2021 was an interesting year, which is reflected somewhat in the year’s top baby names. Parents held onto many tried-and-true classics, but some ventured out, bringing new faces onto the charts. Let’s meet some of these amazing monikers together.
2021’s Top 10 Baby Name Changes
The Top 4 Boy Names remained the same, with Liam still king at #1, followed by Noah, Oliver, and Elijah. Our first hint of change on the boys’ side comes in at #5, where James flipped spots with William, who fell to #6. Benjamin is still in 7th place, followed by #8 Lucas and #9 Henry, who also retained their respective rankings. Our big surprise comes at #10, where Theodore burst in from #23 in 2020! Well, it’s not really a surprise, given his plethora of adorable nicknames, handsome sound, and meaning, “God’s gift.” He’s truly a name who has it all. We can’t wait to see how high he climbs in 2022.
On the girls’ side, Olivia is still ruling the roost at #1, followed closely by Emma, who retained her #2 ranking with ease. The rest of the Top 10 for Girls has shuffled a little, with Charlotte at #3, rising a spot to replace Ava, who slipped to #5. Amelia is at #4 after fluttering up from #6 in 2020. Sophia dropped from #5 to #6, while #7 Isabella, #8 Mia, #9 Evelyn, and #10 Harper remain unchanged in ranking.
While not much changed for girls in 2021, 2022 may switch things up. The lovely Luna is now knocking on the Top 10’s door at #11. She’s risen three spots from the previous year’s data, and her friends Camila and Gianna are hot on her heels, so we’ll see if any of these cuties crack into the Top 10 next year.
As for the boys, Jack is ready to conquer at #11 since cruising up a whopping ten spots in the past year. We also see room for Levi, a cool cucumber now at #12 from last year’s #18.
2021’s Top 25 Baby Name Changes
The Top 25 Baby Names for boys and girls saw lots of shuffling in 2021, with a number of familiar faces losing momentum and some surprise picks making appearances.
For the boys, we’ve welcomed Asher, a Hebrew name meaning “happy and blessed,” and Alexander, the trusty classic who slipped out of the Top 10 to land at #13. Asher rose from #32 to #25, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps creeping up the charts. His meaning is amazing, after all. As for Alexander, he’s danced back and forth at the edge of the Top 10 for a few years, so he might see another resurgence in 2022, or he may settle into this new landscape from here on out. He’s a beloved name with the epic meaning “defender of man” and heaps of nicknames, so don’t expect him to fall out of favor anytime soon.
These two new faces replace Theodore and Aiden. As previously mentioned, Theodore entered the Top 10, while Aiden slid from #24 to #26. Theodore is on a roll, so it’s hard to tell if he’ll leave the Top 10 to rejoin his Top 25 friends in 2022. As for Aiden, it’s not looking likely that he’ll come back next year. He and his rhyming -ayden friends (Brayden, Kayden, etc.) are cooling in popularity, with the majority falling in rankings in 2021.
As for potential new faces for 2022’s Top 25 Boy Names, we have our eye on Leo. He’s strong in sound yet approachable, which is always a favorite, and his meaning of “lion” gives him added power. He’s also a space-themed name, with the Leo constellation appearing in the Northern celestial hemisphere.
On the girls’ side of the charts, say hello to Aria and Chloe. Miss Aria is no surprise, as parents love this little lady. With musical ties and a sing-song sound, she is simply breathtaking. As for the cutie Chloe, she’s no stranger to the Top 25, as she’s rocked in and out over the last few years. Expect Aria to stick around for 2022, but don’t be surprised if Chloe plays peek-a-boo and pops out again next year.
The two new ladies replace Mila and Madison. Mila was a shock to see fall from #20 to #26, as she had a strong showing over the last few years. Madison was another surprise, falling from #23 to #29. She’s a former Top 10 staple with surname styling, and she’d grown in 2021. But that’s not always a bad thing, right? If these names were a touch too popular for you before, they might be just right for you now.
So, who might join the 2022’s Top 25 Girl Names? That’s a tough one, but maybe Nora. Her friend Eleanor is lighting up the charts at #15, and she has the vintage vibes that parents are gaga over.
2021 Top 100 Baby Name Changes
The rest of the Top 100 experienced quite the shakeup for boys and girls. Many long-time favorites slipped in popularity while fresh faces surged.
On the boys’ side, four newbies joined us: Waylon, Bennett, Beau, and Weston. We adore the cowboy vibes of this bunch. They’ve replaced Jaxson, Jace, Adam, and Kayden. These departed names are mostly modern monikers with a trendy edge that tends to burn hot and fast, so we’re not too shocked to see them slip, though Adam is a Biblical favorite who’s had a long run in the Top 100. Names making big strides for boys are Luca and Kai, while Hunter and Connor saw some major slippage.
For girls, say hello to Rylee and Athena. Rylee is an alternative spelling to the rambunctious Riley, while Athena is a Greek great meaning “wise.” They replace Samantha, who was once a Top 10 darling, and Brielle, a shortened form of Gabrielle, who has wiggled back and forth near the edge of the Top 100 for a few years. Massive climbs were seen by Josephine and Leilani, while Anna and Samantha saw the biggest drops.
Who might appear in 2022’s Top 100? We can see Rowan and River making their debut for boys, as these natural names are resonating with parents far and wide. Luka is another serious contender, as he and his alternate spelling Luca are gaining serious traction. Liliana is one to watch on the girls’ side, as this determined beauty has been steadily climbing in ranking. Iris might make an appearance as well, since this moniker meaning “rainbow” is a natural vintage name, nailing two megatrends. Keep an eye on Ayla, too. This modern maven has been on our radar for a while, and 2022 looks like it might be her year.
Biggest Chart Climbers of 2021: Boys
While plenty of boy names saw increases in popularity, some standouts truly exploded in usage. These boy names rocked parents’ socks off:
- Amiri [+543]: Meaning “prince,” this darling wowed, soaring into the Top 1000 for the first time to land at #757.
- Eliam [+442]: While he feels like a mashup of the mega-popular Elijah and Liam, this Hebrew pick has ancient roots that have helped him climb to #736.
- Colter [+344]: With dashing good looks and a cowboy edge, this surname standout galloped up to #627.
- Ozzy [+336]: This member of rock-and-roll royalty roared into the Top 1000 for the first time, arriving at #712.
- Loyal [+300]: This virtuous wow of a word name hasn’t been in the Top 1000 since 1948, but he rejoined the party at #753 in 2021.
- Khai [+287]: An Egyptian name, he means “crowned” or “royal one.”
- Evander [+279]: Hailing from Greece, this charmer has the amazing meaning “good man.”
- Camilo [+263]: This Latin legend was a treasure for parents, who helped him rise to #610.
- Mac [+260]: Meaning “a son,” this Gaelic moniker has hip-hop ties and a boyish spirit that helped propel him toward greatness.
- Jiraiya [+251]: This anime-featured find meaning “young thunder” found his footing in 2021.
Biggest Chart Climbers of 2021: Girls
2021 brought major success to so many sweet girl names. These mighty monikers climbed the most on the charts:
- Raya [+441]: The biggest mover for girls flew up 441 spots to #494, undeniably helped by Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon.
- Wrenley [+397]: This modern marvel joined the charts for the first time in 2020, but she made a mega leap in her sophomore year.
- Angelique [+306]: This “messenger of God” is a fancy French sister to Angel.
- Vida [+285]: 2021 was great to this Spanish sweetheart, who rejoined the Top 1000 for the first time since 1946.
- Emberlynn [+284]: This combination cutie hit her stride in 2021, making her debut in the Top 1000.
- Flora [+278]: With her flowery feel and vintage leanings, Flora floated up to #647.
- Murphy [+262]: With a fierce meaning like “descendent of the sea warrior,” it’s no surprise that parents can’t get enough of this Irish surname sensation.
- Arleth [+259]: Worn by telenovela actress Arleth Terán, she reentered the Top 1000 to perch at #957.
- Ocean [+253]: This word name wonder’s natural beauty runs deep.
- Oakleigh [+252]: An alternate spelling to Oakley, this sweet pea sashayed up to #609.
Biggest Losses in Popularity: Boys
Some boy names lost significant ground on the charts. This can be attributed to everything from cooling trends to negative pop culture influences. These boy names saw the biggest drops in popularity:
- Jaxtyn [-349]: Created modern monikers tend to rise rapidly in popularity, but they also fall just as quickly, as seen in this twist on Jackson
- Karsyn [-254]: Alternative spellings come and go, and this Carson alternate is no different.
- Xzavier [-236]: As with his original form Xavier, this unique spelling lost steam.
- Willie [-210]: This twangy form of William has country roots, but they failed to keep him grounded on the charts.
- Tristen [-202]: Tristan’s alternative spelling plummeted from the Top 1000.
- Aldo [-200]: This MMA-linked name fought hard on the charts, but he fell to #983.
- Hakeem [-196]: Meaning “wise,” this handsome Arabic pick’s short-lived stint in the Top 1000 ended in 2021.
- Bentlee [-193]: This form of Bentley fell out of the Top 1000.
- Marley [-188]: While this moniker teeters in unisex territory, it’s now leaning decidedly feminine on the charts after losing major spots with boys.
- Korbyn [-182]: Corbin’s alternate spelling lost his sparkle compared to previous years.
Biggest Losses in Popularity: Girls
Not every name can stay in the spotlight, as these girl monikers learned in 2021:
- Denisse [-471]: This form of Denise slid out of the Top 1000 entirely.
- Denise [-360]: A French find, she once ruled the charts in the 1950s and 1960s but has steadily lost favorability since, landing into dreaded “dated” territory.
- Karen [-263]: Linked to the malevolent manager-seeking stereotype, this Scandinavian form of Catherine continued to lose ground with parents in 2021.
- Keily [-227]: This “graceful” Irish gem’s short-lived time in the Top 1000 ended in 2021.
- Nathalie [-221]: 2021 wasn’t the best year for this form of Natalie.
- Itzayana [-214]: This Mayan moniker lost her place in the Top 1000.
- Alexa [-213]: The link to Amazon’s mega-popular virtual assistant continues to push this name down the charts.
- Meilani [-208]: This Jersey Shore cutie couldn’t keep her hold on the Top 1000.
- Lyanna [-203]: Even the insane strength of her Game of Thrones character couldn’t keep this stunning name from slipping in ranking.
- Elliot [-201]: This gender-neutral name fell to #773.
2021 Trend Alerts to Watch for in 2022 Names
Amid the sea of names and changes, there are definite trends from 2021 that we predict will continue into 2022.
First up: Hello vintage names. From Theodore busting into the Top 10 for boys to Scarlett and Eleanor gaining ground for the girls, retro names are as fashionable as ever. We foresee more 1920s and 1930s staples climbing the ranks in 2022 as they come back into style, including Betty, Dorothy, and Louise for girls, and Russell, Frederick, and Amos for boys.
We spotted a lot of surnames on the rise, too, including Banks and Bridger for boys and Palmer and Fallon for girls. If you want to nail this style without being too popular, see Monroe and Ellis for girls and Edison and Quincy for boys. This style has been ruling for some time, but it doesn’t show signs of slowing if you’d like to give it a try.
Of course, word names continue to wow, too, like Onyx and Navy. These monikers are perfect for standing out or injecting a little edge into a name, even if you use them in the middle name slot. Opt for natural names like Clover and Rio, or try out religious options like Halo and Deacon. The sky’s the limit, and we don’t see this trend calming down.
What names do you see climbing the charts in 2022? Did your favorite names change much in popularity? Dip? Check out the rankings and eat up all the name goodies. You might find a new favorite.