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Baby Names That Increased in Popularity From 2016 to 2017

Marianne is a British writer and researcher who has always been fascinated by names and where they come from.


Details of the top baby names in the United States are published every year by the Social Security Administration. Figures for 2017 were published in May 2018. This article provides a rundown of the top names that increased in popularity between 2016 and 2017 by ranking, but also by the number of babies. Will these names continue to be trendy in the future? It's interesting to see what names parents chose for their children.

Ten Baby Boy Names That Have Increased Most by Ranking

1. Wells

This name shot up in popularity by 504 places to 915 from 1419. Apparently, the popularity of this name may be inspired by a reality television star named Wells.

2. Kairo

This alternative spelling of Cairo, the capital of Egypt shot up 423 places to number 803 from 1226.

3. Caspian

One of my favorites on this list, Caspian is the name of a sea between Europe and Asia. There is also a character called Prince Caspian in the Narnia books by C.S Lewis. This name climbed 328 places from 1196 to 868.

4. Nova

A nova is an astronomical event where a bright, seemingly new star appears that gradually fades over weeks and months. Nova is more popular as a girl's name where it now ranks at 95 in the charts but entered the top 1000 for boys as well at number 918, an increase of 323 places.

5. Colson

This name is derived from Nicholas which means people of victory. It also climbed 323 places to number 736 from 1059.

6. Kace

This might be derived from Kacey which is an Irish name meaning courageous and vigilant. It is becoming more popular climbing 315 places to 870 from 1185. Or it could be an alternative spelling of Case, which is an English surname originally for the occupation of making boxes.

7. Kashton

This name is a modern invention that presumably means a town with lots of money! The Middle English suffix "-ton" means town or enclosure and Kash is a spelling of cash. This name climbed 302 places from 943 to 641.

8. Koa

A Hawaiian name for a native acacia tree. This name entered the top 1000 by climbing 294 places to 939 from 1233.

9. Gatlin

More commonly a surname meaning companion, Gatlin entered the top 1000 by climbing 282 places to 957 from 1239.

10. Bjorn

This Scandinavian boys name means bear. Bjorn leaped 276 places to 953 from 1229.

Beautiful oak leaves have inspired baby names in recent years.

Beautiful oak leaves have inspired baby names in recent years.

Ten Baby Girls Names That Have Increased Most By Ranking

1. Ensley

This name shot up in popularity by 1461 places to enter the top 1000 at 965 from 2426. Ensley is a version of Ainsley, traditionally an English surname meaning meadow.

2. Oaklynn

From the type of tree and the suffix "-lynn" that means a pool of water or lake. Oaklynn shot up in popularity 1072 places to number 886 from 1958.

3. Dream

The meaning of this girls name doesn't need to be explained. Rob Kardashian named his daughter Dream and other parents have followed suit as this name has jumped 840 places to number 828 from 1668.

4. Oaklyn

A more popular spelling of Oaklyn, this name jumped 749 places from 1425 to 676.

5. Melania

This name comes from the Greek for dark/black. Melania is the name of the wife of the current US president. The name jumped 720 places to 930 from 1650.

6. Emberly

Likely inspired by the more popular Ember which is now the 289th most popular girls name. The word for that little spark that remains in a fire as it dies out. Emberly rose 616 places to number 629 from 1245.

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7. Octavia

The most historic name on this list as it was used in Roman times, Octavia is a Latin name that means born eighth. Definitely one to use for your 8th child if you get that far. This name rose in popularity by 435 places to 593 from 1028.

8. Paisleigh

An alternative spelling of the popular Paisley. Paisley is a Scottish place name (although not the nicest place), a type of fabric. The name comes from the Greek basilica meaning church. The spelling Paisleigh jumped 364 places to 840 from 1204. Paisley is at number 45 and Paislee is at 311.

9. Yara

This simple and pretty name is used in lots of different cultures so has many potential meanings. It can be Arabic, Persian or Brazilian. In Arabic, it means small butterfly. This name jumped 352 places from 987 to 1339.

10. Kehlani

A Hawaiian name meaning sea and sky. This name jumped 347 places to 522 from 869.

While all the names above are in the top 1000 in the USA, they are still rare when you consider that close to four million babies are born each year in the USA.

The highest ranking girl's name in the top ten list above is Kehlani at number 522 because 596 baby girls were given this name. For boys' names, it is Colson at number 736 because 321 baby boys were given this name. In each case, this is a tiny proportion of 4 million.

Below are lists of the top baby names that have increased in popularity based on the actual increase in the number of babies rather than ranking.

Top Ten Baby Boy Names by Increase in Number of Babies

1. Logan

Logan entered the top 10 for the first time at number 5 in 2017 with a total of 13974 baby boys named Logan. This was 2748 than in 2016. Logan comes from a Scottish surname meaning hollow.

2. Maverick

A total of 4702 baby boys born in the USA were named Maverick in 2017, an increase of 1751. Maverick now ranks in the top 100 for the first time at number 85. A maverick is someone independent, non-conforming and unorthodox.

3. Ezekiel

This biblical boys name also entered the top 1000 at number 82 due to an increase of 1350 baby boys being given this name. 4721 baby boys were named Ezekiel.

4. Mateo

Spanish form of Matthew, which means gift of god. This name was given to an additional 1181 boys in 2017. 7726 baby boys were named Mateo, meaning this name now ranks at number 42.

5. Lincoln

The name comes from a Roman settlement in England which means town by the pool. Originally mostly a surname, it has often been used in honour of the US president Abraham Lincoln. A total of 8146 baby boys were named Lincoln, up by 1032 baby boys since 2016.

6. Theodore

Another name that has become more and more popular, from the Greek meaning God-given. A total of 5911 baby boys were named Theodore, up by 1018 since 2016.

7. Matias

Scandinavian or Spanish version of Matthew. 1558 baby boys were named Matias in 2017 up 643 from 2016. Matias is now ranked at number 236.

8. Leo

The Latin for lion makes a sweet three letter baby name. This name was given to 5923 baby boys in 2017, an increase of 642 since 2016.

9. Jameson

As you might guess this name means son of James. It became the 100th most popular boy name with 3907 baby boy Jamesons, an increase of 639.

10. Rowan

A type of tree, or Celtic name meaning small red-haired one. 2827 baby boys were named Rowan, an increase of 637. This is a Unisex name, 1440 baby girls were named Rowan.

A Rowan tree

A Rowan tree

Top 10 Baby Girls Name By Increase in Number of Babies

1. Luna

Latin for the moon, this baby name shot up in popularity with 5320 baby girls named Luna, an increase of 1657. Luna was the 37th most popular girls name in 2017. The name of a Harry Potter character.

2. Mila

Another short four-letter girls name ending in -a, Mila means gracious or dear in Slavic languages. It can also be a short version of many names with Mil like Milena, Emilia Camilla, Ludmila. 5941 baby girls were named Mila in 2017, 1123 more than in 2016.

3. Amelia

This name is believed to come from Germanic Amalia meaning work and activity. Amelia entered the top 10 at number 8 in 2017 after the name was given to 11800 baby girls, 1047 more than in 2016.

4. Bella

Bella is an Italian word for beautiful. This name was actually most popular in 2010 when 5121 baby girls were named Bella, after which it declined in popularity a little until 2017 when an upward trend began with 4611 girls named Bella, 957 more than 2016.

5. Nova

This astronomical name is most popular for girls, with 3026 Novas born in 2017, up 748 from 2016.

6. Camila

This name is the 23rd most popular for 2017, 6752 baby girls were given this name, up 704 from 2016. The name derives from the Roman Camillus, which was the name for a young person who served in temples in ancient Roman religion. Camila is a spelling commonly used in Spanish communities.

7. Elena

A version of Helen which is common in many cultures including Spanish, Russian Italian and Greek communities. This means bright one and was the name of 3863 baby in 2017, an increase of 685.

8. Kinsley

This means royal meadow and was traditionally a surname. 4035 baby girls were named Kinsley, an increase of 669 since the previous year.

9. Everly

This name means grazing meadow. Everly is the name of 3505 baby girls born in 2017, 616 more than in 2016.

10. Aurora

Aurora is the Latin word for dawn, and the name of an ancient Roman goddess of dawn. A total of 4573 baby girls were named Aurora, an increase of 590.

An image of the Northern lights known as the Aurora.

An image of the Northern lights known as the Aurora.


Liz Westwood from UK on May 26, 2018:

This is an interesting article. Having become grandparents in the past 2 years, I recognized some of the names of my grandsons' contemporaries.

Anna Sherret (author) from Scotland, UK on May 14, 2018:

Thanks Mike. Michael is dropping in popularity at the moment, but it is still at number 12.

Readmikenow on May 14, 2018:

This is an interesting article. I think some of these names are great. I have a family name. Micheal is a name of men in our family for generations. I enjoyed reading this.

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