The most popular baby names of the last year are officially in! Every year — minus a brief pandemic pause, because COVID sucks — the United States Social Security Administration releases its data on the baby names America can’t get enough of. Unsurprisingly, there’s not a ton of change year-over-year; it’s the five- and ten-year comparisons where you tend to see the most dramatic alterations. The most recent data (for 2022, since the 2023 data won’t come in until the first part of next year) was not much different than it has been in the past few years. For boys, the name Liam reigned supreme for the sixth year in a row; for girls, Olivia was the clear favorite for the fourth year.
Excitingly, though, there was one new pick that managed to break into the top 10 most popular baby names: Luna! In mythology, the goddess Luna embodies the moon, so it’s a powerful choice. (But it’s not just a prime pick for human babies; according to the American Kennel Club, Luna is the most popular name for dogs this year!)
The SSA even released a video to announce the news, with Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, sharing the most popular baby names.
Giving us a glimpse of not only the names people love best, but also the hottest new up-and-comers, the SSA also released data on the fastest-rising names in popularity over the last year — and it’s a tantalizing preview of the trends people are gravitating toward. Let’s check out the 10 baby names for boys and girls that had the biggest boost in popularity last year.
This surname-turned-first-name (which is derived from the Old English dun and tun, meaning “hill” and “enclosure”) can likely thank its popularity boost to the hit show Yellowstone and its prequel series 1883, which follows the Duttons: six generation of a powerful ranching family. It’s part of the bigger “neo-western” cowboy name trend, and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon!
No official word on whether Kayce is pronounced like “Case” or like “Casey” — either would be fitting, since Case can fit with the cowboy-name trend and Casey is a perennially-popular name for both boys and girls. But since Kayce is normally seen as a spelling of Casey for girls, we’re betting this one’s pronounced like Case.
This baby name sounds like it would have fit right in with the Puritan trend of using virtue baby names, like Cherish and Faithful. Though our society may not be exactly Puritanical these days (um, thank goodness?), virtue names are still a trend — and according to the SSA, the name Chosen was given to 257 babies in 2022, putting it on the popularity charts for the first time ever.
This name of Arabic origin meaning “treasure” was given a shot of popularity when rapper Kevin Gates chose it for his son in 2015 — and apparently again in 2022, when he released an album by the same name. 289 babies were given the name Khaza last year.
The more conventionally-spelled Ethan has been on the most popular baby names list foreverrr … in fact, back in 2009, it was as high as #2 (currently, it stands at #21). Its Hebrew form, Eitan, is not nearly as popular — in fact, it hasn’t even cracked the top 1000. But a hybrid form of the name, Eithan, first entered the top 1000 most popular baby names back in 2019. And between 2021 and 2022, it jumped an astounding 348 spots — from #848 to #500.
Nature baby names are all the rage, and Wren — a bird name — is really popular, coming in right now at #184. Thus, folks are beginning to diverge away from the most popular choice by tacking on an ending: Wrenlee. Its alternate spelling, Wrenley, is close on the heels of Wren itself, coming in at #284. But Wrenlee too is comin’ in hot; it entered the top 1000 for the first time, and is already up to #712. Pretty good for a first-timer!
This Hebrew name meaning “lamp of Yahweh” is often given symbolically to both boys and girls born around Hanukkah, the festival of lights. No word on why it’s enjoyed a jump in popularity, according to the SSA, but it could have something to do with an indie pop singer stylized as NERIAH who’s relatively new to the scene — or, given its close proximity to the sound, Neriah could be the new Neveah.
Debuting on the popularity charts for the first time at #741, it’s not really hard to figure out why Arlet is emerging as one of the fastest-rising name: its proximity to the popular Charlotte. Currently standing at #3, Charlotte has been firmly in the top 20 most popular baby names since 2012 (and in the top 200 since 2003!). When a name becomes too popular, people tend to look for similar-but-different alternatives (just look at the rise of Emma on the heels of Emily). And as an alternative to Charlotte, Arlet fits the bill. Interestingly, its other spelling – Arlette — only ranks #800.
Newly emerging in the top 1000 most popular baby names at #878, Georgina – obviously the feminine form of George, meaning “farmer” — is probably gaining traction thanks in part to influencer Georgina Rodriguez, who is dating soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and is the subject of the 2022 Netflix documentary I Am Georgina.
Amiri was also one of the fastest-rising names last year, in 2021 — for boys! You read that right: now it’s the girls’ turn to share this name that clearly has a ton of gender-neutral appeal. Though this is the first year it’s broken into the top 1000 for girls (it currently stands at #876), it’s at #521 for boys — up a whopping 238 spots since last year!
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