The question of the moment: what will be the new top 100 names of 2019?
Today I’m taking my shot at predicting newcomers to the list. These are already popular picks that haven’t cracked the double-digits … yet. But I think we’ll see them when the new list of 2018 data is released in May 2019 – just a few weeks from now!
No matter how much we love Game of Thrones, Khaleesi won’t soar into the US Top 100 for girls – not this time, anyway. It takes a few years of steady gains for even overnight sensations to really catch on and then appear in the data. After all, many of us choose our kids’ names before we’re expecting. So that favorite name you picked in 2017? Maybe you won’t be using it until 2020 – or later.
So I’m only looking at names within the current Top 200 – striking distance of the list.
Last year, my predictions worked out like this:
- I guessed that Emilia, Everly, Isla, Ivy, and Josephine would crack the Top 100. Everly and Emilia made it!
- For boys, my list consisted of Everett, George, Harrison, Miles, and Silas. I’m zero for zero on the boys’ side.
- My list also included two long-shots: Nova for girls and Maverick for boys. Wouldn’t you know it? Both of those names made it in. So I’m … 4 out of 12. Not great!
Ivy, Isla, Josephine
On to the names I’m watching now!
For the girls, three of last year’s favorites remain: Ivy, Isla, and Josephine:
- Ivy went to #108 from #112. That looks like a modest gain, and it is – and in terms of total births, Ivy declined slightly in use. Still, with names like Mackenzie, Kaylee, and Peyton poised to the leave the Top 100, I think Ivy has just enough momentum to make the list. Plus, we’re still wild for Ava and Olivia and lots of other v-in-the-middle girl names. So why not Ivy?
- Last year, Isla stalled at #103, up from #126. This is a name that wasn’t ranked at all in 2007! That’s some serious momentum. Unlike Ivy, Isla gained in both position on the charts and actual number of births. I’d call it a lock for this list’s Top 100.
- Traditional Josephine reached #107 on the last list, up from #114. It’s a name that’s no stranger to the Top 100 – it appeared on the list from 1880 into the 1940s. It seems right on time for a return, and, like Isla, the numbers show this name has plenty of momentum to carry it farther up the charts.
Eliza and Athena
At first glance, these names are very different – an Elizabeth nickname and an ancient goddess. But they share a feminine style with a certain steely backbone. I can’t imagine Eliza or Athena as a pushover, can you? Both have marched straight up the popularity charts during the twentieth century, making them my two newest predictions to join this year’s US Top 100:
- Eliza gets a boost from Hamilton. It’s also an Elizabeth nickname, making it feel classic while still zippy and fresh. And the numbers don’t lie. This name has marched steadily up the US popularity charts, from a relatively rare #379 in the year 2000 to a just-beyond-the-Top-100 spot at #140 last year. Okay, a leap of forty places to crack the Top 100 would be a big gain. But if any name can do it, my money is on Eliza.
- I’ve heard both English and Spanish speaking parents shortlist – and choose – Athena. That might be the magic formula for a future Top Ten name. Just ask Mia, Isabella, and Sophia. For now, Athena is the fastest-rising goddess name, sharing sounds with other fast-risers, like Thea. It ranked #529 way back in 2000, but today sits at #127, having posted double-digit rises for the last nine years running. I can easily see Athena making the leap.
My dark horse prediction for a girls’ name to enter the Top 100? Emery.
Maybe it shouldn’t be a dark horse. It’s a midpoint between traditional Emily and on-trend Avery, a name that mixes up lots of appealing sounds. Except there are SO many ways to spell this name: besides Emery, there’s Emerie and Emory in the Top 1000, and Emmarie, Emeri in use, plus A- versions, like Amerie, all possible, too.
Do all of those spelling options signal a fragmented name that will never quite catch on … or the next big thing? With choices like Hailey and Peyton falling in use, there’s plenty of opportunity for Emery to climb. It ranked #115 last year – not bad for a name that didn’t even chart back in the year 2000.
Everett and Miles
Now, on to the boys’ side! I’m still watching two of last year’s predictions:
- Everett shares the middle-v of so many stylish names, like Oliver and Levi, plus it’s the most popular of the Bennett/Elliott/Beckett class of -t ending surnames. It’s sitting just outside of the Top 100, at #104, as of last year. I hear so many parents considering this name that I can easily see it climbing into the Top 100.
- At the intersection of traditional and modern, Miles hits that sweet spot many parents crave. After several years just outside the Top 100, Miles looks stuck at #110. But with Chrissy Teigen and John Legend choosing the name for their son in May of 2018, I suspect Miles might get just enough of a boost to crack the list.
Weston, Kai, Bennett
I’m guessing on three new additions to the Top 100 this year. It was tough, because there were lots of similar choices. Ultimately, I’m betting on Weston over Wesley and Bennett over Emmett. But it could easily end up the opposite!
- I’m watching Weston for a few reasons. First, it’s gained dramatically. Back in 2007, the name ranked #368. By last year, it had reached #109. Of course, that means Weston was only a few dozen births away from making the Top 100 previously. So it’s a logical choice. But it’s also true that Easton has been a success. And Wesley? Well, the name has been around plenty. It dipped into the US Top 100 back in the 1970s, and again in the 1980s. So while I wouldn’t be surprised to see it gain, it doesn’t necessarily have the same kind of fresh momentum that I hear with Weston.
- Bennett currently stands at #123, up dramatically from its year 2000 rank of #441. But I’m betting on this ends-with-ett name because of the Ben. Benjamin made the Top Ten a few years ago. I think it’s a safe bet that parents might be after something similar-but-different, in big enough numbers to tip Bennett into the Top 100.
- As for Kai, there’s really nothing like it. It’s a mini name, in the key of Leo or Max. But it’s new, too – the Hawaiian word for sea. (There are plenty of other possible origins, but the numbers suggest that Hawaii deserves credit.) And yet, it probably feels familiar to a generation of parents who grew up with Kyle and Tyler and Ryan. Kai ranked #127 on the current list, which marks considerable growth from prior years – and also puts the name within striking distance of the Top 100.
Ready for my out-there pick? It could be a brother for last year’s dark horse, Maverick. I’m nominating Ryker. It feels like a surname, and perhaps it sometimes occurs as one. But this name didn’t get much lift until the late 1980s, when we met William Riker, second-in-command to Jean-Luc Picard on the SS Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Riker spells it with an ‘i’ but it’s the ‘y’ version that caught on in a big way. Now Ryker sits at #131, just a notch beyond the Top 100 – for now.
What do you think of these guesses? Are there any other names that seem to be trending in your circles?