Time to look at the fastest rising boy names 2019.
Instead of rank change – this name rose 177 spots, or three spots, or somewhere in between – this list considers change in actual births. Why? First, I suspect 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, 22 children, or more?
Plus, rank can be deceptive. 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 2019, the names that gained the most in terms of actual births. The data reflects all births registered between January 1st and December 31st of 2018, as released in the May 2019 update from the US Social Security Administration. Plenty of familiar names pop up, but the Top Ten holds some surprises.
Read on for the list – and my thoughts on all 25 of the fastest rising boy names 2019.
Fastest Rising Boy Names 2019: The List
- Theodore +1070 (#6 last year)
- Liam +1039 (#11 last year)
- Asher +722 (#14 last year)
- Leo +769 (#8 last year)
- Hudson +759 (unranked last year)
- Gael +686 (unranked last year)
- Ezra +680 (#16 last year)
- Luca +507 (#24 last year)
- Carson +487 (unranked last year)
- Milo +487 (unranked last year)
- Santiago +450 (#15 last year)
- Matias +447 (#7 last year)
- Brooks +439 (unranked last year)
- Mateo +412 (#4 last year)
- Elias +398 (#18 last year)
- Jasper +383 (unranked last year)
- Jack +380 (unranked last year)
- Waylon +354 (#22 last year)
- Miles +343 (unranked last year)
- Luka +338 (unranked last year)
- Declan +330 (unranked last year)
- Kairo +319 (unranked last year)
- Theo +312 (unranked last year)
- Jameson +299 (#9 last year)
- Maverick +294 (#2 last year)
Current US popularity rank: #44
Handsome and traditional, Theodore is the new Henry. Despite its classic status, the name spent years languishing in the mid-200s and even 300s, still used, but far from its former heights.
Now Theodore is back, and bounding up the popularity charts. Credit upbeat short form Theo, which also makes the fastest rising boy names 2019 list for much of the appeal.
Current US popularity rank: #1
The most popular names aren’t always the fastest rising. In fact, #1 girls’ name, Emma, slipped in popularity on the new list. But Liam? Liam still carries some serious momentum, earning the second spot here.
Maybe it’s our love of Irish names, or perhaps it’s just the cool, casual sound of Liam – as storied as William, but far less buttoned-up. But this name just won’t quit.
Current US popularity rank: #47
A generation of women named Ashley have grown up to name their sons … Asher! Despite the shared syllable, they’re separate names. Asher carries a great meaning: happy. It’s Biblical, but it sounds modern, in the same broad category as Carter.
Current US popularity rank: #50
From 1880 into the second half of the 1930s, Leo stood as a Top 100 staple for boys. It fell out of use, and was almost obscure in the 1990s. But the twenty-first century has embraced Leo. Not only is it a fierce lion name, but we love that ‘o’ ending sound, too.
Current US popularity rank: #54
Sometimes pop culture puts a name on our radar – and the name stays stylish long after the original influence fades. In 1991, Bruce Willis starred in a movie called Hudson Hawk, about a criminal trying to shed his checkered past. The NYC-inspired name caught on, even though the movie flopped. Then game Finn Hudson of Glee fame, Cars’ Doc Hudson, and a handful of other uses. Still, this was a big jump for Hudson, and we’ll have to see whether it continues to gain.
Current US popularity rank: #132
Actor Gael García Bernal raised this name’s profile. Possible origins and meanings abound, usually Breton – but it’s clearly trending with Spanish-speaking families right now.
I’ve yet to write about Gael, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #59
For years, Ezra felt quirky and creative. Ezra Pound, Ezra Jack Keats – a good name for a book cover, maybe, but not quite playground-ready. That changed in recent years, when we embraced all those high-value Scrabble letters and boy names ending with a. Now Ezra is Alex’s little brother, a name every bit as cool. Better Than Ezra scored pop hits in the 1990s. Factor in Star Wars giving us Ezra Bridger in their extended universe, and it’s a name to watch for sure.
Current US popularity rank: #106
Luke and Lucas are Biblical classics, names around for ages, from the Bible to a galaxy far, far, away. Luca has long been the romance language form of the name, heard in Italian and formerly reserved for Godfather characters. But lately all the Luc- names are on the upswing, and Luca fits right in with so many other vowel-ending choices for our sons.
Current US popularity rank: #70
This Scottish surname long had a sort of Americana vibe, thanks to frontiersman Kit Carson. Other famous figures abound, from Downton Abbey to Rachel Carson, but I think the logical reason for Carson’s spike is all about sports. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz helped lead his team to the post-season in 2017. (Though he was injured, and backup QB Nick Foles played during the Super Bowl winning game in February 2018.)
I’ve yet to write about Carson, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #178
Milo is the just slightly sparkier version of Miles. Both are on the rise in recent years, but that upbeat -o ending puts Milo a little farther ahead on this list.
I’ve yet to write about Milo, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #81
A chart-topper throughout the Spanish-speaking world, it’s no surprise that Santiago is trending in the US, too.
Current US popularity rank: #201
Suddenly, I’m hearing this name everywhere. It’s a Spanish form of Matthias, cousin to the evergreen Matthew. And lately, that ‘s’ ending has put it on parents’ radar as something classic and fresh; on-trend and yet still a little bit different.
I’ve yet to write about Matias, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #161
Brooks is a shape-shifting of a name. It’s a little bit preppy and buttoned-down, a brother for Digby and Chip. But it’s also got a certain country twang, maybe a Southern sensibility. That translates to broad appeal, and helps explain why Brooks is on the way up.
I’ve yet to write about Brooks, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #37
As with Matias, this is yet another romance language Matthew name that’s bounding past the more conventional version.
Current US popularity rank: #67
Another form of the oh-so popular Elias, this name is rising thanks to its Top Ten cousin – but also because we’ve fallen for s-ending boy names like Atticus.
I’ve yet to write about Elias, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #154
Not so long ago, Jasper was the bad guy. And probably British. But in recent years, Jasper is back, a vintage nature name that feels dashing and just different enough. It fits with surname names like Hunter, and succeeds so many stylish J names, from Joshua to Jacob to classics like James and John.
Current US popularity rank: #28
Speaking of J names, Jack is just one spot behind John – though once, Jack was simply the nickname for the latter. It’s the ultimate action hero name, classic and cool at the same time.
Current US popularity rank: #142
Confession: Waylon took me by surprise last year. I just plain didn’t realize how much this name appealed to parents. But if Hendrix and Lennon are big, if Bowie and Marley make the Top 1000, then why not Waylon? Waylon Jennings helped pioneer the outlaw country movement in music. His son shares his name – and his vocation – though he’s usually known as Shooter Jennings.
I’ve yet to write about Waylon, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #98
Miles finally arrived in the US Top 100, after marching up the rankings for the last several years. One possible influence: model-turned-cookbook-author Chrissy Teigen, who gave this name to her second child with singer John Legend in May of 2018. But reasons to love this name are plentiful: it’s musical and Americana, modern and traditional all at once.
Current US popularity rank: #320
Luka almost certainly owes its rise to Luca, a name that ranks eighth on this list. It might look like a creative k-for-c swap, but Luka is the preferred spelling in some countries, especially southern Slavic nations.
Current US popularity rank: #101
Declan has slowly gained in popularity, hovering outside of the current Top 100 in recent years. It might turn out to be the next big thing, an Irish name to follow Ryan and Aidan right up the popularity charts. It’s just fresh enough to feel new, but has plenty of history. And cool nickname Dex is a serious bonus.
Current US popularity rank: #
Cairo-with-a-C was new to the list a few years ago, and it’s nearly doubled in the rankings since its debut. No surprise that Kairo-with-a-K is trending now, just like so many K spellings have followed their C counterparts up the charts.
Current US popularity rank: #243
We’re in an age of nicknames-as-names, so no surprise that Theo is rising nearly as quickly as Theodore.
Current US popularity rank: #91
Jameson makes for a subtle, surname twist on an evergreen classic. But it has a little bit of an edge, too – maybe that’s because of Jameson whiskey. And yet, it’s broadly familiar as a name, too, so this isn’t like calling your kiddo Lager or Chablis.
I’ve yet to write about Jameson, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Current US popularity rank: #73
Epic boy names have been rocketing up the charts, led by this Old West-meets-basketball-meets-politics powerhouse, Maverick. I’ve long thought it might be a little bit too bold … except now that it’s become a Top 100 staple, I think it’s every bit as wearable as most word names.
Are you hearing more of the fastest rising boy names 2019? Would you consider any of these names for a son?