The top baby names of 2019?

Sep 23rd 2009

Parents magazine recently gave me a challenge: predict the top 10 names for boys and girls in 2019. That kind of prediction requires weighing a lot of factors. It's part statistical analysis, part fashion sense, and part good old fashioned crystal ball. A tricky business, really.

Then I decided to make it harder.

Realistically, many of the top names of 2019 will be awfully familiar. If you look at the top 10 boys of 2008, every one of them ranked in the top 40 a decade earlier. Yawn. Who wants to read a list of bold predictions like "Alexander will still be around"? I decided to limit my choices to names currently outside of the top 40. The result isn't a literal top-10 prediction, but a forecast of the names I expect to have the greatest fashion momentum over the coming decade.

To make my list, a name had to both show signs of accelerating growth and tie into broader fashion trends. For instance, I see the long "I" and to a lesser extent "oo" as hot up-and-coming name sounds, so they're well-represented on the list. Names like Jude and Eli also feed the constant appetite for fresh-sounding biblical names. I also looked for names with broad cross-stylistic appeal. Harper, for instance, is a contemporary androgynous surname, but it also lures in traditionalists because of author Harper Lee.

Here's the list I came up with, which also appears in Parents. Do you think I hit any bullseyes? Can you do better?

GIRLS
1. Lila
2. Peyton
3. Lucy
4. Violet
5. Aubrey
6. Amelia
7. Piper
8. Ruby
9. Juliet
10. Harper

BOYS
1. Miles
2. Rowan
3. Lincoln
4. Eli
5. Jude
6. Cooper
7. Wyatt
8. Ryder
9. Lucas
10. Henry

Comments

1
By Mara (cannot log in) (not verified)
September 23, 2009 5:45 PM

I think you're right on with this list. I, myself, included Lila as a top riser in this year's poll. I also think Violet has the potential to take a top 5 spot in coming years.

I also think Hayden and Blake could be next in line for the surname-to-male-to-female name trend.

2
By cileag (not verified)
September 23, 2009 5:48 PM

I think you've hit the nail with the girls' list--especially with Harper, Piper, Lila, and Peyton--but I'm so sad about Ruby being on there. I've been waffling about it, but this seals the deal and I'm taking it off my list.

Ditto with Miles and Jude! Rowan is a big contender for our middle name if this child is a boy, but I'm curious to see how it does for girls in the next decade. That's why we don't like it for a boy first name. Too androgynous for us.

3
By Guest (not verified)
September 23, 2009 6:01 PM

It makes me sad. Some of my names are on the list, and I hope they do not become super popular. My top pick for a girl was Juliet. :(

4
By Sarah S (not verified)
September 23, 2009 6:08 PM

Who could ever do better than you, Laura?!

5
September 23, 2009 6:23 PM

Yay for Jude - as the mother of a Judah I'm delighted if his nn becomes more popular, especially when he's 20 - his name will be forever youthful. Love Rowan and Lucas too, Luca is popular too.
I think Amalia may catch on as well - I hear it all the time here in the UK, as much as Amelia.

6
By Sarah P (not verified)
September 23, 2009 6:38 PM

Sadly, I think you're right on. My 2-year-old is named Cooper & it was really important to me that he have a name that wasn't common; I really wanted him to be the only one with his name in his school/workplace, etc. I warned my husband Cooper was going to be too popular, but in the end I caved. Now everyone I meet says, "Oh, my (so & so) just named their son Cooper!" Great. So maybe his kindergarten won't be full of Coopers, or maybe it will be. If it's not, then he'll be the older kid/guy with the really popular baby name - even worse!

7
By Jacki (not verified)
September 23, 2009 7:09 PM

I think you're right on. I've seen a few Aubreys, Rubys, Lincolns, and Judes in the past year. They're gaining momentum. Juliet is also our top girl pick, but it's fine with me if our kids name is popular. Maybe it's because our children's first two names were popular after they were born (sophia and natalie), their names fit them so I don't mind.

8
September 23, 2009 7:35 PM

Keren- interested to hear about Amalia- my (German) family tree is loaded with them, but I had thought it too unusual to catch on. Are they pronouncing it a-MAH-lee-a or a-MAY-lee-a?

9
By MelissaBKB (not verified)
September 23, 2009 7:39 PM

The boys list feels very Western to me - Lincoln, Eli, Cooper, Wyatt, Ryder... and to a certain extent even Lucas, Rowan, and Jude.

It sounds like you expect this trend to grow (even) more mainstream?

BTW, boys list is NMS, with the exception of Henry. Charles Henry is our pick for first boy.

10
By Zoe (not verified)
September 23, 2009 7:49 PM

You're right on with Aubrey and Harper, but I'm surprised to see Lucy and Ruby.

There's a whole set of similar names (Ruby, Lucy, Lily, Ellie, Holly, Tilly, etc.) that's very popular in the UK right now. How do you think their wild popularity in England will affect their use in the States?

11
By Amber Sim (not verified)
September 23, 2009 8:19 PM

Lila, Violet, Piper, and Harper were all on my list when we were figuring out named for my now-5 month old daughter. I feel so trendy! We wound up going with Avery, so obviously that should be on the list ;)

I don't think I agree with the choice of Aubrey. That name sounds very 80's to me for some reason.

None of those boy names were contenders for my baby. Avery would have been Emmett if she had been a boy.

12
September 23, 2009 8:20 PM

Lucas (or Lukas) is the #1 name in Germany and much of Central Europe. I can see that name growing.

Eli is Ily's brother. I'll refrain from further comment.

Henry is, in my opinion, the male Hailey, combined with a VERY strong pedigree, so I fully expect it to be a top-ten (or at least top-20) name in the next few years.

The one boy's name I might question is Rowan, because I've heard it crossing gender enough to give some parents pause.

There was a female Aubrey at my school growing up, and I'm Gen X. I was a little surprised then that the name hadn't spread more.

13
By moll (not verified)
September 23, 2009 8:20 PM

Vera - I know one Amalia who pronounces it Ah-MAH-lee-a, and another who pronounces it Ah- mah- LEE-a, accent on third syllable. Both are pretty. I've never heard Ah MAY lee a, but it could well be the mode somewhere. With the upswing of Amelia (totally on the money there, Laura), and the popularity of "a", this could be a real contender. Maybe Eulalia, too- not top 50 material, but more than before, anyway - vowels AND l's.
I've been noticing a LOT of Harpers lately, too - good call!

I know that names go in cycles, with "classic" names favoring towards ones about 3-4 generations back from the baby (great-grandparent and great-great names). What I'm wondering is, with SO many "old lady" names being popular, whether we'll see a backlash in 10 or 15 years. Since there's such a large crop of "older" names, my guess is just that preferences would shift to different ones, rather than be gone entirely - but you can't be too sure.

14
September 23, 2009 9:35 PM

zoerhenne,
i thought i'd go ahead and post on this thread that i love your sibsets (regardless of whether or not they are "generic"), particularly jack & jill, lewis & clark, and mickey, minnie, & donald. i also really like the idea of expanding junie b. into juniper beatrice. :]

the only one i can currently think of is lolita and humbert, which doesn't really fall into my "fantasy sibset" catagory, as i would never, ever give those names to children (or at least not together--i don't want to hurt anyone's feelings who dearly loves the name humbert). i did read somewhere that heath ledger and his sister were named for heathcliff and catherine from wuthering heights, which i find interesting and kind of cool.

15
By Cathie (not verified)
September 23, 2009 9:43 PM

It's funny how some of these names (Lucy, Henry, Amelia, Juliet, Lucas, Rowan) would be top 10 or 20 right now where I live (well-off suburb of Boston) while I don't know a single kid named some of the others (like Peyton female, or Ryder).

But where, oh where is Ily?! I think that name has a good a shot as any to become a hit, especially based on all the previous comments (I'm another traditionalist that thinks it works!)

I kind of agree with Amber that I wouldn't myself have predicted Aubrey. Based on naming trends around here, Audrey would be more likely but maybe it doesn't play well in the South/Midwest where folks like newer names?

Lila though I think has it all to move to the top. Everyone loves that name -- I know someone that just named twins Lila and Kate. On the boys side, I wonder if Miles (very trendy here) will suffer if Miley climbs for girls?

Overall I just love it! I hope we are all still posting/reading together in 2019 to see how your predictions turn out...

16
By PhilippaThe First (not verified)
September 23, 2009 9:57 PM

How does this compare to the much (and deservedly) maligned Most Popular Names of 2015 list from Freakonomics? I present:

Annika
Ansley
Ava
Avery
Aviva
Clementine
Eleanor
Ella
Emma
Fiona
Flannery
Grace
Isabel
Kate
Lara
Linden
Maeve
Marie-Claire
Maya
Philippa
Phoebe
Quinn
Sophie
Waverly

In both lists I see the Antique Charm/Charms and Graces/ Gently Androgynous themes, with difference specific examples. Minus the cheating by including already popular names, was Steve Levitt so wrong? Excepting a great big HA HA NEVER for the name Philippa. I should know, that name is just never going to take off in the U.S.

17
By Guest (not verified)
September 23, 2009 9:58 PM

Sarah and Guest 3, please don't worry too much about popularity. My sister in law was determined not to give her child a popular name (even though there were others she really liked). She even refused to choose any names she'd seen mentioned on message boards for fear they'd explode in popularity one day. She ended up regretting her actual choice and changing my niece's name 5 months after her birth.

I like Laura's picks for girl's names, but it seems boy's names don't change as drastically over time. I think Rowan, Lincoln, Eli, Jude, and Ryder might take a little longer to reach the top 10. I'd expect the top 10 boys names in 2019 to look somewhat similar to today's list.

18
By abbey (not verified)
September 23, 2009 9:59 PM

I think the girls list is particularly good. Several of these were in our basket of names to pick from when my daughter was born last month. We actually planned to call her Violette (my grandma's name- my middle name is Violet), but had a last minute switch when she arrived to a name nowhere near your list. Here in OK not many of these on the rise yet, other than maybe Lucy which we considered, but decided was already too trendy. I do have friends with sons named Wyatt and Henry so they may be on the cutting edge.

19
By PhilippaThe First (not verified)
September 23, 2009 10:00 PM

Oh, and like two others upthread, I'm going to poor one out over Juliet. That was my number one pick for a second daughter*. I swear to God, my heart nearly stopped when I read that list in Parents. And in my mind rang out a silent "nooooooooo!"

Second daughter yet to be concieved, but probably happening next year.

20
By knp (not verified)
September 23, 2009 10:03 PM

new baby alert: KayMarie June

21
By Cathie (not verified)
September 23, 2009 10:04 PM

OOOHHH Laura, how about a post on the opposite -- which names will drop out of the top 40 by 2019? I'm always wondering why some names become a "flash in the pan" yet other popular names seem to have much more staying power. Can that trend be predicted?

22
By Guest (not verified)
September 23, 2009 10:07 PM

Oh Phillipa I like your name very much! Of those names on the Freakanomics list, Eleanor is a name I definitley see taking off. I know of 3 babies born in the last year with that name and I think it has a similar feel to Olivia, Emily, Abigail and other names at the top.

23
By PhilippaThe First (not verified)
September 23, 2009 10:16 PM

Guest: You might like my name, but here's the thing. You can't spell it. Just look! That's no snark on you. It's just so unfamilar in both look and sound to Americans that no-one ever gets it right.

Can I throw out something controversial? Peyton: I don't think so. I think by 2019 that name will sound verrrry time stamped to the -ens of the early 2000s.

Also, why do we feel so strongly about *girls* having unique names and not boys. I plan to name a future son* William, and I don't care a whit that it's been top ten for like, ever. And yet I was nearly overcome with the vapors when I read of Juliet's impending popularity. And I have no idea why!

*Future yet to be concieved, but probably happening next year.

24
By Terry (not verified)
September 23, 2009 10:18 PM

Cathie, great challenge! My prediction for biggest fallers in 10 years are Chloe and Anthony (based on nothing but a hunch)

25
By Guest (not verified)
September 23, 2009 10:27 PM

Oops Philippa! I'm sure that gets quite annoying

But you make a great point. For some reason, I am reluctant to give my daughter a popular name, but DS1 has a common name and DH and I have already decided on Joseph for another boy. We honestly could care less that the name is popular. I can't quite figure out why. Perhaps because men in general don't particularly care if they have a popular name? (at least none of the men I've ever met)

26
September 23, 2009 10:27 PM

Several of you have mentioned that the girl names look likelier than the boys, and I totally agree. I had a lot of trouble coming up with 10 decent candidates for boys.

That's a function of ruling out the current top 40. As I mentioned, ALL of today's top 10 boys' names were in the top 40 a decade before, whereas Isabella, Ava, Sophia and Chloe are new "shooting stars" on the girls' list. Change is accelerating on both lists, but even so I wouldn't expect more than one or two real breakthroughs in the boys' top 10.

BTW, if there's one name I'd put money on it's Lila.

27
September 23, 2009 10:47 PM

I think your list is much better than the Freakonomics one Laura! For girls, I know a girl/girls born mid '90s named Lila, Lucy (Lucia, but always Lucy), Violet, Amelia (goes by Amy), and Ruby I know on a younger girl (probably 8 or so now.) I totally predict these to rise, although not so sure about Peyton, I do see it rising, and possibly becoming one of those names that eventually turns fully feminine. Aubrey is nms, but i see rising and (sorry Cathie) Audrey I feel is too tied to Audrey Hepburn, who I love, but probably seems too old fashioned. And although I've never met a Harper, I do see the dual association and allure, and see it rising. For boys, I like most of them, even though their style isn't usually my cup of tea (excepting Henry, which I love and have always loved, along with similar styled names). I also know a Miles, Lincoln (I believe, might be a Jefferson, I can't remember), Eli, and Henry around my age (mid '90s) and a girl Rowan my age. I also see Lucian rising, has the -en sound and the Luc- of Luca(s).

28
September 23, 2009 10:48 PM

Also, I totally agree with Guest 22 about Eleanor, I totally see that coming back!

29
By sarah smile (not verified)
September 23, 2009 11:18 PM

Changing topics for a moment, I have a question from a friend to pass along. How odd would it be for both mother and child to have month names? If mom was June and daughter was April, to give a similar example? She's not looking for a theme, just happens to like the name and isn't sure if it's too much.

If it matters, the second month name would actually be for her son, and the names are months in a language other than English, but one that many of their friends know.

30
By Mirnada (not verified)
September 23, 2009 11:58 PM

I think it's a pretty spot-on list. I already know babies or young children named Violet, Ruby, Jude, Wyatt, and Henry in my extended circle and ran into a baby Rowan on a plane once. Those names are definitely in the ether. I definitely think that Violet, Lila, and Henry are going to get super popular. It seems like I'm always hearing about a new baby Wyatt or Henry, actually.

My husband wanted Howard as a boy name option because it's a family name, and I nixed it immediately. Howard??? He bet me that it'll be in the top 20 in ten years, which I think is unlikely. I don't remember what he gets if he wins, but I hope he loses, because I get a spa week-end if I win.

31
September 24, 2009 12:09 AM

sarah smile,
the mother-daughter month thing wouldn't bother me, but then i'm the one who is currently really into coming up with sets of themey names, so maybe i'm not the one to ask. but especially as the names aren't english...even if their friends do speak the language, i still don't think it would be an issue for me.

32
By Devon (not verified)
September 24, 2009 12:17 AM

I've heard all of those girls' names recently, so I think it's spot on!!

I know of three people this year who gave birth to Lila/Lylah's, and another who has it picked for a future babe.

We were way ahead of the game 18 years ago -- it was my kitty's name growing up. My sister named her after LIla Fowler from the Sweet Valley Twins!

33
September 24, 2009 12:39 AM

emilyrae-Glad you liked my list :)

sarah smile-I'm not sure if it would be that big a deal to have mom named something like May and son be August or some similar theme. The context is not one that presents itself to people noticing it as an overly matchy theme, as opposed to the ones we've mentioned above. For instance, if mom was Jill and named her son Jack that might get some looks but it might not (esp if he was named after a family member or something). However, if mom gave names Jack and Jill to twins she would get lots of looks I'm betting!

A Rose-Violin names:
Allegra
Adagio nn Ada?
Allesandro
Dulcinea
Cadence
Grace
Giovanni/a
Octavia/ius
You didn't say whether your violins were male or female? LOL!

34
September 24, 2009 1:25 AM

As far as the girls list goes, I would have to agree that Lila will be a hit. Ruby, and Amelia are already very popular in the UK and Australia, and Violet is getting there so no surprises to see that moving up the charts. I know a few Lucy's and Harper's and have seen Piper mentioned and couple of times. Petyon hasn't hit big in Australia and the only Aubrey I know is a young boy. I must say Juliet is a personal favourite of mine so I will be very sad to see that go up the charts, but of all the names I'm in love with that is the one I've always been most worried about rising. Interesting that the freakonomics list had Clementine on it (another personal favourite). I've said this before on here, but I don't think that it's going to go up much. It is quite popular with name enthusiasts but even some celeb babies over the years hasn't pushed that name up much.

Regarding the boys list, as discussed it takes longer for the boys names to move around. I don't think Alexander, William, Benjamin etc are going anywhere fast. I'm actually surprised Henry is already not more popular, that will be top 10 for sure. Cooper is also very popular where I am. If I had to guess at what other names might make it maybe Oliver or Oscar or Liam - they seem to be moving upwards fast and may hang around for awhile.

35
By Guest (not verified)
September 24, 2009 2:06 AM

Some posters seem to not see Peyton as being on the top 10 list. However, in Colorado, it's already a hot girls name. I think this is a good bet that it will spread from being a regional name to a more popular girls name throughout the country.

36
By Jane, Mother of Five (not verified)
September 24, 2009 2:22 AM

Juliet! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! When we named our Juliet 4 years ago, it was in the 600s! Is nothing safe?

37
By William 2 (not verified)
September 24, 2009 2:25 AM

I think those Top 10s are pretty darn good!

Like some other posters, I agree more with the girls list.... maybe because top boys names tend to be more traditional in general.

Biggest surprises to me are Lincoln and Rowan, though I like them both. Both have the requisite -en sound, yes. As good as Lincoln sounds, I have to wonder how far up the list a "no-nickname" moniker could go? And maybe I'm the only one, but to me the name Rowan is 100% associated with Mr. Bean. Hopefully some trailblazers will change that association for me :)

38
By Laemma (not verified)
September 24, 2009 3:37 AM

Interesting lists! I'm really trying to avoid rapid climbers for the baby I'm carrying - most of these names aren't my style.

Except for Henry. Sigh.

What feels like Henry but isn't going to be the "Aiden" of the 10s?

39
By Anna (not verified)
September 24, 2009 8:09 AM

LW - "That's a function of ruling out the current top 40"

Maybe it would be more fair to rule out top 40 for girls and top 30 for boys, given that the boys name field is narrower than for girls?

I'd put Levi on the boys list - that's the only name I think is missing.

40
By KateRoc (not verified)
September 24, 2009 8:38 AM

I might add Charlotte and Julianna to the girls' list and *maybe* Stella and Cecilia.

Just out of curiousity, what is everyone hearing for girls' middle names? Seems like all I hear lately is Grace or Rose. I see Jane as the next popular MN.

41
By KateRoc (not verified)
September 24, 2009 8:46 AM

Laemma - How about Charles or Theodore, or maybe Emmett, Eliott or Pierce as a substitute for Henry?

42
September 24, 2009 9:18 AM

OK, I am enlisting you all in my mission to prevent Lila from becoming a number one name. If anybody approaches you and says, "Lila is such a pretty name. We're thinking of using it for our daughter," you are to shake your head gravely and say "That is the most horrific name I have ever heard." Or "awful, ugly, hideous, terrible," whatever strikes your fancy.
My daughter, obviously, is Lila. She's only a few months old and I actually considered changing her name, but my husband vetoed the move. He thinks my aversion to popular names is "bizarre" :) If I were changing it I would go with Leonie--let's see that make it to the top of the charts! :)

43
By Amy5 (not verified)
September 24, 2009 9:21 AM

I named my son Miles 6 years ago thinking it was uncommon, but not unheard of. I have met 3 or 4 other boys named Miles since then - all younger - and a few other people who told me they considered the name too. My husband joked that he will be like an Amy born in the 60's instead of the 70s!

44
By Amy3
September 24, 2009 9:26 AM

Well done, Laura! I agree it's easier to assemble the girls' list than the boys' since there will probably be less movement in the latter group. Still, it's fun to see the boys' names you think are big risers, even if they won't be top-10 in 10 years.

For everyone who's concerned about popularity, I think you can relax. Those of you who have already bestowed names can bask in the knowledge that you were ahead of the curve. Those of you considering names on this list should still choose names you *love* and realize the list is Laura's best guess. Is she a good guesser? Sure. But is she bound to be right on all of them? No.

And as someone who grew up with a top-10 name when a greater proportion of girls would have been given the most popular names, it's not the worst thing anyone would have to deal with. (Amy5, I'm one of those 60s Amys!) It has its pros and cons, for sure, but the important thing is to bestow a name with love and care, rather than worrying overmuch about its ranking, especially now when even the most popular names have less "marketshare" than they once did.

Going back to Laura's list, I know a dog named Peyton, but no people yet. If it's a hot Western name, though, I bet it gets more traction. Lila is a no-brainer, I think, given all its popular elements. I already know at least one kid (and one dog) named Lucy. I know a Violet and a Juliet (although she's 10).

For boys, I know a Myles who's in middle school. I know a Jude, a Rowan, a Lucas (I know more kids named Luca, though), and several Henrys (going back to an earlier thread, their mothers are all librarians!).

45
By Guest (not verified)
September 24, 2009 9:26 AM

Devon, I always think of Lila Fowler when I hear the name as well! She was the original "mean girl". I wonder if Enid (Elizabeth's best friend) will ever make a comeback.

KateRoc, I really like your guess of Charlotte, the T ending goes with Violet and Juliet. I do know a few baby Stella's, but I think the "ella" ending might be worn out by 2019. I think Jane is a good guess as the next big middle name. Or perhaps Anne or Claire. Parents seem to love 1 syllable middle names. I think Maeve would make a nice alternative but I don't see it catching on anytime soon.

Re Juliet, it seems the "Jul" prefix changes with every decade from Julie to Julia to Juliet/Juliana. I wonder what the next name will be.

46
September 24, 2009 9:28 AM

I don't think Henry could be the Aidan of the 10s. It has no sound-alikes to turn it into a name-spawner. I don't see little Brenrys, Zenrys, or Jenrys coming anytime soon!

Chimu, I agree with you about Clementine. I can't get on board with that name for some reason. Maybe it's that the first syllable rhymes with phlegm.

My son's preschool has a Lila, a Peyton, and a Rowan, but Peyton is a boy and Rowan a girl! (And for real gender confusion, Rowan's sister is named Elliott and her mom is named Scotty.)

47
September 24, 2009 9:39 AM

elizabeth t,
i agree. i don't think henry can be aidan for the reason you mentioned. plus, henry is such a classic english name...it's like charles or william being in the top ten. in my opinion, no matter how popular it is, it's never really going to sound "trendy." to me, at least. oh, and elliott as a girl's name...sigh. not a fan.

guest 45, i think claire might already be (or on its way to being) a big middle name. and i can also only think lila fowler when i hear lila.

amy3,
hear, hear! choosing names you love with care seems to me to be much more important than how common they are.

48
September 24, 2009 9:45 AM

An earlier post mentioned Cecilia as a possibility--I agree, for my neck of the woods, anyway. For an area that seems to have a lot of Jaydens and Kaylees, I have met three little Cecilias in the past few months. It's one of my favorites, along with Celia.

49
September 24, 2009 9:50 AM

Laemma:

Herschel, Howard, and Horace all share the same basic form of Henry (two syllables, starts with H, soft vowels throughout). However, if you want to remain on trend with a rare name, I recommend Hadrian.

It's Henry meets Adrian, and the name of a Roman Emperor, too.

50
By Guest (not verified)
September 24, 2009 9:57 AM

I wonder about Eleanor...
We just named our daughter Eleanor and when we tell people her name we get odd looks and have even been asked "why?". It is very rare for someone to say they like the name but it has been made obvious to us that a lot of people dislike it.