Most popular baby names of the past decade
William Shakespeare's famous female protagonist once asked, "What's in a name?" The answer? Honestly, quite a bit. Though the young lovestruck Juliet presents her soliloquy in the interest of proving quite the opposite—that a name means nothing, and her affection for Romeo should not be hindered by feuding family names—the truth about the weight carried by a name is quite contrary to her point.
The reality is that names tell stories. They tell stories about those who give them to us, and they come to tell stories about us as we carry them through our lives. They tell stories about cultural trends and current events that inform them or about the long-standing traditions that serve to carry them on from generation to generation. Names are like mirrors that reflect where we've come from, who we are, what connects us, and where we're going.
This is a time when finding unique baby names—think Aymeline, Bohan, and Ingram—seems to be a high priority. A look at baby name trends over the past decade shows that even as we grasp for the unconventional, there's still a fair share of names that reign supreme when it comes to baby name selection.
Stacker consulted data from the Social Security Administration to collect the most popular baby names of the past decade. The names were ranked by the total number of American babies that were given the name between 2010 and 2019 (data released September 2020). The story also includes each name's highest and lowest points of popularity in the decade or the years in which the most and least children were given these names. This list is broken down by birth gender, as reported on the baby's Social Security card application. The names on this list include that that have been popularized by television phenomena (Aria, from "Game of Thrones"), names rooted in tradition (Samuel, which is rooted in the Bible), and those that coincide with technological advances (we're looking at you, Alexa).
Read on to learn more about the top 100 baby names of the past decade and the stories behind their popularity.
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#50. Charles (for boys)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 69,715
- Peak popularity: 2014 (Rank: #51; 7,339 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2019 (Rank: #51; 6,348 babies born)
The name Charles is of French and German origin, with roots in the Germanic name Karl, meaning "free man." While the name was still in the top 50 most popular boy names for the decade, it has mostly been on a steady decline, except for a couple of spikes during some years between the 1920s and '30s.
#50. Mila (for girls)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 43,974
- Peak popularity: 2018 (Rank: #14; 8126 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2010 (Rank: #363; 881 babies born)
The name Mila has Spanish and Slavic origins and was often found at the start or end of a name such as Milena or Camila. Jena Hager Bush named her first daughter Mila, a moniker shared by actress Mila Kunis.
#49. Thomas (for boys)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 69,718
- Peak popularity: 2016 (Rank: #48; 7,338 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2019 (Rank: #47; 6,612 babies born)
The boy’s name Thomas means "twins" and is of Greek descent. The list of people born with this moniker is as long as its history and includes inventor Thomas Edison, actors Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, and Tommy Lee Jones, and the fictional character Thomas the Tank Engine.
#49. Stella (for girls)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 44,069
- Peak popularity: 2018 (Rank: #38, 5121 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2010 (Rank: #85, 3439 babies born)
This name long predates Marlon Brando yelling ”Stella!” in "A Streetcar Named Desire." In the Middle Ages, "Stella" was used to describe the Virgin Mary. Tori Spelling and Matt Damon both have a daughter named Stella.
#48. Aaron (for boys)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 70,225
- Peak popularity: 2011 (Rank: #50; 7,613 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2019 (Rank: #61; 5,509 babies born)
A name of Hebrew origin, Aaron means "exalted or enlightened." There has been some debate about the name's roots, with some believing it comes from Ancient Egypt. In the Old Testament, Aaron is the older brother and spokesperson for Moses, playing a critical role in the prophet's appeal to the Egyptians to free the Israelites from slavery. Today, the name remains pretty steadily popular, with a few contemporary famous namesakes, including actors Aaron Paul, from "Breaking Bad," and Aaron Eckhart.
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#48. Kaylee (for girls)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 44,452
- Peak popularity: 2010 (Rank: #35; 6,095 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2019 (Rank: #114; 2,528 babies born)
Kaylee, which is almost a portmanteau of two other names (Kayla and Hailey), is an American name that means "laurel, crown." The name was most popular at the start of the decade, after which it began to fall out of favor as the years went on.
#47. Hunter (for boys)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 74,564
- Peak popularity: 2013 (Rank: #36; 8,954 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2019 (Rank: #66; 5,353 babies born)
An English name by origin, Hunter, means "one who hunts." While the name saw several years of high popularity within the past two decades, it was virtually unused in the U.S. before 1990 but saw its most significant climb to popularity in the decade leading up to the turn of the millennium.
#47. Nevaeh (for girls)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 44,666
- Peak popularity: 2010 (Rank: #25; 6,420 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2019 (Rank: #90; 3,080 babies born)
A relatively recent name, Nevaeh, is "heaven" spelled backward. The name's popularity first started rising when rocker/rapper Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D. introduced his baby daughter, Nevaeh, on MTV's home tour show, "MTV Cribs" back in 2000. This is a polarizing one, though: While the popularity of the name has been on the rise since the early aughts, that rise has coincided with some serious disdain for the name on the other side of the spectrum, too.
#46. Isaiah (for boys)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 75,756
- Peak popularity: 2010 (Rank: #43; 8,571 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2019 (Rank: #53; 6,150 babies born)
A name with a strong religious foundation, Isaiah is one of the most important prophets in the Bible, and the name means "God is salvation" in its original Hebrew. Though it's unclear what triggered the sharp spike in the name's popularity in 2010, it may be more than just a coincidence that in February of that same year, actor Isaiah Mustafa rose to almost instant fame as the face of Old Spice in the popular "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" ad campaign.
#46. Sarah (for girls)
- Total babies with this name, 2010-2019: 46,380
- Peak popularity: 2010 (Rank: #28; 6,321 babies born)
- Lowest popularity: 2019 (Rank: #81; 3,287 babies born)
Sarah is a name of Hebrew origin meaning "princess." While the name sat somewhere within the top five baby names for most of the 1990s, its popularity has been on a steady decline since the turn of the millennium.
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