The Most Popular Baby Names of the Year, So Far
What are the most popular names right now? The official statistics for your country are a great place to look, but they’re out of date as soon as they’re published. For example, the most recent USA baby name data cover children born in 2019. Some of those kids are already walking, talking, and have younger siblings!
On the other hand, the Nameberry chart shows the names parents-to-be are considering now, in real time. This is our round-up of the most-viewed names of 2021 so far.
If you’re naming a baby soon, you’ll find inspiration here: maybe a name you hadn’t considered before, or one you thought was too out-there, but is actually right on trend. Or if you want a name that’s not on anyone else’s list, you’ll want to look further down the chart, or choose a name that’s not there at all.
But are these the names people are actually using? It depends. Sometimes a high-profile birth announcement draws a lot of attention to a name: that’s what happened to August when both Princess Eugenie and Mandy Moore used it for their sons in February. August wasn’t even in our Top 100 in 2020, and is already on its way down the chart again, so it probably won’t be as popular as this list suggests.
Conversely, some names that are very well-used in real life, like Harper and Benjamin, aren’t in our Top 100 at all.
The names in our chart are often up-and-coming ones that are likely to rise, or stay popular, in the next few years. So for the coolest and freshest options, take a look at our readers’ favorites in the first quarter of 2021.
Top 10 Names of 2021 So Far
It’s all change at the top! Both the girl and boy lists have a new number one since the end of 2020: Ava replaces Luna, and Arlo replaces Milo.
Short, sweet Ava ranks at number 3 in the US, and her popularity here suggests she’ll be around for a while yet… maybe even a future US number 1? Arlo is another compact international name that’s risen fast in the last decade. He’s currently just within the US Top 300, and is almost guaranteed to keep climbing.
Our Top 10 is trending towards shorter names, with several one- and two-syllable options entering (or returning to) the list this year. For girls, Freya and Aria replace Eleanor and Olivia; and for boys, August, Rowan, Finn, Ezra and Kai replace Asher, Theodore, Oliver, Felix and Jasper.
The top girl names are all about the soft sounds: long vowels, glides, liquid R’s and L’s. In fact, there are no stopped consonants (that’s P, T, K, B, D and G) in the Top 10 at all. For boys too, names ending in a vowel are more dominant here than on the real-life charts, which show that this style is fresh, attractive, and very much on parents’ minds.
These are Nameberry’s Top 10 names of 2021 so far (and the full Top 100 is further below):
Coming In, Going Out
Since this time last year (and what a year it’s been), these girl names have entered the Top 100:
These are the girl names that have dropped out:
These boy names are new to the Top 100 since this time last year:
And these are the boy names that dropped out:
Biggest Name Trends of 2021
These are the newest trends we’ve spotted on our charts — we could well see more children with names like these in the coming months and years.
Grand, elaborate girl names
Andromeda, Cecilia, Ophelia, Persephone… there are a lot of stately four-syllable girl names in the Top 100. Parents are becoming ever bolder in their name choices, turning to sources like literature and mythology for alternatives to Olivia and Amelia. And it’s not just girls: we can see this happening on the boy list too, in names like Aurelius. These grand names are stunning as they are, but also have lots of nickname options.
Gender-neutral R names for boys
There are four new names starting with R in the boys’ Top 100, but instead of traditional masculine picks like Robert and Richard, they’re all unisex in sound: Remy, River, Rhys and Rory. Another gender-neutral name, Rowan, is in the Top 10. If you like these names, there are plenty more in this style, such as Robin, Rain and Riley.
Girl names ending in -E
Four girl names ending in a pronounced “E” entered the Top 100 this year — Ariadne, Calliope, Daphne, and Persephone — joining established favorites Chloe, Penelope and Phoebe. It looks like parents are casting wider in the world of Greek mythology to find lyrical girl names. Could we see even rarer ones, like Phryne and Thisbe, on the charts one day?
Boy names ending in vowels
A lot of boy names ending in -N just dropped out of the Top 100, and the names replacing them have gentler endings. There are several different vowel sounds on the list, as in Ari, Jonah, Kai, and Nico, as well as the soft endings of River and Magnus. The “two syllables ending in -N” template has dominated boy names for decades, but it could be beginning to break its hold.
The challenges of the past year have made many parents turn to names with strong, hopeful connotations, and a lot of the names in the Top 100 are associated with heroic figures. There are gods and legendary figures — like Athena, Orion and Arthur — and literary heroes, like Luna, Atticus and Caspian. There are strong biblical characters, like Esther and Elijah, and modern-day legends like Dylan. The word names Ace and Danger, with their daring meanings, could fall into this group too. We might see this as part of a wider trend for parents looking for children’s names with real positive meaning.
Below the US Top 1000
Ten names in the Nameberry Top 100 are hugely popular with our readers, but don’t even make the US Top 1000.
Some are so close: Seraphina ranks at 1004, and looks set to enter the Top 1000 very soon. On the other hand, Danger was only given to ten boys. The interest in it might be more theoretical than real, but as the stats only cover the first name on the birth certificate, we can’t rule out that many children may literally have Danger as their middle name.
These are the rarest names in our Top 100 of the year so far:
Top Girl Names of 2021