Annabelle fall.


Both the 2014 SSA list and the Playground Analysis had no major changes to the Top 6, however Jayden and all of its spelling alternatives continue to fall as it moves from #7 to #8 in the Playground Analysis (after falling from #3 to #7 last year). William moves up to #7, but the rest of the top names stay in position. The biggest movers were Kayden (#95 to #9) and Jace (#75 to #29).


  1. Jackson (17) – Jaxen, Jaxon, Jaxson
  2. Aiden (13) – Aaden, Adan, Aden, Aidan, Aydan, Ayden, Aydin
  3. Noah (1) – Noe
  4. Liam (2)
  5. Mason (3) – Maison, Mayson
  6. Jacob (4) – Jakob
  7. William (5)
  8. Jayden (20) – Jaden, Jadon, Jaiden, Jaydon
  9. Kayden (95) – Caden, Caiden, Cayden, Kaden, Kaeden, Kaiden
  10. Ethan (6)
  11. Alexander (8) – Alexzander
  12. James (7)
  13. Michael (9) – Micheal
  14. Elijah (11) – Alijah
  15. Benjamin (10)
  16. Daniel (12)
  17. Matthew (15) – Mathew
  18. Carter (24) – Karter
  19. Logan (14)
  20. Lucas (16)
  21. Grayson (47) – Graysen, Greyson
  22. David (18)
  23. Oliver (19)
  24. Joseph (21)
  25. Caleb (37) – Kaleb
  26. Dylan (27) – Dilan, Dillon
  27. Gabriel (22)
  28. Samuel (23)
  29. Jace (75) – Jase, Jayce
  30. John (26) – Jon
  31. Anthony (25)
  32. Christopher (32) – Cristopher, Kristopher
  33. Isaac (31) – Issac
  34. Luke (28)
  35. Henry (29)
  36. Andrew (30)
  37. Christian (43) – Cristian, Kristian
  38. Joshua (33)
  39. Wyatt (34)
  40. Landon (46) – Landen, Landyn
  41. Sebastian (35)
  42. Owen (36)
  43. Cameron (56) – Camren, Camron, Kameron, Kamren, Kamron, Kamryn
  44. Connor (54) – Conner, Conor, Konnor
  45. Nicholas (62) – Nickolas, Nicolas, Nikolas
  46. Jonathan (48) – Johnathan, Jonathon
  47. Nathan (38)
  48. Ryan (39)
  49. Jack (40)
  50. Julian (45) – Julien

Julian rises into the Top 50 of the 2015 Playground Analysis, while Hunter falls.

Does this echo what you are hearing on the playground?

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Most Popular Vowel Names for Girls

top baby girl names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

The new Nameberry popular baby names list is out, and the results are stunning in terms of the dominance of vowel-starting names, especially for girls.

Eight of the Top 10 girls’ names start with vowels. Of the Top 25 girls’ names, 15 begin with vowels. And of the Top 50, more than half – 28 – start with A, E, I, or O (sorry, Ursula, but no U).

This vowel domination is more pronounced than on the US Popular Baby Names list, where 20 of the Top 50 girls’ names start with vowels.

What are the most popular vowel-starting girls’ names on Nameberry today?

First, let’s look at them by letter. As in overall statistics, A is the most dominant first initial, starting 12 of the top girls’ names. E is next with ten, followed by four for I and two for O.  Here are the 28 top girls’ names alphabetically.

Create your own personalized birth announcement like the adorable Olivia one here at Simply To Impress.

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