Fastest-Rising Baby Names of 2013: Beyond the Top 1,000

May 9th 2014

The top 1,000 names for boys and girls are where trends happen. But fascinating stories lurk outside of the top 1,000, too, and sometimes these rare names can point to broader themes.

This year, the fastest-rising rare boys' names all line up to point in one direction. It's the exact same direction that their more popular counterparts pointed. Those popular top risers were:

#1 Jayceon
#2 Jase

Well, take a look at the biggest movers outside the top 1,000:

#1 Jaceyon
#2 J'ceon
#3 Jaceon
#4 Jaeceon
#5 Jayceion
#6 Jaycion
#7 Jaiceon

Whew. At that point the list takes a break for Zylen and Brennin...then returns to form with Jaecion and J'cion. I don't think there can be any doubt about the hottest sound for boys in 2013.

Other notable risers: Gambit, MyKing, Lamaj (Jamal backwards, presumably on the model of the more common Semaj.)

The girls' list, in contrast, is a smorgasbord of styles from various corners of popular culture:

#1 Tahiry: Tahiry Jose is a popular star of the reality tv series Love and Hip Hop. Her official cast bio begins with the words "Voluptuous urban model," and if you're not familiar with her work you might want to Google her away from your workplace.

#2 Vanellope: This name was intended as a joke, but oh what a stylish joke it turned out to be! In the movie Wreck-It-Ralph, Vanellope Von Schweetz is character from the candy-ful world of the video game "Sugar Rush." Her first name is a humorously artful blending of vanilla + Penelope. And now it's the name of 63 baby girls.

#3 Janney: Janney Marin is a reality tv star (of Chiquis & Raq-C) and the daughter of popular singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a plane crash in 2012. Rivera's full name was Dolores Janney Rivera.

Other notable risers: Kree, Rebel, Nyx

The Fastest-Rising Girls' Names of 2013: Something For Everyone

May 9th 2014

We live in a world of 500 cable channels: entertainment custom-tuned to your personal interests. More and more, baby name style is going the same way. There's not just one current style but many, and names that seem over-trendy in one neighborhood may be totally unknown in another.

The fastest-rising* girls' names in the year all sport different styles, and the queen of them all is a very literal representation of the richness of your cable dial. 

(For Fastest-Rising Boys' Names of 2013 click here)

#1 Daleyza. (#585, up from #3,769) America has been struck by Larrymania! It's a reality tv series, following the personal life of popular singer Larry Hernandez. If you've missed it, Larrymania airs on Spanish-language cable station mun2, a junior sibling of Telemundo. Tune in and and you'll learn that Mr. Hernandez has an adorable little daughter named Daleyza. (P.S. at the end of 2013, Daleyza's little sister Dalary was born. Just a thought for the future, Baby Name Pool entrants!)

#2 Everly. (#383, up from #907) This name has been a regular on the "Why Not?" list in my book, which collects little-used names with top style potential. Everly hits multiple targets: it's a surname with fashionable sounds. It's a classic rock & roll name, via the Everly Brothers. And it's an "off with their heads" name that freshens up a familiar name by, well, decapitating it. As Addison is to Madison, so Everly is to Beverly. This year, actor Channing Tatum put Everly over the top when he gave the name to his daughter.

#3 Sadie. (#50, up from #120) Few names have undergone such a dramatic image makeover as Sadie. To your parents, Sadie probably conjures up either Sadie Hawkins Day or an old-fashioned Jewish lady. But Sadie has become a fast-rising hit by appealing to two different audiences. To traditional namers, Sadie matches the nostalgic sweetness of names like Lily and Sophie. (It's a traditional nickname for Sarah.) And to creative namers -- especially Southerners who relate to the hit reality tv series Duck Dynasty, which features a Sadie -- it adds a sassy old-time kick to names of the Macy and Hadley family.

#4 Kendra. (#187, up from #387) This name bucks the trends. By the standards of today's vowels-first fashion, it's a heaping helping of consonants. It's also an uncommonly resiliant name, a 1980s hit that keeps fading but then finding new bursts of life. More than once that new spark has come from Playboy model-turned reality tv star Kendra Wilkinson, who has had a remarkably resiliant career hersef. This time jewelry designer Kendra Scott (also an occasional tv personality) helped out.

#5 Penelope. (#56, up from #125) Penelope is the hottest classic of the moment. It has a celebrity standard-bearer in actress Penelope Cruz, and has been chosen by Hollywood parents from Tina Fey to Kourtney Kardashian. The name's own distinctive galloping rhythm, though, is the real draw. Its appeal is powerful enough that it has even drawn the Baby Boomer nickname Penny back into the top 1,000 for the first time in decades.

* Rising names calculated with the Baby Name Wizard hotness formula, which balances the percentage rise with absolute number of names affected.

The Fastest-Rising Boys' Names of 2013: Chasin' Jason?

May 9th 2014

The two fastest-rising* boys' names of the year were boosted by celebrities with wildly different public images and audiences. One is black, one white. One urban, one rural. One raps, the other makes duck calls. And yet the two names have one very big thing in common: they both sound a whole lot like Jason.

(for Fastest-Rising Girls' Names of 2013 click here)

#1 Jayceon. (#206, up from #1,017. Most parents pronounce it "Jason.") A major name in rap, Jayceon illustrates how complicated naming and branding can get in the hiphop world. Rapper Jayceon Taylor has built an enormously successful career over the past decade under the name The Game, which he eventually shortened to simply Game. A top rapper, Game has also done some acting and, starting in late 2012, starred in a reality tv series called Marrying The Game which gave his given name more visibility.

Around the same time, an emerging young hiphop artist started recording under his first name: yes, "Jayceon." While it's his own name, it's a risky branding move. If you Google "rapper Jayceon," after all, you get a whole lotta Game. The more successful Jayceon becomes, though, the more the risk shifts as the Game loses control of the "brand" that is his given name.

#2 Jase. (#89, up from #270) This name is a repeat from last year's fast-rising list, thanks to Duck Dynasty star Jason "Jase" Robertson. Originally a nickname, Jase is streamlined version of Jason for the age of Chase and Gage. Yet it also has a down-home charm via the reality tv personality and his family of mega-bearded Louisiana duck-call makers.

Together, these names point to the power of pure sound in today's baby name choices. Consider that Jayceon/Jason is a mashup of the top-10 names Jayden and Mason, and that Jace, Jayce, Cason, Kason, Case, Kase and even Ace also rose last year. Across styles, across communities, there's remarkable agreement on what sounds good.
More fast risers:

#3 Milan. (#484, up from 1,159) Singer Shakira, who made her Arabic name more common amoung both Spanish and English speakers, did the same for this classic Slavic men's name when she chose it for her son.

#4 Thiago. (#485, up from #828) Thiago/Tiago is a Portuguese form of James that is hugely popular in Brazil. Soccer player Thiago Alcântara do Nascimento goes by the single name Thiago, in the Brazilian style.

#5 Atlas. (#789, up from #1,372) The world-bearing Titan of Greek mythology, Atlas also carries cultural connotations from Atlas Shrugged to Cloud Atlas to Rand McNally Road Atlases. A key character in the BioShock video games is named Atlas, as is the son of actress Anne Heche.

* Rising names calculated with the Baby Name Wizard hotness formula, which balances the percentage rise with absolute number of names affected.