Baby Name Predictions reviewedIt’s almost time for baby name predictions for 2016, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t first review my predictions for this year.

Without any further ado, let’s take a look at the baby name predictions I made for 2015, and see which ones came true!

Baby Name Predictions: The Misses

The Triumphant Return of Peter

I’ve been waiting for the return of Peter for a while now, and I thought this would be the year, what with live Peter Pan closing out 2014 and the big screen Pan opening up over the summer of 2015. Plus, plenty of parents love Henry and Oliver but want something a little less popular – queue Peter. It’s a name as storybook as Jack, as Biblical as Noah. Plus, Peter has that great ‘r’ ending of Carter and Asher and so many others, and The Hunger Games gave us handsome heroic and similar-sounding Peeta.

Alas, the numbers don’t show any real movement. There were 1,846 boys named Peter in 2013, and 1,899 in 2014. That’s more – but not by much. Still, I think Peter is the very definition of an underused classic, so I’ll keep this one on the watch list.

Baby Name Predictions: Maybes

Monroe is the Hot Celeb-Inspired Baby Name

On the one hand, this name has featured in quite a few high profile birth announcements. And we’re definitely still hearing it, often in the middle spot – which makes tracking use tricky. But the 354 girls given the name last year is identical to the 354 girls given the first name this most recent year.

So while Monroe remains worth watching, it’s too soon to say that it’s ready to join Everly and Olive on the names-launched-by-celebs roster.

Marlowe is the New Harper

I called Marlowe the new Harper for 2015. Here’s the thing: I still think I’m right. But I also think I was a little early with this call. While Marlowe gained again last year, the name remains outside of the US Top 1000 – for now. I’m confident we’ll see this one debut when the new data is released in May 2016.

Vivienne Will Eclipse Vivian

Dominant spellings – the spelling most common at any given point in time – change, for lots of reasons. Kaitlyn replaced Caitlin. Zoey eclipsed Zoe. Annabel was once most common, but today it’s Annabelle.

In recent years, I’ve been watching Sofia and Sophia, as well as Jaxon, Jaxson, and Jaxson. But for 2015, I was banking on the French Vivienne eclipsing the more familiar Vivian. It didn’t quite happen. Both names are climbing, and Vivienne seems to catching up. It’s also slightly more popular on Nameberry, which is often a good indicator of rising popularity. And yet, it just plain didn’t happen.

Name Bit That Just Won’t Quit: Ken and Kin

I’m not entirely certain what to make of this trend. In general, it’s the way of baby naming in recent decades. We no longer have trendy names as much as we have trendy sounds. Because as soon as a name becomes popular, parents seek out something a little bit different.

Names containing ‘ken’ and ‘kin’ have had a good run, with Mckenna and Mackenzie becoming names of the decade, especially if you tally up all of the possible spellings. Kendall and Kennedy followed.

In 2014, the majority of the ‘ken’ and ‘kin’ names tumbled. And yet, names like Kenzie, Kensley, Kenna, Kinsley, and McKinley were up for girls – just as I predicted last year, along with Brecken, Anakin, and all of those King- names for boys. (Though I think the sound in Kingston and Kingsley is different enough that I’m not sure it counts.)

That almost makes this a hit – and yet, I think it’s too fuzzy to say that the ‘kin’ and ‘ken’ names are still truly current. Many of them are holding on, and there’s still some innovation. But overall, I suspect this sound is finally starting to slide.

Baby Name Predictions: Hits

The Coras are Coming

The Coras are here! Thanks to influences as diverse as Coraline and Downton Abbey, Cor- seemed like the can’t-miss sound of the moment. The numbers proved me right on this one. Cora climbed from #127 to #103. (Though that’s just outside of the US Top 100 – and I was sure it would get there!) Coraline climbed more than 80 places, and Corinne rose, too. Cordelia finally returned to the US Top 1000, after many years’ absence.

This trend isn’t just for girls, either. Corbin was up, too.

Edith is the Girl’s Name Out of the Attic

Here’s what I wrote last year: Up until 2008, Edith was falling. Edith was your grandmother, or maybe the sweet little old lady across the street. But Edith just plain wasn’t a baby. It was too fusty to consider.

Thanks to an eclectic mix of influences – from Despicable Me to Downton Abbey – combined with possible short form Edie, Edith feels fresh again. We’re remembering that it’s literary (think Wharton) and enduring, too. I predicted a “good-sized jump” for the name, and I think the numbers reflect this. Edith ranked #719 in 2013, and climbed to #627 in 2014. This is definitely a vintage name in the midst of a comeback.

S Surnames for Girls, W Surnames for Boys

I called S the letter to watch for girls in 2015, and the numbers say that this is a win. Sutton, Sloane, and Sloan all rose, as did Sawyer – over 100 spots for girls, plus ten places for boys. Spencer is up slightly for both, and Scout is just outside the US Top 1000 for girls – yet another To Kill a Mockingird name.

It was an equally accurate prediction for boys – Walker, Wesley, and Weston were all up, along with outside the Top 1000 Wilder, Wells, and Winslow. One surprise? Walton remains almost completely unused.

Virtue Name Family on the Rise: True

Before I looked at the numbers, I expected this to be a Miss, or at least a Maybe.

I should have more faith in my prognostications, because True and family are undeniably on the rise. Let’s look at the numbers:


  • Tru – 36 girls and 65 boys in 2013; 38 girls and 70 boys in 2014
  • True – 40 girls and 49 boys in 2013; 49 girls and 61 boys in 2014
  • Truth – 14 girls and 39 boys in 2013; 24 girls and 35 boys in 2014
  • Truly – 39 girls in 2013; 47 girls in 2014
  • Truett – 107 boys in 2013; 92 boys in 2014

Truman also gained slightly. And while some forms of the name showed a decrease, overall these names increased in use. I think it’s just enough to call True a family of virtue names to watch.

Oo Baby!

Lucas and Luke were both up, while Julian remained flat. Lucy and Ruby gained for girls. So did Luna, June, and Juniper; Luca, Judah, and Louis.

While not every oo-sounding name is fashionable, it’s definitely the upcoming vowel sound of the moment.

Overall, I don’t think any of these predictions was an absolute, what-were-you-thinking flop. But I continue to realize just how darn hard it is to categories a prediction as a hit, miss, or maybe! What do you think? Do you agree with my assessment of the hits and misses?


About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I think Peter is a great name to come back, too. I think it just needs more time, and slow growth isn’t necessarily a bad sign, as it won’t scare parents off for being too “trendy”.

  2. I’m interested by the “Name Bit That Just Won’t Quit: Ken and Kin”. My son started 4K and there are only 10 kids in his class. Three of them fit this pattern: Kenny, Kendra and Kinley. I was surprised by the tongue-twistyness of that trio. You’d think that if you call your son Kenneth/Kenny, it would be somewhat unique, but not with the sound group.

    One of my daughter’s friends in 5th grade is Cora. Her nickname is Coco. 🙂

    I think you’re right about Peter being ready to come back. Our friends have a 2 year old Peter “Pete”, that they were waiting to use for years. He’s the only one I know of though.