The Hottest Baby Names of the NEXT Decade

Dec 9th 2015

Your baby won't be a baby forever. The name you choose for her today may sound very different ten years down the line. If only we had a crystal ball to tell us which of today's creative name choices are destined to become tomorrow's favorites. Maybe -- just maybe -- we do.

When I looked at the results of the Freakonomics baby name predictions, I noted that they would have done better simply picking all of the names that were already rising steadily. I've fine-tuned that approach today to predict the popular baby names of the decade to come.

Each of the names below has risen in usage for 10 years in a row, with the rise growing in the most recent year. I've eliminated any names that have already reached the top 20, and alternate spellings of popular names. The resut is an intriguing assortment with some trends that hint at where names are heading.

Up-and-Coming Names (in order of current popularity, from highest to lowest):

Nora   Oliver
Paisley   Levi
Annabelle                      Grayson
Lucy   Hudson
Naomi   Asher
Hazel   Ezra
Kinsley   Theodore
Willow   Weston
Adalyn   Bennett
Emery   Luca
Arabella   Maximus
Genevieve   Dean
Adeline   Judah
Finley   Beckett
Kenzie   Remington
Gemma   Rhett
Eloise   Nash
June   Atticus
Elsie   Prince
Camilla   Beckham
Vera   Nikolai
Juniper   Arlo
Alayah   Vihaan
Remi   Lennox
Emmeline   Crew
Noa   Axton
Avalynn   Ares
Eisley   Briggs
Aarna   Dash


The Big Trends:

Surnames. The up-and-coming boys' list is studded with British-isles surnames of almost every description: Lennox, Briggs, Weston, Beckham and beyond. The exception is surnames ending in –y, which all show up on the girls' side: Eisley, Kinsley, Finley.

Country & Western. Western history, legends and music make strong showings in names like Remington, Paisley, Rhett, Levi and Axton.

British. Look for a British accent in American naming as parents import names that have been much more popular in Britain, like Oliver, Imogen, Eloise and Emmeline.

Bold Boys. Parents continue to push boys' named toward superhero style with choices like Crew, Prince, Maximus and Dash. No such drama is seen on the girls' side, where botanical names like Willow, Juniper and Hazel are rising instead.


December 10, 2015 11:32 PM

You covered the statistical trends while analyzing the Freakonomics predictions, but I want to know specifics: if you run the same formula on 1994-2004, what names do you get? Are the predictions mostly correct? Are there any notable exceptions?

It's an interesting list, and I recognize quite a few toward the top of the list as "yeah, I keep hearing that". The bottom of the list is mostly names that come up on name forums a lot, but not so much (yet) in real life.

December 11, 2015 8:21 PM

Oh no! So many of my favorite names are on this list! I will probably end up being like my grandpa, who named my mom and aunt Susie and Nancy because he thought those names were so unique! haha. 

December 12, 2015 7:04 PM

@xtinamarie - For a modern girl those names would indeed be unique among her peers!

December 15, 2015 12:53 PM

Is that Aarna (R N) or Aama (M)? It's very hard to discern on my screen. Either way, I'd be interested to learn more about this name. I'm a little skeptical that either would be a popular name, but I'm probably missing something. Aama with an m means mother in many Indian languages, so it doesn't work as a baby name for me. Arna I just find unappealing, personally. I'd like to hear from others what the background and appeal might be.

By JayF
December 15, 2015 1:18 PM

I can't help thinking that the botanical names are leftover from the popularity of The Hunger Games. Maybe people liking the idea of botanical names but not wanting it to sound too much like what they saw. Also people who loved Lily but found it overused may have looked to other nature names.

What was the era when botanical names were used the least? I mean, with the green movement pressing on, will we see more flower names than say in the 80s?


A lot of the boy names have literary cache. Like Atticus, Bennett, Nash, Beckett, Nikolai, even Theodore (Geisel), Ezra, Oliver, even Prince (The Prince by Machiavelli...)

December 15, 2015 2:11 PM

On the girls list I love seeing lots of "stonger consonants" since so many of the uber  popular, vowel heavy names (and their close cousins)  are starting to sound so much alike to me on. You know Ava, Ella, Sophia, Emma, Amaya, Mia, Lila, etc .

On the boys list I'm disappionted to see gun names Weston and Remington. ugh!!  I can definitely NOT relate to wanting to name a son after weaponary.


December 15, 2015 2:14 PM

Juniper is a great, modern twist on Jennifer with very similar sounds that made my name so popular in the 70's.  Too popular, in my opinion.  I feel like my name is "generic brand 1973"

December 15, 2015 5:23 PM

@HungarianNameGeek: Here are the girl names I get rising every year from 1994-2004:

Isabella, Sophia, Ava, Mia, Makayla, Lily, Zoe, Riley, Lillian, Gabriella, Ariana, Brooklyn, Gracie, Kennedy, Gianna, Ashlyn, Kylee, Naomi, Addison, Delaney, Mariana, Ellie, Serenity, Liliana, Makenna, Jayden, Josephine, Aniya, Annabelle, Eliza, Fiona, Jayda, Janiya, Madisyn, Emilia, Anika, Elle, Madilyn, Jaelyn, Kaya, Presley, Harmony, Skyla, Violet, Adeline, Kennedi, Aiyana, Luna, Saige, Kayden, Kenna, Amiyah, Iyanna, Jaylee, Gwyneth, Kinley, Reece, Cloe, Laniya, Lyla, Makiya, Mila, Citlaly, Brylee, Brinley, Vivianna, Nova, Anushka, Jamaria, Jalaya, Olive

I didn't restrict those to having a growing rise in 2004, and I haven't eliminated variant-spellings of other names, though. Isabella and Sophia were already in the top 20 in 2004; Ava at 25.

Here are the boys:

Elijah, Jack, Angel, Isaac, Jackson, Mason, Aiden, Jayden, Owen, Diego, Julian, Landon, Carter, Caden, Brayden, Henry, Liam, Cooper, Josiah, Micah, Emmanuel, Malachi, Bryson, Elias, Josue, Brody, Jace, Camden, Zander, Tyson, Kaiden, Brayan, Easton, Rohan, Izaiah, Finn, Titus, Ronan, Aryan, Matteo, Pranav, Kylan, Enzo, Jayvon, Kason, Jakari, Arion, Tiernan, Demian

December 19, 2015 2:33 AM

@Results9404: Thanks!

I only looked at the boys (because it's a shorter list).
I included only names that were in the top 1000 in 2004. This eliminated Jakari, Arion, Tiernan, and Demian; none of these made the chart last year, either.

Of the remaining 45 boys' names,

33 names climbed at least 9 places,
3 names stayed put (within 2 places), and
9 names fell at least 23 places.

If I consider the "stay-puts" positively, then the predictions are 80% correct: four out of five names predicted to be "up and coming" did not fall in the rankings. If I consider the three unchanged rankings (Malachi, Jack, and Tyson) to be errors, then the accuracy is 73%: about three names in four rose in the rankings, as predicted.

Highest riser: Kason, which went from barely on the chart (982nd) in 2004 to top 400 (365th) in 2014. Next are Enzo (800th to 369th), Easton (419th to 83rd), and Finn (569th to 234th).

Fell right off the chart: Pranav (from 770th) and Jayvon (from 972nd). Biggest fall other than these: Brayan, from 336th to 552nd, and Rohan (480th to 633rd).

All in all, I think that's a pretty impressive predictor. It doesn't predict all of the big climbers, but the ones it does predict are correct three-fourths of the time.

I wonder how the numbers would change if we included all of Laura's tweaks?

January 5, 2016 1:57 PM

Since they are western names I can't use them :/ but here are some Turkish alternatives :) 

Paisley> Pelin and Peri 

Levi> Lemi

Naomi> Naime 

Hazel> usable in Turkey, maybe Hazal too 

Theodore, can be shortened to Theo so my alternative is Teo 

Adalyn> Ada

Kenzie> Kenize

Vera> Verda 

Imogen> Imge 

Axton> Aslan, just because they sound somewhat similar 

October 8, 2016 9:21 PM

@ Jenny also its actually Smith and WESSON not Weston. Smh and Remington is a place in West Yorkshire england it is derived from the old English word riming (boundary stream) and tun (settlement) meaning the banks of a stream.