It’s official: Olivia and Liam are the most popular baby names of 2021. The top ten baby girl names remained relatively constant since last year, with the exception of a few minor swaps. But there was some exciting movement on the boys’ side, with a pair of new names – Levi and Asher – entering the top ten.
BabyCenter’s baby name rankings come from hundreds of thousands of parents who share their babies’ names with us in real time, making them a more up-to-the-minute look at what’s trending. One note before getting into the full results: For the first time ever, we’ve chosen not to combine spelling variations of the same name in the rankings. That means you’ll see Sophia and Sofia on different spots in the list (number 5 and number 22, respectively), as well as Oakley, Oaklee, and Oakly; Jackson and Jaxson; and many more versions of similar names.
We know for many parents, there’s a lot that goes into deciding what to name their child, from family history and special meanings to even sound and spelling.(For example, a recent BabyCenter survey revealed that 40 percent of parents decided to skip traditional spelling when choosing their baby’s name.) Spelling matters – even the tiniest differences – and we see that, so, every version of a name now has its own spot in the rankings.
No new baby girl names cracked the top ten in 2021, though we did see some small shuffles in popularity: Charlotte moved up two spots from number 8 to number 6, while Amelia rose from number 5 to number 3. Ava, Sophia, Isabella, and Mia each dropped one spot. If you read the top ten list of baby girl names aloud, you’ll notice a similar sound in the final syllable of eight of the names – the “ahs” definitely still have it.
The competition was a little fiercer on the baby boy names side of the column this year: Liam is the most popular name, followed by some familiar names from years past, but two new names entered the top ten: Levi jumped from number 16 to number 6, and Asher soared from number 22 to number 8. Oliver and Elijah traded spots in the number 3 and 4 places, and Mateo and Logan left the top ten.
This year’s fastest-rising baby girl names were Raya (up 53 percent), Alora (up 32 percent) and Ariya (up 27 percent); while Onyx (up 44 percent), Koda (up 38 percent), and Finnegan (up 35 percent) saw the biggest jumps on the boys’ side. Many of these names had already been climbing the ranks in our mid-year baby names trend report from this summer. We also saw lots of short and sweet names like Jack, Leo, Isla, and Ayla trending up.
Gender-neutral and unisex baby names (Finley, Tatum), along with names inspired by nature (Willow, Ivy, Sage) and pop culture (Daphne, Chadwick) were some of this year’s biggest baby name trends. We also saw a spike in baby names that channel strength, optimism, and resilience – a testament to being born in the middle of a pandemic, we suspect.
Article by Amy Cassell for babycenter.com
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