Babycenter are the authorities on baby names, and their hotly awaited list of the most popular baby names of the year came out at the beginning of this month. As BabyCenter editor in chief Linda Murray told Yahoo, name popularity runs on a roughly 3-to-5 year cycle, so there are seldom big surprises: Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, and Mia are still ruling the roost for girls, while Jackson, Aiden, Liam, Lucas, and Noah are still tops for boys.
One small surprise, according to Murray, is that gender-switching names is becoming more popular, led by celebrities: after Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher named their daughter Wyatt, the name zoomed up 84 percent for girls and 11 percent for boys. Lincoln is also trending thanks to Kristen Bell: it’s up 47 percent for girls, 18 percent for boys.
Murray predicts that the ultra-girly names topping the girls’ list are on their way out, ending the plague of Isabellas forever.* However, reports like these tend to overstate how fast a trend is rising – it can take a while for naming trends like this to even crack the top hundred. The current top ten girls’ names are still thoroughly girly; the first gender-neutral name on the list is Riley at #11, followed by Aubrey at #16 and Avery at #19.
Celebs are nevertheless the major movers in baby name trends, and the emergency of a new Princess has given the name Charlotte a boost, as well as the sales of a very cute little plush dog from Jellycat. I’m puzzled by the Huffington Post’s assertion that Charlotte had cracked the top ten when Babycenter places it at number 14, but who knows how this nonsense works? I’m just reporting trends here. In any case, the HuffPo also predicts a rise for Calvin, Poppy, Saint, Love, and Charlie, among others, and if you’re looking for celebrity inspiration, you can find plenty more in the 2015 list at Fameberry.
Along with celebrities, Babycenter cites Instagram as an inspiration for some of this year’s trending names, but remember – a trend doesn’t mean a name is genuinely popular just yet, even if it’s rising. So while Lux, Ludwig, Amaro, Reyes, Hudson, and Kelvin are making steady progress up the list of boys’ names, I have trouble picturing all that many little Ludwigs appearing in your neighborhood anytime soon. On the girls’ side, Juno, Valencia, and Willow are all creeping up, while surprisingly, Sierra, Walden, and Lark all declined.
In terms of genuine rising trends with some stats behind them, the name Paisley is zooming up the charts, having jumped up 32 spots to number 64. The only celebrity baby I can find with this name is the daughter of Olympic softball star Jennie Finch, who I’ve never heard of, so I’m guessing the main driver of this name’s popularity is country star Brad Paisley. Muhammad took the biggest leap among boys’ names, leaping 19 spots up to number 39.
As far as trending sounds, Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz from Nameberry told the Huffington post that putting an o or an “o”-sound at the end of a girls’ name is on its way up (Indigo? CUTE!), and names ending with x, or with x in the middle, are doing well too, like Jaxon or Max (or, to dig into the odder names spotted this year, Moxie and Trixie, both of which are incredibly adorable).
See any new faves or big surprises on this list? Let us know in the comments!
*I named my cat Isabella in 2008, two years before it topped the list – I seriously had no idea that it was so popular. In any case: it’s a lovely name, and I’m clearly joking about the plague. Also, if your daughter’s name is Isabella, you can register her to get into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum free, forever!