most popular baby names

What’s Trending (and What’s Not) in Baby Names?

The Social Security Administration has released its list of the most popular baby names of 2017. Names like Emma and Liam may lead the pack (full lists are below), but I’m always more intrigued by what happens below the top 20. That’s where you can start to see future trends unfold as baby names rise and fall. Here’s what baby names are on the horizon as the next hot things, and which ones are on their way out of favor.

What’s Hot: Trending Baby Names

Ultrafeminine girls’ names. Names like Chloe and Grace dropped out of the top 20, and they were replaced by more girly favorites like Aria and Victoria. Valentina, Elliana, Ophelia, and Magnolia follow the trend.


Boys getting girls’ names. In the past, once a name started skewing feminine, it became off-limits for boys. Baby names like Meredith and Ashley are good examples. But these days, that’s no longer the case—as Nova (up 300 spots for boys), Briar, Rowen, and Avery prove.

Game of Thrones names. HBO’s top series continues to inspire baby namers out there, with several of the biggest baby name movers and shakers coming from there. Fierce warrior women Yara Greyjoy and Lyanna Mormont inspired new parents—both names were up more than 300 places in popularity this year. Khaleesi and Aria/Arya continue to rise, with Aria now in the top 20 baby names in the U.S. And even the stars of the show themselves have appeared to have inspired baby namers: Emilia, Maisie, and Gwendolyn are all becoming more popular. On the men’s side, Dario (like lover and fighter Daario Naharis) is up nearly 60 places and Jamie (as in the eldest Lannister) is up nearly 50.

Cowboy names. Names that evoked the Old West were definitely popular this year, for both boys and girls. We’re talking names taken from historical figures—Wyatt, Oakley, Boone, and Clyde—as well as product names, like Stetson, Colt, and Remington. Other names with Western flair include Jolene, Gatlin, Blaze, Austin, Dallas, and Sage.

What’s Not: Fading Baby Name Trends

Creative spellings. Maybe parents are finally realizing that creative spellings can sometimes create more headaches then they’re worth. Most of the biggest droppers in baby names were alternate spellings like Riaan, Kolby, and Kamdyn for boys, and Nathaly, Miah, and Emilie for girls.

’70s and ’80s names The names that were uberpopular for 1970s and 1980s gals are dropping precipitously, as names like Wendy, Brittany, and Heather continue their slide toward the bottom of the list. While it’s still popular, longtime favorite Michael dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since World War II, and 1980s favorites like Chad, Joey, Marc, and Craig, are also losing favor.

Brand names. “Status” names associated with luxury products may have had their heyday: Mercedes, Tiffany, and Chanel have all dropped in popularity. (Armani, however, was the exception to the rule.)

Geographical names. Some names—like India and Cairo—retained their favor, but others found themselves on the outs with new parents. London and Jericho each dropped around 100 spots for boys, while Montserrat and Holland were the biggest geographical name droppers for girls.

Most Popular Baby Names for Boys

  1. Liam
  2. Noah
  3. William
  4. James
  5. Logan
  6. Benjamin
  7. Mason
  8. Elijah
  9. Oliver
  10. Jacob

Most Popular Baby Names for Girls

  1. Emma
  2. Olivia
  3. Ava
  4. Isabella
  5. Sophia
  6. Mia
  7. Charlotte
  8. Amelia
  9. Evelyn
  10. Abigail

More Baby Name Ideas:

Photo: Getty

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