Often, choosing a name for your baby can be one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make when preparing for their arrival. According to researchers and psychologists, a name can determine whether or not a person will be hired for a job, be well-liked or work in a high-level position.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) puts out a list every year of the most popular baby girl and boy names. The most recent list is from 2019, since the 2020 list hasn’t been published yet.
Popular baby girl and baby boy name trends
Judging from the past 5 years, we can probably guess which names will still be near the top of the 2020-2021 list. For girls, Olivia and Emma have been the 2 most popular for several years, but Olivia finally pushed Emma down to the #2 spot in 2019.
Other top baby girl names include:
For boys, Liam is currently claiming the top spot and has since 2017 when it inched out Noah. William has been in the #3 spot for the past 5 years. Other top baby boy names include:
There has also been a trend for several years to pick unique names that aren’t anywhere near the top of the list. For instance, girl names like Haisley and Oaklynn have been some of the most popular on the trendy list, while boys’ names like Saint, Archie and Mordechai are rising quickly.
How to choose a name that’s right for your baby
So, how do you decide? Should you choose a name that’s trending or unique?
We know the stress of choosing a name for your baby can be overwhelming, so here are a few tips that will hopefully help make the decision easier:
- Look up meanings. If you are trying to decide on a name, sometimes it can help to look at what a name means by searching for “names that mean _____”, if there’s a certain character trait you would like your child to carry. There are also really beautiful-sounding names that mean things that aren’t so beautiful (for instance, Kennedy means “misshapen head”)
- Consider your family history and culture. If there are certain names that hold a special meaning to your family, friends or the broader culture, that can be a way to narrow your choices and choose a baby name that is special to those you love.
- Think about initials and possible nicknames. In order to avoid possible bullying or embarrassment later on, look at first names, middle names and your last name together to see if the initials stand for or imply anything negative. For example, as nice as it may sound, you might not want to put the first name “Alexander” with the middle name “Scott” and the last name “Smith” (for obvious reasons).
Ultimately, the best name for your baby is one that you love and feel confident in. People may have other opinions, but that will probably be the case with any name you choose, so don’t necessarily base your decision on the feelings or opinions of those around you.