When the new baby names data is released, a certain number of names make the US Top 1000 that weren’t there the prior year. Some had hibernated for decades. Others are all-new debuts.
Either way, it’s exciting to see which new names have arrived.
Normally, the data comes out in May and we spend July voting on our favorites.
But … it’s 2020. So the data came out in September. And we’ll spend October working our way through the best new baby names 2020, until we have a pair of winners to join this list of past champions:
- 2019 New Names Showdown Winners: Archie & Zora
- 2018 New Names Showdown Winners: Wells & Marlowe
- 2017 New Names Showdown Winners: Shepherd & Sylvie
- 2016 New Names Showdown Winners: Wilder & Arden
I’ve picked eight girl names and eight boy names from the list of newcomers. While this is the 2020 New Names Showdown, it reflects births for calendar year 2019. The full lists of returns and debuts can be found here:
With no further ado, let’s take a look at my picks for the best new baby names 2020!
BEST NEW BABY NAMES 2020: GIRLS
Vintage Cleo has long been reserved for cats. But with a bright ‘o’ ending and history galore, no surprise Cleo has finally returned to the rankings.
A long-time favorite on name sites, Elodie has finally cracked the Top 1000! It’s the French form of the Germanic name Alodia.
It’s almost a virtue name, short for independence.
An older form of Madeline, Magdalena’s elaborate, dramatic sound fits right in with Isabella and Olivia.
A color name with the appeal of the middle ‘v’, just like Avery and Ivy.
An ancient goddess name that seems like an obvious alternative to popular Penelope.
Sister to white-hot classic boy name Theodore, and a longer formal option for zippy Thea.
A celebrity name that has teetered on the edge of the Top 1000 ever since the actor made it big. But as her career continues to flourish, the name Zendaya could be poised for mainstream success.
BEST NEW BABY NAMES 2020: BOYS
A logical successor to Brooks, Banks falls somewhere between River and Cash.
Word name Blaze has long been more popular, but now the saintly, traditional Blaise
A lively Irish surname name set to follow Sullivan up the charts.
The French spelling of Killian, possibly appealing because it offers nickname Ky instead of Kil …
A mini name in the key of Gus.
The eternal city, and a short, strong choice for a son.
An African name meaning “laugh,” Sekani comes from 2018 movie The Hate U Give.
A number name that seems calculated for good luck.
Love ’em or hate ’em, these names will be back!
The New Names Showdown returns on Thursday, October 1st with the boys’ opening round. We’ll narrow this list from eight down to four. The girls’ turn comes on Saturday, October 3rd.
Your vote determines which names join the winners’ circle.