Let’s look at the fastest rising girl names 2018.
These aren’t the biggest changes in rank. Sure, it’s exciting to see which names climb quickly. (Alessia was up over 200 spots, from #828 to #625!) But I like to look at actual births.
Why? A name near the top of the list might only gain a spot or two – but that small step can translate to hundreds – even over a thousand – births. And they just might help predict the future Top Ten names. When I pulled together a report of 2015 and 2016 combined, Oliver ranked as the hottest boy name – and sure enough, it just came in at #8 this year.
So let’s look at the fastest rising girl 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.
One final note: some of the biggest gains in use belong to the names new to the list. But this list looks only at names already in the US Top 1000 the prior year.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: The List
- Luna, +1,657
- Mila, +1,123
- Amelia, +1,047
- Bella, +957
- Nova, +748
- Camila, +704
- Elena, +685
- Kinsley, +669
- Everly, +616
- Aurora, +590
- Evelyn, +579
- Emilia, +555
- Raelynn, +461
- Nora, +453
- Willow, +426
- Amara, +396
- Eleanor, +391
- Isla, +349
- Hazel, +341
- Samara, +335
- Isabella, +328
- Leilani, +302
- Kehlani, +274
- Emma, +267
- Emery, +265
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Luna
US popularity rank as of 2017: #37
Luna has appeared on the fastest rising girls’ name lists before – it almost feels unstoppable! This latest climb takes the name from #77 to #37. Quite the rise for a name not even ranked back in 2002. Some of it is Luna’s culture-spanning appeal, plus a mix of vintage charm and modern nature name. We do love night-inspired names for girls. John Legend + Chrissy Teigen’s darling daughter helps keep the name in the spotlight, too.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Mila
US popularity rank as of 2017: #30
Sweet and simple, Mila might just follow Emma all the way to the top of the girls’ list. It’s gone from unranked in 2005 to #30 today. It’s Slavic in origin and means gracious or dear. While it sounds sweetly old-fashioned, it was virtually unknown as a given name in the US until this century. Mila Kunis – born Milena in the Ukraine – deserves much of the credit for launching this new favorite.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Amelia
US popularity rank as of 2017: #8
Amelia is another name that’s appeared on previous fastest-rising lists. No surprise it’s cracked the Top Ten this year! Interestingly, while the name was popular in the past, it’s never before reached these heights. Speaking of heights, pioneering aviator lends this name a certain daring spirit. Though it was the 2000 novel and 2001 movie The Princess Diaries that sparked serious interest in this name’s revival. I called it a Next Wave Girl name based on the 2016 states’ data.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Bella
US popularity rank as of 2017: #50
You might have thought that Bella had run out of steam, now that Twilight is out of the spotlight. But this was a good year for the Bellas. We got another Pitch Perfect sequel, featuring the Barden Bellas. (Though the movie’s December 2017 release argues against this playing a role.) Maybe credit goes to model Bella Hadid, or Nickelodeon series Bella and the Bulldogs. Or maybe parents just plain appreciate the name and it’s meaning: beautiful.
I’ve yet to write about Bella. Check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Nova
US popularity rank as of 2017: #95
Nova means new in Latin, and it’s new to the US Top 1000. In fact, back in 2011, it was new to the US Top 1000! What explains the fast rise? Like Luna, it’s a night sky name, associated with stars. Like Emma, Ava, and Mia, it’s a short but complete name. And it shares that sharp and appealing letter V – a favorite for many parents.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Camila
US popularity rank as of 2017: #23
Singer Camila Cabello scored her first solo hit late in 2016, and has remained in the spotlight ever since, mostly recently with “Havana.” Cabello is Cuban-American, and her name is simply the Spanish form of Camilla, the name of a legendary warrior in Virgil’s Aeneid. It’s nicely pan-European and brings to mind the camellia flower, though the name isn’t related. The Spanish-English crossover factor could make this the next Isabella.
I’ve yet to write about Camila. Check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Elena
US popularity rank as of 2017: #67
Once Helen was the favorite, and at another time it was Elaine, but today’s it’s the pan-European Elena in the lead. It’s a Spanish royal family name, but this generation will likely think first of Disney princess Elena of Avalor. Romantic and classic at once, Elena feels nicely modern while still rich with history. It might shorten to Ellie, but there’s no need for a nickname. Respellings abound: Alaina, Alayna, and Elaina all chart in the US Top 1000, too. But so far, traditional Elena remains in the lead.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Kinsley
US popularity rank as of 2017: #59
Kinsley sounds like a new invention, yet another creative K name. But as surnames go, this one has roots, stretching all the way back to an Old English name. Or maybe several similar names that have all become Kinsley. But it’s caught on because of sound, yet another -ley ending surname name following Ashley, Kimberly, and similar choices straight up the popularity charts.
I’ve yet to write about Kinsley, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Everly
US popularity rank as of 2017: #82
Not so long ago, Everly just plain wasn’t a name. Oh, it was a surname. The Everly Brothers put it in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But it wasn’t until a more modern rocker – Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers – used it for a son in 2007 that it started to catch on. It caught on like wildfire. Maybe because we’ve always loved three-syllable names for girls ending in -y – think of Kimberly and Avery. Everly picked up on our love of the ‘v’ sound, too, and bounded up the charts, quadrupling in use and then doubling again. It’s still soaring.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Aurora
US popularity rank as of 2017: #51
From the Latin word for dawn, Aurora is part-nature name, part-goddess name, and all around gorgeous. The -ora ending appears in Nora and Cora, too, but those names feel rather sensible compared to fanciful Aurora. It’s the name of Sleeping Beauty, at least in the Disney version of the tale, a popular place name, and a scientific term for the display of lights around the Arctic and Antarctic. As a girls’ name, it fits right in with traditional picks like Amelia, but also with modern favorites like Sierra.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Evelyn
US popularity rank as of 2017: #9
Tailored and traditional, Evelyn started out as a surname derived from Avila and related name. It became masculine, and then migrated back toward the girls’ side. Today it feels every bit as buttoned-down as Elizabeth or Katherine, but slightly more stylish, too, thanks to that sharp ‘v’ – and the fact that Evelyn was never quite as common. At least not until now. After several racing up the charts, Evelyn has arrived in the US Top Ten. While the name was wildly popular in the 1910s and 20s, it actually ranks even higher today.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Emilia
US popularity rank as of 2017: #74
Strictly speaking, Emilia and Amelia are two different names. But they’re similar, and they’re both rising fast today. Emilia owes its popularity to two things: first, there’s Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, better known as the Khaleesi. Now Clarke is set to star in the upcoming Star Wars movie. Emilia also benefits from that first syllable. It feels like an elaboration of the mega-popular Emma, and shortens to the sweet nickname Emme. Traditional and fresh, Emilia could be the next Sophia.
Read more about Emilia here.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Raelynn
US popularity rank as of 2017: #124
There have always been names like Raelynn, smooshes made of popular sounds. But this name owes its rise to country singer RaeLynn, born Rachel Lynn Woodward. The name skyrocketed after she competed on The Voice in 2012. As her career has developed, parents have continued to choose the name.
I’ve yet to write about Raelynn, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Nora
US popularity rank as of 2017: #28
Nora was a Top 100 favorite in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but today this vintage name is even more popular. It combines the qualities so many parents seek in a name – traditional, straightforward, nickname-proof, and likely to age well. While it’s a Top 30 name and a fast rising choice, it remains far less common than Emma or Mia.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Willow
US popularity rank as of 2017: #81
Nature names have proved one of the most influential categories for fast rising names. Willow fits right in with Nova, Luna, Hazel, Aurora, and more. Launched by a Buffy the Vampire Slayer character and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s daughter – she was named for dad – this name’s vibrant, -o ending contrasts with its gentle image. It makes for a powerfully appealing combination, and one of the fastest rising girl names 2018.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Amara
US popularity rank as of 2017: #208
In Igbo, Amara means grace. It’s Sanskrit, it’s bliss. And it can have roots in Japanese, too, with the meaning depending on the kanji chosen to write the name. It’s the kind of name at home in the world, modern in spirit but not too different from names we’ve used for our daughters in English for generations.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Eleanor
US popularity rank as of 2017: #35
Eleanor carries two opposing images: it’s the legendary medieval Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen consort of France and then England, credited with popularizing the idea of courtly love. But it’s also the capable, pragmatic Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and activist. It’s a worthy, world-changing name for a daughter, and one that will age well over a lifetime, transforming from Ellie to Eleanor – or not. A 1910s and 20s favorite, this last climb makes it almost more popular today than it was back then.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Samara
US popularity rank as of 2017: #324
An ancient place name and a nature name, too, it’s easy to imagine Samara catching on today. And yet, it has the most unlikely source – it doubled in use after 2002 horror flick The Ring gave us all a fright. One spooky story later, Samara was on the rise. It owes something to 1990s favorite Samantha, and even more to names like Amara, names that feel fresh and new today. Another bonus? As parents increasingly seek non-Western names, Samara fits in nicely.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Hazel
US popularity rank as of 2017: #43
When Julia Roberts named her daughter Hazel back in 2004, it was dismissed as hopelessly old-fashioned. But Roberts was right. This 1890s favorite quickly started to climb. One John Krasinski-Emily Blunt baby later, and faster than you can The Fault in Our Stars, this name was back on top. It’s been a fast-rising pick for years, and this year is no exception. It cracked the Top 50 this year, but ranked in the Top 20 back then. Could it make it that high again?
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Isabella
US popularity rank as of 2017: #4
This former #1 name reversed course this year, climbing slightly after falling for the last few years. In many ways, it’s a surprise to see Isabella – and Bella – appear on this list. And yet the same qualities that pushed the names to the top in the first place still apply. Isabella works in English and Spanish, a classic girl’s name with history galore. If longer, elaborate girls’ names appeal to you, then odds are good that Isabella has been on your list at some point.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Leilani
US popularity rank as of 2017: #129
Not so long ago, Hawaiian names were heard only in, well, Hawaii. But that’s changed since the mid-twentieth century, and slowly, Hawaiian names have become mainstream. With their liquid, flowing sounds and lovely meanings, it’s easy to imagine parents choosing Leilani and similar names for their daughters. Factor in the many people who love the islands, and there’s even more reason to see these names catch on.
I’ve yet to write about Leilani, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Kehlani
US popularity rank as of 2017: #522
Speaking of Hawaiian names, Kehlani also comes from the same language, though Kailani is probably the original spelling. This version got a big boost from a singer, born Kehlani Parrish in California, but known by just her distinctive first these days.
I’ve yet to write about Kehlani, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Emma
US popularity rank as of 2017: #1
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Emery
US popularity rank as of 2017: #115
Take long-time #1 names like Emma and Emily, factor in surname-inspired choices like Avery and Kennedy, and you’ll have Emery. It’s not a traditional girls’ name, but it’s one that feels perfectly at home in 2018.
I’ve yet to write about Emery, but check back and I’ll update when I do.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Everleigh
US popularity rank as of 2017: #387
Fast-rising Everly has brought other spellings along for the ride. The latest to climb is Ever + leigh.
Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018: Other Notables
Aria and Arya both rose more than 200 spots, enough to push Aria into the Top Twenty. Pretty Little Liars and Game of Thrones both get credit for starting this name’s rise, but the sound has carried it even higher.
On the boys’ side, Logan is among the biggest stories of the year. It’s also among the fast rising girl names 2018, though I think this one will remain far more common for boys.
Speaking of names used for boys and girls, Charlie continued to rise on the girls’ list.
And to look at more pop culture influences, Diana – as in Wonder Woman – was up significantly; so was Star Wars‘ Leia and Hamilton’s Eliza.
That’s all for this installment of the Fastest Rising Girl Names 2018. Which are your favorites?