Olivia popularity Vs Ava popularity- HELP!

Hi again!

I'd like some insight on popularity and I thought this would be the perfect place to come for feedback. :)

I love both of these names, however am leaning a bit more towards Olivia bc I like longer names and love the NN potential w Liv/Livi.  I know both are very popular and are in the top 5 currently. My main question is: Is the fact that Olivia is a few spots higher than Ava going to make any difference? Will I notice more Olivia's or is it pretty much the same at that point?  

Also- is there any evidence these names will begin to drop in popularity soon? Or is there a good chance they'll be top 5 in 2020 also?

This is my first child so I'm not around kids much now & would love to know what your personal experiences w these names are.... Do you see one more than another in your kids' classes/among friends?  (Also- if you could let me know if you're in the US/ which part of the country that helps too). 

thanks a bunch!!


November 29, 2015 4:48 PM

I know 2 Olivia's in their 30's and a 3 yo Ava here and one in mid west. 



November 29, 2015 6:02 PM

I don't know any Olivias or Avas, and my daughter hasn't had any schoolmates by either name in any of her three years of preschool. I do occasionally encounter both names in passing (like at the playground or while shopping), but not any more often than other, less-popular names. This is in southeastern Pennsylvania.

It's hard to predict the future in baby names, but I do notice a bit of a plateau in Ava's usage in the last several years. Olivia hasn't shown any slowing yet, but I think the current fashion against popularity is likely to keep it from climbing much further. How this will impact its ranking is anyone's guess, though -- nowadays, names can climb in rank while falling in usage. (Compare Mason in 2013, 4th place with 17591 baby boys, and Mason in 2014, one rank higher with 500 fewer baby boys.)

Whichever name you pick, you'll notice it more often, but this will be due to the frequency illusion, not actual popularity. Things like repeated names in classrooms are basically totally random -- a shared name could very well not even be in the top 100.

November 29, 2015 7:45 PM

You know how as soon as you buy a certain type of car, you suddenly realize just how many there are of them on the road? There aren't actually more of that make and model, but you start noticing them more. Names are kind of like that. 

Honestly you'll probably notice more of whichever name that you pick. On the other hand, Olivia is fairly unique (I can only think of Olive, which is half the syllables), whereas Ava has a lot more similar names (Eve, Eva, Avalyn, etc.) so it will probably sound like there's more of them because there are more names with a related sound. 

I'm in Southern California, and I personally only know two Olivias, both of whom are in high school. I don't know any Avas, but I do know an Eva who is about 2. 

November 29, 2015 8:03 PM

Great car analogy. Thanks!

November 29, 2015 10:10 PM

I personally know an Ava, three Eva's and an Evelyn... and SEVEN Olivia's. Most of them go by different nicknames: Liv, Ollie, Livie, Via...  I do agree that Olivia is perhaps more unique as a name, but because I know so so many I'm tempted to recommend Ava as far as popularity. That's an important thing to consider--what are the trends in your area specifically? Asking friends and family in the area can give you a better idea of "popularity" than national statistics, which say little about what you'll actually encounter.

November 29, 2015 10:26 PM

izzie- do you live in the US? If so, I'm curious which state.. 

Also- are all of the 7 Olivia's young girls?


November 30, 2015 7:51 AM

Yes, I live in Illinois-not-Chicago, haha. Two of them are toddlers and the other five are elementary/middle school aged.

November 30, 2015 3:12 AM

I live in Southern California and we don't know anyone named Olivia or Ava.  I have heard of a friend of a friend choosing both of the names. My daughter is in 2nd grade and no friends with either name. The names we've encountered repeats on are Julia and Ruby. 

November 30, 2015 7:22 AM

I'm from Western Canada and know two baby Olivias. I don't know any Avas. Mind you, Popularity in my province has Olivia at number 1 and Ava at number 6, so it could be a regional thing.

I'll repeat what others say: it's impossible to guarantee that your daughter will or won't meet another with her name, whatever name you choose.

I have a name that wasn't particularly popular when I was born, but which then exploded and was at number 1 for a decade and is still in the top ten. I've personally met several people with my name, but on a forum discussion with other Emilys of about my age recently, I was amazed at how many said they had never met another, or only one. Part of my own feelings of the name's ubiquity was almost certainly due to being a name enthusiast and reading the birth announcements in the paper at the end of every year! When I really count the Emilys I've known personally, it's probably about 6 or 7 people, and a few babies in parks, and there are a few actresses, and so forth.

I continue to support your choice of Ava Louise, despite having a popular name myself. As I said to my mom the other day; I actually think my name is beautiful. It looks good written down, it sounds good spoken, and most people have a positive reaction to it. These are not claims that can be made about all names. It is perfectly possible to be an individual and to stand out, even if you share your name with a few other people in your environment.

If name popularity is very important to you, however, you would probably be better off avoiding both Olivia and Ava. Although you may well give your child an unusual name and end up knowing several others anyway, as others have said.

November 30, 2015 11:24 AM

In 2014, Olivia was given to 19,674 babies nationwide.  Ava was given 15,586.  Or, to put it another way, Olivia was given to 1.0149% of babies born in 2014 and Ava was given to 0.8040% of all babies born.  So no, I doubt you would notice a huge difference in popularity between the two among your daughter's age cohorts.  

I'm in the midwest and know several Olivias from about age 10 and younger.  I've only known one Ava who would be about 7 now.  However, I'll point out that my kids are both school age so I'm a bit out of the loop when it comes to names being given to wee little ones in my area.

Olivia has been top 10 since 2001, so I would expect to see it start to eventually slowly drop.  But that doesn't necassarily mean it will drop out of the top 10 by 2020.  I also wouldn't be surprised to see it hover somewhere in the top 20 for a while once it does fall out of the top 10.  For comparison, you might want to look at Emily.  Emily has been in the top 10 since 1991 and was #1 for 12 years running.  It also helped increase Emma's popularity.  I think Olivia will stick around a bit longer, and I can see it helping other similar names increase in rank.  

Ava has been top 10 since 2005, so it's still a bit newer than Olivia.  However, it rose much more quickly and names that rise quickly tend to fall more quickly as well.  The main concern with Ava is I think there are a larger number of similar/sound alike names such as Eva or Ayla that will likley see a boost as people start looking for variations on Ava.

If you like Olivia, then name her Olivia.  She'll likely know a few others growing up, but it's not very likely that she'll be one of several Olivias in a class (though this can happen with any name).  If popularity really concerns you enough that you don't thiink you want to use Olivia or Ava, let us know.  The posters around here are usually pretty good about suggesting alternatives.


November 30, 2015 9:37 PM

I am seconding all this. 

Trying to choose between these two based on popularity is really a coin flip.

She'll probably likely know one or two of either one at some point, but is unlikely to know gobs of either. 

Name popularity is also very pocket-y. I know more Mayas (various spellings) than I know Avas or Olivias, which makes no sense based on stats alone. 

I am in Washington State, and of these two, I know more Olivias. I can only think of two Avas of the top of my head. 

If it's a super big concern, choosing something other than these two makes the most sense.

If it's a minor concern, choose the one you love best.

If you truly love both equally, I would give the slight preference to Olivia, as it affords you more nn possibilities. 

By mk
November 30, 2015 1:32 PM

No it doesn't make a difference. Besides, "popular" doesn't mean there will be tons of people with that name, it just means that out of the 1000s of names in use, that one is happens to be used on the most people. I know maybe 1 or 2 people who have used Ava or Olivia. If I wanted to avoid the popular names among people I know, I'd avoid Aidan, Lola, and Emma. Everyone else is all over the place, it seems.

If you like Olivia best then name her Olivia. It is not a big deal if she meets others with her name.


November 30, 2015 1:31 PM

I know tons of little Olivias and Avas- probably more Olivias recently. My niece is named Olivia, so I do love the name because of the association :) I think it really depends on your area as to what is going to be more popular. If you love one over the other, though, then I say go for the one YOU love.

November 30, 2015 3:45 PM

I think other posters have hit the nail on the head. I hear Ava and Olivia reasonably often in passing, as I'd expect based on their popularity, but Ava subjectively seems more popular to me because I also know a lot of Evangelines and Evelyns and Evas (both EE-vah and AY-vah) and an Avalon and other names that truncate to Evie... and a lot of Averys as well as some Adas, too (because I travel in computer-science-heavy circles). So the sound is much more part of a cohort.

Olivia has sound-alikes, too: Octavia and Olive and Livia and Liv (they all have history as freestanding names separate from Olivia), but those are tremendously more obscure than the Ava/Eva cohort, to the point that I don't really know any of those alternate names in person. When considering the popularity of sounds-like-Olivia, we really just need to consider Olivia itself. Also, with Olivia there are more options for nicknames (Ollie, Livvie, Via, Lia, as well as using Olive, Livia or Liv as nicknames), which help take the edge off the popularity of the name, since the particular girls named Olivia have different call names. As such, my money is on Olivia having a more lasting, stable popularity profile along the lines of Emily, because it feels less oversaturated even though it's on more birth certificates.

I'm in the pacific northwest.

November 30, 2015 9:28 PM

Great points made. Thank you!

Just to clarify- when you say "Olivia has a more lasting/stable popularity profile" do you mean it has a more gradual rise and is less "trendy" than Ava? 

Any other thoughts? It would be neat to have everyone post the name they hear MOST often in their area (aside from the official ranking in popularity). 

November 30, 2015 11:25 PM

Regarding the young-ish kids I know, (in illinois-not-chicago) that name would have to be Olivia. I also know a disproportionate amount of little Taylors and Maddies, although Maddie/Maddy/Madi is usually a convergent nickname for Madison, Madeline, etc.

Which reminds me of another name sighting--the other day I met teenage sisters named Maddison and Alisson. Somehow, the extra double letters make me want to pronounce the names differently!

November 30, 2015 11:26 PM

I do think Olivia has more of a stable popularity profile, and I personally would pick it over Ava. Both names are beautiful, but I see Ava as more trendy.

I live in Oregon, in the Willamette Valley, and if I met a toddler whose name I didn't know, my best guess for it if it was a boy would be Henry, or something starting with Br- and ending in -n! haha. Brayden, Bryden, Brecken, Braxton... I have met so many and can't keep them straight!  For a girl I'd guess Avery or Ava, or Bella.

November 30, 2015 4:38 PM

I just heard another little Ava check in at the dr. Born last week. 

November 30, 2015 5:31 PM

You can look up your state stats if you are in the US, that might reflect what you would find in the classroom more closely. But that doesn't always mean anything either, I hear Olivia occassionaly and have yet to meet an Ava. But some of the most popular names I hear aren't all even in the top 10 for my state.

December 3, 2015 12:36 AM

I know or know of quite a few girls named Olivia across a wide variety of ages, from toddlers to 20s. However, I know only a few girls named Ava (and one Aeva), and only in the toddler or baby age range. So based purely on my personal experience, I would say that Olivia seems to be a more consistent name, while Ava seems to be a more recent revival. I haven't checked stats to confirm that yet. 

December 3, 2015 9:57 AM

Here in Kansas, I know two Olivia's both middle school age and an Ava in late elementary. Also, I have a young cousin named Olivia who goes by Livy. I personally like Olivia more because it has more nicknames and less similar names, as opposed to Ava having Eva, Eve, Ada, etc. I don't think you can go wrong with either one, though :)

December 3, 2015 9:59 AM

Oh, and one of the Olivias goes by Olive to differentiate herself from the other one. It works for them because Olivia has many nn alternatives.