Special Report

25 American Names Popular for the First Time

Many parents aim to give their child a name that will set them apart from the thousands of Johns and Jennifers in their classrooms and on their playgrounds. But they also don’t want a name so unique that no one knows how to pronounce it. Finding a distinctive yet appropriate moniker for a boy or a girl – or both – is a tough decision. 

It helps that there are really no rules for choosing a name, and rare or unique ones appear on the scene all the time.

To identify names that became popular for the first time in 2020, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the popularity of baby names in the United States each year between 1880 and 2020 using data obtained from the Social Security Administration. We then compiled a list of those that never appeared among the 500 most popular until 2020. Only 25 names met that criterion.

Far from being “new,” several of these names can be found in the Bible, like the girl’s name Noa, or date back to medieval times, like the boy’s name Tripp. Astrid was a name first given to 10th-century Scandinavian royal women. Now, it can be any little girl’s title. Many of the names trace their roots to Old English or German words, though Latin, Hebrew, and Greek are also involved. (Here are some old-fashioned names making a comeback.)

Celebrity baby names and movie characters may also persuade parents to give their child a particular first name. After Robert Kardashian and Blac Chyna named their daughter Dream, more parents gave their offspring the dreamy sobriquet. Kylo, the name of a popular (though somewhat dark) “Star Wars” character, Kylo Ren, made the list. Yet the name wasn’t invented for the film; it actually derives from a Latin word. (Books inspire names, too. These are the 20 most popular literary-inspired baby names.)

Click here to see 25 American names popular for the first time

If a parent is looking for a one-of-a-kind, or at least only-a-few-hundred-of-a-kind name with special meaning for their special child, those listed here are a good start.