Let’s look at the fastest rising boy names 2018.
Plenty of lists look at rank change, but this list focuses on the actual number of births. Why? It turns out that it might be a better predictor of future popularity than rank change. After all, rank is relative. We know more boys received the 115th most popular name than the 123rd name … but by how much? Two children, twenty-two children, or more?
Especially closer to the top of the list, a name can fall in use, and still hold steady – or even sometimes gain – in terms of rankings. But the birth numbers keep things much clearer.
So let’s look at the fastest rising boy names 2018, the names that gained the most in terms of actual births. The data reflects all births registered between January 1st and December 31st of 2017, as released in the May 2018 update from the US Social Security Administration.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: The List
- Logan, +2,748
- Maverick, +1,751
- Ezekiel, +1,350
- Mateo, +1,181
- Lincoln, +1,032
- Theodore, +1,018
- Matias, +643
- Leo, +642
- Jameson, +639
- Rowan, +637
- Liam, +530
- Kyrie, +513
- Greyson, +508
- Asher, +497
- Santiago, +480
- Ezra, +434
- Rhett, +422
- Elias, +420
- Xander, +397
- Thiago, +396
- Beau, +377
- Waylon, +366
- Elliott, +330
- Luca, +327
- Legend, +313
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Logan
Current US popularity rank: #5
Logan makes the fastest rising girl and fastest rising boy names lists, the only one to repeat for both genders this year. It was a banner year for the long-time favorite. It’s been in the Top 100 since 1991, but had fallen slightly in recent years. The big reversal in course is all about the silver screen. Early 2017 gave us Logan, another moving starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine of X-Men fame. Summer brought Logan Lucky, a heist comedy starring Channing Tatum as Jimmy Logan. Millions of movie posters plus the appeal of two popular leading men bolstered this modern favorite straight into the Top Ten for the first time ever, and made it the fastest of the fastest rising boy names 2018.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Maverick
Current US popularity rank: #85
This name started out in the Wild West, thanks to long-running television Western Maverick. Then it took to the wild blue yonder as the call sign of Tom Cruise’s character in Top Gun. It’s gained steadily in use since the 1990s, through a political campaign and lots of discussion on baby name sites. But it’s accelerated in recent years. Teen Mom’s Maci Bookout welcomed son Maverick Reed in mid-2016, probably fueling at least some of that rise. But it’s also just the age of Maverick: big, bold word names that have gone mainstream.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Ezekiel
Current US popularity rank: #82
An Old Testament boy name with a great meaning – God strengthens – and cool nickname Zeke – what’s not to love? Used in small numbers in the US for decades, Ezekiel really picked up steam in the twenty-first century. It follows names like Ezra up the chart, but also replaces falling favorites, like Gabriel and Alexander.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Mateo
Current US popularity rank: #42
Traditional Matthew remains a Top 20 choice, but Mateo – the Spanish language version of the name – is gaining fast. Footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both have sons by the name; there’s a Mateo on the Disney Channel’s Elena of Avalor – Elena made the girls’ list; and he’s the adorable baby at the heart of the drama in Jane the Virgin. No surprise we’ve seen this name skyrocket! It also points to a longer-term trend: Spanish language names that feel effortless in English, are increasingly popular choices for the many bilingual families raising children in the US today.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Lincoln
Current US popularity rank: #41
An Americana boy name with a lot of strength, Lincoln has climbed the US popularity charts quickly in recent years. What explains the rapid rise? Maybe it’s our love of boys’ names that feel modern, but have roots – after all, Lincoln has appeared in the US Top 1000 nearly every year since the rankings began in 1880. Or maybe it’s a long run of pop culture references. Teen Mom star Kailyn Lowry welcomed a son named Lincoln in late 2013; The CW’s The 100 includes a character by the name; so do television series Fringe, The Loud House, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That’s more than enough to push this name straight up the charts.
I’ve yet to write about Lincoln, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Theodore
Current US popularity rank: #62
Theodore is no stranger to this list, appearing in previous years. It’s an undeniable classic, with years of history behind it. But while it’s never left the US Top 1000, at the beginning of this century it hovered in the low 300s, mostly reserved for singing chipmunks and historical figures. Today it’s changed completed. Thanks to on-trend nicknames Theo and Teddy, this classic boy name cannot slow down.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Matias
Current US popularity rank: #236
It’s not just Mateo bounding up the charts. Matias is on a roll, too. Strictly speaking, it’s the Spanish form of Matthias. Both names come from the same Hebrew roots, but Matthew has been more popular in the English-speaking world. It’s popular throughout the Spanish-speaking world. The -s enders have traditionally lagged behind Matthew, and even the -o ending forms, but that might change. After all, names like Elias and Miles have become quite popular.
I’ve yet to write about Matias, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Leo
Current US popularity rank: #61
Compact but complete, a mini name with maximum impact, Leo appeals to parents after vintage revivals and those who favor big, bold boy names, too. In addition to Leo, there are five more Leo- names in the current US Top 1000, plus Lionel and Leandro, and most of them gained last year.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Jameson
Current US popularity rank: #100
Take classic James, add in a healthy dose of Harrison and Jackson and a shot of whiskey, and you’ll arrive at Jameson. While it’s famous as a brand of Irish whiskey, that’s not the only association for this name. Singer Pink gave the name to her son in 2016; that same year, Netflix series The Ranch introduced us to Jameson Bennett, brother of Ashton Kutcher’s character, Colt. The character is no longer part of the series, but it may be enough to launch Jameson even farther up the charts. It also makes a great alternative for parents who want to honor a loved one named James.
I’ve yet to write about Jameson. Check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Rowan
Current US popularity rank: #140
A friendly Irish surname name, Rowan continues to gain in use for girls and boys alike. (Though it remains slightly more popular for our sons.) It’s also a nature name, in key of Willow and River, and a color name, too. Nickname-proof and modern without feeling invented, it’s easy to imagine parents after something just a little different landing on Rowan. It barely registered in the US Top 1000 prior to the year 2000, but today it’s a modern staple.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Liam
Current US popularity rank: #1
After a few years as runner-up to Noah, Liam has moved into the top spot. Not bad for a William-nickname that had never even cracked the Top 1000 half a century ago. Leading man Liam Neeson gets credit for at least some of the name’s rise, as does Liam Hemsworth and a long list of fictional characters by the name. Just like Jameson might be an updated honor name for James, the same could be true for William and Liam. But this Irish appellation is also popular with Spanish-speaking families, putting Liam in the same category as Mateo and Matias.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Kyrie
Current US popularity rank: #215
Back in 1986, a pop group scored a hit with “Kyrie,” singing kyrie elieson – Lord, have Mercy. The band acknowledged the song’s spiritual meaning, but that may have been missed by the wider audience. Kyrie briefly spiked as a girls’ name, but didn’t catch on. Instead, it took off for boys after college basketball star Kyrie Irving was picked first in the NBA draft. Irving had a good year in 2016, winning the NBA Championship with his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He remains in the spotlight. One note: while the Greek word is pronounced with three syllables – keer-ee-ay – Kyrie is said phonetically, ky-ree.
I’ve yet to write about Kyrie, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Greyson
Current US popularity rank: #80
Zoey eclipsed Zoe. Aiden sailed past Aidan. And nowadays, the original Caitlin looks like a dressed-up respelling of 90s favorite Kaitlyn. In other words, the most popular spelling of a name is always subject to change. These days, Grayson is gaining slowly, while Greyson attempts to catch up. Grey and Greysen also climbed this year, suggested that the ‘e’ might soon become the preferred spelling of the name. Jersey Shore alum JWoww is among the high profile parents with a Greyson.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Asher
Current US popularity rank: #59
Asher is another frequent flyer on the fastest rising list. An Old Testament name with a great meaning – happy – Asher shares the ends-in-r style of so many chart-toppers, from Connor to Hunter. We’re all about A names these days, and Asher appears in Lois Lowry’s enduring 1993 young adult novel The Giver. As a generation grew up reading the story, some may have filed it away for future use – and they’re using it now, in big numbers.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Santiago
Current US popularity rank: #93
Just in case you doubt the impact of Spanish-speaking Americans, may I direct you to Santiago, a new entry into the US Top 100? In fairness, it’s appeared in the US Top 1000 most years for more than a century, and not so long ago, Diego ranked about as high. A smoosh of Saint James, Santiago is also familiar as a place name. At the moment, Santiago is wildly popular throughout the Spanish and Portuguese speaking world. It’s long and romantic, and terribly appealing to the same parents who made Sophia and Isabella smash hits.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Ezra
Current US popularity rank: #69
Another veteran of the hottest boy names list, Biblical, literary Ezra is buoyed by that interesting, edgy sound. There’s nothing quite like Ezra. And while it’s old school and Old Testament, it feels at home in the twenty-first century, too. Ezra Jack Keats wrote and illustrated the groundbreaking The Snowy Day. It’s more popular today than ever before, with a handful of pop culture references to keep it top of mind for parents today.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Rhett
Current US popularity rank: #180
For ages, the only Rhett was Butler, the romantic hero of Gone With the Wind. The name didn’t even crack the Top 1000 until the mid-1950s, decades after the bestseller-turned-blockbuster made a splash. Instead, a long-forgotten crime movie revived Rhett, and more recently, it’s been boosted by country music. But maybe this name succeeds mainly on sound – short and strong, and rather dashing.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Elias
Current US popularity rank: #78
Elias is cousin to current Top Ten name Elijah. The ‘s’ ending version appears in the New Testament. But it’s more than that, too. With -s ending names like Miles and Silas in favor in recent years, it’s a sound parents appreciate.
I’ve yet to write about Elias. Check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Xander
Current US popularity rank: #163
Traditional Alexander has slipped out of the Top Ten in recent years, but Xander – just Xander – continues to gain. Credit goes to two things: that stylish letter X, and a long-running character on Joss Whedon’s cult favorite, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Vin Diesel wore the name, too, as Xander Cage in three xXx action movies. It might be more popular than it appears, because at least some of those many Alexanders might use this as a nickname.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Thiago
Current US popularity rank: #216
Like Santiago, Thiago is a form of James, though this spelling is more typically Portuguese. Despite the extra ‘h’, it sounds exactly like Tiago. (But hey, it works for Theresa.) Some of the name’s rise is probably about that vibrant -o ending, and some of it might simply be due to parents looking for traditional, but fresh, spins on Spanish-language classics.
I’ve yet to write about Thiago, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Beau
Current US popularity rank: #156
Beau made it big this year, but it’s not just Beau. Bodhi and Bowen and Boone were all up, too, suggesting that the sound appeals to parents. Tori Spelling, who always seems to be one step ahead of the trends, welcomed son Beau Dean in March of 2017. The name reads Southern gentleman, but in an upbeat, accessible way. It’s a name that wears cowboy boots and rides horses, more than a seersucker suit and a mint julep. That said, I’ve heard Beau everywhere in the US, suggesting it’s the kind of universal favorite that will continue to climb.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Waylon
Current US popularity rank: #162
Waylon Jennings recorded his first country music hit way back in 1959, but it would take another two decades before he became a household name as an originator of the style called outlaw country. His son and grandson are also named Waylon, though they’re called Shooter and Blackjack. Shooter is a musician in his own right; Shooter and Drea de Matteo became parents to Blackjack in 2011. None of this explains the name’s rise, but I think it just sort of fits. It has the long ‘a’ of Aiden and Mason, the two-syllable, ends-in-n sound of Jackson and Landon, and it shares the same wild west vibe as Wyatt and Beau.
I’ve yet to write about Waylon; check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Elliott
Current US popularity rank: #160
One t or two? That’s the challenge with Elliott and Elliot. Unlike lots of names with multiple common spellings, there’s never really been a clear winner. This year, Elliott surged again, to come in just ahead of Elliot at #161. But both spellings have leapt up the charts over the last few years, a surname name that feels more like a first. Or at least a generation grew up with Elliotts in Pete’s Dragon and E.T. Today we’re naming our sons accordingly.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Luca
Current US popularity rank: #130
As Italian as Giovanni, Luca takes long-time favorite Luke and makes it even cooler. Suzanne Vega sang about Luka in 1987; it took the arrival of Goran Visnjic’s character Dr. Luka Kovac on smash-hit medical drama ER in the year 1999 to put Luca into the Top 1000. (The k-spelling has climbed, too.) Along the way, boys’ names ending with -a have become mainstream favorites – just look at Noah.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2018 Update: Legend
Current US popularity rank: #255
If Maverick’s ascent into the Top 100 surprised you, check out this fast rising boy name. Legend is every bit as bold and dramatic, a word name with a cool sound that might be a little tough to live up to. Will Smith’s 2007 movie I Am Legend kick-started this name’s quick ascent, and credit goes to singer John Legend, too – after all, his daughter’s name, Luna, tops the fastest rising girl names list.
I’ve yet to write about Legend, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
That’s it for the fastest rising boy names 2018. Did any of your favorites make the list?