Top Baby Names 2013: Noah the New Number 1!

Top Baby Names 2013: Noah the New Number 1!

Noah has unseated Jacob to become the new Number 1 name for boys – the first new top boys’ choice of the 21st century.

The boys’ side of the list claims all the hottest news, in a turnaround from the usual pattern in which girls’ names dominate the trend shifts.  Liam leapfrogs up to second place in only his second year on the Top 10, above father name William.  And the boys’ roster includes the only new entrant to the Top 10, longtime favorite Daniel, elbowing aside the trendier Aiden.

The girls’ Top 10 is comparatively stable, with Sophia and Emma maintaining their status of Number 1 and Number 2.  Olivia and Isabella switched places at 3 and 4, while Mia moved up and the traditional Emily and Abigail slid down.

The full Top 1000 baby names list for 2013, is now up on Nameberry here.

The focus on fashion changes for boys’ names with relative stability for girls is evidence of a larger shift in baby name style for both genders.  Boys are less often named for fathers and other family members and more often given names influenced by current styles and culture, while girls’ names are becoming more serious and more deeply rooted in tradition.  The result: Greater gender equality in baby names.

The 2013 US Top 10 baby names, announced exclusively on The Today Show this morning, are:[column1]

  1. Sophia

  2. Emma

  3. Olivia

  4. Isabella

  5. Ava

  6. Mia

  7. Emily

  8. Abigail

  9. Madison

  10. Elizabeth


  1. Noah

  2. Liam

  3. Jacob

  4. Mason

  5. William

  6. Ethan

  7. Michael

  8. Alexander

  9. Jayden

  10. Daniel


Noah becomes only the seventh name to EVER make Number 1 for boys, and only the third name at the top of the boys’ list in 60 years.  Michael held the top spot for boys from 1954 until 1999, when Jacob took over.

Noah is the well-known appellation of the popular biblical figure who built the ark and saved the animals – and was also played by Russell Crowe in his own movie this year, which may have influenced the name’s rise to stardom.

Liam, an Irish short form of William, entered the Top 10 for the first time last year.  Liam’s popularity has largely been fueled by actor Liam Neeson, though One Direction’s Liam Payne is making it fashionable with a new generation.

Sophia stands at Number 1 for the third year in a row.  A Greek name meaning wisdom, Sophia’s antecedents include a goddess, a saint, several royals, and a film legend.  The name is also popular via its Latin Sofia spelling.

One pattern evident in this year’s Top 10 is the popularity of names that have both deep roots and a sleek modern feel.  Noah, Liam, Emma, Ava, and Mia all share these appealing qualities.

Both Sophia and Noah appeal to a wide range of parents from different regions of the country, different ethnic groups, a variety of education and economic levels.  That’s what it takes to be the top name!

Noah, which entered the Top 100 in 1996 and the Top 10 only in 2009, is a Hebrew name that means both rest and wandering.   An international star, Noah is also popular in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands.  In Israel, the unrelated homonym Noa is the Number 1 name for girls, while the also-unrelated Noam is Number 1 for boys.

Daniel, which bumped Aiden, has actually been a frequent visitor to the Top 10 since the 1970s.

Pop culture continues to influence the Top 10 baby names.  Alexander may have hopped one rung up the ladder thanks to its use as a middle name for Britain’s young Prince George.  And Mia, which jumped two places, was the choice of another British royal, Zara Phillips.

Mason, in the spotlight thanks to Kourtney Kardashian’s young son, slipped from Number 2 to fourth place.

New entrants to the Top 100 include, for girls, Sadie, Penelope, Mila, Nora, Paisley, Nicole, and Ruby.  For boys, new names in the Top 100 are Camden, Lincoln, and Jaxson,

Names moving fastest up the list for girls, all jumping onto the Top 1000, are:

Daleyza, which increased over 3000 places to make Number 585.

Marjorie, vintage favorite rose 735 places to make Number 910.

Lennon, Beatles surname rises 700 spots on the girls’ side of the list, to Number 923.

Jurnee, Kree8tiv spelling of a word name rises 571 places to Number 896.

Everly and Everleigh, Everly made the Top 1000 last year and now stands at 383, with Everleigh on for the first time at 865.

Henley.  Another -ley ending name rises to Number 831.

Freya, Ancient Norse goddess name, popular in Britain, on the list for the first time in the US at 908.

Neriah, rises to Number 954.

Oakley.  Yet another -ley ender, up to 928.

Mabel, Gwyneth, India, Saylor, and Ireland are other notable choices that make the 2013 Top 1000 for girls in 2013.

On the boys’ side, names rising the fastest are:

Jayceon, a name trying to have it all and succeeding in many parents’ eyes, rising a whopping 845 places to not only make the Top 1000 but enter at Number 206!

Milan, Starbaby place name vaults up 650 spots to Number 542 for boys.

Atlas, Strong-arms its way onto the Top 1000 at Number 789.

Jayse, Respelling of a name that’s gotten extremely popular as Jace, makes the Top 1000 at 974.

Duke, Royal word name up 429 places to Number 718.

Castiel, rises 418 spots to Number 956.

Zayn, Zane respelling makes the Top 1000 at Number 900.

Thiago, On the Top 1000 last year but now jumping 374 places to Number 485.

Forrest, Hops onto the Top 1000 at Number 841.

Kyrie, Rises to Number 590 for boys.

Other boys’ names making the Top 1000, some of them for the first time, in 2013 are: Lochlan, Azariah, Gannon, Harlan, Anson, Magnus, and Enoch.

Notable are how many unisex choices are on the fastest-rising lists for both girls and boys.  For girls, these include: Lennon, Everly, Henley, Oakley, Dallas, Hunter, Saylor, Sutton, Monroe, Carter, Elliott, Blair, and Blake.

For boys, fast-rising unisex names include Milan, Jayse, Kyrie, Santana, Dilan, Marley, Remy, Oakley, and Niko.

Names that slipped off the Top 1000 in 2013 for girls include: Litzy, Gerladine, Marisa, Taraji, Adley, Jazzlyn, Maritza, Izabelle, Jaqueline, and Abbie.

For boys, names that disappeared from the Top 1000 include several spelling variations of popular names, such as Austyn, Masen, Jaidyn, Jarrett, Brennen, Devan, Karsen, Jaeden, and Donte.


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It’s a tie! We have two winners who came closest to predicting the Top 20 names for 2013, and they are (drum roll!):

Orchid_Lover! and townsend2787

…who will each get a personalized, multi-patterned fabric banner from our store.

They both guessed 19 of the 20 names correctly, and though not in the exact order, they were pretty close (darn that Chloe and Aiden!).

It was a tough year for prognosticating, the main stumbling blocks being Noah and Liam’s surprise jumps into first and second place.  (Hats off also to luluemonmee—the only entrant who predicted Noah at the top!) The vast majority of boy votes went to Mason at Number 1.

Among the girls, Ella, Lily, Chloe and Charlotte were the biggest wannabees not to make it, and for the boys, the aforementioned Aiden, plus Elijah and James.

So congrats to the winners, and thank you all so much for participating!

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.