The Top Baby Names and Trends Revealed
Friday, The Social Security Administration (SSA) released its list of the most popular names of babies born in the United States last year. The team at Listophile analyzed the data to reveal some fascinating baby name trends — reflecting pop culture, the pandemic, economy, and the racial justice movement.
Baby Names Trending Up
- Olivia and Liam became even more widespread and dominant. Both names increased in numbers, as well as pulling further ahead of their respective second-place competitors.
- There was a strikingly noticeable upward trend in Kardashian-Jenner baby names, with the biggest impact among the youngest generation.
- Raya was the fastest-rising girl name in the top 1,000. The 2021 Disney movie ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ likely had a large influence.
- American Olympic-inspired baby names increasing the most in popularity included Caeleb, after swimming star Caeleb Dressel. In an Olympic year, it was also fitting the names Olympia, and Athena — the mythological Olympian goddess — rose in popularity.
- Following the #FreeBritney movement and the end of Britney Spears’ 13-year conservatorship, the name Britney trended up last year, having previously been in rapid decline since the year 2000.
- Baby names associated with the racial justice movement increased in popularity, including George, Floyd and Breonna. Baby names symbolizing justice and loyalty also trended up, including Loyalty, True, Honor and Liberty for girls and Loyal, Honor, and Justice for boys.
- Baby names symbolizing strength also rose in popularity, perhaps symbolizing the desire of parents to strengthen and protect their children during the pandemic. Names symbolizing strength included mythological god and goddess names, and virtue-related names representing courage and bravery.
- Geographical baby names increasing most in popularity were mainly far-flung travel destinations, suggesting we were ready to fly long-haul again.
- Gender-neutral baby names rose 4.71% in popularity last year, continuing to trend upwards in popularity with Generation Alpha parents.
Baby Names Trending Down
- While America was tightening its belt last year, parents were choosing more frugal names for their children. Baby names signifying luxury and material wealth declined in popularity, as did designer baby names symbolizing high-end fashion brands. Names such as Luxe and its spelling variant Lux, Jewel, Chanel, Diamond, and Dior trended down for girls, as did the boy names Dior and Armani.
- Baby names symbolizing royal titles and social prestige decreased in popularity, including Heiress, Queen, Princess, Empress, and Royal for girls, and Royalty, King, Majesty, and Prince for boys.
- Baby Names symbolizing hope and tranquility trended down – perhaps reflecting our collective state of mind during the pandemic. Names including Faith, Peace, Serenity, Hope, Harmony and Grace decreased in popularity for girls, and Trust decreased for boys.
- The names Karen and Jeffrey once again saw further drops in popularity, likely due to negative association with Karen as a popular meme name for someone with overbearing privilege and Jeffrey associated with Jeffrey Epstein.
- Parents were steering clear of baby names that sounded too close to Covid-related terms. Girl names trending down included Cora, Rona, Sani, Delta and Covey. Boy names included Alpha, Johnson, Omi and Anthony.
Top Baby Names
The names we choose for our children often reflect popular culture and the world around us, and last year was no different. Just as last year was unique, so were many baby names. The team at Listophile set out to analyze the SSA’s latest dataset of over 3.3 million instances of baby names.
Our analysis gives a fascinating look into the latest baby names and trends. The trends are distinctly reflective of last year’s pop culture, as well as the effects of the pandemic, economy, and the racial justice movement. Here we reveal the hottest baby names and trends.
The Most Popular Boy and Girl Names
Top Baby Names – Olivia and Liam
Olivia and Liam were once again the most popular baby names in the U.S. Liam has held the top spot for boys for the past 5 years while Olivia has been the top choice for girls for the last 3 years.
Olivia and Liam not only lead the rankings, but the names became even more widespread in 2021. The number of girls named Olivia increased by 193 last year, and the number of boys named Liam rose by 613.
Both names also became more dominant, pulling further ahead of their competitors. In 2020, there were 1,407 more Liam’s compared to second-place name Noah, but in 2021 there were 1,533 more Liams than Noahs – a relative increase of 126 more instances of the name Liam, year over year.
Olivia saw even larger gains over second-ranked name, Emma. In 2020 there were 1,954 more Olivias compared to Emma while in 2021 there were 2,295 more Olivias than Emmas – a relative increase of 341 more instances of the name Olivia, year over year.
Top 10 Baby Names
Theodore made the biggest impact on the top 10 baby names of 2021, soaring from number 23 to number 10. The popularity of Theodore has steadily increased for more than two decades, finally breaking into the top 10 boy names for the first time last year.
Other changes in the top 10 boy names include James and William, which traded spots in the number 5 and 6 places. Alexander once again left the top 10 — the second time in 6 years.
Movement on the girl’s side was much less dramatic. No new girl names entered the top ten in 2021, although there were some shuffles in popularity. The name Amelia jumped up two spots from number 6 to number 4, while Charlotte moved up from number 4 to number 3.
Girl names decreasing in popularity included Ava, which fell two spots to number 5, and Sophia, which fell one spot to number 6.
The Fastest Rising Boy and Girl Names
The SSA also revealed the names that increased the most in popularity. In other words, the baby names that were trending last year.
Raya was the fastest-rising girl name in the top 1,000. The 2021 Disney movie ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ likely had a large influence. The name Raya is of Hebrew origin and means ‘friend.’ Raya jumped 441 spots last year, landing in place number 494.
The largest mover in the top 1,000 boy names was Amiri. The name Amiri has Persian, Lurish, Kurdish, Hebrew, and Arabic origins, and means ‘Kingdom’ or ‘Royal.’ It saw a rank increase of 534 points to land in place 757.
Popular Culture Inspired Baby Names
It was evident that many parents drew baby naming inspiration from popular culture. These are the hottest pop culture-inspired baby names of 2021:
Baby Names inspired by TV
Americans watched a staggering amount of TV last year. In one year alone, we streamed almost 15 million years’ worth of content, up an extra 17 billion minutes from the year before. Last year’s bingeworthy TV shows gave us some very interesting baby names.
Keeping up with the Kardashians: The biggest source of TV baby name inspiration was Keeping up with the Kardashians. After 20 seasons, it was announced the reality TV show would end in 2021. Yet it wasn’t long before the family returned to stream their first series of The Kardashians on Hulu.
We saw a strikingly noticeable upward trend in Kardashian-Jenner baby names with the youngest generation having the biggest impact:
- Psalm (+54%)
- Saint (+39%)
- Chicago (+38%)
- FKA Wolf (+33%)
- Reign (+9%)
- North (+33%)
- True (+26%)
- Dream (+15%)
- Stormi (+7)
- Penelope (+4%)
The names Kanye (+140%), Rob (+60%), Kim (+5%), and Kendall (+3) also increased in popularity. ‘Momager’ Kris’ name trended down 17%, as did Kourtney (-25%), Kylie (-11), Mason (-10%), and Khloe (-4%). The popularity of the girl’s name Caitlyn remained the same.
Yellowstone: Other TV-inspired baby names surging in popularity took inspiration from Yellowstone. Names with the sharpest rises were mostly boy names, including Dutton (+215%), Rip (+106%), Teal (+78%), Walker (+54%), Lloyd (+24%), Tate (+22%), and Donnie (+15%). The boy’s name Dutton also featured in the prequel to Yellowstone, 1883, as did the boy’s name Shea (+26%). The name Laramie (+40%) trended up for girls.
Bridgerton: The steamy Netflix show Bridgerton, set in Regency-era London, inspired some beautiful vintage names. Baby names on the rise included Hyacinth (+220%), Daphne (+47%), Cressida (+40%), Eloise (+30%), Philippa (+12%), and Francesca (+10%) for girls and Rupert (+18%) and Benedict (+18%) for boys.
The Queen’s Gambit: Netflix’s hugely popular series The Queen’s Gambit likely had an influence over the rise of the names Beth (+21%) for girls as well as Benny (+29%) for boys. The name Anya (+31%) also climbed since actress Anya Taylor-Joy played the leading role.
Empire: Baby names gaining popularity from Empire included the girl names Porsha (+40%), Tiana (+13%), Treasure (+13%), Maya (+10%), and Haven (+9%). The boy names Lucious (+32%), Dre (+31%), and Jamal (+10%) also trended upwards.
WandaVision: Thanks to WandaVision, we saw the girl’s name Wanda (+112%) and the boy’s name Darcy (+89%) increase in popularity. Characters from the popular program Ted Lasso also rose in popularity, noticeably Keeley for girls (+112%) and Jamie for boys (+26%).
Other popular character names from TV: included the girl’s name Tully (+200%) from Firefly Lane as well as the boy’s name Albie (+143%) from The White Lotus.
Lucifer (+28%) also trended up, perhaps because of the TV series of the same name. The Latin word ‘Lucifer’ means ‘morning star,’ but today the name is more associated with the name of the devil.
Baby Names inspired by Movies
Character names from movies were also popular this year.
Raya and the Last Dragon: The Disney movie ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ gave rise to the girl’s name Raya (+132%). Disney’s hit movie grossed over $130 million in box-offices sales and became the second most-viewed title on Netflix. In 2020, the name Raya was given to only 272 girls while in 2021, 631 girls were named Raya. Other Disney-inspired baby names of 2021 included Luca (+43%) and Moana (+17%), after the movies Luca and Moana 2, respectively.
No Time to Die: The Bond movie, No Time to Die also inspired many parents’ baby name choices last year. Names from the movie increasing in popularity were Nomi (+21%) and Paloma (+12%) for girls and Felix (+18%) and Bond (+13%) for boys.
Sing 2: The hit movie Sing 2 had a big impact on baby name trends. Ash (+117%), Porsha (+40%), and Meena (+10%) saw growing trends for girls while Alfonso (+26%) saw a jump in popularity for boys.
Other baby names surging from movies: were Enola (+500%) from Enola Holmes; Yelena (+114%), Alexei (+24%), and Natasha (+11%) from Black Widow; and Wednesday (+47%) from The Addams Family 2. The name Margot (+21%) rose in popularity since Margot Robbie played the character Harley Quinn in The Suicide Squad.
Baby Names inspired by Music
Names from music also featured in the SSA baby name rankings.
Britney Spears: In November, fans and activists in the #FreeBritney movement celebrated the decision of a Los Angeles judge to end Britney Spears’ 13-year conservatorship. The name Britney trended up 16% last year, having previously seen a rapid decline in popularity since the year 2000.
Billie Eilish: The Grammy award-winning singer Billie Eilish’s name once rose again in popularity. The name Billie increased by 13% and was perhaps also influenced by the release of the latest James Bond movie ‘No Time To Die.’ The theme tune was co-written and performed by Eilish.
Dorothea: The girl’s name Dorothea jumped 28% in rankings. ‘Dorothea’ was the eighth track on Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Evermore,’ and — for a time — the name Dorothea was incorrectly rumored to be Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik’s new baby’s name. Instead, the couple gave their daughter the unisex name Khai, which rose 5% for girls and 54% for boys.
Other names in music rising in popularity: included the ‘Fancy Like’ singer Walker (+54%) Hayes (+11%), as well as Willow (+18), after ‘Transparent Soul’ singer Willow Smith. The boy’s name Morgan rose 24% after Morgan Wallen’s ‘Dangerous’ album held the top spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums for a record 51 weeks.
The girl’s name Indigo increased in popularity by 22%, likely influenced by the ‘Hold U’ singer, Indigo De Souza.
The girl’s name Halsey also grew in popularity by 43%, a nod to the ‘I Am Not a Woman, I’m a God’ singer, Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, known professionally as Halsey.
Khaled — as in DJ Khaled — rose 9%, Dua — after Dua Lipa — rose 6%, and the name Jin — from Korean boy band BTS — rose 82% in popularity.
Sports related Baby Names
NFL Football: The Super Bowl in Tampa Bay welcomed a reduced capacity of spectators for the game. The Buccaneers beat the Chiefs, 31-9. Tom Brady earned his fifth Super Bowl MVP Award, and his seventh Super Bowl ring, both of which were records.
The boy’s name Tom (+12%) and Brady (+18%) increased in popularity nationally last year, while the baby name Brady surged in popularity in his new home state of Florida. Fifty-two boys were named Brady in Florida in 2020, while the number rose to 77 in 2021, representing a 48% increase in popularity. The name Brady also trended up for Floridian girls. No baby girls were named Brady in 2020, while in 2021, the SSA recorded 5 baby girls given the name.
However, Brady’s name fell out of favor with Bay Staters. The name Brady decreased 11% in popularity in the state of Massachusetts last year.
Patrick, the QB for the Chiefs, trended down 4% nationally last year.
Olympics: Last year we also saw the return of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. American Olympic-inspired baby names increasing the most in popularity were Caeleb (+200%) after swimming star Caeleb Dressel, who won five gold medals. It was followed by Suni (+60%), after gymnast and Gold Medalist Suni Lee. The name MyKayla rose in 59% popularity after vault silver medalist, MyKayla Skinner. There was also an increase for Raven (+16%), after Raven “The Hulk” Saunders, the shot-put silver medalist.
In an Olympic year, it was fitting the name Olympia (+15%) also rose in popularity.
NBA Basketball: Another sports name on the rise is Giannis (+23%). Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a playoff career-high 50 points in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, becoming the Finals MVP. The Milwaukee Bucks won 105-98 over Phoenix Suns, clinching their first championship in 50 years.
Baby Names from Politics
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Last year Joseph Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. The same year the new President was voted in, the names Joseph (-3%) and Joe (-9%) trended down. The name of the First Lady had more success however, with Jill seeing an 18% gain in popularity.
Kamala Harris made history as the first female, first black, and first Asian-American U.S. Vice President. Kamala means ‘lotus’ in Hindi and rose 35% in popularity, as did the girl’s name Harris (+9%). There were 10 baby girls named Kamala in 2018, the year before Kamala Harris ran her own presidential campaign, compared with 25 in 2021, suggesting the Vice President has a growing number of fans.
Bernie Sanders: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ mittens became an internet sensation as he waited for Biden’s inauguration to commence. Along with the fanfare and unforgettable memes, the boy’s name Bernie rose 13% in popularity.
The Trumps: The outgoing president’s name, Donald, grew 5% in popularity, and the name of the former First Lady, Melania increased by the same percentage. The name Ivanka trended down 25%.
British Royal Baby Names
British royal names also made an impact in America.
Harry and Meghan: In June, Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan welcomed their second child, daughter Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. The name honored Harry’s mother, Princess Diana (+7%), as well as his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, whose family nickname is Lilibet. The SSA did not record any other babies being given this decidedly British name. However, the nickname Lili (+5%) and its variants rose in popularity, including Lilly (+6%) and Lily (+7%).
The name of Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie (+24%), also climbed in popularity. The boy’s name Harry trended up (+5%) while Meghan trended down (-14%).
British Princesses: Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie each had new additions to their respective families last year. Princess Eugenie named her son August (+30%), while her sister, Princess Beatrice, gave her daughter the name Sienna (+9%).
Baby Names from the News
Billionaire Baby Names: Elon Musk superseded Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world. The boy’s name Elon increased 24% in popularity while Jeff increased by 33%.
Elon’s name rose 31% in popularity in Texas, following the billionaires move to the Lone Star state last year. The name Elon increased only marginally in popularity in his old home of California, rising by 3%.
Elon Musk and partner Grimes secretly welcomed a new daughter by surrogate named Exa Dark Sideræl. They gave their daughter the nickname ‘Y’ after their son X Æ A-Xii was given the nickname ‘X.’ The SSA however, didn’t record any other babies — girls or boys — given the name Exa last year.
Gadget Baby Names: The name Alexa tanked in popularity by 45% as Amazon’s Echo becomes an increasingly familiar household name. The name Echo, however, rose 22% for girls and 9% for boys. Incidentally, the girl’s name Siri saw a 10% decrease in popularity.
Space Race Baby Names: Richard Branson became the first private citizen to reach space, beating rival Jeff Bezos by nine days, aboard Blue Origin. Blue is a unisex name on the rise, increasing 40% in popularity for girls and 7% for boys last year.
The NASA rover Perseverance touched down on Mars last year. Mars, another unisex name, increased in popularity by 58% for girls and 49% for boys.
Baby Names remembering Celebrities we Lost
We also pause to remember the icons and celebrities we lost. Many parents chose names that honored individuals who passed away.
Names associated with the racial justice movement increased in popularity. The boy’s name George rose 1% and Floyd rose by 10%. The name Breonna, after Breonna Taylor, rose 25% in popularity.
- George (+1%)
- Floyd (+10%)
- Breonna (+25%)
The vintage girl’s name Betty increased in popularity 5% last year, perhaps in honor of Betty White who died at the age of 99. Boy names rising in popularity were Virgil (+20), perhaps a nod to Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, as well as Earl (+46%), after Earl Simmons — better known as DMX. The boy’s name Rush increased in popularity by 34%, after radio and media hero Rush Limbaugh.
The name Colin rose by 9%, perhaps after Colin Powell who passed away last year. Colin Powell was a military leader who became the nation’s first Black Secretary of State.
Baby Name Trends
Parents were also drawing baby naming inspiration from the world around them. Many popular naming trends of last year reflected the unprecedented times we were living through.
Baby Names Symbolizing Justice and Loyalty
The pandemic highlighted our need for connection with others, while the racial justice movement highlighted our need for fairness, equality, and justice. Baby names reflecting moral conduct and virtue names related to social responsibility were trending:
- Loyal (+75%)
- Tru (+37%)
- Honor (+24%)
- Truth (+23%)
- True (+16%)
- Justice (+11%)
- Tru (+52%)
- Loyalty (+28%)
- True (+26%)
- Promise (+22%)
- Liberty (+9%)
- Truth (+5%)
Baby Names Signifying Strength
Names are often given to children in the hope they will embody the characteristics of their name. Last year it seemed strength was a theme parents most wanted to evoke. Perhaps parents hoped (consciously or subconsciously) a name symbolizing strength may help protect their children, serving as a shining light during the dark days of the pandemic.
Names signifying strength included themes related to mythological god and goddesses — as well as virtue names representing courage, bravery and persistence.
The top trending mythological god and goddess names were:
- Hercules (+75%)
- Evander (+67%)
- Atlas (+24%)
- Ares (+24%)
- Apollo (+18%)
- Zeus (+9%)
- Freyja (+52%)
- Gaia (+22%)
- Calliope (+22%)
- Artemis (+19%)
- Persephone (+10%)
- Athena (+8%)
In Greek mythology, Athena was the Olympian goddess of wisdom and war. The name Athena broke into the top 100 girl names for the first-time last year. This was another example of an Olympic-related name rising in popularity during an Olympic year!
Virtue related baby names symbolizing strength also trended up:
- Victory (+127%)
- Prosper (+86%)
- Courage (+50%)
- Valiant (+50%)
- Legacy (+18%)
- Legend (+12%)
- Prosper (+43%)
- Legacy (+19%)
Nature-inspired Baby Names
As restrictions eased up, spending time outdoors became a great way to socialize while also social distance.
Perhaps it was the fresh air or the therapeutic aspect of the great outdoors that inspired the rise of nature names, or perhaps it’s because humans are biophilic, which means we possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature.
Nature-inspired names that were trending included:
- Jupiter (+71%)
- Canyon (+46%)
- Reef (+38%)
- Zephyr (+34%)
- Ocean (+27%)
- Forest (+27%)
- River (+25%)
- Sage (+8%)
- Ocean (+49%)
- Wren (+43%)
- River (+21%)
- Juniper (+20%)
- Dahlia (+19%)
- Sky (+19%)
- Willow (+18%)
- Storm (+13%)
Geographical and Travel Destination Baby Names
Travel was a draw and dream for many people during the pandemic, and as we emerged from self-isolation and lockdowns, there was renewed hope of travel at home and abroad.
Tapping into that wanderlust seemed to inspire many geographical baby names.
Baby names rising most in popularity mainly represented far-flung travel destinations, suggesting we were ready to fly long-haul again.
Trending international geographical names included:
- Rhodes (+67%)
- Cypress (+54%)
- Rome (+41%)
- Rio (+35%)
- Milan (+21%)
- Brixton (+20%)
- Jericho (+20%)
- Caspian (+17%)
- Everest (+58%)
- Marbella (+38%)
- Rio (+34%)
- Havana (+32%)
- Cairo (+31%)
- Holland (+19%)
- Capri (+15%)
- India (+14%)
Closer to home, parents also embraced domestic geographical names:
- Houston (+31%)
- Oakland (+30%)
- Salem (+26%)
- Memphis (+18%)
- Orlando (+12%)
- Denver (+8%)
- Montana (+34%)
- Memphis (+29%)
- Denver (+24%)
- Denali (+24%)
- Indiana (+13%)
- Catalina (+9%)
Cottagecore Baby Names
Cottagecore is an aesthetic celebrating an idealized rural life. The aesthetic gained huge popularity during the pandemic, when people longed to escape the city for a rural way of life.
Cottagecore centers on traditional rural clothing, interior design, crafts, foraging, baking, and pottery. Cottagecore baby names also became popular last year. These baby names evoke images of simpler times and have a rural, homespun vibe. They feature a wide range of nature, vintage, botanical, and gemstone-inspired baby names.
The fastest-rising Cottagecore baby names were:
- Onyx (+72%)
- Wilder (+29%)
- Bear (+15%)
- Ambrose (+43%)
- Shepherd (+24%)
- Benedict (+18%)
- Briar (+14%)
- Thatcher (+10%)
- Flora (+67%)
- Octavia (+34%)
- Clover (+37%)
- Opal (+28%)
- Sage (+27%)
- Magnolia (+22%)
- Rosemary (+22%)
- Theodora (+19%)
Spiritual Baby Names
While religious baby names didn’t trend last year, many spiritual names were on the rise.
Spiritual names are not necessarily rooted in religion but instead tend to symbolize spiritual concepts, places, and virtues. During difficult times, faith becomes even more important for many people. Perhaps parents were using spiritual names to reflect their beliefs or connection with a higher power.
The most trending spiritual baby names were:
- Saint (+80%)
- Angelique (+61%)
- Divinity (+39%)
- Seraphina (+31%)
- Eden (+13%)
- Zen (+13%)
- Saint (+39%)
- Creed (+35%)
- Savior (+28%)
- Messiah (+10%)
- Devine (+10%)
- Zion (+9%)
Gender-Neutral Baby Names
Demi Lovato courageously came out in 2021 out as non-binary and changed their pronouns to they and them. The increasing awareness surrounding gender fluidity has been one of the factors contributing to the surge in popularity of unisex baby names.
More than ever, parents are willing to embrace the possibility of gender fluidity in their children. Picking a non-binary name is the surest way to future-proof a child’s name, no matter how they choose to identify in the future. Unisex names are also perceived as modern, cool, and trendy — for every gender.
Gender-neutral baby names continue to rise in popularity with Generation Alpha parents. Last year, we saw record numbers of unisex names being given to both boys and girls (where names have at least one-third to two-thirds split between male and female).
In 2020, there were 103,686 instances of gender-netural baby names, while in 2021 the number grew to 108,571 — an increase in popularity of 4.71% year over year.
The following unisex names increased the most in popularity for boys and girls:
Baby Names Decreasing in Popularity
We had had a tough time last year, and the baby names we chose for our children reflected it. The effects of the pandemic, economy and social justice movement all effected baby naming trends in various ways.
Baby Names Symbolizing Social Prestige and Material Wealth
America was tightening its belt last year, and parents were choosing more frugal names for their children.
We found a very strong link between lower economic conditions and a decreased propensity to choose baby names portraying material wealth and social status. For both boys and girls, baby names signifying social prestige, and luxury goods declined in popularity dramatically.
The following baby names symbolizing material wealth trended down:
- Dior (-9%)
- Armani (-8%)
- Luxe (-62%)
- Jewel (-21%)
- Chanel (-15%)
- Diamond (-11%)
- Dior (-7%)
Baby names symbolizing royal titles and grandeur also dropped lower down the list:
- Royalty (-31%)
- Kingsley (-13%)
- King (-9%)
- Majesty (-7%)
- Prince (-5%)
- Sire (-3%)
- Duchess (-54%)
- Heiress (-25%)
- Queen (-17%)
- Princess (-12%)
- Empress (-11%)
- Royal (-7%)
Baby Names Signifying Hope and Tranquility
The world as we knew it changed last year – and we were learning to adapt to a new ‘normal’. Many baby names signifying hope and tranquility declined in popularity, perhaps reflecting our collective state of mind during the pandemic.
Judging by the following girl names decreasing in popularity, we seemed to be losing our hope, faith and peace. Our serenity was deteriorating and the world was not in harmony. The fabric of society seemed to be fraying around us.
The following baby names symbolizing hope and tranquility trended down:
- Trust (-17%)
- Temperance (-18%)
- Constance (-17%)
- Faith (-13%)
- Peace (-13%)
- Prudence (-11%)
- Serenity (-10%)
- Hope (-8%)
- Harmony (-7%)
- Grace (-1%)
Baby Names in the News
Karen: The name Karen saw further drops in popularity last year. Karen has become associated with the meme-based mockery of middle-aged women who make unreasonable demands and display brazen entitlement. The name Karen dropped a further 30% last year, firmly knocking it out of the top 1,000 girls’ names, to number 1,091.
Jeffrey: Jeffrey has associations with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender whose trial and its aftermath has grabbed headlines for years. The name Jeffrey decreased by 8% last year while the alternative spelling Jeffery decreased by 15%.
COVID-19 related Baby Names
A couple in India famously named their twins Covid and Corona in 2020; however, by 2021 pandemic fatigue had set in for most of us.
Mom’s were giving birth in hospitals wearing masks, and many dad’s couldn’t be present for the arrival of their new bundles of joy. America’s birth rate continued to decline as couples were intentionally delaying their decision to have children.
Many parents were steering clear of COVID-19 related baby names.
Names that sounded too close to Covid-related terms, or reminded us of the pandemic, trended down:
- Alpha (-26%) — as in the Covid variant B.1.1.7
- Johnson (-25%) — as in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
- Omi (-20%) — as in the Omicron Covid variant B.1.1.529
- Lochlann (-42%) — sounding too much like ‘lockdown’
- Anthony (-3%) — as in Dr. Anthony Fauci
- Covey (-45%) — as in Covid
- Sani (-17%) — as in hand sanitizer
- Cora (-1%) and Rona (-71%) — as in Corona
- Delta (-9%) — as in the Covid variant B.1.617.2
- Demi (-8%) — as in pandemic
There was one baby name worth celebrating, however! The girl’s name Ozlem rose in popularity by 38%, hopefully in reference to the doctor who helped create the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Özlem Türec.
Top 10 Baby Names Decreasing in Popularity
The SSA also publishes the names that decreased in popularity. The top 10 baby names in the top 1,000 that decreased the fastest in popularity were as follows:
Top 100 Baby Names
Top 100 most popular baby names for boys and girls in the United States, as ranked by the SSA:
Top 100 Boy Names
Top 100 Girl Names
Author: The Listophile Team
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Listophile’s report is based on the collection of given names as recorded by the SSA. This report collected datasets from 3,361,375 instances of baby names from 2021. The names were then ranked in order of the largest perecentage change by number of instances of the name to discover the baby names that changed the most popularity.