You've got the crib built and her baby room painted—perhaps pink because you like traditional, or greige because you don't. You've stocked up on the diapers and packed the freezer with frozen dinners. You've so on point you've even picked your pediatrician. There's just one thing you haven't done, and it's one of the most crucial as you prepare for baby's arrival: You haven't chosen your daughter's name yet. Maybe it's because you have a list you like as long as your arm, maybe it's because nothing sounds quite right, but whatever the reason, fear not. We're here to help with our catalog of the most popular baby girl names 2021.
With assistance from the Social Security Administration, baby-naming website Nameberry and BabyCenter, a parenting site, we've researched 2019's favorite names for baby girls, as well as the ones that have increased and decreased in popularity. Want to know what monikers based on locations are on the rise? How about hot gender-neutral appellations or trendy female political names? We've got those, too. Because although a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, we know you won't rest until you've found just the right one for your little flower.
The Name Game
Take a peek at the SSA's rundown of the most popular baby girl names for 2019 and one thing stands out: People like names ending in A for their daughters. A lot. Out of the top ten names listed, seven slots belong to names ending in A, including the top five: Isabella, Sophia, Ava, Emma, and 2019's most popular baby girl name, Olivia. (The top ten's bottom five, in descending order, include Charlotte, Amelia, Mia, Harper, and Evelyn.)
Even more striking, these same names have remained in the top five since 2008, when the name Emily managed to squeeze her way onto the tally. They haven't maintained the same spots—from 2014 to 2018, for example, Emma won most-favored status—but it does seem, at least with super-popular baby girl names, the more things change the more they stay the same.
While it looks like for 2021 nothing is going to break the A-Team's grip on the top five, there are other names rising fast in popularity you might want to consider for your baby. Not surprisingly, the two biggest jumps on the SSA's list come from names ending in A. Amoura, which is related to the Latin word meaning love, ranked just 2054 in 2018, but shot up to 979 in 2019. Meanwhile, the sweetly old-fashioned Theodora, came in at 548 in 2019 after gaining 859 slots from 2018's tally. Rounding out the top ten quickest climbers, in descending order, are Navy, Emani, Yaritza, Alaia, Alaiya, Oakleigh, Ainhoa, and Salem.
People and Places
Speaking of Salem, the name points to a trend that's been hot for sometime: naming baby girls after places. But while appellations including Brooklyn (the name of David and Victoria Beckham's first child) and Paris (think celebs like with last names like Hilton and Jackson) have long been popular, look for a slight change in 2021.
According to BabyCenter, "many new parents are sticking closer to home this year" when seeking inspiration for their baby's names. Whether it's an effect of the quarantine remains to be seen, but the website's latest research finds Salem zooming up 43% in popularity. Other newbie, local faves include Berkley, leaping ahead 34%, Arizona, up 16%, and Catalina, Aspen, and Phoenix, all rising 12%.
Meanwhile, on the SSA's fast-rising list, Denver appears in the top 35, having jumped 148 spots from 2018 to 2019, with Bristol, Vienna, and Holland coming in at slightly lower positions.
There's one trend that's affecting both girl's and boy's names, and that's because it's evolving boy's names into girl's names and vice versa. Gender-neutral names are here, they're hot, and they look to stay that way far into the future. As Nameberry notes, "Unisex names, names used for both girls and boys, are an ever-growing category in the English-speaking world, especially in the U.S."
Among the favored unisex names for girls based on current views in the Nameberry's database are Angel, August, Elliot and Elliott, Jordan, and Ryan. Over at BabyCenter, their analysis saw Palmer gain a massive 47% in popularity, followed by Noah, which jumped 35%, and Erza, like Noah another biblical name, rising 32%. Other increasingly trendy unisex names for girls, the site notes, are Sutton, Kai, Grayson, and Parker.
By now there probably isn't much of anyone in the United States who hasn't heard the name of our next Vice President, Kamala Harris. She's making history as the first woman to win that position, as well as the first African-American and first South Asian-American, and all this publicity is adding up to big gains in the name game. According to Nameberry, the hottest name of the year for baby girls is Kamala, with interest in it rocketing up a jaw-dropping 3715%.
But our Vice President-elect isn't the only political figure influencing the names of baby girls. According to BabyCenter, the first name of Jill Biden, wife of President-elect Joe Biden, is now 66% more popular than it was previously. And keep an eye out for Alexandria, the given name of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an outspoken up-and-comer in the U.S. House of Representatives. It leapt a respectable 7% on BabyCenter's list.
On the Outs
But what about names at the opposite end of the spectrum, the ones whose fortunes haven't fared so well? If you'd like to call your girl a name few others on the school yard will have, you might want to go with Emmarie. The alternative spelling for Emory might sound pretty, but according to the SSA it's dropped 463 three slots, from number 989 in 2018, to number 1452 in 2019. And hot as all those other names ending with A might be, there are a few ones that have nonetheless lost favor. The regal-sounding Tatiana is currently third on the SSA's inventory of names that have decreased in popularity, with Zhavia right behind, in fourth place.
Hopefully our rundown will get you closer to picking your daughter's name, but what if you're having a boy? Check out our list of the 30 Most Popular Baby Boy Names to Expect in 2021.
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