Time to make some predictions! The year is drawing to a close, and that means that the baby names popularity will soon be tallied! (Though we won’t see the results until May.) For now, it’s time to guess the future Top 1000 boy names.

When it comes to boy names, we can all think of the most common picks. Former favorites, like Robert, Jacob, and John. Or today’s top choices, like Liam, Oliver, and Noah.

The US Social Security Administration publishes the 1000 most popular names given to boys and girls in a given calendar year.

That is a lot of names!

And if a name ranks in the US Top 1000? Chances increase that parents will hear that name discussed. It’s not a lock, of course – Darwin and Neo rank on the current list and I’ve yet to hear them in the wild.

Still, baby names that debut in – or return to – the US Top 1000 are more likely to catch the ear of someone expecting a child. Plenty of parents use it as a guide, ruling out anything more popular than 250, maybe, but knowing that any Top 1000 name is likely on the right side of wearable.

This list is packed with plenty of possibilities. What’s not here? Names that represent a slight twist on an existing favorite. For example, Top 200 Thiago is likely to be followed into the most popular baby names rankings by the related Tiago. But that feels like more of the same, not something fresh and new. Then again, that’s a hard line to draw – and nearly every name on this list bears some similarity to an existing favorite.

And so let’s look at twenty interesting possibilities that just might join the roster when the data is released next year.



Asher is an unstoppable Top 100 favorite. At first glance, Ash is just a short form of Asher – and Ashton and Ashley. But it’s something more, too. Ash is a straight-up nature name, a brother for River. And it’s big in pop culture, too. A generation that grew up with Pokemon’s Ash Ketchum is now naming children of their own, and Ash sounds like a logical choice.


A perpetual favorite on this list of future Top 1000 boy names, Beck is a little bit Beckett, a little bit Jack. Just like Jack and Jackson both rank, brief Beck could fit on the same list that gives us Beckham and Beckett. It might honor a beloved Rebecca, or maybe the meaning appeals: stream.


In some ways, Billy is a stealth trend. We can’t measure when parents of boys named William choose a different nickname, switching from Billy to Will – but that definitely happened at some point in the 1980s and 90s. But just like Charlie and Charles both rank for boys, it’s easy to imagine Billy ranking, too.  From Stranger Things to Daisy Jones and the Six, Billy is a cute boy name again. And after decades of Will? Will is now a grown-up. (A sitcom staple; a future king!) According to the data, just Billy is still falling – but I think that could easily change.


We love our boy names from the Bible – just ask a generation of boys named Noah, Levi, Gabriel, and Ethan, and their dads, Aaron, Matthew, and Daniel. So we’re always looking for fresh new possibilities. Ezra and Ezekiel both rose, fueled in part by that zippy Z. Boaz shares the sound, plus cool nickname Bo of stylish picks like Bodhi and Bowen. And the Hebrew origin of Boaz is a word meaning swiftness. It’s an Old Testament rarity with potential.


The second tree name on this list, after Ash, speaks to how powerfully popular nature names have become for our children. Just like River feels more traditional because it shares the -R ending of names from Arthur to Carter to Cooper, Cedar checks the same box.


Another frequent nominee to this list, Decker owes a little something to the Fast & Furious media franchise. (Though that character’s name is Deckard Shaw.) Decker also straddles the line between legit name and tough guy pick. Shades of Ryder, Colter, or Axel – they’re listed in plenty of name books, but there’s something edgy and cool about them, too. Decker is the next generation of this trend.


Last year this list included Ozias, an Old Testament name with built-in nickname Ozzy. Since Ozias didn’t make the cut last year, this time Josias makes the list instead. Maybe it’s a little more mainstream – after all, Josiah ranks in the current US Top 100. (Josias is simply a Latin form of Josiah.) Jo- names for boys include Joseph – as classic as it gets – and fellow Old Testament favorite Jonah. With dramatic s-ending names like Adonis and Rhodes ranking in the Top 1000, why not Josias?

KELCE (or maybe KELSO)

This is a longshot! In 2022, just 13 boys and 18 girls were named Kelce. And the only reason it’s on this list is Travis Kelce, the Kansas City Chiefs football player … who just happens to be dating mega-star singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. As if you didn’t know all of that already …

It wouldn’t be enough to put Kelce on the list, except last year’s hottest new name was Kayce from Yellowstone. It’s similar, plus we love gender-neutral names and creative K names and football hero names have made an impact before: Brady and Baker to name just two.

An even darker horse? Kelso, as in the new son of YouTuber Dude Dad – but O-enders! Hugo, Rocco, Enzo, Theo, Milo – so maybe Kelso is really the name that belongs in this spot?


It’s a big word name. But Legend and Maverick are among the most popular baby boy names, so it feels like that’s not really a barrier. As parents seek out ever bolder possibilities, like Legacy and Chosen, Knowledge tracks.


Odds are that plenty of boys named Lincoln already answer to Link. But Link on its own sounds like a brother for Kai and Beau and Luke and Jack and Mac, a brief and complete name ready for adventure. Speaking of adventure, long-running video game franchise The Legend of Zelda features the hero Link. The first version of the game debuted way back in 1986, so plenty of parents today probably hear this name as heroic.


It would be easy to dismiss Makari as a creative invention, a spin on Dakari and Makai. But Makari has roots. (As do those other names.) It’s most likely a take on Macarius and Macario, from a Greek name meaning blessed. Makari looks a little like Top 1000 choices Amiri and Khari. But that M also connects it to many a traditional boy’s name, from Michael to Mateo to Malachi.


A fixture on this list, Montgomery declined slightly in use from 2021 to 2022 … but it’s still near an all-time high. And Montgomery makes sense as a boy’s name for 2024. It’s a little like Theodore, Anthony, or maybe even Winston – buttoned-up and polished, a name that sounds accomplished, even on a child.


The initial O has helped put Owen and Oliver near the very top of the popularity charts. And yes, if you’re counting, this is the third tree name on this list. But it feels logical. The brevity of Max or Chase meets the nature name style of River and Rowan. Another factor: Oakley and other Oak- names are trending, clearing the way for just Oak to stand tall.


It’s not such a leap from Ben and Bennett, Benjamin, and all the other Ben- names, to just Ren. Footloose helped make Kevin Bacon a star as Ren; a generation later, the movie was rebooted. That means grandparents and parents alike probably think of Ren as a rare, but usable, staple for a son. It has cross-cultural status, too, thanks to the name’s occasional use in Japanese. Wren, too, seems like an obvious choice to debut in the boys’ Top 1000. Both are sometimes suggested as nicknames for Lawrence.


Another name making a return to the list, Rowdy has significant momentum, with 204 boys receiving the name. That’s a new high, and since it took just 223 births to make the US Top 1000 in 2022, it’s within striking distance of the list.


For years, conventional wisdom dictated that if a name started to catch on for girls, parents would abandon it for boys – immediately. That’s never been exactly true, but it hasn’t been inaccurate, either. Now, though, a new generation simply disagrees. Maybe it’s because they grew up with names like Taylor and Jordan, already unisex. Or maybe it’s part of a broader cultural shift. Regardless, one of the best places to look for the new most popular boy names is … the girls’ Top 1000. That’s held true for names like Eden and Reign. Now Scout feels like one to watch.


With Kai – as well as Khai – trending, sound-alike Shai seems like an obvious name to consider. It might be a Hebrew name meaning gift; it’s also sometimes used as a nickname for Isaiah. It feels familiar thanks to the long-time popularity of Sean, as well as names like Shane and Shea. But while those tend to lean Irish, Shai feels a little more global.


In English, to veer is to change direction. At first glance, that puts the fast-rising Veer in the same category as Journey. But it’s also from a Sanskrit word meaning brave, or possibly hero. It’s also spelled Vir, but Veer seems like the more obvious spelling for American English speakers. It’s got the sharp V, the cool R ending, and a brief, complete sound that fits right in.


A generation of women named Tracey grew up and named their sons Trace. Whitney peaked for girls in the late 1980s. Does that explain the rise in Whit for boys? Maybe, but Whit also feels like a substitute for Rhett or Wyatt or even Jude. They sound like little cowboys, but cowboys who might grow up to be doctors or lawyers or such. Whit also sounds like wit – as in a gentle sense of humor. It’s a positive, upbeat name.


Z names for boys have had their moment, with choices like Zachary and Zane faring well in recent generations. Zephyr comes from the Greek god of the western wind. It’s no  so different from Sawyer, Parker, and other R-ending names, but it’s clearly a distinctive choice, too, both in sound and meaning.


BECK (did not rank)

Grammy Award-winning musician Bek makes this name familiar, too. The name’s rise coincides with his earliest success in the 1990s. It’s continued to gain ever since, without quite tipping into the top names. Nevertheless, it’s back in the Top 1000 again, and it did gain in use significantly from 2021 to 2022.

CRUE (debuted at #868)

As a new name becomes popular, often variations catch on, too. Miles and Myles. Grayson, Greyson, and Grey. Sometimes they’re almost interchangeable; other times, a slight alteration changes the name’s vibe. Stylish Crew can be as polished as J. Crew, as preppy as the sport. But Crue? Crue is Motley. It’s edgier. The spelling makes sense, but it takes a high-energy name and makes it boisterous – even rowdy. And that was just enough to put Crue in the Top 1000.

DECKER (did not rank)

The Fast & Furious media franchise launched in 2001. It’s up to ten films in the original series, plus plenty of spin-offs and related media. (There’s even a ride at Universal.) In 2013, we (briefly) met a villain named Deckard Shaw. He took center stage in 2015, and eventually became an ally. While Deckard hasn’t really caught on, Decker has … at it has teetered just outside of the US Top 1000 ever since. It’s a tough guy name that isn’t too extreme, not in an age with names like Hunter topping the charts.

DUTTON (debuted at #835)

On paper, Dutton seemed far too rare to tip into the US Top 1000. Just 85 boys received the name in calendar year 2021. But the impact of Yellowstone is hard to overstate. Kevin Costner stars as patriarch John Dutton III, and it’s become must see TV for this moment. That helped make Dutton the next Khaleesi. It also helped that Dutton feels like David-meets-Sutton, a masculine alternative to that unisex favorite.

LAZARUS (did not rank)

An ancient New Testament name with a cool, current sound. It’s always been used in small numbers, and appears as a surname, too. But in our Elijah, Leonardo, and Atticus moment, Lazarus seemed poised for bigger things.

LYLE (did not rank)

Leo meets Kyle in this underused vintage gem. You might’ve seen 2022 movie Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, a retelling of the classic children’s book. This name continues to hover just outside the current Top 1000. And yet it fits perfectly with wildly popular girl names like Lola and Lyla, as well as boys’ favorites like Silas and Miles.

MONTGOMERY (did not rank)

A dapper little gentleman name, Montgomery is the new Sebastian. It’s a longer surname name with a polished, vaguely British appeal. Montgomery could follow choices like Bellamy and Kingsley into the US Top 1000.

MURPHY (debuted at #885)

Irish surname Riley has been a popular pick for our daughters and sons. Now the similar Murphy ranks in the girls’ US Top 1000. Television character Murphy Brown helped cement the name as a feminine possibility, but it’s equally viable as a masculine moniker. It’s a good-natured kind of name, friendly and steeped in history, too.

OZIAS (did not rank)

Ozzy is the sweet, edgy nickname we love to love. It can be short for Oscar, but for parents looking for something a little more daring, Ozias intrigues. It’s a Greek and Latin take on an older name, Uzziah. The name means strong. Like Lazarus, it’s an old school Old Testament name perfectly at ease in the twenty-first century.

RHODES (debuted at #922)

Brooks, Wells, Hayes. Boys’ names ending with S are as stylish as it gets. Rhodes shares that style, but so much more. It’s scholarly. Adventurous. Connected to the ancient world. And there’s a link to the Marvel Universe, too. James Rhodes, aka War Machine, is an ally of Iron Man, seen in both the Avengers films and various Disney+ series. The character is sometimes called Rhodey, which makes this already cool name even more appealing.

ROWDY (did not rank)

Speaking of Rhodey, how about … Rowdy? For Olympic gold medalist swimmer Rowdy Gaines, it’s a nickname for Ambrose. But bold word names are everywhere in 2023, and Rowdy suddenly feels a little less outlandish than it might have in 1993. While the name still has a ways to go, it’s shot straight up in use for the past two years, suggesting that just a little more momentum could make Rowdy a household name.

TRUE (did not rank)

Tru – no E – ranks in the boys’ Top 1000. So does Truett. It’s not a stretch to imagine that True will join them both … eventually.

Future Top 1000 boy names
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Here are the 70 boy names I’ve previously predicted would enter the rankings. If they appear in the US Top 1000 as of 2022, that’s noted, too.

  • ARCHIE (ranks #377 as of the 2022 data)
  • ARIES (ranks #872 as of the 2022 data)
  • ASH
  • BAKER (ranks #433 as of the 2022 data)
  • BANKS (ranks #404 as of the 2022 data)
  • BEAR (ranks #767 as of the 2022 data)
  • BECK
  • BENEDICT (ranks #963 as of the 2022 data)
  • BODEN (ranks #859 as of the 2022 data)
  • BOONE (ranks #602 as of the 2022 data)
  • BOWIE 
  • CAIRO (ranks #306 as of the 2022 data)
  • CALLAHAN (ranks #518 as of the 2022 data)
  • CASPIAN (ranks #723 as of the 2022 data)
  • CASSIAN (ranks #933 as of the 2022 data)
  • CREED (ranks #651 as of the 2022 data)
  • DENVER (ranks #480 as of the 2022 data)
  • ELIO (ranks #877 as of the 2022 data)
  • EVANDER (ranks #823 as of the 2022 data)
  • EVEREST (ranks #832 as of the 2022 data)
  • FORD (ranks #473 as of the 2022 data)
  • FOX 
  • GATLIN (ranks #724 as of the 2022 data)
  • HARLEM (ranks #955 as of the 2022 data)
  • IDRIS (ranks #766 as of the 2022 data)
  • JONES (ranks #946 as of the 2022 data)
  • KAISER (ranks #751 as of the 2022 data)
  • KOA (ranks #351 as of the 2022 data)
  • LEDGER (ranks #593 as of the 2022 data)
  • LEGACY (ranks #735 as of the 2022 data)
  • LEIF (ranks #841 as of the 2022 data)
  • LIAN (ranks #687 as of the 2022 data)
  • LOYAL (ranks #702 as of the 2022 data)
  • LYLE
  • McCOY (ranks #860 as of the 2021 data)
  • MURPHY (ranks #885 as of the 2022 data)
  • OSIRIS (ranks #977 as of the 2022 data)
  • OTIS (ranks #613 as of the 2022 data)
  • OZZY (ranks #620 as of the 2022 data)
  • REIGN (ranks #650 as of the 2022 data)
  • RIGGS (ranks #705 as of the 2022 data)
  • ROBIN (ranks #795 as of the 2022 data)
  • SHEPHERD (ranks #493 as of the 2022 data)
  • TAJ
  • WALLACE (ranks #966 as of the 2022 data)
  • WILDER (ranks #373 as of the 2022 data)
  • ZEV (ranks #956 as of the 2022 data)

What do you think of these predictions for future Top 1000 boy names? What would you add to the list?

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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