Most Popular Names of 2015

Every year the Social Security Administration releases the latest baby name popularity information. Here’s what I think are the most interesting and salient trends from the past year.

  1. The Top 10 Names

Girls: Emma, Olivia, and Sophia maintained their rank order of #1, #2, and #3, as did Mia at #6. Ava, Abigail, Charlotte, and Harper each moved up a notch to #4, #7, #9, and #10. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s “crowning” choice to name their daughter Charlotte last year undoubtedly helped that name’s rise in popularity. Isabella and Emily each fell a notch to #5 and #8. Just like last year, Emily is the only name in the top 10 that ends in an “ee” sound. I expect Emily to quietly slip off the top 10 list in the next year or two.

Boys: The top 6 boys’ names maintained their rank order from last year, as did Alexander at #8. However, the rank order of the remaining three names changed, with James rising two notches to #7, Michael falling two notches to #9, Daniel falling out of the top 10 to #12, and Benjamin entering the list at #10. Notice that five of the top 10 names have biblical roots and five use soft consonants (e.g., Noah and Liam).

  1. The Next Ten Names

Girls: Every name on the next 10 list changed rank. Names that rose two or three positions included Amelia (#15) and Grace (#19). Names that lost two or three positions included Madison (#11), Sofia (#14), and Avery (#16). Notice that of the two names on the next 10 list that end with an “ee” sound (Avery and Chloe), only the one that didn’t feature the letter y rose in rank.

Boys: Two names on this list that had strong gains were Lucas (+3) and Oliver (+13). Notable declines included Daniel (-2) and Jayden (-5). Considering Olivia’s #2 position on the girls’ top 10 list, I wouldn’t be surprised if Oliver moved onto the boys’ top 10 list in the next few years.

  1. The Top 100 Names

Girls: The names that made the biggest gains were Hazel (+42), Aurora (+37), Alexa (+31), Quinn (+29), Mila (+19), Eleanor (+18), Violet (+17), Stella (+15), and Riley (+12). Notice that four of these names end with an “ah” sound and only one ends with an “ee” sound (Riley). The names that took the biggest hits in popularity were Annabelle (-35), Alexis (-21), Arianna (-16), Peyton (-16), Aubree (-16), Hailey (-13), Gabriella (-11), and Anna (-10).

Boys: The names that made the biggest gains were Theodore (+27), Ezra (+26), Lincoln (+21), Mateo (+21), Grayson (+16), Sawyer (+16), Hudson (+15), and Oliver (+13). The names that took the biggest hits in popularity were Ayden (-13), Brandon (-11), Jason (-11), Evan (-9), Tyler (-9), Andrew (-8), Joshua (-8), Jayden (-5), and Kayden (-5). Notice that rhyming names Ayden, Jayden, and Kayden all declined, which suggests they and all their variations are falling out of favor.

  1. The Top 1,000 Names

Girls: The fastest-rising names were Alaia (+2,012), Meilani (+1,836), Aitana (+1,721), Aislinn (+1,385), Taya (+1,107), Adaline (+1,029), Briar (+#597), Zelda (+512), Thea (+312), and Addilyn (+208). The fastest-falling names were Annabell (-500), Anabel (-500), Cindy (-343), Anabella (-333), Aranza (-324), Anabelle (-272), Elsa (-201), Annabel (-174), and Annabella (-139).Note that many variations of Annabelle—a name currently in the top 100 but whose rank change was -35—lost favor. Also of note is a name that fell off the top 1,000 list: Isis. In Egyptian mythology, Isis is the goddess of love and fertility. In 2014 the name ranked #705. Now the name brings to mind ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which likely explains why the name’s popularity has plummeted.

Boys: The fastest-rising names were Riaan (+1,360), Huxley (+392), Wilder (+360), Canaan (+271), Kaison (+251), Omari (+198), Matteo (+182), Kyrie (+172), Killian (+163), Adriel (+148), Legend (+144), and Beckham (+129). The fastest-falling names were Arnav (-666), Jayse (-257), Neymar (-240), Rylee (-228), Brenden (-187), Gannon (-120), Jase (-77), Jayceon (-63), Peyton (-50), and Jonathon (-41). Knowing that Jason was losing popularity on the top 100 list, I wasn’t surprised to see that less popular variations of that name also lost favor.

How The Social Security Administration’s 2013 Top-10 Names Compare with Baby Center’s 2013 Top-10 Names

The Social Security Administration’s top-ten List for 2013 has just been published. However, Baby Center’s Top-Ten List (based on the names reported to them by registered users of their website) was published about five months ago–and it’s been the best indication we’ve had about baby-naming trends for 2013 until the SSA popularity data was published. Keep in mind that parents who register with Baby Center are likely to have higher socio-economic status than SSA’s data base, which includes all American babies born.

In this post we will show the data two ways:

First, we will look at the SSA 2013 data in the left-hand column and compare it with BC 2013 data and SSA 2012 data, for the top-10 Boys’ and Girls’ Names.

SSA 2013   vs. BC 2013   vs.   SSA 2012            SSA 2013 vs.   BC 2013   vs.   SSA 2012

1. Noah           #5 BC13      #4 SSA 2012          1. Sophia       #1 BC 2013      #1 SSA 2012
2. Liam            #3 BC13      #6 SSA 2013          2. Emma        #2 BC 2013      #2 SSA 2012
3. Jacob           #9 BC13      #1 SSA 2013          3. Olivia        #3 BC 2013      #4 SSA 2012
4. Mason         #6 BC13      #2 SSA 2013          4. Isabella     #4 BC 2013     #3 SSA 2012
5. William     #20 BC13      #5 SSA 2013         5. Ava             #6 BC 2013     #5 SSA 2012
6. Ethan          #8 BC13       #3 SSA 2013         6. Mia             #5 BC 2013     #8 SSA 2012
7. Michael     #14 BC13      #7 SSA 2013         7. Emily          #9 BC 2013     #6 SSA 2012
8. Alexander #17 BC13      #9 SSA 2013         8. Abigail     #14 BC 2013     #7 SSA 2012
9. Jayden         #7 BC13      #8 SSA 2013          9. Madison   #12 BC 2013     #9 SSA 2012
10. Daniel     #24 BC13    #11 SSA 2013       10. Elizabeth   #46 BC 2013  #10 SSA 2012

Major Findings:

When you look at the SSA 2013 top-ten rankings and compare them with the BC 2013 rankings, the differences are striking for the boys’ list, but fairly modest for the girls’ list.

-The top-ten girls’ names for SSA 2013 and BC 2013 are very closely correlated. Elizabeth is the only girls’ name that shows a glaring difference. (It is #10 on the SSA list and #46 on the Baby Center list.)

-And looking at the SSA changes from 2012, the changes were minor. Mia moved up two notches; Olivia moved up one notch–as Isabella, Emily and Abigail moved down one notch.

-By contrast, five of the top-ten boys’ names for SSA have glaring differences with Baby Center’s top-ten rankings. The rankings for William, Michael, Alexander, Noah and Jacob are all significantly higher on the SSA list than on the Baby Center list.

-And looking at SSA changes from 2012 to 2013, the big news is that Noah and Liam hopped over long-time #1 Jacob to get the top two ranks on the SSA list.

Now we will look at BC 2013 data in the left-hand column and compare it to SSA 2013 data and BC 2012 data for the Top-10 Boys’ and Girls’ Names.

   BC 2013   vs. SSA 2013  vs. BC2012            BC 2013 vs.  SSA 2013 vs.  BC 2012

1. Jackson  #16 SSA 2013     #2 BC 2012           1. Sophia      #1 SSA 2013   #1 BC 2012
2. Aiden     #12 SSA 2013     #1 BC 2012           2. Emma       #2 SSA 2013   #2 BC 2012
3. Liam        #2 SSA 2013      #4 BC 2012           3. Olivia        #3 SSA 2013   #3 BC 2012
4. Lucas    #23 SSA 2013      #7 BC 2012           4. Isabella     #4 SSA 2013   #4 BC 2012
5. Noah      #1 SSA 2013      #6 BC 2012            5. Mia            #6 SSA 2013   #9 BC 2012
6. Mason    #4 SSA 2013      #5 BC 2012            6. Ava            #5 SSA 2013   #5 BC 2012
7. Jayden    #9 SSA 2013      #9 BC 2012            7. Lily           #27 SSA 2013  #6 BC 2012
8. Ethan     #6 SSA 2013      #3 BC 2012            8. Zoe           #31 SSA 2013   #7 BC 2012
9. Jacob      #3 SSA 2013      #8 BC 2012            9. Emily        #7 SSA 2013    #8 BC 2012
10. Jack    #40 SSA 2013    #11 BC 2012          10. Chloe     #14 SSA 2012  #10 BC 2012

Major Findings:

When you look at the Baby Center top-ten rankings and compare them to the SSA 2013 rankings, the differences are even more evident.

-Baby Center’s #1 boys’ name, Jackson, ranked #16 on SSA.  Aiden, Lucas, Jack and Jacob are three other names that ranked much higher on Baby Center’s top-ten list than on the SSA list.

-The correlation between the two lists was closer on the top-ten girls’ lists but Lily and Zoe ranked a lot higher on Baby Center than on the SSA list.

-The changes between BC 2013 and BC 2012 are not nearly as great as the differences between BC 2013 and SSA 2013.