The new most popular baby names are out for the US! You can read all about the new US Top Ten lists here.
What stands out as interesting, new, and noteworthy?
Six Girls Names New to the US Top 100
- Alice – Storybook Alice has been quietly climbing, and now stands in the US Top 100 at #97.
- Eleanor – Classic Eleanor comes in at #78.
- Hadley – The surname name reached #99, thanks to two things. First, we’ve been wild for H surname names for girls, like fellow-Top 100 name Harper. Novel The Paris Wife, about a young Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, lends the name a certain amount of literary cachet.
- Isabelle – Isabella has been a #1 choice, and remains in the Top Ten. Isabelle had been a Top 100 name before, but returned in 2014 after a few years’ absence.
- Jasmine – This was a surprise! Jasmine was big post-Aladdin, but had fallen in recent years. What explains the return of Jasmine to the Top 100? Could it be Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett, released in late 2013? Teenager pop singer Jasmine V?
- Vivian – I’ve had my eye on Vivienne, but the more traditional spelling of this name cracked the US Top 100 in 2014.
Three Boys Names New to the US Top 100
- Asher – We’ve all been watching Asher, a successor to Ashley and Ashton, and a name with a happy meaning and a stylish -r ending. This year, Asher charted at #93.
- Leo – Animal names like Wolf and Fox grab headlines. But it’s Leo – part-fierce lion, part-gentle vintage choice – that rules them all, at #97.
- Ryder – Ryder feels both modern and traditional. As a surname, it could be an occupational choice for a messenger, or a soldier who fought on horseback. But it wasn’t used as a given name until the 1990s. Now Ryder ranks #95.
Sounds & Clusters: The Age of Ia
The current girls’ Top Ten is dominated by names ending in -ia: Olivia, Sophia, and Mia. Also charting in the Top 100: Sofia, Amelia, Victoria, Aria, Lydia, and Julia. While Aaliyah doesn’t end in -ia, it has the same sound. The good news? There are dozens of great ends in -ia names for girls that aren’t in the Top 100, or even the Top 1000 – yet!
Sounds & Clusters: Hello, Bo and Ro!
Check out the fastest rising names for boys, and oh, hello, Bo and Ro!
- Bode was up 645 places to #783. Alternate spelling Bodie rose 333 places to #981, and Bodhi was up 192 places to #615. Credit Olympic medalist Bode Miller, who scored his sixth career Olympic medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
- But it wasn’t just Bode and company. Boden was up 185 places to #992. Bo, Beau, and Bowen all gained, too. The NFL’s Drew Brees has sons named Callen, Baylen, and Bowen.
- As for Ro, Ronin was up 219 places to #554 and Rowen rose 189 places to #787. Ronan, Rowan, Roman, and Roland all posted double-digits gains, too.
Sounds & Clusters: The Coras Have Arrived
I’ve been saying that the Coras are coming, and now they’re here!
What’s my proof? After years of sparing use, Cordelia has re-entered the US Top 1000 at #993. Cora is just outside the Top 100, at #103. Coraline, Corinne, Kori, and Kora are also rising.
There are still Cora names that remain rare. Corisande or Coralie, anyone?
Sounds & Clusters: -axton is the new -aiden
The last few years have been dominated by names that rhyme with Aiden. But this year, Jayden left the US Top Ten, and many of the -aiden names are falling. Braidon, Braydon, Aydan, Aidan, Jaden, Aden, Aydin, Cayden, Jaiden, Braden, Kaden, Brayden, and Hayden all fell by ten or more places.
But creative coinages aren’t dead. The sounds are just changing. What’s the new -aiden? It could be -ylen, because Rylen and Kylen are both catching on. So are Kayson, Cayson, Brayson and Grayson.
I’m most intrigued by the ends-in-axton names. I’ve heard Braxton a few times, and I always mentally hear “Hicks” attached. Except Braxton ranked #121 in 2014, and has been climbing steadily since the 1980s. (I’d like to give credit to singer Toni Braxton, except her career took off in the 1990s.)
This year, Axton was up 102 spots to #761. Paxton, Jaxton, Daxton, and Maxton all chart in the Top 1000, too.
Trends: Impact of Spanish-friendly Names
If I had to pick one thing that is dramatically reshaping how we name our children, it’s the impact of the Spanish language on baby names. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 37 million Americans speak Spanish, up 233% since 1980.
It’s not just new immigrants sticking to old world names, either:
- Spanish-language pop culture is just as likely to produce new names as English-language pop culture. Two of the fastest-rising names in 2014 came from telenovelas: Aranza and Montserrat/Monserrat.
- Likewise, celebrities more famous in the Spanish-speaking world will have a greater impact on names given to children in the US. One great example? Daleyza, daughter of singer Larry Hernandez, famous thanks to his reality show, LarryMania.
- Many families may look for names that work well in English and Spanish. They’re not always obvious to non-Spanish speakers. Baby Center publishes lists of names popular with their Spanish-speaking users. Some of the names, like Ximena and Santiago, feel like imports. We recognize that Isabella and Sofia work well in both languages. But Emma, Mia, and Zoe are big with Spanish-speaking families for their daughters, and Daniel, Benjamin, and Ian for their boys. In other words, a name that sounds great in Spanish and English is much more likely to catch on in the US than one that falls flat in Spanish.
Those are my initial thoughts looking at the US Top 1000 data for 2014. Anything leaping out at you?