Baby Name Trends

Baby names


Baby Naming Trends

Why should you care about trends?

  • You're picking a name because you love it, not because of what everybody else thinks.
  • So how do you stay truly distinctive in a sea of distinctive names?
  • And how do you make sure you're not crossing the line from creative to just plain weird?
  • Your child will be an individual, but you still want him or her to fit in.
In the 1950s, the top 10 names for boys and girls accounted for a quarter of all babies. Today, it's less than a tenth. Even parents who opt for classics are rejecting the once standard baby names.

Only one name of either sex has been in the top ten in every decade from 1890 to 1990, James. James sounds distinguished; Jim too "ordinary." And "ordinary" is becoming an endangered species. Names like Fred and Joan have completely disappeared.

Even naming your child 'Unique' is not that unique, each year, hundreds of American babies are named Unique.  -  Which trend would you follow, Biblical, Creative Spelling, Foreign or Unisex?

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Past Names

Mary was the top girls name in the 1880s and stayed number one until the 1950s. Boys top name was John which has slowly dropped over the last 120 years, but is still in the top twenty popular boys names. All names are from Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States.

Anticipate the trends. Right now, names from the 1900s - 1930s are very hot for girls. In another decade, that will probably move forward to names from the 1940s and 1950s. Look at those names now and see if any appeal to you.

Look at the lists of the most popular 1000 names of the decade from the 2000s back to the 1880s.

Foreign Imports

Parents are now selecting from a global selection of names. In the past, most foreign name hits were twists on familiar English names, such as the French Danielle and Paulette. Today, Celtic traditions are the top source of new hits for boys, such as the Irish name Aidan, the Scottish Cameron and Welsh Dylan. Celtic boys names are equally hot for girls: consider Morgan, Brynn and Kennedy. Other hot foreign sources include Arabic, Greek, Italian, Russian and Swahili.


Surnames are now becoming a top source for first names. Unlike earlier generations, today's surnames are used for boys and girls alike. One of the hottest styles for girls is, masculine sounding surnames that shorten to familiar girlish nicknames. Addison (Addie), Cassidy (Cassie), and Emerson (Emmy) are all rising. On the other side, if you're looking for a fresh surname idea for boys that will stay firmly masculine try some tradesman names, Archer, Baker, Carver, Mason or Hunter

Biblical Baby Names

One girl name has had a big rise in the past few years -- it's Nevaeh. If that sounds somehow familiar, it's "heaven" spelled backward, and is into the top 200 girls names for the 2000s. People get ideas and Semaj, or James spelled backward, is now in the top 1000 boy names. For many years, the bible has been used as a primary source for naming babies hence the term, Christian name.

The bible is actually one of the world's largest resources for baby names, containing literally thousands of names, sourced not just from characters in the bible, but also places, flowers, jewels, plants, etc. In addition, there are many popular derivatives of the traditional biblical baby names. Interestingly, the Protestants always preferred names from the Old Testament, whereas Roman Catholics have preferred the names of Saints. Hebrew names also come mainly from the Old Testament.

If you look at historical baby naming trends, you will see that Mary, mother of Jesus was the most popular biblical baby name for girls of all time and was ranked number one for 60 years. A look at the current list of most popular names in the US shows the popularity of boys biblical baby names, Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Ethan, Andrew, Daniel and Joseph. The girls have biblical names near the top of the list; Hannah, Abigail, Elizabeth and Rachel. Angelina from nowhere into top 50.

Interestingly people who give biblical names aren't necessarily religious. People who give their child a biblical name are actually slightly less likely to be regular churchgoers than those who don't.

Creative Spelling

For parents who want a traditional name with a twist, a current trend is creative spelling. Thus Caitlin becomes Kaytlin or Kaytlyn. There are usually at least four or five different ways to spell any name. This way, you can add variety to a classical favorite. Each year, more and more parents tweak sounds and spellings for a custom crafted product. If you enjoy mix and match creativity, just grab some Scrabble tiles and design your own name.

But, devise a creative spelling for your child's otherwise ordinary name, and all you're doing is making yourself look flaky and cursing the kid with a lifetime of saying, "uh, no, with two i's and two z's. As the average person says their name a million times in their lifetime, and if it takes little Kaytlin five seconds to say: 'No you spell it like this . . .', she wastes about 60 days of her precious life.

Unisex Names

Unisex names are another trend that is gaining steam. Parents are using names such as Jordan, Madison, Devon, Bailey, Parker, Charley and Logan on boys and girls. However, when naming a baby, parents must consider if it invites potential teasing. Boys are often targeted more heavily than girls. Names in and moving up the top 1000 boys and girls lists include Jayden, Hayden and Riley.

Brand Names

Naming trends of today are defined by many thing, even brand names. Some parents look no further than your favorite book, car, or brand for baby name ideas. Names like Armani, Levi, Chevy, Infiniti, Del Monte, Ikea, Disney, Celica and Lexus are increasing in popularity.

Nature Names

You could also use a name inspired by nature. Examples for boys include Ash, Berry, Birch, Flint, Lake, or Logan. For girls you could use Amber, Autumn, Brooke, Erica, Galexy, Sky, Summer.

Decades top 1000 Baby Names lists

Links to the top 1000 girls and boys names for each decade from the 1880s to the 2000s

 |  1880 - 1889  |  1890 - 1899  |  1900 - 1909  |  1910 - 1919  | 

 |  1920 - 1929  | 1930 - 1939  |  1940 - 1949  | 

 |  1950 - 1959  |  1960 - 1969  |  1970 - 1979  |  1980 - 1989  | 

 |  1990 - 1999  |  2000 + |

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