Special Report

America's Fastest Growing First Names

Between space-themed names such as Luna and Nova, and the re-emergence of old-fashioned names including Dawson and Eleanor, parents of this generation — without a doubt — are getting more creative with baby names. Of all the unique, peculiar, and classic names out there, 50 boy and girl names in particular are becoming more prevalent at an astonishing rate.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Social Security Administration to determine which boy and girl names are on the rise in popularity. It’s important to note that no name can accurately be deemed the fastest growing in popularity due to the extremely high variation and number of names in the world. We looked at the 200 most popular boy names and 200 most popular girl names in 2017 and then reviewed the change in popularity of all of those names from 2013 and 2017.

Celebrities tend to have a relatively strong influence on baby names, just as they do on hairstyle, clothing, and diet trends. For example, the girl name Hazel went from the 157th most popular girl name in 2013 to the 43rd most popular by 2017. Actors Emily Blunt and John Krasinski chose to name their first daughter Hazel in 2014. In that same year, Hazel was the 105th most popular name for a girl, and by 2015 it broke through the top 100 barrier, becoming the 63rd most popular girl name in the country. Coincidence? We think not.

Click here to see America’s fastest growing first names for girls.
Click here to see America’s fastest growing first names for boys.

Inspiration for other out-of-the-ordinary names may be attributable to fictional characters from specific television shows or movies. Take Arya as an example. Arya was the 278th most popular name for girls in 2013, but it skyrocketed to the 135th most popular girl name by 2017. During this time, the popular HBO series, “Game of Thrones,” was taking off, and one of the strong female characters in the series is named Arya Stark.

Of course, parents these days are re-introducing names that have since dwindled in popularity over time, or have even gone on long hiatuses. It’s said that it takes about 100 years for a name to become trendy again, and the boy name Dawson is one example. The name Dawson appeared in the late 19th century and fell off the charts by 1912. However, the old-fashioned name has been slowly making a comeback. In 2017, Dawson was the 196th most popular boy name, up from the 320th most popular name for boys in 2013.

To identify America’s fastest growing first names, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the change in popularity of all boy and girl names from 2013 and 2017. We compared boy and girl names, separately, by calculating the annual average change in ranking for each name. These names have the largest upward growth in ranking. We only considered names in the top 200 most popular names in 2017. All data was obtained from the Social Security Administration, which publishes data for names with five or more occurrences. We did not account for similar spellings of same-sounding names. To be considered a name’s popularity ranking needed to have increased by at least 20 places from 2013 and 2017.

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