Okay, nameniks – you’ve been pouring over the new Top 1000 ever since the Social Security Administration released it a few days ago, right?

Of course you have. Here at ApMtn, thanks to a prompt from coolteamblt, we decided to run some numbers. And our big revelation from this year’s list?

Emily is not, in fact, the most popular name in America.

We all know that variant spellings complicate the rankings. So we decided to group and re-tally. Ten hours and a mild case of carpal tunnel later, we’ve got our own Top Ten.

Here’s the official SSA list:

  1. Emily
  2. Isabella
  3. Emma
  4. Ava
  5. Madison
  6. Sophia
  7. Olivia
  8. Abigail
  9. Hannah
  10. Elizabeth

But with the ApMtn re-count? Here’s the new list:

  1. Isabella
  2. Sophia
  3. Emily
  4. Madison
  5. Mia
  6. Olivia
  7. Emma
  8. Ava
  9. Hailey
  10. Abigail

While there’s room to argue about exact groupings, the bottom line is that names without variant spellings – no one has managed to mangle Emma or Ava – are less frequently heard than we might think.

Here are the variants that we clustered to get our Top Ten:

  1. Isabella: Isabel, Isabella, Isabell, Izabella, Izabelle
  2. Sophia: Sophie, Sofia
  3. Emily: Emely, Emelee, Emilie, Emmalee
  4. Madison: Maddison, Madisyn, Madyson
  5. Mia: Miah, Miya, Mya, Myah, Maia, Maya
  6. Olivia: Alivia, Alyvia
  7. Emma
  8. Ava
  9. Hailey: Hailee, Hailie, Haleigh, Haley, Haylee, Hayleigh, Hayley, Haylie
  10. Abigail: Abgail, Abbigail, Abigale, Abigayle

We’re working on a format to publish our entire, recalculated Top 1000 for Girls. Though be warned – variant spellings reduce the tally to a mere 620 names.

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. Thanks! Since you mentioned it …

    Kaylee (Kayleigh, Kailee, Kayley, Kailey, Kaylie) comes in at #27 when combined; Riley (Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie) at #30 and Kylie (Kylee, Kyleigh) at #44. When I do my super-condensed version of the list, I think I’ll lump together the Kay- and the Ky- names. While they are, I grudgingly admit, distinct names, I’m hoping to show that a name can appear uncommon based on SSA rankings, but still *sound* like a very popular pick, indeed.

    And hey Kayt, let’s not forget that it was your sleuthing on the Aiden, Aidan, Jayden, Zayden (!?!), Haiden, Caiden, Kayden list that got me started! 😉

  2. I am super duper impressed. I wanted to claw out my eyes after just hunting for Aidens, forget compressing the whole list! Uber kudos to you!

    I’m actually surprised Kaylie, Kylie, or Riley didn’t make the list, but I’m not surprised Isabelle is the top name, either.

  3. Mia was the big question mark for me in that grouping. You’re absolutely right – somewhere between Mia and Maya, it does become a different name. But Miya? Myah? *Scratches head.*

    If we take out Maya and Maia, then #10 is Kaitlyn (including Caitlin, Caitlyn, Katelyn, Katelynn, Kaitlin, Katlyn, Kaitlynn) and Mia drops to #11.

    The Isabel/Isabella piece is a little trickier. Both names drop in the rankings if separated, though Isabella remains solidly Top Ten. Combined, it’s nearly 30,000 girls born in 2007 – and something tells me that most of *them* are answering to Belle or Bella instead of the full name. Ditto Lexi and Lexie – as independent names they’re only #203 – but I wonder how many Alexandras, Alexas and Alexises answer to those names, too?

    For me, the big shocker remains just how many names were repeated. I’m going to do one more grouping, where all the Alex- names and Juli- names, etc. are combined, etc. I suspect the list will be cut in half again, and instead of 620 choices, the final list will be more like 300 or 350. Which really, considering the richness of our language, is rather sad. 🙂

  4. Mia is pronounced MEE-uh normally. I think it is a mistake to group it with Maia and Maya, which are pronounced MY-uh. Some of the other invented spellings, such as Miya, are questionable. I also think Isabel and Isabella are distinctly different names, but that doesn’t keep me from tiring of hearing both of them.