These are the fastest rising boy names 2023!
This list might look a little different than some others. That’s because it’s based on count – the actual increase in numbers of newborns given the name during calendar year 2022.
Most lists default to rank. That means that Theodore was the #10 name last year and the #10 name this year … so it’s not considered a fast riser. Except that Theodore was given to 1,173 more boys this year than the year before … and so it’s a good indicator that Theodore will continue to rise in use in the future. Theodore is near the very top of this list.
Rank tells us about the present moment. Count helps us predict future trends.
So let’s take a closer look at the boys’ names that might be the next big thing.
FASTEST RISING BOY NAMES
25. AMIR (+316 births; unranked on last year’s list)
Originally an Arabic title, Amir is the equivalent of prince. (Though in English, we now spell the title emir, with an E.) It’s risen in use since the 1970s, a good reminder that names are more and more global with every passing year.
24. EITHAN (+324 births; unranked on last year’s list)
Ethan has been a Top Ten pick in recent years. Eithan adds the ‘i’ of the Hebrew spelling: Eitan. Pro surfer Eithan Osborne pronounces his name like Ay-ton.
23. MICAH (+327 births; unranked on this year’s list)
While Micah isn’t related to Michael – it’s an Old Testament name belonging to a minor prophet – it does feel like an update to that storied traditional choice. If Luca follows Lucas, why not Micah after Michael?
22. ELIAS (+348 births; unranked on last year’s list)
On a similar note, Elijah has ranked in the US Top Ten since 2016. Now Elias, the form of the name often used in the New Testament and popular across Europe, is gaining.
21. ATLAS (+352; #21 on last year’s list)
Not so long ago, Atlas was a wild, celebrity baby kind of choice. It only dipped into the US rankings twice, way back in the nineteenth century. But then came our love of ancient names, and boys’ names ending with S. And Atlas returned to the Top 1000 in 2013. Since then, the name has been gaining in use at a rapid clip.
20. ENZO (+355; #18 on last year’s list and #5 the year before)
Enzo has been one to watch, an Italian name with a cool sound and just enough history to feel traditional(ish). It’s been popular in much of the western world – though in Italy, longer forms Lorenzo and Vincenzo are far more common. Today, after multiple years on the fastest rising boy names list, Enzo sits just outside of the US Top 100.
19. ANGEL (+367 births; unranked on last year’s list)
A Top 100 choice for boys since 1997, Angel is a staple in the Spanish-speaking world. The reason for the bump is unclear, but Angel makes the list of fastest rising boy names 2023.
18. OLIVER (+393 births; unranked on last year’s list)
At first glance, Oliver ranks #3, and has since 2019. It’s steady. But actually, Oliver is one of only three Top Ten boy names gaining in use.
17. TATE (+396 births; unranked on last year’s list)
There’s something about Tate. It’s as friendly and approachable as Nate, but feels more complete.
16. KOA (+399 births; unranked on last year’s list)
A Hawaiian name, Koa owes a little something to Kai – but also much to chart-topping Noah.
15. MAVERICK (+401 births; #24 on last year’s list and #18 the year before)
Maverick has appeared on this list year after year. It’s unstoppable, a name that has transitioned from bold and unexpected word name to mainstream favorite faster than Tom Cruise can fly his F/A-18E through a canyon.
14. SEBASTIAN (+427 births; unranked on last year’s list)
Sebastian has been popular for years, entering the US Top 100 in the year 2000. But the name’s recent surge in popularity takes it to a sky-high #13.
13. WESLEY (+431 births; #19 on last year’s list)
Wesley has appeared in the US Top 1000 ever year since the data was first compiled in 1880. Lately, though, the name has been on a tear, increasing in significant numbers in 2021 and 2022 again.
12. LEO (+467 births; #15 on last year’s list)
Longer Leo names are on the rise, too, but it’s just Leo that we love best.
11. EZRA (+529 births; #14 on last year’s list)
Old Testament name Ezra has picked up a literary, creative sheen in recent decades, thanks to figures like Ezra Pound and Ezra Jack Keats.
10. STETSON (+584 births; unranked on last year’s list)
As in the famed hat manufacturer, especially famous for cowboy hats.
9. KAI (+719 births; #6 on last year’s list)
Brief, bright Kai comes from the Hawaiian word for sea. But it can have other meanings and origins, too. It’s a little bit like Jack, with a more global perspective.
8. THIAGO (+749; unranked on last year’s list)
Believe it or not, Thiago is a Portuguese form of James. Well, Saint James. Which is Santiago in Spanish. Slice it a little differently, change the spelling to reflect other languages and cultures, and Thiago is the stylish, trending result.
7. THEO (+915; #22 on last year’s list)
Theo is the logical result of two fast-rising favorites: Leo and Theodore. Given that many Theodores answer to Theo, odds are that this name is even more popular than the numbers suggest.
6. LUCA (+930; #1 on last year’s list and #13 the year before)
Lucas is a Top Ten favorite. Luke is a rock solid choice, too. And now the Italian Luca is racing up the charts.
5. COOPER (+940; unranked on last year’s list)
There’s something about surname name Cooper. It’s cool but accessible, a name with a host of intriguing associations (the Mini Cooper, DB Cooper, the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Fox Sports commentator Cooper Manning) without feeling too out-there. A Top 100 pick since 2007, Cooper is suddenly hot. More proof? Kooper-with-a-K just debuted in the US Top 1000, too.
4. SANTIAGO (+951 births; unranked on last year’s list)
James is among the most surprising of names. The Latin Iacobus became Iacomus in the later part of the Roman Republic. That consonant shift gives us James. Iago comes more clearly from Iacobus. And santo – saint in Spanish, and santo iago gives us the name we know today. It’s popular across the Spanish-speaking world, including much of the US.
3. MATEO (+1162 births; unranked on last year’s list)
Matthew has ranked in the US Top 100 since 1956. Now romance language Mateo is gaining, far outranking the English version.
2. THEODORE (+1173 births; #4 on last year’s list and #2 the year before)
The new, hot classic name, Theodore has gone from relative obscurity at the beginning of the twenty-first century to Top Ten favorite.
1. WALKER (+1372 births; #3 on last year’s list)
Take an already-rising name; add a television reboot featuring an oh-so appealing character by the name, and then introduce another television series that boosts the entire category of rugged, cowboy names … and Walker’s position at the very top of the fastest rising boy names 2023 list makes all the sense in the world.
FUTURE TOP TEN CONTENDERS
Looking at the list of fastest rising boy names 2023 always raises the inevitable question: are any of these headed for the US Top Ten?
The answer, of course, is that both Theodore and Oliver are already there.
Others are absolutely worth watching.
- MAVERICK (#40) – Can anything stop this high-flying favorite?
- LUCA (#28) – With Lucas in the US Top Ten, Luca feels like a logical successor.
- LEO (#22) – It’s just a short climb from #22 to #10.
- MATEO (#11) – This feels like an inevitability.
- SEBASTIAN (#13) – Longer, but still traditional, Sebastian could be the next Alexander/Benjamin/Theodore.
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