Americans are more daring when it comes to naming daughters, and the numbers bear this out.
In 2013, just over 67% of girls born in the US received a Top 1000 name. Boys, on the other hand, received a Top 1000 name nearly 79% of the time.
It makes predicting the most popular names of the future slightly more difficult when it comes to girls. With everything from surnames – Madison and Addison – to enduring choices like Emily and Elizabeth in the current Top 20, it’s tough to say which direction parents will go in the future.
Or maybe we’ll just keep going in every possible direction. This list is a little bit literary, slightly musical, occasionally globetrotting, sometimes unisex.
My picks for the 2033 Top Twenty have something for everyone – surnames and modern discoveries, but also classics that you might have heard back in the nineteenth century. There’s even one name that appears on both the boys’ and the girls’ Top Twenty lists.
Here are my predictions for the Top Twenty Girl Names of 2013:
- Charlotte – We appreciate moderns like Madison, but we reserve the #1 spot for names with history, preferably with regal or literary connections. Who better to take the crown from Isabella and Sophia than Charlotte?
- Fiona – Could she possibly climb this high? From Four Weddings and a Funeral to the Shrek series, Fiona has slowly gone from obscurity to the Top 200.
- Sadie – Sometimes the names in the Top 20 reflect a style that’s all the rage – think of Taylor and Madison, both at the forefront of our last names-as-first names obsession, especially for girls. Could Sadie be the spunky retro frontrunner that helps bring back Hattie and Elsie and Josie and Winnie and Millie and Frankie and on and on? My guess is yes.
- Harper – In recent decades, there’s always been a tailored, borrowed-from-the-boys name in the Top Ten, from former #1 Ashley to 2014’s Madison. Harper feels like their logical successor.
- Elsa – The Time Baby Name Predictor gives Elsa another year or two of climbing before tapering off. I get it – Disney princess names usually don’t crack the Top Ten. But Elsa is different. She’s a slim classic already on the rise when Frozen became a mega-hit.
- Evelyn – The gentle, old-fashioned Evelyn could follow Hannah and Abigail into the Top Ten.
- Sofia – Sophia has been popular for years, ranking #1 since 2011. Sofia currently stands at #13, but she’s a favorite amongst Spanish-speaking families for her easy crossover appeal. With a popular animated Disney princess, my hunch is that Sofia will eventually eclipse Sophia – and maybe even crack the Top Ten.
- Paisley – She’s way ahead of the curve in Wyoming, where she ranks #5. Sometimes Wyoming and its neighboring Western states are ahead of the trend – and sometimes they’re just plain trendy, favoring names that will fade quickly. But Paisley seems like a possible successor to ends-with-y names for girls like Ashley and Brittany.
- Autumn – Nature names have gone mainstream, but they’ve all peaked short of the Top Ten in recent years. Will tailored Autumn, with that popular first letter A, be the first to break through?
- Lucy – We like short, sweet complete names – from Mary to Chloe, there have always been a few very popular choices in this category. Lily has had a good run. Could the equally vintage Lucy be her replacement?
- London – I almost had Brooklyn on this list, because while she’s avoided in New York, Brooklyn is making the shortlists of parents everywhere else –part-place name, part-smoosh of Brooke and Lynn. But what if the equally urban London sneaks right past Brooklyn into the Top 20? I think it could happen.
- Cora – Blame it on Downton Abbey, or maybe just on our appreciation for short, simple girls’ names that feel feminine but still strong. As Ava fades, could Cora climb?
- Elizabeth – She’s the girls’ answer to James. Our favorite spelling of Katherine/Catherine/Kathryn changes, but Elizabeth remains evergreen.
- Emma – Emma is still going strong, despite having spent many years in the Top Ten. She’s popular with Spanish-speaking parents now, so I think she’ll hold on longer than Ava and some of the other current chart-toppers.
- Colette – I don’t have a great reason to include Colette on this list, except that she’s recently re-entered the US Top 1000, and there are always a few names that we just can’t see coming. I can imagine Colette sneaking up on us all.
- Charlie – I keep seeing parents shortlist Charlie for a boy and a girl – and no, not Charles or Charlotte, but Charlie. It seems like the new unisex name, a choice that will truly be embraced for sons and daughters alike.
- Elena – I almost picked Aaliyah for this spot – but there are so many variant spellings. That’s true of Alaina, Aleyna, Elayna, too, but this one has an edge. Plus, she’s climbed steadily for the last few years, and has that culture-spanning appeal that has helped other names rise to the top.
- Aria – Yes, Game of Thrones and Pretty Little Liars are curious inspiration for a child’s name. But Aria was a name just waiting to be launched. We love the letter A, we’re so fond of those –ia endings, and she’s not just a random connection of letters, no – Aria is a musical term. It makes her far more substantial than Khaleesi or Spencer.
- Luna – Yes, I think the Harry Potter heroine name could go higher. She’s big for Spanish-speaking families, and nature names continue to go mainstream. Plus, an entire generation that’s grown up reading about the world of wizarding is just beginning to start their families – the first novel was published in 1997, and the first movie released in 2001.
- Hadley – Does this seem like a long shot? Maybe, but we like H surname names for girls – Harper, Harlow, and Haven followed Hailey up the charts, and Hailey peaked at #19 a few years ago.
Are there any that you think will definitely rise? Fall? What do you think the top girls’ baby names will be in 2033?
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