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Most popular baby names in the 21st century

  • Most popular baby names in the 21st century

    What is in a name? Though neither Romeo nor Juliet can claim a spot on any lists of the most popular baby names of the 21st century in the U.S., this collection has a little bit of everything. There are reimagined surnames, Puritan virtue names, and names born from rom-coms, sitcoms, and dreamed up by Shakespeare himself.

    Each year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) gathers and analyzes name data, offering tremendous insight into past and present time periods; thus, we are able to get a glimpse into those cultural connections and trends that influenced the naming of our parents, grandparents, and so on. Stacker analyzed data from SSA to rank the most popular baby names of the 21st century. The list’s data are split up by birth gender, as reported on the baby’s Social Security card application. Data are included for 2000 through 2019; the 2019 rankings were released in September 2020.

    Today, “vintage” and “retro”—equal parts uncomplicated response to an increasingly complicated, connected society and proof that what’s classic and simple prevails—is truly en vogue in sectors like fashion, home music listening, and mobile phones. Well, names are similar. The most popular names on this list include timeless, transcendent favorites like Noah, Sophia, Elijah, and Olivia.

    As the list shows, the era of Tom, Dick, and Harry is mostly gone. Instead, fascinating names (and traditional ones) populate the most popular baby names in the 21st century; though celebrity babies help boost a name’s popularity, Blue Ivy, Suri, or Apple have yet to crack the list. Keep reading to see if any of the most popular names of this century match anyone you know.

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  • #50. Cameron (for boys)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 161,813 (8,091 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2000 (Rank: #31; 12,761 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #67 (5,226 babies born)

    Though originally Scottish in origin, this name's 21st-century popularity is perhaps more rooted in Hollywood. Director James Cameron's “Titanic" dominated the theaters during many 21st-century parents' formative years, and Cameron Crowe's “Almost Famous" was released in September of 2000.

  • #50. Aubrey (for girls)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 95,247 (4,762 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2012 (Rank: #15; 8,047 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #45 (4,570 babies born)

    No, the surge in popularity isn’t directly attributable to Aubrey “Drake” Graham, much of whose worldwide fame came after 2012, the year that “Aubrey” reached its peak as the 15th most popular baby name. Aubrey—the French, English meaning of which is "elf ruler”—has grabbed a spot in SSA’s 21st-century rankings, having been popular among boys in the Middle Ages, becoming a common name for girls beginning in the 1970s, and today evoking such female stars as Aubrey Plaza.

  • #49. Kevin (for boys)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 162,205 (8,110 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2000 (Rank: #32; 12,667 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #149 (2,610 babies born)

    Kevin is actually the English version of the Irish name Caoimhín, who was a saint in sixth-century Ireland. Now, what spurred the name's peak in 2000? It's hard to know if it was Kevin Bacon's performance in “Hollow Man" or Kevin Garnett putting up 22 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

  • #49. Gabriella (for girls)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 95,288 (4,764 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2010 (Rank: #33; 6,177 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #76 (3,461 babies born)

    This name is the female version of Gabriel, a biblical name which in Hebrew means “God is my strength.” In the Christian Bible, the archangel Gabriel appears to tell Mary that she is pregnant with Jesus. All through the 2000s, Gabrielle Union was starring in films, appearing in both “Bring It On" and “Love & Basketball" in 2000.

  • #48. Jordan (for boys)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 165,226 (8,261 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2000 (Rank: #36; 12,167 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #89 (4,306 babies born)

    This name gets its roots from the ancient river that runs between Jordan and Israel, which also was the site of Jesus' baptism by John in the New Testament. But let's be real: It also got a popularity boost when a kid from North Carolina named Michael Jeffrey Jordan became the greatest man to ever play basketball.

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  • #48. Brooklyn (for girls)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 96,892 (4,845 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2011 (Rank: #21; 7,164 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #52 (4,270 babies born)

    Based on the property value hike in Brooklyn this last decade (68.1% according to the appraisal firm Miller Samuel), young Americans seem to have an affinity for the New York City borough. Naming your child Brooklyn can serve as a way to vicariously exist near the increasingly affluent borough—based on Kanye West's “Couldn't afford a car so she named her daughter Alexis" theorem). The name is also favored by David and Victoria “Posh Spice" Beckham, who named their eldest son Brooklyn.

  • #47. Justin (for boys)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 168,352 (8,418 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2000 (Rank: #19; 17,779 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #155 (2,516 babies born)

    The name Justin traces its roots to the Latin name Justus, which means “just." The name peaked in 2000, right when a certain famous Justin's album “No Strings Attached" was breaking records with its first-week sales. This I promise you, the era of Justin as a niche name went bye, bye, bye right when that NSYNC hit the scene.

  • #47. Morgan (for girls)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 98,299 (4,915 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2000 (Rank: #25; 9,502 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #176 (1,642 babies born)

    This name came into popular use after Geoffrey of Monmouth named a sorcerer Morgan le Fay in his King Arthur stories. Morgan fits nicely into the trend of unisex names.

  • #46. Isaiah (for boys)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 168,446 (8,422 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2006 (Rank: #39; 10,448 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #53 (6,150 babies born)

    This biblical name draws its roots in the Hebrew Bible. Isaiah was an eighth-century B.C. prophet and is mentioned specifically in Christianity's Gospel of John for having predicted the coming of Christ. Detroit Pistons' great Isiah Thomas' name is spelled without the first “a,” but current NBA star Isaiah Thomas uses the more traditional spelling.

  • #46. Katherine (for girls)

    - Total babies born in the 21st century: 99,373 (4,969 per year)
    - Most popular year: 2000 (Rank: #33; 8,107 babies born)
    - Name popularity rank in 2019: #121 (2,431 babies born)

    This name has Greek roots and has many regal forbearers: Catherine the Great, Katherine of Aragon, Catherine de' Medici, and more. It's unclear what spiked this specific spelling of Katherine's popularity in 2000—Katharine Hepburn spelled her name a bit differently and Katherine Heigl wouldn't join “Grey's Anatomy" until 2005.

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