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 Name||Number||Girl Name||Number|
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.