2015 Top Ten list

The 2015 Top Ten list will be released in just a few more weeks!

The US Social Security Administration will release the new Top Ten – actually the Top 1000 list, along with all of the supporting data – around Mother’s Day – which is really, really soon.

I love a good round of baby name predictions, and I’ve published plenty:

This year, I thought I’d pause and take a look specifically at the 2015 Top Ten list.

If you’re new to following the numbers, those dates might get a little bit confusing. In May 2016, we’ll get the numbers for children born between January 1st and December 31st of 2015. So the 2016 list is actually the 2015 list, and parents naming children in early 2016 are actually using data from 2014, which can presents some challenges.

Make sense?

Let’s review the current US Top Ten, and see if we can crunch some numbers – and do some crystal ball gazing – to guess what the new Top Ten might look like.

Boys Top Ten Baby Names

2015 Top Ten List: Boys

Here’s the 2014 Top Ten List: Noah, Liam, Mason, Jacob, William, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, James, and Daniel.

And here’s what I’m guessing will happen when we see the 2015 Top Ten list:

  • Noah will remain #1. While parents are more creative with our boys’ names than ever before, I haven’t detected any slowdown in the use of Noah. In raw numbers, Noah continued to gain rapidly in use in 2014. The fact that it’s #1 in the US doesn’t seem to deter many parents.
  • Liam, Mason, James, and William will remain in the Top Ten. Let’s break that down a little more.
  • Yes, some high profile celebrity birth announcements have given the name James to girls. But like Noah, James rose significantly in raw numbers, even though it doesn’t seem like it’s gaining. That’s probably because it’s such a classic that we sort of assume it’s always been just that common. James actually re-entered the US Top Ten for the first time since 1992 in 2014. I wouldn’t be surprise to see another jump in the 2015 Top Ten.
  • There’s a similar story to William. It’s easy to miss that classic names for boys are subject to trends, but it’s true that they do come in and out of favor.
  • Liam and Mason are two names that I have long thought might eclipse Noah as the #1 name. It’s really tough to call, because the names are pretty close in terms of use. For now, I’m confident they’ll stay in the Top Ten.
  • Jacob will continue falling. While parents are still naming their boys Jacob, this former Top Ten favorite is no longer on top.
  •  Ethan and Michael will fall, too. Both names were flat in terms of ranking in 2014, but I think they’re both showing signs of a modest decline in use.
  • My first guess was that Alexander would fall. Except when I looked at the list as a group, Alexander almost has to stay in the Top Ten and climb a spot or two.
  • Daniel will leave the Top Ten. This is tough call, because Daniel is boosted by use in Spanish-speaking families. But Daniel was flat in terms of rank in 2014, and actually fell slightly in terms of raw numbers. So I’m thinking that Daniel will be nudged out of the 2015 Top Ten list.
  • I think Ethan and Michael could also leave the 2015 Top Ten list. Alexander, I think, will be safe – it’s one of the names that actually gained in 2014. I’m guessing it will come in at #9 or #10.
  • The names most likely to replace Daniel? And maybe Ethan or Michael, too? Definitely Benjamin! Benjamin has the same bilingual appeal, but also speaks to the parents choosing William, James, and Alexander.
  • Other than Benjamin, I’m not sure what might make it into the 2015 Top Ten. Elijah is right there, but it actually fell in terms of raw numbers in 2014. So I’ll say Logan or Lucas. There’s also Oliver, a name that soared in 2014. But it would have to really explode to climb as high as the 2015 Top Ten.

I’d put my list in this order:

  1. Noah
  2. Liam
  3. Mason
  4. James
  5. William
  6. Jacob
  7. Alexander
  8. Ethan
  9. Michael
  10. Benjamin

2015 Top Ten List: Girls

US Girls Top TenThe 2014 Top Ten list is as follows: Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Isabella, Ava, Mia, Emily, Abigail, Madison, and Charlotte.

Here are my guesses for the 2015 Top Ten list:

  • Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Isabella, Ava, and Mia will all remain in the 2015 Top Ten.
  • Isabella and Sophia will fall, at least a place or two.
  • I have a hard time imagining Emma holding on to the #1 spot. But I’m equally doubtful that there’s a good challenger name waiting in the wings. I’m tempted to bet on Olivia right now, though the model I came up with last year says that Olivia has missed the window for a #1 name.
  • If the model is correct – and I have my doubts – our eyes should be on Mia. Mia has lots going for it,including culture-spanning appeal, and rose modestly in terms of raw numbers in 2014.
  • Charlotte entered the US Top Ten for the first time in 2014, and isn’t going anywhere – except, probably for up a few spots. I doubt we’re looking at next year’s #1 name, though.
  • Most likely to leave the Top Ten: Madison. I think Abigail and Emily are at the end of their runs, too.
  • I’m expecting Harper to crack the 2015 Top Ten for sure and certain. Other names I’m watching closely? Amelia and Evelyn. I think we could see all in the 2015 Top Ten – though that would be a big shake-up for just a single year.

And so my list?

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Ava
  4. Sophia
  5. Mia
  6. Isabella
  7. Charlotte
  8. Harper
  9. Amelia
  10. Emily

Now get out your crystal balls, and tell me: what are your guesses for the new 2015 Top Ten?

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’m pretty confident in my girls list, but the boys are quite hard to predict this year! For girls, spots 11 through 16 will be in a very tight race…a complete tossup among Madison, Sofia, Avery, Elizabeth, Amelia, and Evelyn. For the boys, spots 1 and 2 will likely be Liam in Noah but which order is a tossup. Same goes for Mason, William, and Jacob in spots 3 thru 5 and Ethan, Michael, James, and Alexander in spots 6 thru 9. I am also betting on Benjamin for #10 but really that could also be Elijah, Daniel, Logan, Aiden or maybe even Jayden, Matthew, or Lucas. My predictions are more conservative than Abby’s, names don’t usually move quite as much in one year as she is predicting except for cases like Charlotte where multiple big celebrity births give a big bump to a name already on the rise.

    1) Emma
    2) Olivia
    3) Sophia
    4) Isabella
    5) Ava
    6) Mia
    7) Charlotte
    8) Emily
    9) Abigail
    10) Harper

    1) Liam
    2) Noah
    3) Mason
    4) William
    5) Jacob
    6) Ethan
    7) Michael
    8) James
    9) Alexander
    10) Benjamin

  2. It’s so weird how localized the names can be. In our close circle (meaning friends and classmates of my 9 and 6yos over the last 2-3 years) Noah, Liam, William, and Michael (Michael! really? I don’t know any Michaels or Mikes under the age of 30) are complete no-shows, and Jacob and Mason are a faraway cousin and a solitary classmate. The girls names are around, but not in any great numbers (except for Ava. There’s been 2-3 Avas at any given time in my girls schooling.) In the meantime, Aiden and Zoe are favorites around here – which means I can think of 3-5 different ones, spread across 2 schools.

    So every time I read these, I think – use the name you love, because “popular” and “common” names just don’t mean the same thing they used to.

    1. This is so interesting to me, too. I don’t know any Avas, but I know five Noahs, two Williams and three Liams under the age of 6.

    2. Its very localized! In NJ Michael was still the #1 name in 2014 and a good friend of ours has a Michael born in 2014. I also know a bunch of little Liams and Williams but only one Noah!

    3. I know a Michael born in 2015 too, named after his father, though. Is that enough to drive a name into the top 10? There are LOTS of Michaels the right age to be having little namesakes.

      I also know a bunch of Williams and Jacobs and Liams, but no Noahs. The top Old Testament type name seems to be Elijah, at least in my circles. I know a bunch of under 5 Elijahs (one born in 2015) one with a brother named Silas de la Cruz [Lastname]!

      1. Ever little Michael, William or James I know these days is named, uncreatively, after dad.

  3. I’m just guessing but I think you’re right about Olivia, that one is the name to beat in my area at least.

    Here’s my totally uneducated guess.

    1. Olivia – still hearing this one LOTS.
    2. Emma
    3. Ava
    4. Isabella – hearing this way more often than Sophia, at least locally
    5. Sophia
    6. Mia
    7. Charlotte
    8. Harper – Everywhere I look around here.
    9. Emily
    10. Madison

    I think locally Lillian will be high. I can’t walk two feet without tripping over a baby Lillian. But we have different taste in Maine than everywhere else.

  4. Here is my predicted top 10 for each!

    1. Liam
    2. Noah
    3. Mason
    4. William
    5. Jacob
    6. Alexander
    7. Ethan
    8. Benjamin
    9. James
    10. Oliver

    1. Emma
    2. Mia
    3. Olivia
    4. Charlotte
    5. Isabella
    6. Sophia
    7. Ava
    8. Harper
    9. Ella
    10. Madison

    I would love to see Madison leave the top ten but I know of 2 born last year so I think it’s gonna hang in there!

    1. I agree with your take on Madison, I think it’s losing steam, but around here at least it is still a go-to, just not as hot as it has been.

  5. You don’t think Harper will get a big demotion after the whole Go Set A Watchman fiasco?

    1. It’s very possible. But I think Harper has gone past the we-used-it-for-Harper-Lee moment, and is just a plain ol’ white hot name. Atticus? Now, Atticus I think will suffer thanks to Watchman. That said, the other thing to remember is the weirdness of timing. Go Set a Watchman was published in July 2015, so a solid six months of the 2015 data was pre-fiasco.