Most popular baby names in America
It’s a question expecting parents get on a regular basis: Do they have a name for their soon-to-be-born child yet? Naming a child is a massive responsibility, one that will impact how people see the child throughout the rest of their lives. Some research suggests that a person’s name can influence many different factors in their lives, from their profession to their choice of spouse to whether or not they’re accepted to a particular school (though more recent findings have called into question a few of those conclusions).
Still, whether or not a name determines if someone ends up working as a doctor or a lawyer, names still have a huge impact on a person’s identity. Parents taking on this weighty responsibility vary greatly on their approach to naming their newborns. Some prefer to stick to family names, some look to classic and timeless names that will never go out of fashion, others favor unique names that may raise a few eyebrows, and some parents even let their children choose. Additionally, various cultures have different naming traditions—for example, parents in the days of early Christianity were encouraged to name their children after early church figures, while in some Jewish cultures, it’s taboo to name your child after a living relative.
Naming trends follow a fascinating path throughout American history. Today, America’s diverse population has led to a wide variety in baby names that reflect historical figures, religious and cultural preferences, and pop culture. To help understand which names dominate today, Stacker looked to data from the Social Security Administration, which ranks names by the number of babies born in 2018.
Read on to find out if your name, the names of your children, or other family and friends land on this list of the most popular names in the U.S.
Story updated by Isabel Sepulveda.
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#50. Leo (for boys)
- Babies born in 2018: 6,719
Leo is Latin for lion and represents an astrological sign—as well as many famous popes, 13 of them to be exact. Other famous bearers of the name include Russian author Leo Tolstoy (of “War and Peace” fame) and famous actor Leo (short for Leonardo) DiCaprio (known for “Titanic,” among other movie credits).
#50. Skylar (for girls)
- Babies born in 2018: 4,378
Skylar is a unisex name that was brought to New York in the 17th century by English settlers. It has many different spellings and spiked in popularity, as both a girl’s and boy’s name, in the early 2000s.
#49. Thomas (for boys)
- Babies born in 2018: 6,779
In Aramaic, Thomas means “twin.” The name has biblical ties, too. In the New Testament, it's Thomas the apostle who doubted the return of Jesus, inspiring the term “doubting Thomas.”
#49. Claire (for girls)
- Babies born in 2018: 4,379
The name Claire also is of Latin origin and means "bright” and "famous.” It was popular in the early 1900s, but rose again to the top of the baby lists in the mid-1980s, and has stayed there ever since.
#48. Nathan (for boys)
#48. Bella (for girls)
- Babies born in 2018: 4,518
The name Bella started to rise to the top of the charts in 2010, thanks to the "Twilight" book and movie series. Its origin is Latin and is a form of the name "Belle,” meaning beauty.
#47. Asher (for boys)
- Babies born in 2018: 6,802
Asher, a name with Jewish origins, means happy or blessed, and can be traced to the Old Testament: Asher was Jacob’s eighth son and Zilpah’s second son. Asher began shooting up in popularity in the U.S. in the early 2000s.
#47. Brooklyn (for girls)
- Babies born in 2018: 4,611
Brooklyn has been on the rise for baby girl names in the past two decades; perhaps related to the boom is the fact that David and Victoria Beckham (former Spice Girl) named their son Brooklyn in 1999. The name is not as popular in New York as it is in other places. In English, Brooklyn means "water” or "stream,” but it is most popularly linked to the New York City borough.
#46. Ryan (for boys)
- Babies born in 2018: 6,905
With Irish origins and a meaning of “little king,” boys named Ryan share the name with a number of well-known celebrities. Ryan O'Neal was one of the first to make the name famous, and nowadays, actors like Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, and TV and radio host Ryan Seacrest keep the name in headlines.
#46. Audrey (for girls)
- Babies born in 2018: 4,662
Audrey is a name that has been around since the time of Shakespeare and means "noble strength.” It was originally derived from Saint Audrey, and became more popular because of Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn. It has stayed high on the list ever since the 19th century, but saw a surge in the 2000s.
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