Special Report

The Fastest Growing Boy Names in America

The popularity of names ebbs and flows throughout generations. A look at those that are rising the most in popularity at any given moment can offer inspiration to any soon-to-be parent, as well as insight into major cultural and demographic shifts occurring throughout the country.

To determine the fastest growing boy names in America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on first names from the U.S. Social Security Administration. Names were ranked based on the total change in male newborns assigned the name from 2017 to 2022. Supplemental data on names by state is also from the SSA.

The fastest growing names for boys are an interesting mix of the traditional and modern, including names from the Bible, mythology, nature, and pop culture. (These are the most popular literary-inspired baby names in America.)

Many new parents are looking to the past for inspiration. Vintage names like Theodore, Wesley, and Leo, for example, are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Leo peaked in popularity around 1900, consistently ranking in the top 50 most popular boy names. After falling to No. 486 in 1995, the name quickly rebounded, and in 2022 was the 22nd most popular name for male newborns.

There is also a strong naming trend in choosing first names traditionally used as surnames. Names like Bennett, Brooks, Cooper, Hudson, Parker, and Walker have steadily transitioned from surnames to first names over the last several decades, and are today among the fastest growing names for boys.

Click here to see the fastest growing boy names in America

There is also a growing trend toward the overall diversity of names, with less concentration among the most popular ones. While in 1920, the 500 most popular names for boys constituted 88.1% of all newborn babies, in 2022 the 500 most popular made up just 65.9%. According to “Drift as a Mechanism for Cultural Change: An Example from Baby Names” published in the August 2003 edition of proceedings Biological Sciences, the incidence of new, unusual names spiked in the 1920s and again in the 1960s, suggesting that Americans may look to unique names during times of social and cultural change. (Here are the biggest name fads of the last 40 years.)

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