The Hottest Trends in Baby Names Today

Juniper and Jayceon are the new Jennifer and Jason

by Pamela Redmond, with research by Joe Satran

If you want to give your baby a name that transcends this decade, make sure it doesn’t start with Ad-, end with –ley, contain the letter x, or honor a star who suffered a tragic death.

That’s what we found when we analyzed the Social Security baby names data of 2016 versus 2006 and identified which names have exploded in use over the past ten years and how those combine to create the major baby name trends of the decade.

Juniper and Jayceon, according to our research, may well prove as emblematic of these times as Jennifer and Jason were of the 1970s. The 40 names that have increased the most in usage over the past ten years – which also include Adalynn and Brantley, Monroe and Hendrix – may sound fresh and stylish now, but are likely to become the Brittany and Brian of the future.

Here, our statistical analysis of the dominant baby name trends of the decade and the hot baby names that influenced them.

AD NAMES FOR GIRLS

Adalynn is 31 times as popular now as it was in 2006, followed by Adaline which is 26 times as popular, Addilyn at 21 times, and Adley at 19 times. Add (hmmmm) to this the status of Adeline and sisters as the sixth most popular girls’ name of 2016 when all spellings are combined and you have the major baby name trend for girls of the decade.

And this trend will undoubtedly burn brighter before it wanes, given that it’s largely invisible. The most popular form of the name, Adeline, is all the way down at Number 63 on the new list of Top 1000 Baby Names, which means that many parents have no idea how widespread the name is. Parents may believe that by varying the spelling or the form to Adley, they’re choosing a relatively rare name, but the truth is exactly the opposite.

Ironically, Caitlin in all her variations – from Katelynn to Kaitlyn to Caitlyn – held the same dominant position a decade ago. Once parents realized how cumulatively popular the name had become, they largely abandoned it so that now many spellings have fallen from the Top 1000.

baby name trends 2017

 

LEE NAMES FOR BOTH GENDERS

Names that end in the lee sound are booming for both girls and boys. Paislee is the third hottest girls’ name, 31 times as popular now as it was a decade ago, while Brantley is the second hottest name for boys, 27 times more popular than it was in 2006.

For girls, Ashley’s granddaughter Adley fits in the group too, along with Blakely, 19 times more popular; Henley, 16 times; and Paisley, 15 times.

More surprising is the companion boom in boys’ names that end with the formerly-feminine lee sound: Bentley, now 24 times more popular than in 2006; Finnley, 17 times; and Kingsley, 12 times.

SHOOTING STAR NAMES

Hot young celebrities who manage to stay in the spotlight for more than a reality TV season or two can propel their names into major trends, the way Shirley Temple did in the 1930s or Debbie Reynolds did in the 1950s.

The hottest celebrity baby names of this decade are Isla, as in Fisher, with a 27 times increase in popularity; Leighton, as in Gossip Girl star Meester, up 20 times; Bristol, as in Palin, up 19 times; and Mila, as in Kunis, up 13 times.

On the boys’ side, the very hottest name Jayceon, with 31 times as many babies named it in 2016 as in 2006, is inspired by rapper The Game, who pronounces his name jay-cee-on, though others pronounce the name as jay-son or jay-shawn, making it the perfect heir to former hottie Jason.

Soccer stars Iker Casillas and Thiago Silva have propelled their once-unusual names up by 23 and 20 times this decade. And singer Zayn Malik’s first name is up 19 times.

And in a slightly different vein, Nova, the name of a star that suddenly increases in brightness, is now 22 times more popular for girls than it was in 2006.

baby name King

SUPERLATIVE NAMES 

Baby, your name is Legend….literally. Names that tell the world how extraordinary your child is rule today. The name Legend is 18 times more popular for boys now than it was a decade ago, while Major and King are each up 12 times, with Kingston and Kingsley on the hottest list too. And Princeton, the name of an Ivy League college that not-so-coincidentally includes the royal name Prince, is 14 times more popular than it was in 2006.

Girls are great too, with Royalty, the hottest girls’ name of 2016, up 58 times over its 2006 numbers, and Reign up 13 times.

VINTAGE CELEBRITY SURNAMES

 The names of hallowed stars of the past are enjoying a new turn in the limelight as their tragic ends fade from memory.

Two celebrity surnames, Lennon and Monroe, are among the decade’s hottest names for girls, up 19 times and 13 times. Another name with a similar feel that’s also booming is Harper, though it was the first name of To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee. Harper is 18 times more popular for girls now than it was in 2006 and has entered the Top 10.

The boys’ name that fits this category is Hendrix, as in rocker Jimi, 18 times more popular now than it was in 2006. It’s also worth noting that a handful of other names that feature the letter x are also up for boys, with Knox up 25 times and Jaxton and Lennox each 12 times more popular.

MORE TRENDS

Character names Aria (Pretty Little Liars; there’s also an Arya on Game of Thrones), Arlo (Justified) and Archer (Archer) are also among our hottest names of the decade. Nature name Juniper, used 13 times more often than it was ten years ago, is the prime candidate to be the Jennifer of the future.

We also looked at which names fell the furthest over the past decade. These include celebrity names Shakira, Rihanna, and Omarion; n-ending names for boys Braedon, Jaylan, and Haden; and goddess-turned-terrorist group name Isis.

Here is the full list of the hottest names of the decade with the number of times more popular they are now versus 2006.

Hottest Girls’ Names of the Decade

  1. Royalty — 58x as popular now as in 2006
  2. Adalynn — 31x
  3. Paislee — 31x
  4. Isla — 27x
  5. Adaline — 26x
  6. Nova — 22x
  7. Addilyn — 21x
  8. Leighton — 20x
  9. Bristol — 20x
  10. Lennon — 19x
  11. Adley — 19x
  12. Harper — 18x
  13. Blakely — 18x
  14. Henley — 16x
  15. Aria – 16x
  16. Paisley — 15x
  17. Reign — 13x
  18. Monroe — 13x
  19. Mila— 13x
  20. Juniper — 13x

 Hottest Boys’ Names of the Decade

  1. Jayceon— 31x as popular now as it was in 2006
  2. Brantley — 28x
  3. Knox — 26x
  4. Bentley — 24x
  5. Thiago — 23x
  6. Iker — 20x
  7. Zayn — 19x
  8. Hendrix — 18x
  9. Legend — 17x
  10. Finnley — 17x
  11. Kingston — 15x
  12. Vihaan — 15x
  13. Princeton — 14x
  14. Arlo — 13x
  15. Archer — 13x
  16. King — 12x
  17. Kingsley — 12x
  18. Jaxton — 12x
  19. Major –12x
  20. Lennox — 12x

   — Adorable paisley dress available at Baby Beau and Belle

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16 Responses to “The Hottest Trends in Baby Names Today”

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mill1020 Says:

May 17th, 2017 at 11:44 pm

Nothin’ cheesier than the Superior names category.

Isla is probably the only one that will have much stamina. It’s got a gentle, simple, classic ring to it.

paulapuddephatt Says:

May 18th, 2017 at 3:36 am

The trend for replacing “-ly”, “-ley” or “-lie” endings with “-lee” is so annoying.

Orchid_Lover Says:

May 18th, 2017 at 8:53 am

I really like this way of looking at the data. However, I do wonder what the exclusion criteria were for this article because there must be some names with huge multiples over the last decade that are missing. Royalty has a multiple of 58. And I think Kehlani was hotter in 2016, but it wasn’t on the chart in 2006 so it couldn’t be measured this way.

I think many names on this list have potential, but Knox, Arlo, Nova, and Juniper seem like they could have lasting mass appeal. They feel fresh (the boys have forward-feeling endings and the girls are nature names) but are simple enough to not feel too “out there”.

The -lee ending bothers me the least of all alternative spellings. I think it’s because it makes quite a bit of phonetic sense for pronunciation. In fact, it is my favorite spelling of Novalee for this reason. (Novalie is popular in Sweden…the name isn’t just a mishmash that started in the US)

Pam Says:

May 18th, 2017 at 9:04 am

@Orchid_Lover, you’re right, we missed Royalty — I’m adding it!

indiefendi2 Says:

May 18th, 2017 at 2:27 pm

According to the Washington Post, the reason why new parents have abandoned Caitlin and all her variations is because of Caitlyn Jenner.

Titus245Mama Says:

May 22nd, 2017 at 9:49 am

I keep coming back to this post because it’s been bothering me. Juniper is on our (very) short list of names for this baby, for a whole lot of personal/meaningful reasons that have nothing to do with popularity. Is it really going to be the new “Jennifer”, with dozens of them everywhere? Is it going to be a flash-in-the-pan that screams “I was born between 2015-2020?”. The only other name we’re currently considering is not even in the top 1000, but it sounds very normal/classic to me. I’ve been trying to convince my husband that it’s not a hippy name and it goes great with our sibset, but now I’m not sure I can use it at all. 😥

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