The Social Security Administration Has Released the List of Most Popular Baby Names in the Country

Marisa LaScala
·5 min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Choosing a baby name is one of the first decisions parents have to make — and also one of the most important. There are plenty of things that go into making the decision: Do you want to honor a relative? Do you want to choose a name that's obviously a baby boy name or a baby girl name, or do you want to pick a gender-neutral baby name?

One huge factor, of course, is the popularity of a baby name. Some parents want to go with the trends, and choose something traditional and classic that most people can pronounce and spell right of the bat. Other parents are looking for more unusual and unique baby names, to stand out from the crowd. But which names are which? Here, we look at the current most popular baby names, along with the trends that will affect baby names in 2021.

These baby names are experiencing the sharpest rise.

Every year, the Social Security Administration releases its list of the most popular baby names in the United States. You can see the top 50 for girls and boys below, but, at the moment, the reigning champs for girls are Olivia, Emma, Ava, Charlotte and Sophia for girls, and Liam, Noah, Oliver, Elijah and William for boys. These aren't too different from the year before: The top 10 girls' names are exactly the same as last year. For boys, Henry and Alexander entered the top 10, bumping Mason and Ethan down a bit.

But that was for last year, based on data for 2020. If you want to know what's going to be most popular this year, you have to look at the list of the fastest climbers. Luckily, the SSA keeps track of the names with the biggest jumps in popularity, too. For girls, the hottest risers are Avayah, Denisse, Jianna, Capri and Rosalia; for boys, they're Zyair, Jaxtyn, Jakobe, Kylo and Aziel. As you can see, alternate spellings and twists on popular names are coming back, as in Denisse for Denise (which is the No. 6 climber in its own right), or Jaxtyn, which feels like a riff on the more popular Jackson (currently No. 17) or Jaxon (No. 48). And, while short, four-letter names were once the prevailing trend (like Luna or Luca), look for names to start getting longer in the future.

These baby names are losing favor.

So if the Avayahs and Zyairs are on their way up, who's on their way out? The SSA also keeps track of the names that have seen the biggest drops in rank.

For boys, it's really a mix of names: Vivaan, Alexzander, Javion, Reyansh, Kenny and Yisroel are all on the list of names that are losing popularity. It doesn't seem like there's one trend that unites them all — sometimes parents just aren't feeling it anymore.

For girls, while ending with an -a is popular, not every -a name is climbing the charts: Yaritza, Marissa (hey, was it something I said?), Annabella, Amiya, Patricia, Tatiana and Miah saw some of the biggest drops, in addition to names like Ariadne, Jayde, Jillian, Casey and, of course, the meme-ified Karen. Names are cyclical, and of course these can always come back, but for now they're losing steam.

Nameberry, BabyCenter and BabyNames.com find more up-and-coming names.

The baby-naming website Nameberry tracks interest in names among its users, which may give a more up-to-the minute look compared with the SSA, which takes a year to release its data. So what has it noticed as a huge trend among baby names? Place names are getting big again. "The hottest among them fall into three distinct categories," the site reports. "Egyptian place names, such as Cairo and Egypt; Italian city names, including Rome and Milan and biblical place names, such as Salem and Zion." Cities in the United States are becoming popular, too, like Aspen, Austin, Boston, Dallas, Denver and Memphis. What's most interesting about these trends is that these are largely gender-neutral names.

In addition, BabyCenter does a similar tracking of user interest among its users. When it released its Top Names of 2020, there were a few names in their top 25 that didn't make the SSA's top 50 that year (which was for the names of 2019), so look for these names to become more popular. They are: Aaliyah, Eliana, Adalyn and Gianna for girls, and Caden, Muhammad and Luca for boys.

And when BabyCenter listed the hottest naming trends of 2020, the site noted that names from the news tended to dominate. This includes political names like Kamala (up 104%), Reagan (up 26%) and Jill (up 66%); departed celebrities like Kobe (up 175%) and Gianna (up 216%); and names associated with the racial justice movement, like Breonna (up 108%).

Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of BabyNames.com, has also noticed a rise in what she calls "Power Names," like Rogue, Maverick, Remington, Freya or Apollo. "I believe that parents want to infuse strength into their children during these difficult times," Moss said in a release.

According to the Social Security Administration, these are the 50 most popular names for girls in the United States.

The SSA says that these are the current most popular names for girls (from the year 2020, the most recent year available).

  1. Olivia

  2. Emma

  3. Ava

  4. Charlotte

  5. Sophia

  6. Amelia

  7. Isabella

  8. Mia

  9. Evelyn

  10. Harper

  11. Camila

  12. Gianna

  13. Abigail

  14. Luna

  15. Ella

  16. Elizabeth

  17. Sofia

  18. Emily

  19. Avery

  20. Mila

  21. Scarlett

  22. Eleanor

  23. Madison

  24. Layla

  25. Penelope

  26. Aria

  27. Chloe

  28. Grace

  29. Ellie

  30. Nora

  31. Hazel

  32. Zoey

  33. Riley

  34. Victoria

  35. Lily

  36. Aurora

  37. Violet

  38. Nova

  39. Hannah

  40. Emilia

  41. Zoe

  42. Stella

  43. Everly

  44. Isla

  45. Leah

  46. Lillian

  47. Addison

  48. Willow

  49. Lucy

  50. Paisley

Also according to the SSA, here are the 50 most common names for boys.

Also for 2020, these are the most popular names for boys.

  1. Liam

  2. Noah

  3. Oliver

  4. Elijah

  5. William

  6. James

  7. Benjamin

  8. Lucas

  9. Henry

  10. Alexander

  11. Mason

  12. Michael

  13. Ethan

  14. Daniel

  15. Jacob

  16. Logan

  17. Jackson

  18. Levi

  19. Sebastian

  20. Mateo

  21. Jack

  22. Owen

  23. Theodore

  24. Aiden

  25. Samuel

  26. Joseph

  27. John

  28. David

  29. Wyatt

  30. Matthew

  31. Luke

  32. Asher

  33. Carter

  34. Julian

  35. Grayson

  36. Leo

  37. Jayden

  38. Gabriel

  39. Isaac

  40. Lincoln

  41. Anthony

  42. Hudson

  43. Dylan

  44. Ezra

  45. Thomas

  46. Charles

  47. Christopher

  48. Jaxon

  49. Maverick

  50. Josiah

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