The Fastest-Rising Boys' Names of the Year: "Teen Mom" Rules America

May 8th 2015

Sorry, Angelina Jolie. Step aside, Game of Thrones. America's top trendsetter for our biggest, most lasting and consequential style decision – naming a child – is Teen Mom.

For the second time, the #1 fastest-rising boys' name in America comes from the reality tv show that follows the lives of teenage girls struggling to raise babies even as they grow up themselves. The hottest name of 2010 was Bentley; this year it's Gannon.

Gannon isn't just a "Teen Mom" name. It's a surname that follows the uber-popular boy's rhythm of two syllables ending in –n. The spelling Ganon is also the King of Evil in the video game "Legend of Zelda," and video villains are a surprisingly hot baby name source. But reality tv reigns supreme, as proven by two more Teen Mom baby names in the overall rising top 10: Paislee and Nova for girls.

More top risers:

#2. Karter: The reality tv power continues. Love and Hip Hop features a photogenic young Karter, the son of stars Kirk and Rasheeda Frost.

#3. Bode: This name is typically pronounced the same as Bodie and Bodhi, which also ranked among the top 40 fastest risers. A quick guide to the three sound-alike names:

- Bodhi is a Buddhist term for spiritual awakening. It's a popular name choice of Hollywood parents, including actress Megan Fox. This is a name that people seem to love or hate; our advice columnist The Name Lady fields a lot of questions about it.

- Bode is associated with skiing champion Bode Miller, who comes from a creative-naming family in New Hampshire. It's also heard in Western Africa and -- full disclosure, here -- is Portuguese for "billy goat."

- Bodie is a ghost town in California, a drug-dealing character on the tv series The Wire, and a popular choice to clarify the pronunciation of Bodhi or Bode.

#4. Royal: We've been talking about royal babies, why not baby Royals? This is actually an old name returning to the charts with a new gloss. Between rapper Lil' Kim's new daughter Royal, singer Roc Royal of "Mindless Behavior," Lorde's hit son "Royals" and a movement toward bold meaning names, it has momentum.

#5. Axl: Oh, Sweet Child O' Mine! Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses debuted on the music charts back in 1987. It took 27 more years for him to hit the baby name charts. The spur was singer Fergie, who named her son Axl and led parents across the country to say "Whoa, yeah, we could actually DO that!" Axl takes the "X Games" style of names like Jaxxon and cranks up the volume.


Check out the fastest-rising girls' names and the full top 1000.

The Most Popular Baby Names in America for 2014

May 8th 2015

The Social Security Administration has released the official rankings of the most popular baby names in America for 2014. Noah reigns for a second year as the #1 boys' name, while Emma regains the girls' crown for the first time since 2008.

This marks Emma's 12th straight year in the top 3. That's some terrific staying power in an age of fast-changing name trends. It's the bridge name between two styles: the gentle antiques that it first rose to popularity with, like Hannah and Abigail, and today's smooth, miniature "raindrop names" like Mia and Liam. Here's the rest of the new top 10: 

1  Noah  Emma
2  Liam  Olivia
3  Mason  Sophia 
4  Jacob  Isabella
5  William  Ava
6  Ethan  Mia
7  Michael  Emily
8  Alexander        Abigail
9  James  Madison
10  Daniel  Charlotte


Each list features just one new addition. Charlotte makes its top-10 debut on the girl's side, a warm welcome for Britain's new princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. (Though the name Charlotte replaces is none other than Elizabeth!) For boys James replaces Jayden, giving the list a more classic look. James was the #1 name of the 1940s, but this marks its first top-10 ranking in more than two decades.

Check out the full top thousand names, and stay tuned for more name news and analysis including the fastest-rising names of the year.

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If You Love Names, This Is the Week for You

May 5th 2015

Welcome to Name Week, 2015! The week kicked off in style with a new royal baby name, and will continue in a few days with the official announcement of America's most popular names of 2014.

I'll be crunching numbers as soon as the new data is released. Look for the top risers and fallers, surprising new names on the cusp of popularity, the Baby Name Pool winners and more.

I'll also be posting interesting tidbits I find on Twitter (follow @BabyNameWizard) and Facebook (