American Names · Analysis

Baby Boys’ Names that are Popular (Top 100) in Just One, Two, and All the States

In May, the Social Security Administration released the U.S. national baby name data for 2022 to much fanfare. What’s less known is that they also released state data! While SSA does publish extended state numbers stretching down to 5 births in a year (just as they do for the entire country), their website showcases the Top 100 lists for all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. Let’s look at the baby boys’ names that reached the Top 100 popularity threshold in just one, two, and all the states!

Here are the boys’ names that reached the Top 100 in only one state:

  • Alaska: Alex, Killian, Mark, Timothy
  • Arizona: Aziel, Javier
  • California: Nicolas
  • District of Columbia: Ari, Kairo, Nasir, Simon
  • Hawaii: Blake, Duke, Hezekiah, Israel, Kaimana, Keanu, Koa, Koen, Makoa, Tristan, Zane
  • Idaho: Grant
  • Louisiana: Kash
  • Maine: Gavin, Reid
  • Michigan: Cade
  • Minnesota: Mohamed
  • Mississippi: Jamir, Karson, Kashton, Kyrie
  • Montana: Bodie, Colt, Daxton, Ridge
  • New Hampshire: Abel, Callum, Colby, Rory
  • New Jersey: Shmuel, Yaakov, Yehuda, Yosef
  • New Mexico: Luciano, Manuel
  • New York: Abraham, Muhammad
  • Oklahoma: Baker
  • Rhode Island: Armani, Jeremy
  • South Dakota: Atticus, Kyler, Odin
  • Texas: Matias
  • Utah: Crew
  • Vermont: Brantley, Louis, Oakley, Otis, Warren
  • West Virginia: Gunner, Jensen, Remington
  • Wyoming: Augustus, Boone, Colson, Lukas, Tobias

Hawaii and New Jersey have especially distinct names that may or may not appear in the national Top 1000. Both states have ethnic and/or religious communities that strongly influence regional naming. Kaimana and Makoa are Native Hawaiian names; Shmuel, Yaakov, Yehuda, and Yosef are the Hebrew forms of Biblical names that are most popular among certain Jewish populations, especially Orthodox/Traditional. Kaimana, Makoa, and Yaakov did not rank within the national Top 1000, but can be found within the extended data.

And here are the names appearing in the Top 100 of two states:

  • Ali: D.C., Michigan
  • Bodhi: Hawaii, Vermont
  • Brody: Hawaii, Wyoming
  • Chaim: New Jersey, New York
  • Dallas: Alabama, Mississippi
  • Elliott: Maine, Vermont
  • Emilio: Arizona, California
  • Finley: Maine, Vermont
  • Jason: Alaska, Delaware
  • Jesse: Alaska, Wyoming
  • Kayson: West Virginia, Mississippi
  • Lane: Iowa, Montana
  • Malakai: Alaska, Hawaii
  • Matteo: California, Connecticut
  • Moshe: New Jersey, New York
  • Paxton: Maine, West Virginia
  • Peter: Idaho, Utah
  • Riley: Hawaii, Wyoming
  • Tyler: Massachusetts, Delaware
  • Walter: D.C., Montana

Finally, here are the few names that are popular enough to be in the Top 100 of every state plus D.C.!

  • Liam – Ranks #1 nationally. #1 in AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, KS, KY, LA, MD, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OK, PA, RI, TN, TX, & VA.
  • Noah – Ranks #2 nationally. #1 in GA, HI, IL, MA, MI, SC, WY
  • Oliver – #3 nationally. #1 in AK, AR, CO, ID, IN, IA, ME, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, OR, SD, UT, WA
  • James – #4 nationally. #1 in MS.
  • Elijah – #5 nationally. Highest rank: #2 in AR and LA.
  • William – #6 nationally. #1 in AL, MT.
  • Henry – #7 nationally. #1 in D.C., VT, WS.
  • Lucas – #8 nationally. Highest rank: #3 in FL, NJ, NY
  • Benjamin – #9 nationally. Highest rank: #5 in MA, NH, PA, & RI. Clearly this one’s favored in New England!
  • Levi – #12 nationally. Highest rank: #6 in LA & VT.
  • Alexander – #17 nationally. Highest rank: #8 in D.C.
  • Samuel – #20 nationally. Highest rank: #9 in GA and OR.
  • Mason – #24 nationally. Highest rank: #11 in GA and PA.
  • John – #26 nationally. Highest rank: #2 in MS. I was surprised by this one since it’s not in the Top 25, but it goes to show the staying power of timeless names.
  • Luke – #34 nationally. Highest rank: #4 in LA.
  • Grayson – #37 nationally. Highest rank: #2 in WV.

Theodore and Asher were respectively the #1 names in New Hampshire and West Virginia, though they didn’t rank in every state.

Traditionally, the Top 10 are the names parents across the country can agree on. That said, #10-ranking Theodore is curiously missing – when I looked through the states, I found that Mississippi is the culprit! Theodore was given to 27 baby Mississippians last year, while the #100 ranking name (Myles) was given to 31. Hmm…

Any remaining names that are popular across the country can typically be found within the Top 20 or so. I was surprised John, Luke, and Grayson are so universally beloved! Maybe I shouldn’t be shocked about John because it’s never dipped below the national Top 30, but Luke and Grayson have never reached the Top 25. Luke, like John, is a name with major religious significance to Christians. I can’t explain Grayson’s universality.

What do you think? Naming is incredibly regional, and it can be hard to see that just looking at the national data. I will post a girls’ list later, but in the meantime, for different ways to look at names within the states; check out Nancy’s analysis of unique appearances in the extended data and Namerology’s state style sampler!

American Names · Analysis

Almost Popular: Baby Names that Just Missed the Top 1000

One week ago, the Social Security Administration honored a modern Mother’s Day tradition by releasing the previous year’s Top 1000 most popular baby names just before the holiday. The 2022 list is out and we know the names, but what about the names that *almost* made it? The names that would have been popular if not for alphabetical ranking order or alternative spellings?

In 2022, the two names ranked #1000, the names at the very bottom of the top, were Kahlani and London. Kahlani was given to 260 girls, while London is the name of 222 infant boys. Just below them were several other names that could have or should have made it. Here is a chart containing the names that were used up to 10 times fewer:

Boy NameNumberGirl NameNumber
Table created by extracting from Social Security Administration extended data

Many of the names just left the Top 1000. Massimo and Mordechai were common enough that they should have been in the Top 1000, but the SSA ranks alphabetically after their numerical rankings and does not extend the national Top 1000 further for popular names that are later in the alphabet. Other names should have made it in, but were hindered by alternate spellings; Leylani comes to mind, as Laylani was the preferred version to enter in 2022.

As I mentioned, Massimo and Mordechai were given to enough babies that they should have been in the Top 1000 this year. What are some other common-enough baby names that the SSA rejected from the Top 1000 by alphabetical order? Let’s look back 10 years:

  • 2021: Aarya** (255 girls) and Davian (218 boys) were the named ranked #1000. The same number of girls were named Ansley, Eleanora, and Jaelynn; Harris, Koen, and Merrick were equally popular for boys.
  • 2020: Belle (254 girls) and Kylian (212 boys) were the names ranked #1000. Jaelyn and Laylani were equally popular to Belle.
  • 2019: Adrienne (257 girls) and Aayan (209 boys) ranked #1000. Runner-ups: Ariadne, Dixie, Libby, and Marisol for girls; Cedric, Rome, and Seven for boys.
  • 2018: Elina (261 girls) and Kenny (207 boys) were #1000. Runner-ups: Maliah and Paityn; Korbyn, Marquis, and Zackary.
  • 2017: Zendaya (260 girls) and Jaxx (201 boys) were #1000. Runner-up: Mordechai.
  • 2016: Kensington (264 girls) and Gus (204 boys) were #1000. Runner-ups: Luz and Sonia; Jamar, Jeremias, Menachem, Reagan, Shmuel.
  • 2015: Jocelynn (269 girls) and Camren (204 boys) ranked #1000. Runner-ups: Mattie and Sidney; Deshawn, Jayvion, Simeon, Tristian.
  • 2014: Kaya (264 girls) and Musa (206 boys) were #1000. Only Musa had runner-ups: Reagan, Rylen, and Sutton.
  • 2013: Tinley (251 girls) and Clyde (196 boys) were #1000. Runner-ups for boys: Graeme and Yisroel.
  • 2012: Aurelia (253 girls) and Augustine (199 boys) were #1000. Runner-ups: Aya, Dalilah, Hayleigh, and Tegan; Ephraim, Jaylon, and Kamdyn.

**Originally, Annabella was the girls’ name ranked #1000 in 2021. The birth data changes slightly from year to year, though whether that’s due to late applications or name changes is unknown.

Do you think the SSA should extend the Top 1000 to account for alphabetical order? With the Top 1000 creating a clear demarcation between popular and rare, I’m not sure it’s fair that two equally-common baby names could be so differently classified. In 2022, a baby boys was just as likely to be named Massimo as London, and yet London is the one we call popular.

American Names · Analysis · Name Lists

New and Out: Changes to the U.S. Top 1000 in 2022

The United States baby name data-reveal arrived Friday, May 12th. Name writers, consultants, and enthusiasts everywhere are ecstatic! We have a whole new set of names to play with, and it gives us better a chance to predict the end results for the current year. Until next Mother’s Day weekend…

Last week, I published my list of predictions for the 2022 Top 1000. It’s always tricky to determine which names will rise or fall. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to engage with every possible pop culture phenomenon, for one! Names can also be surprisingly erratic and fickle at the bottom of the top. Multiple spellings may dampen the impact of the starter name. Some names fall faster than others, which means a name that isn’t getting more common usage-wise is getting more popular in the ranks. Then, you have all the names that are so close to the Top 1000 that they just, well, reenter! Finally, I didn’t account for the names that were new or returning to the Top 1000 in 2021 that fell out in 2022, since there’s simply little way to know what they’ll do in that scenario!

According to data from the Social Security Administration, the following names reached the Top 1000 most popular baby names in the U.S. in 2022. The bolded names are the names I correctly predicted would either arrive or go; name predictions are never an exact science. Anyways, here are the links for my boys’ names and girls’ names predictions if you’d like to see my thought processes and what didn’t make it!

New Boys’ Names:

Asaiah, Atharv, Aurelio, Cartier, Cedric, Chosen, Crue, Darwin, Dion, Duncan, Dutton, Eren, Ezrah, Imran, Ivaan, Jairo, Jrue, Kaisen, Kaizen, Kamryn, Kanan, Karim, Kayce, Khaza, Koen, Kolson, Kooper, London, Lux, Marlon, Meir, Murphy, Rhodes, Ryatt, Sevyn, Shmuel, Stone, Teo, Terry, Waylen, Westyn, Yael, Yahya, Zen, Zamir

New Girls’ Names:

Aadhya, Amayah, Amiri, Araya, Arlet, Belle, Carla, Casey, Cielo, Elisabeth, Elowyn, Emiliana, Georgina, Inaya, Jream, Keily, Kenia, Lakelyn, Lakelynn, Laylani, Lenora, Lisa, Lottie, Love, Luz, Maddie, Maisy, Marigold, Meilani, Nathalia, Neriah, Nori, Rosalina, Rowyn, Saanvi, Sapphire, Sarahi, Scottie, Sol, Tru, Winona, Wrenlee, Xyla, Yamileth, Yasmin, Zhuri

Some (possible) explanations for the new names:

  • Dutton and Kayce are heavily associated with Yellowstone. I believe Kayce is pronounced like “Casey.” Interestingly, Casey is back for girls and Kacey is out for boys.
  • Zen, Rhodes, Love, and Nori are celebrity baby names. Now that I think about it, I think Dutton may be too…
  • Jrue Holiday is a basketball player who has a daughter named Jrue too.
  • Sevyn is a character in The Hate U Give.
  • Waylen, Westyn, Ezrah, and Koen are (respectively) used as alternate spellings to the trending names Waylon, Weston, Ezra and Cohen, though Koen is technically a Dutch nickname for Conrad/Koenraad.
  • I’m not sure what’s causing the simultaneous popularity of Kaizen and Kaisen, but two things come to mind: a manga/anime called Jujutsu Kaisen and the word kaizen.
  • Elowyn is the most common spelling of Elowen, a Cornish nature name that’s been internet popular for years now. Elowen is still technically rare, though it feels a lot more common when you combine all the spelling variants together. 315 girls were named Elowyn, while 211 were named Elowen, and there are more alternates.
  • Laylani is a variation of Leilani, a popular Hawaiian name that ranks #59 nationally. Names ending in -Lani are ultratrendy thanks not just to Leilani but Kehlani, a musician’s eponym.
  • Maisy, Rowyn, Wrenlee, and Zhuri are variants of Maisie, Rowan, Wrenley, and Zuri.
  • Winona was revived by Winona Ryder and her role in Stranger Things.
  • Lottie and Scottie are part of a wider trend towards nicknames, though Lottie also has Charlotte’s popularity (#3 in the country!) to thank.
  • Marigold was a baby name in Downton Abbey that’s become trendy at just the right time.

Something I do want to note about a few of the names I just mentioned is the potential for offense when used outside of their original cultures (a.k.a. cultural appropriation, which especially impacts historically marginalized peoples). Winona and Leilani are indigenous names (Winona is Native American of Dakota or Sioux origin), while Cohen is a sacred Jewish surname. I personally can’t speak to how people feel about others using the first two names, but as someone converting to Judaism, I can tell you that many Jewish people are deeply offended about the wide non-Jewish use of Cohen, Kohen, and even Koen as baby names. Cohen/Kohen is a priestly title referring to a very specific group of people who sometimes (depending on the religious branch) still have important roles and rules within the community. Some people also consider gentiles naming a child Ezra as cultural appropriation, though I think that has more to do with baby names that are traditional and popular within the Jewish community; compared and contrasted, almost no Jewish person would ever name their own child Cohen.

Here are the names that left the Top 1000:

Exiting Boys’ Names:

Adrien, Aydin, Bishop, Blaine, Bowie, Branson, Carl, Cory, Crosby, Davion, Deandre, Dimitri, Dominik, Elon, Ephraim, Fox, Granger, Graysen, Genesis, Howard, Jabari, Jacoby, Jair, Jakobe, Jamal, Jaxtyn, Jesiah, Juelz, Kace, Kacey, Kamdyn, Karsyn, Kody, Kole, Kristopher, Kyng, Landry, Maurice, Mordechai, Palmer, Ronnie, Turner, Ulises, Yaakov, Yadiel

Exiting Girls’ Names:

Aarna, Aarya, Addisyn, Addyson, Aiyana, Aniya, Austyn, Braylee, Clare, Clarissa, Crystal, Ellen, Ellison, Etta, Frida, Giavanna, Haylee, Ingrid, Jaycee, Jaylee, Jaylene, Jaylin, Kailey, Kaisley, Kathleen, Kiera, Kimora, Kyleigh, Kynlee, Landry, Loyalty, Lyanna, Mazikeen, Meghan, Micah, Nataly, Paisleigh, Paityn, Raquel, Ryder, Sandra, Soraya, Tatiana, Tori, Zoie, Zola

What are some explanations these names leaving the Top 1000? Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Kacey is interesting because I actually predicted it to *enter* the Top 1000, but here we see it leaving. The SSA data always changes slightly each year, which lends me to believe either we’re seeing the results of delayed birth certificates or name changes. I’m also surprised it didn’t reach higher in conjunction with Kayce, which is usually pronounced the same assuming a Yellowstone influence.
  • Jakobe is coming off a boost in conjunction with Kobe and similar names. Jacoby might also be part of this specific downswing.
  • Elon is closely associated with Elon Musk.
  • Howard, Maurice, Ingrid, Kathleen, and Sandra are generally considered classics but dated.
  • Landry fell out for both boys and girls! A few athletes are named Landry, though I think the main pop culture influence is probably Friday Night Lights, which is several years out since release.
  • Mazikeen is a character on Lucifer, which concluded in 2021.
  • Lyanna is from Game of Thrones. Some other names from the series actually got more popular in 2022 though, including Khaleesi and Yara. The new spin-off may be influencing some names in the main saga by keeping them fresh. We do know that Rhaenyra entered the SSA birth data for the first time this year!
  • Meghan is falling after a brief boost to this and Megan via Meghan Markle.

Do you have any favorite names in this list? Are there any other reasons you can think of why some names rose or fell? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

American Names · Analysis

The Top 100 Baby Names in the United States

If you’re based in the United States, yesterday (Friday, May 12th) was the country’s baby name data release day! It’s a huge deal for namenerds and expecting parents alike, giving us a chance to learn the most up-to-date information about popular baby names. Parents who worry that their child will share their name with too many classmates sprint to these lists, while enthusiasts giddily check their predictions and look for major shifts in the data.

While I didn’t end up writing predictions for the Top 100, I still find them very interesting to review. These are names that are universally considered popular, even outside of the top 10. Literally thousands of babies each year receive Top 100 names; in 2022, the names ranking #100 were given (respectively) to 3580 boys and 2702 girls, while the names ranking #1 were given to 20,456 boys and 16,573 girls. Many Top 100 names are some degree of classic, while others are either modern standards or ultra-trendy. And generally, these are baby names that are popular throughout the country, even if most of them aren’t popular in every single state.

Here are the Top 100 baby boys’ names in 2022, including rank changes from 2021:

Rank NameBabiesRank Change
78Walker4232+51 (NEW)
90Micah3933+17 (NEW)
96Rowan3742+10 (NEW)
97Adam3625+7 (NEW)
99Theo3614+43 (NEW)
Data from the Social Security Administration

The newest boys’ names in the 2022 Top 100 are Walker, Micah, Rowan, Adam, and Theo. The names that left the Top 100 are Hunter, Dominic, Carson, Austin, and Connor.

And here are the girls’ names:

RankNameBabiesRank Change
84Iris2922+23 (NEW)
86Eloise2888+23 (NEW)
91Maria2831+14 (NEW)
97Liliana2768+7 (NEW)
98Ayla2735+10 (NEW)
100Raelynn2702+3 (NEW)
Data from the Social Security Administration

The newest names to the top 100 are Iris, Eloise, Maria, Liliana, Ayla, and Raelynn. The exiting names are Allison, Madeline, Rylee, Eva, Piper, and Peyton.

To break things down further:

  • Luna entered the Top 10, expelling Harper.
  • Leo, Ezra, Violet, and Mila entered the Top 25. These are the names we’re closely eyeing for Top 10 entry within a few years.
  • Logan, Jacob, Avery, and Layla exited the Top 25. While they are still very popular, they are no longer as trendy.
  • Santiago, Ezekiel, Lillian, Elena, and Naomi reached the Top 50. Lillian’s popularity peaked in 2010-11, but the rest are rather trendy.
  • Josiah, Lincoln, Leah, Addison, and Everly exited the Top 50.
  • Leonardo, Ian, Wesley, Cora, Quinn, Sophie, and Sadie reached the Top 75.
  • Easton, Landon, Colton, Savannah, Aubrey, Bella, and Skylar exited the Top 75.

We can see a few pop culture influences hitting the Top 100! Violet and Eloise, which were already trending, likely were boosted even further by Bridgerton. Meanwhile, the biggest debut is Walker, which was boosted by Walker, the recent Walker: Texas Ranger reboot.

Within the set, we can also get a better sense of current trends by highlighting the names that rose or dropped at least 5 rankings. They are:


  • Boys: Sebastian, Asher, Leo, Ezra, Luca, Maverick, Elias, Santiago, Cooper, Kai, Angel, Wesley, Ian, Leonardo, Walker, Weston, Bennett, Beau, Micah, Rowan, Adam, Theo
  • Girls: Sofia, Scarlett, Chloe, Mila, Violet, Aurora, Eliana, Ivy, Naomi, Valentina, Madelyn, Sophie, Genesis, Sadie, Quinn, Cora, Athena, Emery, Iris, Eloise, Maria, Liliana, Ayla


  • Boys: Jackson, Mason, Jacob, Logan, Wyatt, Jayden, Carter, Lincoln, Nolan, Jaxon, Eli, Aaron, Easton, Robert, Jameson, Landon, Colton, Jeremiah, Greyson, Nicholas, Hunter, Carson, Austin, Connor
  • Girls: Gianna, Abigail, Ella, Layla, Madison, Zoey, Leah, Addison, Everly, Claire, Aaliyah, Autumn, Brooklyn, Savannah, Aubrey, Bella, Skylar, Gabriella, Nevaeh, Serenity, Allison, Madeline, Rylee, Eva, Piper, Peyton

Upwards trends for boys here include International, Biblical, and Western. For girls, some popular trends include International, Vintage, Nature/Floral, and Feminine. Vowel-heavy names are increasingly trendy for all children.

“Names ending in ‘-n'” is a widely popular trend that’s mostly declining within the Top 100, which also affects Last-Names-as-First-Names like Jackson, Mason, and Landon. Madison and Addison have passed their heyday, and Zoey is now less popular than the classic spelling, Zoe. Though names like Abigail, Leah, and Claire are losing popularity, as a whole popular girls’ names are getting more traditional as “Grandma names” take off. As always, some names buck trends.

Do you have any thoughts about the new 2022 U.S. Top 100? Are there any names you’re intrigued by? Let me know!

American Names

The New Top 10 Most Popular Baby Names in America

It’s May 12th, 2023, the last Friday before Mothers’ Day. That means the Social Security Administration has just released its eagerly anticipated list of the most popular baby names in the United States of America! Excepting a COVID-related delay in 2020, SSA traditionally publishes the previous year’s baby name data for the entire country each May, going all the way down to just 5 recorded uses. Now, a name given to 5 babies is incredibly unique the 21st century, considering that the names that rank in the Top 10 (i.e., Emma, James, etc.) are currently given to anywhere between 9,000 and 21,000 babies. Those names, the most popular names in the U.S., are the names we’re going to talk about now.

Here were the Top 10 baby names given to American boys in 2022:

  1. Liam
  2. Noah
  3. Oliver
  4. James
  5. Elijah
  6. William
  7. Henry
  8. Lucas
  9. Benjamin
  10. Theodore

And here are the top 10 baby names given to American girls in 2022:

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

Luna was the only entry, which meant that there was only one exit. In this case, as predicted, it overtook Harper. Harper now ranks #11 and is likely to continue falling now that it’s evidently past peak.

What kind of surprises are there with the 2022 Top 10? For me, the biggest surprise is just how stable it is. The top 3 names for both boys and girls didn’t move rankings at all. Liam, Noah, and Oliver are still the top 3 boys’ names, and the same goes for Olivia, Emma, and Charlotte on the girls’ side. In fact, for the girls’, the #4 name also remained the same: Amelia. The biggest change positive change within the top 10 (other than Luna’s ascendancy) was Henry rising from #9 to #7. Ava and Benjamin both dropped two spots, giving Isabella, Sophia, and Henry boosts. And James replaced Elijah in the top 4, though it carried that rank several years ago so that isn’t really a big deal.

How did my predictions match up? I was correct that Liam and Olivia would remain the top names, and as I previously mentioned here, I correctly assumed Luna would reach the top 10. I was also right about Harper likely falling out. However, I was wrong about Jack’s possible entry, though; Jack not only didn’t reach the top 10, it fell from #11 to #15. Nothing left the boys’ top 10, which meant nothing could replace it. If Benjamin weren’t such a classic, we could have easily seen Mateo reach the top 10 this year (Mateo and Levi were *so* close). More remote possibilities I eyed (Jackson and Gianna, namely) dropped significantly, so I think their top 10 chances are gone.

And for one final bit of fun, here are a couple of comparison charts showing the top 10 names for the last 5 years. Let’s start with the boys:

Rank2022 Names2021 Names2020 Names2019 Names2018 Names
Data from Social Security Administration

And here are the top 10 girls’ names between 2018 and 2022:

Rank2022 Names2021 Names2020 Names2019 Names2018 Names

Wow, I think the boys’ names have changed more in the last 5 years than the girls’ names…at least at the top!

What do you think? Do you have a child whose name is in the top 10, or maybe are you considering a top 10? Are you worried certain names are getting too popular? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

American Names · Analysis · Opinions

Baby Name Predictions for the 2022 U.S. Top 1000 (Boys)

Any day now (it could even be tomorrow!), we’ll find out what the most popular baby names in the U.S. are! Except for a COVID delay in 2020, the Social Security Administration releases a new list every May – just in time for Mothers’ Day! The new Top 10 (and especially the #1 spot) is what most people are anxious to hear since that can impact whether they pick a popular baby name. Many parents are concerned if a name even reaches the Top 100. As a name-writer, I’m more excited for the Top 1000.

Why am I so interested in the Top 1000? The Top 1000 is the best, most objective way we have to delineate the popularity or rarity of American baby names. If a name is in the Top 1000, that means at least a few hundred children received it in a given year (for 2021, the last year we have data for, a name needed at least 254 uses for girls and 217 uses for boys to be included). Generally, if a baby name is out of the Top 1000, we call it rare. Here, we’re not talking about names that are popular or unusual across age groups or globally – simply what’s popular or rare for babies born here and now in the United States.

I published my girls’ name predictions yesterday. Here are the boys’ names I think will leave or enter the U.S. Top 1000 in the 2022 dataset! If you’re viewing on mobile, be sure to scroll left to view the entire chart.

Names Likely to Exit the Top 1000:

Name2021 Rank2021 Babies2020 Rank2020 Babies2019 Rank2019 Babies
Data extracted from the Social Security Administration


  • Nova is wildly popular and trendy as a girls’ name, and now that it’s in the top 50 with no signs of stopping the ascent, some parents may shy away from Nova as a boys’ name.
  • Re: Karsyn and Jaxtyn, I personally wonder if there’s a little bit of fatigue towards unique spellings of Jackson, Carson, and similar names. They are still popular and widespread, of course.
  • In this case, Jakobe seems more like a variation of Kobe than Jacob, or a form of Jacob inspired by Kobe. Jakobe became popular again in 2020 after Kobe Bryant’s death.
  • Ermias (a form of Jeremiah) was Nipsey Hussle’s legal name. It debuted in 2019 at a rank of #540 and has been falling ever since.
  • Kody didn’t actually drop too much (just 5 babies between 2020 and ’21, with a rank change of -24), but with a rank of #979 and all the recent Sister Wives divorce stuff I think this name could be knocked out of the Top 1000.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s going on at the bottom of the top 1000 because some of the names that look like they could fall out are surprisingly trendy or trendworthy. Parents choose from a much greater variety of baby names than they did in past generations, which makes rare names more popular as a whole. Name popularity also becomes erratic at the bottom of the charts. Karsyn dropped heavily between 2020 and 2021 as a boys’ name, but who knows if it will suddenly rebound? Mordechai is like Karsyn in that it’s dropping fast but ultimately depends on outside factors for popularity. That’s partly why I’m not marking Zev for a likely exit despite ranking #996 and dropping from 2020 to 2021; on the whole, the name is still rising.

Names Likely to Enter:

Name2021 Rank2021 Babies2020 Rank2020 Babies2019 Rank2019 Babies
Extended data extracted from the Social Security Administration

I also have a list of maybes for names I’m not sure about. These may be more likely to enter in 2023 or 2024.

Other Names that Might Enter:

Name2021 Rank2021 Babies2020 Rank2020 Babies2019 Rank2019 Babies
Extended data extracted from the Social Security Administration.


  • Rhodes – Celebrity baby name via Emma Roberts, who had her son in 2020.
  • Zen was the name of Nick Cannon’s infant son who sadly passed away from cancer. Nick Cannon has many children, most of whom were born from 2020 on. Watch for these first names too: Powerful (g), Zion (b), Zillion (b), Legendary (b), Onyx (g), Rise (b), Beautiful (g), and Halo (g).
  • We’re long past Harry Potter, so I don’t know what’s driving Draco up all of a sudden. TikTok, maybe? Did an influencer name their baby Draco?
  • Sevyn is a variation of Seven, which have both gotten more popular in part thanks to the character in The Hate U Give.
  • Re: Kilian, I wonder if Kylian Mbappe and the World Cup will give related names a boost.

Do you have any names you’re eyeing for the 2022 Top 1000? Not all of these can come or go, but I’m betting a good number will (plus a few surprises). We’ll see the results soon enough!

American Names · Analysis · Opinions

Baby Name Predictions for the 2022 U.S. Top 1000 (Girls)

We have under two weeks to go before the new list of the most popular baby names in the U.S. comes out! The Social Security Administration is due to release data on all the names given to at least 5 children in the country in 2022 any day now, likely next Friday to coincide with Mothers’ Day.

The other day, I posted my predictions for the Top 10, which are the baby names most frequently counted in a given year. Now I’m looking at the Top 1000, or the names that are just becoming “popular.” While the SSA probably could start sharing the Top 1500 or Top 2000 due to the wide variety of names that parents are choosing now, the top 1000 has served as the dividing mark between commonality and rarity in American baby naming for the better part of 25 years. In earlier eras, far more children wore the most popular names. Even after Mary and John fell from the #1 spots and well into the 90s, each generation complained about how frequently they shared names with classmates. Now, there’s no guarantee kids named Liam and Olivia, the #1 names in the country for infant boys and girls, will even run into other Liams and Olivias in their grade (they probably will, though).

When we talk about rare American baby names, we talk about current baby names that rank below the Top 1000. Because today’s parents increasingly prefer unusual names, though, there’s a huge difference between a name given to 250 babies versus 5 babies. 5 babies means you probably won’t encounter one at all, but 250 babies averages 5 children per state *and* is just under the popularity threshold for girls.

So what are we predicting for the 2022 U.S. Top 1000? I always look at what names are likely to exit or enter. What names are about to be rare, and what names are about to be popular? The Top 1000 threshold is so much harder to predict than the Top 10 because there’s a lot more volatility. Because there’s so much ground to cover, I’m splitting my Top 1000 predictions into separate posts for girls’ and boys’ names. Let’s start with the girls’ names I think may leave the top 1000 this year. If you’re reading on mobile, scroll left at each chart for full visibility.

Girls’ Names Likely to Exit the Top 1000:

Name2021 Rank2021 Babies2020 Rank2020 Babies2019 Rank2019 Babies
Data from the Social Security Administration

I didn’t include names that were new to the top 1000 in 2021 on my exit list because we simply don’t know what they’ll do in 2022!


  • Alexia – Partly due to its association with Alexa and drops related to the Amazon device, partly due to “Alex” names having reached their peak, perhaps partly due to Alexia sharing its name with a disability.
  • Though Annabella fits several ongoing trends (old-fashioned, maximalist/long, vowel-heavy), it has two things going against it. One is that the “-Bella” ending trend has already peaked for many names, but the other bigger one is that Annabelle and related names were skewered by a horror movie “Annabelle” in 2014. Annabelle and related names were trending upwards until then.
  • Elliot enjoyed an upwards trend as a girls’ name for much of the 2000s and 2010s before a significant and sudden drop in 2021. My guess? Actor Elliot Page publicly came out as transgender in December 2020. Caitlyn and other spellings of Caitlin/Kaitlyn took massive hits to popularity when Caitlyn Jenner came out in 2015, so…it follows. Page’s birth name dropped too, though it’s hard to say whether that’s because of transphobia or because Ellen is an old name falling out of fashion more naturally. Elliott with two ‘T’s also dropped for girls (from #448 to #552) between 2020 and 2021. We’ll see what the names do in 2022; Caitlin names were already past peak by 2015, so maybe the drop will be temporary for the Elliots since they’re still fashionable?
  • Meghan enjoyed a brief revival thanks to Meghan Markle and is now dropping again.
  • Zola sounds quite trendy, though I wonder if some parents associate it too heavily with the wedding website.

Let’s talk about the names I think may join the top 1000. In 2021 the #1000 name (Annabella) was given to 254 babies assigned female at birth. Let’s assume, then, that the new names have to hit around 250 uses to become popular in 2022.

Girls’ Names Likely to Enter the Top 1000:

Name2021 Rank2021 Babies2020 Rank2020 Babies2019 Rank2019 Babies
Extracted from extended SSA birth data

I also have a list of maybes for entry.

Girls’ Names that Might Enter the Top 1000:

Name2021 Rank2021 Babies2020 Rank2020 Babies2019 Rank2019 Babies
Extracted from extended SSA birth data


  • Ehlani – Alani (Rank #183) and Kehlani (Rank #150) were both quite trendy in 2021. Kehlani especially has spun off a huge amount of spelling variations and names, though Ehlani specifically appears to be an influencer’s baby’ name from 2020.
  • Parents have been talking about Elowyn and Elowen for years, though they’ve never been able to decide on a spelling. One of them should have been in the top 1000 by now. For the record, Elowen is the original spelling.
  • Gianni is a possibility, though because Gianna Bryant was the influence for many girls named Gianni in 2020 and 2021, entry somewhat depends on whether Gianna remains a top 15 name in 2022. It’s already a Top 400 name for boys.
  • Popular names mean alternative spellings, hence Emberlyn, Maisy, Violette, Elouise, Reya, and Rowyn. Reya looks like it might be getting a boost from Raya and the Last Dragon.
  • Marigold became trendy in large part thanks to Downton Abbey, though vintage-sounding nature names are hugely popular at the moment. Marigold couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
  • Nairobi is a character in Casa de Papel / Money Heist.
  • Regarding Lottie, Scottie, Indy, Maisy, and Tilly: Americans have finally decided it’s okay to put nicknames on the birth certificate, long after our British cousins adopted the practice. Bonus points for trendiness if the nicknames are vintage, boyish, or both.
  • Also speaking of Lottie, I’ve personally seen a lot of buzz about this one on Facebook. That combined with a big jump between 2020 and 2021 and the popularity of Charlotte leads me to believe that it will become popular by 2024.
  • Nori, Sterling, and Love are celebrity baby names, respectively the daughters of Kim Kardashian, Patrick Mahomes, and Diddy. Diddy’s daughter was born in early December 2022, so that may have a bigger impact on the 2023 stats. You may know Nori better by her legal name, North West.
  • Why am I calling Wednesday now when it’s nowhere near the threshold? Because not only was it already trending, Netflix released their hit series in the autumn of 2022. I don’t know if that’s too late in the year for the boost, so if not 2022 then expect Wednesday to hit the top 1000 in 2023.

Remember, these are just predictions. Some of the ones I think will exit will go, but others will hold on. It’s the same for the names I think could enter. We’ll see how right or wrong I am soon enough!

Do you have any girls’ names you’re watching out for this naming season? Are there any names on here you don’t think will reach the top 1000 for 2022 or at all? What about ones you think are getting popular? Let me know, and look for the results!

American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Name Lists

Underused Vintage Baby Names for Boys

A couple weeks ago, I published a darling list of underused vintage baby names for girls. All of the names were popular around the turn of the century (or even earlier!) and are now considered rare by U.S. baby name standards. They range from adorable and cute to elegant and distinguished, and all of them are ripe for a comeback. But what about the boys’ names? Well, here they are! Considering current baby name trends strongly favor old-fashioned names, these underused vintage baby names for boys are fresh and ready to turn the tide. Many of these options were considered fusty and unusable just twenty years ago, but today they’re getting ready for revival.

  • Algernon: This uppercrust gentleman began as a nickname among the Percy family, long the Earls of Northumberland. It delightfully means “mustache,” giving it a firmly masculine vibe. Most people will associate Algernon with Flowers for Algernon, though its appearance in the prep school video game Bully and horror writer Algernon Blackwood give it serious Dark Academia vibes. Shorten to “Algie” for a grandpa name with nature associations (“algae.”). Amazingly, Algernon only appeared in the U.S. top 1000 once (!) in the 1880s, though it saw minor usage throughout the 20th century, peaking in the early 1970s.
  • Archibald: Archie is popular again thanks to Prince Archie, so it’s only a matter of time before Archibald sees a resurgence! And believe it or not, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett have a child named Archibald. If you love literary associations, Archibald Craven is Colin’s father and Mary’s uncle in The Secret Garden. 100 boys were named Archibald in 2021, the highest number the Social Security Administration has ever recorded in birth data since 1880. If you’re not huge on Archie, consider shortening to Archer!
  • Arnold: Considering how popular Arnold Schwarzenegger is, I’m shocked Arnold isn’t a more popular baby name. Only 112 boys were given the name in 2021, which isn’t terribly low but still makes it rare and unusual for a modern baby. And isn’t Arnie such a cute nickname?
  • Bartholomew: This might be the most controversial choice here, but if we forget the nickname “Bart” and Simpsons references we can update to “Ollie,” “Artie,” and even “Arlo” – all of which are more than usable nickname options in 2023. Many parents will love that Bartholomew has Biblical origins and is the name of a famous saint. 37 boys were named Bartholomew in 2021.
  • Basil: With how popular nature and gender-neutral names are, it’s amazing more parents aren’t opting for Basil! Besides the delicious herb, Basil is an independent name of Greek origin meaning “king” and also an Arabic name that means “brave.” 73 boys and 28 girls were named Basil in 2021.
  • Clifford: Remember Clifford the Big Red Dog? Remember how he was the runt of the litter, but grew to the size of a house thanks to so much love? Wouldn’t that be a fantastic, sweet association for a baby? For what it’s worth, Kindercore is a new naming trend that throwbacks to beloved childhood memories. 150 boys were named Clifford in 2021, a more-or-less stable number (it fell out of the top 1000 in the early 2000s). Let’s bring it back!
  • Ebenezer: OK, despite Ebenezer Scrooge, this name has a wonderfully positive meaning: “stone of help.” Even so, didn’t Scrooge reform at the end? Nobody remembers his redemption…anyway. Eben, Ben, and Ezra are lovely nicknames for a little Ebenezer! 46 boys were named Ebenezer in 2021.
  • Edmund: Looking for an alternative to Edward? How about Edmund? Like Edward, Edmund derives from Old English / Anglo-Saxon, but it wasn’t nearly as popular after the Norman Conquest. Shortening to Eddie and all the other classic “Ed” nicknames, Edmund is also a fantastic choice for fans of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 172 boys were named Edmund in 2021. It means “wealthy protector.”
  • Gerard: I’ve never understood how Gerald remained popular for so many years after Gerard fell out of general usage. Maybe people emphasized the first syllable instead of the second…that would do it! Gerard has such a handsome, romantic sound. My primary association is Gerard Butler and his many action movies (and also, Phantom of the Opera), but other people likely associate with Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. 119 boys were named Gerard in 2021.
  • Gustav: August is a popular unisex choice in 2023, and regal Augustus has made a great comeback for boys starting in the early 90s. Gus is a classic nickname for both…and yet, there’s another way to get to Gus! Gustav is an unrelated German and Scandinavian name that was mildly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries until the early 1930s. That “V” ending is especially distinctive, and art fans may love the association with Gustav Klimt! If you miss the Romanesque prestige and length of Augustus, Gustavus is also an option. Just 34 boys were named Gustav in 2023, though over 400 boys were given the Spanish form Gustavo.
  • Herbert: Even though this is something of a family name, Herbert wasn’t even on my radar until recently, when I spotted it on an influencer’s baby! I was delighted by such a unique and refreshing choice in 2022 and 2023. Herbie and Herb are cute nicknames, and I think the nature vibes of Herb bolster Herbert’s chances for baby name success. Herbert itself means “bright army.” 53 boys were named Herbert in 2021.
  • Horatio: I’m going to be completely honest – this is probably my all-time favorite boys’ name. There are way too many reasons why to fit into this post, but Horatio (pronounced huh-RAY-she-o) boasts major literary and historical references spanning from Shakespeare (Hamlet) to the Napoleonic Wars (Horatio Nelson, Horatio Hornblower) and beyond. Horatio is the English form of Horatius, an old Roman name borne by a city-saving hero (Horatius Cocles) who’s somewhat akin to a smaller-scale Leonidas of Sparta. Distinguished and thoroughly unique, Horatio evokes adventure, courage, and intelligence. Somehow, just 12 boys were named Horatio in 2021. Admittedly it’s not the most nickname-friendly option, but I love the idea of shortening it to Ray, Ray Ray, or even Ori!
  • Isidore / Isadore: If Theodore is getting too popular for you (it’s currently ranked #10 in the U.S.!), try Isidore. Isidore is the English version of a Greek name meaning “Gift of Isis,” a meaning and origin that makes it one of only a few known men’s names derived from a woman’s name (others traditionally include Madison and Emmett). In 2021, 30 boys were named Isidore and another 19 boys and 5 girls received the Isadore spelling. Isidore / Isadore is a great way to honor an Isadora, Theodore, or Isabella in your life.
  • Orson has a lot to recommend it in 2023: for one thing, it means “bear,” which lends itself to fans of nature and animal names. Secondly, it’s short. It doesn’t have or need any nicknames! Thirdly, it has vintage Hollywood charm; I can’t be the only person thinking about Orson Welles! 97 boys were named Orson in 2021.
  • Percival / Percy: Fifteen years ago, I couldn’t even mention Percival without starting a fight. Now, it’s ostensibly fashionable! My generation first became familiar with Percy via Harry Potter, but the Percy Jackson series arguably has a much greater impact on that name. In this latter Percy’s case, it’s short for Perseus – another name that’s rising so quickly it may very well reach the top 1000 in a few years. Percival is great for fans of Percy who want a more formal option that isn’t Perseus, and it has Arthurian props. With the growing popularity of names like Arthur and Guinevere, that latter point likely means something to modern-day parents. In 2021, 46 boys were named Percival and 85 were named Percy; Percival’s actually in the middle of a spike, so it’s one to watch.
  • Phineas: Considering how easily Phineas shortens to “Finn,” I’m surprised more parents haven’t jumped at the opportunity to name their sons this! One of the most recent associations is the amusing Disney cartoon series “Phineas and Ferb.” 129 boys were named Phineas in 2021; an additional 35 children received the Phinehas spelling.
  • Rupert: Is Robert too popular for you? While Robert only ranks #79, that’s still a top 100 name. What *is* rare, though is Rupert. Rupert is an old-fashioned German version of Robert that’s currently far more popular in Britain than it is in the U.S. In fact, it actually broke the English and Welsh top 100 in 2021! While it ranks #93 there, it was only given to 26 boys in the U.S. during that same year. Contemporary namesakes include actors Rupert Grint, Rupert Graves, Rupert Everett, and Rupert Friend. Also…the guy who wrote the Pina Colada song? He’s a Rupert. Rupert was mildly popular in America until the early 1950s.
  • Ulysses: What I love about Ulysses – an unusual first initial and associations to Greek mythology and U.S. history. Ulysses is the Latin form of Odysseus, the titular character of Homer’s Odyssey. An old-school name that packs a punch, it was famously the first name of President Ulysses S. Grant, who was arguably one of the country’s greatest generals ever. Additionally, fans of classic rock may appreciate the connection to the Cream song Tales of Brave Ulysses. Like Horatio, it doesn’t shorten to many nicknames but I did come up with “Yul.” 180 boys were named Ulysses in 2021.

Ah, I love vintage names! There were so many I could have included here, but I limited things for the sake of space and time. Honorable mentions go to Clarence, Lemuel, Mortimer, Ignatius, Aloysius, Eleazar, and many more. Are there any you would add? I’d love to know which underused vintage boys’ names are your favorites!

American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Name Lists

Underused Vintage Baby Names for Girls

If you’re a fan of vintage baby names like I am, you’re probably over the moon to discover that old-fashioned baby names are *in.* Sure, even generations famous for ultramodern names like the 1980s and 1990s had their “grandma” and “grandpa names” – I’ve heard at least one parent of an early-90s Emily say they picked an old-fashioned name not realizing other people were naming their kids Emily too. If you look at the current U.S. Top 10, most of the names are verifiably old-school! You can’t go anywhere there’s children without running into an Ava, Emma, or Olivia. Many parents may be tired of Mary, but they aren’t tired of names from 100 years ago.

Many of you may also prefer baby names that are a little more unique than what you find in the top 10, the top 100, or even the top 1000. Luckily, there are so many other baby names to choose from! I’ve curated a collection of wonderful old-fashioned girls’ names from below the top 1000. Keep in mind that in 2021 (the last year for which we have U.S. baby name data from the Social Security Administration), the minimum threshold for a baby girls’ name to enter the top 1000 and be considered popular was 254 girls receiving the name nationally. Anything below that number is considered rare! Anyway, here’s my list of underused vintage baby names for girls:

  • Agatha: Historically much rarer than Agnes, stately Agatha looks like it might make a comeback. Mystery-lovers everywhere will associate this name with Agatha Christie. 136 girls were named Agatha in 2021. If you love the nickname Aggie, Agatha’s one way to reach it!
  • Agnes, Aggie: Agnes is a lot more popular than it was 25 years ago, but it still needs a boost to reemerge victorious. Fans of British literature may the connection to Agnes Grey, the titular character of Anne Bronte’s 1847 novel. 211 U.S. girls were named Agnes in 2021, but only 5 girls were named her adorable nickname, Aggie.
  • Cornelia: Cordelia is rare, but elegant Cornelia is even rarer. This Victorian beauty easily shortens to Cora, Cori, Nellie, Lia, and other nicknames for greater approachability. 42 girls were named Cornelia in 2021.
  • Dottie: A classic, spunky nickname for Dorothy or Dorothea. For even more moxie and pizzazz, shorten it further to Dot! Dorothy itself is popular and rising, ranking #483 nationally, but if you want something more unusual and love the old-school nicknames trend that’s currently happening, Dottie may be the baby name for you.
  • Effie: Effie is classically short for Euphemia, a stately Victorian name that also deserves some love. Effie is still quite rare in the U.S., though it’s gaining traction in the U.K. If you love Scottish and Scottish-adjacent names like Archie and Maisie, Effie is another name you should consider. In 2021, 82 American girls were named Effie – far more than Euphemia, which belongs to only 11 girls born that year.
  • Elvie: Elvira is a cool name with witchy vibes, but nickname Elvie is just plain cute. I think Elvie works wonderfully as a unique alternative to Elsie, which currently ranks #221 in the U.S. and is still rising. 19 girls were named Elvie in 2021, compared to 1335 children named Elsie.
  • Enid: Likely everyone with a hobby or profession in baby names who watched Wednesday now has Enid on their radar. Earlier generations associate Enid with children’s author Enid Blyton or an Arthurian character, but 2023’s denizens think of a sweet, bubbly teenage werewolf girl. Just 34 baby girls were named Enid in 2021.
  • Eula: I stumbled upon this lovely lady within the last week while perusing SSA data, and later heard about someone who named their daughter Eula! It’s traditionally short for Eulalia, but I think Eula is easier to say five times fast. Just 6 girls in the U.S. were named Eula in 2021, which is almost as unique as it gets!
  • Evelina: If Evelyn is popular, why not Evelina? Evelina is the titular character of a famous early romance novel by Frances “Fanny” Burney, who inspired Jane Austen. Consider this gorgeous 18th-century option “Austen-adjacent?” 184 girls were named Evelina in 2021, which is somehow both more and fewer than I’d expect.
  • Fern is a vintage nature name that, like Effie, is gaining traction in the U.K. but still has a ways to go in the U.S. before it’s popular again. 140 American baby girls received the name in 2021 and it is on the rise, so just give it a few more years. Maybe 2024 or 2025?
  • Gertrude: I’ve written about Gertrude before and I sincerely believe it’s time to dust off this name. With great namesakes including Gertrude Stein and Ma Rainey and a wealth of nickname potential, I hope more parents will consider this strong name. And before you say “nobody names their kid Gertrude anymore,” let’s point out that U.S. parents gave it to 29 baby girls in 2021.
  • Ginger: Though Ginger has serious 1930s and 1940s vibes thanks to Ginger Rogers, it surprisingly peaked in the 70s. In those days, most people thought of Ginger as a nickname or variant of Virginia, but its status as a nature name and spice gives it currency for modern parents as a standalone name. 46 girls were named Ginger in 2021.
  • Inez: Inez (pronounced ee-NEZ or ih-NEZ) derives from a Spanish version of Agnes. Parents who want a smoother sound may prefer this four-letter form, which also benefits from its brevity. Need something different than Ava or Isla? Inez has you covered. Oh, and Inez gets major bonus points for historical associations with suffragette Inez Milholland, who campaigned for women’s right to vote until her premature death in 1916. 129 girls were named Inez in 2021, while 138 girls received the Ines spelling.
  • Lettie: Leticia and Letitia have fallen to the wayside, but Lettie is a fashionable nickname that’s slowly resurging. 173 girls were named Lettie in 2021.
  • Lois is stylish! It’s short, sweet, and to-the-point – a huge plus for fans of minimalist baby names. It’s also a fairly obscure Biblical name from the New Testament, so religious parents may appreciate that. Most of us likely remember Lois as Superman’s girlfriend, though. 119 girls were named Lois in 2021.
  • Maude, or Maud, is a short medieval form of the name Matilda, which is steadily gaining traction in the U.S. with a current rank of #466. Only 18 girls were named Maude in 2021, but I’m hearing a lot of buzz about it as an upcoming middle name. That makes sense, because it’s relatively short and only one syllable! Maude was at its most popular in the 1880s, which means it’s well overdue for a revival.
  • Minerva, Minnie: Minerva is Roman Mythology’s equivalent to Greek Mythology’s Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. Parents who grew up reading Harry Potter may associate Minerva primarily with Minerva McGonagall, the stern Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress and transfiguration teacher, but as an old-fashioned name that’s been popular before, that’s not the only association. Even so, baby names from mythology are hugely trendy in the 2020s! Overall, Minerva gives off smart librarian vibes, which makes it a great choice for bookish parents. You can even shorten it to adorable Minnie. 84 girls were named Minerva in 2021, while 63 girls received the name Minnie.
  • Rowena: Rowan is a trendy gender-neutral nature name ranking #106 for boys and #241 for girls! If you’re worried about its popularity, consider medieval Rowena, which hasn’t ranked nationally since 1963. Just 33 girls were named Rowena in 2021.
  • Theodosia: Theodosia hasn’t ranked in the U.S. Top 1000 since the 1890s, but the popularity of the musical Hamilton, the rising popularity of similar names Theodore and Theodora, and the maximalist baby names trend are creating a perfect storm for reviving this elaborate gem. 35 girls were named Theodosia in 2021, the current peak of a sharp increase we’ve had these last few years. An additional 10 girls received the Theadosia spelling.
  • Viola: Violet is one of today’s most popular floral names, but if you like your flower names a little rarer, try Viola! Like Agnes, Viola has the potential to reemerge into popularity with just a little boost. Music-lovers may appreciate that it shares its letters with the stringed instrument. The biggest current association though, I think, is actress Viola Davis. 208 girls were named Viola in 2021.

Do you have any favorite underused vintage girls’ names from this list? Are there any you’d add? Let me know!

An honorable mention goes out to Hildegard, Hedy, Eudora, Augusta, and Rosalind. Winifred is one to watch, but I think that may enter the top 1000 in the new 2022 stats when those arrive in May! All the others are rare and unusual for a 2023 baby…for now!

American Names · Name Lists

Read the Menu: Baby Names from Food

Are you looking for a list of baby names exclusively associated with healthy foods? If so, you’ve come to the wrong blog post. If that *is* what you’re looking for, check out my posts on baby names inspired by fruits and vegetables! For everything from comfort food to haute cuisine, you’re in the right place. Either way, I hope you’re hungry. Here is a food baby names you’ll find on a menu, for foodies and culinarians alike!


  • Benedict is a distinguished vintage baby name that shares its name with a popular egg dish. Benedict teeters on the edge of the top 1000 with a ranking of #991 in the U.S., though it’s sure to rise thanks to Bridgerton. I’ve written extensively about Benedict here.
  • Bran is an Irish and Welsh name meaning “raven,” a Game of Thrones character, and a type of cereal. 14 boys were named Bran in 2021.
  • Nova is a type of salmon lox typically served atop a cream cheese bagel. Despite this Latin word’s meaning of “new,” Nova is a vintage name that was mildly popular in the early 20th century and that’s become wildly in the 21st. At last count in 2021, Nova ranked #32 for baby girls and #853 for baby boys. Who knows how much higher it will jump when the 2022 data arrives in May?

Appetizers and Sides:

  • Bao – When I saw Bao in the SSA data, I immediately thought of bao buns. Bao exists as a name in both Chinese and Vietnamese, and in Chinese the meaning depends on the character used to write it (one possible definition is “treasure” or “jewel”). 11 boys were named Bao in the U.S. in 2021.
  • Chip is a stylish nickname for Charles or Christopher, though I bet it would also work for Chester! The question is, are we talking about kettle-cooked potato chips or fries? 39 boys were named Chip in 2021.
  • Nori is the seaweed sheet you find wrapped around sushi, a Japanese name with varying kanji, and a dwarf character in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Many Americans are more familiar with Nori as the nickname of Kardashian baby North West. 251 girls and 23 boys were named Nori in 2021.
  • Roe is a rare, gender-neutral baby name that shares its letters with a surname and fish eggs. Caviar, anyone? 17 girls and 9 boys were named Roe in 2021.

Cheese Plate:

  • Blue – Mmm, blue cheese. All three commonly-accepted English spellings (Blue, Bleu, and Blu) are established baby names. Chances are most parents stick Blue in the middle name spot, but the parents of 45 boys and 42 girls gave it first name status in 2021. Parents of 42 boys and 33 girls named their children Bleu that year, and parents of 46 boys and 35 girls used the Blu spelling. Blue/Bleu/Blu is a fun gender-neutral word name, and I wonder if it’s going to take off in the coming years?
  • Brie – There’s no denying the flexibility and usability of Brie as a baby name, especially as a nickname. Brianna, Brielle, Gabriella, and Sabrina can all shorten to Brie, whose sound is as soft and lovely as the cheese. 77 girls.
  • Cabot – Cabot may sound like your classic English surname (and it is), but it can also be a variation on Italian Caboto, the last name of early explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot). 7 boys were named Cabot in 2021.
  • Colby is a modern unisex name that fits in any era and setting from the beaches of California to a New England prep school. Colby currently ranks #650 for boys with 418 uses, though 55 baby girls also received the name in 2021.
  • Jack is a classic nickname for John that’s even more popular, ranking #11 in the U.S. to john’s #27.


  • Amandine isn’t just a French variation of Amanda – it’s also an almond-based garnish to dishes like Trout Amandine and Green Beans Amandine. The name is so rare in the U.S. that it hasn’t registered for several years.
  • Bento was given to 13 boys in 2021. Many more people ate from bento boxes, or Japanese boxed lunches. According to Behind the Name, the name Bento is a Portuguese nickname for Benedito.
  • Chana is the Hebrew version of Hannah. Currently ranking #802 in the U.S., most of the 348 baby girls who received this form of the name in 2021 were born in New York and New Jersey, states with large frum Jewish populations. Meanwhile, Chana Masala is delicious Indian dish consisting primarily of chickpeas and spices.
  • Chole is another name for Chana Masala, and ostensibly also a common misspelling of Chloe. While not all Choles may truly be Chloes, it’s one of the baby names parents legally change the most often according to the Washington Post. Anecdotally, I know a Chloe whose name was misspelled “Chole” on an important medical document, which makes me wonder if some of the children whose names are changed had that happen to them too. 44 baby girls were registered under the name Chole in 2021, and I’m curious to see if that number is smaller in an updated set that arrives in May.
  • Curry – Mmm, who doesn’t love a steaming, fragrant bowl of curry? Curry didn’t appear in SSA birth data for 2021, but it frequently shows up in other years. I’m thinking Steph Curry may be a popular namesake?
  • Frank and Frankfurter are some of the other names for hot dogs that you’ll hear. A timeless boys’ name associated with Francis, Franklin, and Frankie, Frank ranked #444 in 2021.
  • John reminds me of Hoppin’ John, a classic Lowcountry Southern dish with West African heritage and influences. It is traditionally made from black-eyed peas, rice, and pork (the types of peas or meat used may vary). John currently ranks #27 in the U.S.
  • London hearkens to London Broil, an American beef dish. A unisex place name, London ranks #219 for baby girls and #864 for baby boys.
  • Patty is traditionally a nickname for Martha or Patricia, but I’m thinking about burgers and falafel. 6 girls were named Patty in 2021.
  • Reuben is both a Biblical name and a tasty sandwich. A classic reuben consists of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and either Russian or Thousand Island dressing on rye bread. There are many variants (especially pastrami), of course, and nowadays they don’t even need to contain meat. Current rank: #883.
  • Rachel is what you call a reuben with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut. Many rachels swap out the corned beef or pastrami for turkey. Rachel currently ranks #239 nationally.
  • Salmon isn’t a name you really hear anymore (it’s Biblical!), but Salmon P. Chase was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court between the Lincoln and Grant administrations.


  • Ambrosia is an option for anyone who’s looking to honor an Ambrose in their life or family tree. These days, ambrosia is a fruit salad made with marshmallows and some kind of cream, though in Greek Mythology it’s the divine food only the gods can eat. 8 girls were named Ambrosia in the U.S. in 2021.
  • Caesar probably isn’t the healthiest salad either, but it’s great for people who struggle with the texture of raw tomatoes and onions, which seem to be found on most other classic salads. 55 baby boys were given this imperial name in 2021, but Cesar (the Spanish and Portuguese version) is a top 1000 baby name ranking #386.


  • Alaska is a trendy place name and the namesake of Baked Alaska, an ice cream cake that’s sometimes set on fire. 88 girls were named Alaska in 2021.
  • Charlotte is the #3 girls’ name in the U.S. and the name of a bread pudding style.
  • King – It’s past Mardi Gras, but who doesn’t love the colors and flavors of a king cake? King ranks #185 in the U.S.
  • Madeleine is the French version of Magdalene and the name of a delightful cookie. The current U.S. rank for this spelling is #381; Madeline and Madelyn are both more popular.
  • Napoleon – Most of us will think of the emperor, but it’s also a type of layered puff pastry treat. 14 boys were named Napoleon in 2021.

Other inspired options include Bryan (via Matzo Brei), Holland (via Hollandaise), Loxley (from Lox), Pomeline (via Pommes Frites, or French Fries), and Rue (from Roux and Rugelach).

Do you have a favorite food name from this list? Are there any other culinary baby names you would add? Let me know!

Note: Data for U.S. baby names comes from the Social Security Administration, which publishes both a national list of the top 1000 baby names and an extended list down to 5 uses based on all the applications they receive for a given year.