New Girl Names 2016New girl names 2016 make for a fascinating list!

On May 6, 2016, the US Social Security Administration released the new popularity data. A total of 47 new baby names for girls made the Top 1000 in calendar year 2015. (In 2014, that number was 49. In 2013, that number was 51. so that’s pretty consistent.)

Read on for the complete list, and my analysis of what’s driving the new names!

New Girl Names 2016: The List

The 47 names returning to or debuting in the US Top 1000 for 2015 are as follows:

  1. Adaline
  2. Adilynn
  3. Adley
  4. Aislinn
  5. Aitana
  6. Alaia
  7. Alianna
  8. Amaris
  9. Aminah
  10. Analia
  11. Andi
  12. Arden
  13. Avalyn
  14. Briar
  15. Charlize
  16. Dalary
  17. Ellis
  18. Elora
  19. Esperanza
  20. Frankie
  21. Giavanna
  22. Harmoni
  23. Heavenly
  24. Jayde
  25. Kalani
  26. Kaya
  27. Kensington
  28. Kyndall
  29. Lennox
  30. Luz
  31. Lyra
  32. Meilani
  33. Nathalia
  34. Noor
  35. Ophelia
  36. Princess
  37. Rhea
  38. Romina
  39. Royal
  40. Sarahi
  41. Sariyah
  42. Taya
  43. Tinley
  44. Veda
  45. Vienna
  46. Zaylee
  47. Zelda

New Girl Names 2016: What’s behind the rise of these 47 names?

The Age of Ad – Variant spellings almost always account for a big chunk of the list, and new names for girls 2016 is no exception. Adaline, fueled by Blake Lively’s April 2015 movie, The Age of Adaline, returned for the first time since 1924. At #364, that’s a pretty serious debut! Adilynn also cracked the Top 1000. For this spelling, that’s a debut, at #805. Now I’m wondering if Adaline will eclipse Adeline? Adalynn is actually the most popular spelling of this name, at #123. Add them all up, and it’s a popular name, indeed.

Spelling Counts – While we’re talking about variant spellings, parents added an ‘h’ to the Arabic Amina – though it looks like Aminah might be the more authentic option. Harmoni is a spin on long-time favorite word name Harmony. Nathalia and Giavanna are also just one-letter-different spellings. I’m intrigued by Giavanna, though – is that a bid to make sure the name is pronounced a certain way, or motivated by the desire to use Gia as a nickname? As for Kyndall, is that about the continuing influence of Kendall Jenner – or does the spelling indicate parents’ attempt to distance their daughters’ names from the reality star?

With a Twist – Adley is somewhere between Hadley and all those Addie names. Avalyn is a smoosh of Ava and lyn, possibly influenced by Avalon. Jayde is the spelling Maci Bookout chose for her daughter in May 2015. Zaylee is a new take on fading favorites Kaylee and Hailey. And Kaya and Taya belong to that family, too. I’m not sure how to pin down Sariyah – it seems like a spin on a Biblical name, or possibly an Arabic one.

More Celebrity Influence – Other celebrity baby names embraced by parents everywhere include Meilani – daughter of Jersey Shore alum Jenni Farley, Larry Hernandez’s daughter Dalary – older daughter Daleyza’s name sparked a trend, too, and Drew Barrymore’s daughter Frankie. Jack Osborne named his daughter Andy Rose in June 2015. Does that explain Andi’s arrival on the new girl names 2016 list?

Hello, Hawaii – Or is the rise of Meilani about our growing interest in Hawaiian names? Kai is huge for boys, and another debut on this year’s list is Kalani.

Big Names Aren’t Just for Boys Anymore – Parents have been choosing bold, braggadocio names for sons in recent years, like Messiah, Saint, and anything starting with King. With Princess and Royal on this year’s list for girls, it’s a sure sign that the trend is equal opportunity.

New Names on the Map – Place names continue to attract attention. Brooklyn and London were joined by Kensington – as in the London neighborhood that’s home to Kensington Palace, the address of Will, Kate, and their two adorable children, Vienna, and Arden. Arden is a real forest, of course, but it’s heavily used by Shakespeare, so maybe this is more of a literary pick. Aitana is the name of a Spanish mountain range, meaning it fits in this category, as well as the next one.

Melting Pot – Gone are the days when new immigrants Americanized their names. Now we’re going back to our grandparents’ roots – or farther – to embrace names specific to our roots, looking for crossover names, or, for newer arrivals, simply sticking with names that work on our native tongue. New girls names 2016 include the Irish Aislinn; the Spanish Analia – originally a smoosh of Ana and another name, like Lucia – as well as Esperanza, Sarahi, and Luz; and the Arabic Noor.

Romina may be a feminine form of Roman, but it’s mostly used in Spanish-speaking countries. Amaris also seems to be boosted by bilingual English/Spanish families.

Sci fi goes mainstream – Anakin entered the boys’ Top 1000 in 2014. New girl names 2016 include Lyra and Elora, both names boosted by science fiction of the last few decades.

Borrowing from the boys – Lennox and Ellis are surname names that were already in use for boys. Now they’ve debuted on the new girl names 2016 list, too. Briar has made the boys’ list before, but this nature name seems as clearly unisex as Rowan – after all, Briar Rose is a fairytale character. Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen used the name for their daughter in late 2014.

Meaning matters – Esperanza is the Spanish word for hope, and Alaia comes from a Basque word meaning happy. Heavenly also seems like a name chosen for its spiritual meaning. Veda means knowledge in Sanskrit, making it another of the new girl names 2016 rich with meaning.

Names I’ve been watching – Ophelia and Zelda have been on various lists of names I’ve been watching in recent years. Excited to seem them both make the new girls names 2016!

A catch-all – Charlize Theron finally pushed her intriguing given name into the rankings. Alianna seems like another pretty elaboration or smoosh name, but it’s tough to pin down an origin. Rhea is part-nature name, part-Mia successor, part-mythological moniker. And surname Tinley has teetered on the edge of the Top 1000 for the last few years.

Which of the new girls names 2016 is your favorite?


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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What do you think?


  1. Sariyah could be influenced by different trends. I’ve noticed that sound pattern is particularly popular with African Americans. If you count all the spellings of Aniyah (rhymes with Mariah), it is probably one if the top names. A lot of other names ending in iyah are also popular, Sariah, same pronunciation, is in the Book of Mormon.

    Zaylee may also be more popular this year because of the canonization of St. Zelie. The name is pronounced more like Zaylee in French, There is also a noticeable uptick in girls named Zelie, Zellie (an American pronunciation), Azelie (her full name) and Azaylee (phonetic).

  2. Don’t underestimate the sway of the bachelor/bachelorette franchise. I think Andi and Jayde are from that.

    1. EXCELLENT point, L! I’v been meaning to take a good look at the Bachelor/ette names …

  3. My husbands cousin has a cousin with a daughter named Adeline, and I know 3 little Charlizes nn Charlie.
    I don’t know if Veda is pronounced the same as Vada, but I like the latter.

  4. I adore Briar and Zelda, a bit shocked to see them on the list.

    I thought Esperanza already was, I like it a lot. I like Noor too.

  5. So many A names! That must really be the letter of the decade. It’s exciting to see so many lovely choices coming into favor. I’m looking forward to seeing the breakdown of the boys’ list 🙂

  6. I love Zelda and Arden. <3

    My former roommate is mom to an Addilyn with 2 d's and 1 n. That's a different spelling that I don't see as often.

    My friend who is an adult convert to Islam has an Aminah and a Sa*f*iyah, only one letter off from Sariyah, so I read that as Arabic? I could be wrong though.

    Dalary is a pretty surprise! I love it, it reminds me of Mallory without the "mal-" prefix that people don't like. I also like Valerie, so I'm not surprised I like the sounds there.

  7. Love Zelda, Romina, Noor, Lyra, Frankie and Briar! I’m kind of happy-but-sad to see Zelda especially doing so well.