Parents look for fresh baby name ideas wherever they can find them, and this year's hottest rising boys' names come from all over the pop culture map. There is a trend, though…see what leaps out at you in the top risers:
#1: Jonael. This name was statistically nonexistent until 2015, when 11-year-old Jonael Santiago won the Telemundo singing competition La Voz Kids ("The Voice Kids"). A little guy with a big personality, Santiago launched the name Jonael (JOH-na-EHL) all the way into the top 1,000.
Image via John Parra/Telemundo/Getty Images
#2: Matteo. This Italian form of Matthew had already been rising steadily, and the Spanish spelling Mateo even faster. Then in 2015, Univision tv host Alejandra Espinoza welcomed a son named Matteo with two t's. Now both spellings are red-hot, especially with Spanish-speaking families.
#3: Riaan. Bollywood stars Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D'Souza welcome their first child Riaan just before the start of the year. The name comes from Sanskrit roots meaning "little king."
#4: Adriel. This biblical name, like many -iel names, has been a growing favorite of Latino families. It grew even faster this year, thanks in part to singer Adriel Favela.
#5: Kyrie. The name of NBA star Kyrie Irving has risen year by year along with his basketball career. For non-hoops fans, it's prounced KIY-ree – not KEE-ree-ay, like the Kyrie eleison prayer.
#6: Killian. We tabbed this Irish saint's name as one of our "8 TV Characters Sparking New Baby Name Trends." Killian "Captain Hook" Jones is a pirate made good on the series Once Upon a Time.
#7: Mateo. See #2 above.
That's one culturally diverse set of names, but they all have one thing in common: double vowels. In particular, a pair of consecutive vowel sounds with no consonants in-between looks like the hottest new trend of the year. It's a logical step in the growing dominance of vowels in American baby names. Maybe it's time to update the nursery rhyme: Old MacDonald had a baby, eieio?
The Social Security Administration has released the official rankings of the most popular baby names in America for 2015. Both returning top names keep their crown for another year: Noah for boys and Emma for girls. Along with #2 boys' name Liam, they represent the triumph of "raindrop names." These smooth, liquid miniatures are the ideal sounds of the moment.
Image via Chris Carroll/Corbis
The new top 10 baby names in America:
The news on the girls' list is the top-10 debut of Harper. In a changing of the surname guard, this new-generation -er name displaces Madison. Harper's rise has been extraordinary; as recently as 2003, it didn't even crack the top 1,000.
On the boys' side, Benjamin makes its first top-10 appearance. Surprisingly, until the 21st Century this classic had never ranked higher than 29th.
In English, the suffix -er spells action. Those two letters point to a doer: a mover and shaker, or at least a butcher, baker or candlestick maker. That -er energy and industry fueled a generation of popular baby names based on tradesman surnames. Today, though, a new wave of names is picking up on the action sound while leaving the trades behind.
Take a look at some of the hottest -er baby names of the year 2000, and their occupational origins:
Carter (hauler of goods)
Chandler (candle maker)
Cooper (barrel maker)
Hunter (hunter or birder)
Parker (gamekeeper/keeper of a manor's hunting park)
Spencer (dispenser, who distributed the goods of a grand household)
Tanner (tanner of animal hides)
Tucker (cloth finisher)
Tyler (roof tiler)
Image via Sandra Gligorijevic/Shutterstock
Now look at the -er names that have soared in popularity since then:
As a group, they're a far cry from the traditional tradesman of the earlier list. Yes, there are some occupational names among the new hits, but even those come across more like action heroes (Gunner, Ryder) or literary homages (Sawyer, Harper) than village smithies.
Now a new, up-and-coming generation of -er names advances the trend. These new names may take their style cues from the -er tradesmen, but they're not "doers." They carry their own meanings and associations, from nature (Juniper) to Star Trek (Ryker), from prayer (Vesper) to rock & roll (Seger), all with an energy boost from the action -er ending.
40 NEW -ER BABY NAMES
Read More: 66 Fresh Masculine-Sounding Surnames