My favorite part of reading a new list of the top 1000 American baby names is finding out which names are in and out! For reference, here are all the names that entered or exited the top 1000 in 2017, according to data from the Social Security Administration. If they entered, they’re officially popular now; if they left, they’ve become rare.
Girls: Alisa, Alora, Aminah, Amora, Dream, Egypt, Emberly, Emerald, Ensley, Everlee, Florence, India, Jenny, Jurnee, Kimora, Legacy, Luella, Lyanna, Magdalena, Malani, Marlowe, Meilani*, Melania, Miley, Mylah, Oaklee, Oaklyn, Oaklynn, Octavia, Opal, Paisleigh, Raylee, Renee, Saanvi, Samira, Selene, Sonia, Spencer, Sunny, Tara, Treasure, Xiomara, Yara
Boys: Aaden, Alaric, Ayan, Bishop, Bjorn, Briar, Caspian, Colson, Decker, Dilan, Frankie, Gatlin, Gianluca, Jaxx, Jaxxon, Jovanni, Juelz, Kace, Kairo, Kaiser, Khari, Koa, Kylen, Kyng, Ledger, Mike, Nova, Randall, Rashad, Reign, Shepard, Shmuel, Simeon, Wells, Yadiel, Zahir, Zayd
Girls: Aislinn, Alianna, Ally, Alyvia, Amya, Anabella, Ann, Anniston, Antonia, Arden, Aryana, Aubri, Ayana, Azaria, Briley, Bryleigh, Chandler, Cherish, Ciara, Elin, Emilie, Farrah, Heather, Jasmin, Jaylynn, Julianne, Kaylynn, Kensington*, Lilia, Lilyanna, Madyson, Marisol, Mariyah, Maylee, Milania, Montserrat, Moriah, Nathaly, Sharon, Shayla, Tabitha, Wendy, Yasmin
Boys: Ahmir, Amare, Benicio, Bode, Braiden, Brantlee, Brent, Creed, Gauge, Gilbert, Giovani, Hakeem, Harris, Immanuel, Jair, Jamar, Jamarion, Jericho, Jonathon, Justus, Kamdyn, Karim, Kolby, Konner, Krish, Kylo, Kymani, Marquis, Menachem, Mikael, Neymar, Ralph, Riaan, Rolando, Steve, Turner, Urijah
- There are 43 new girls names and 37 new boys names in the American top 1000.
- Octavia is the highest ranking girls’ entry at #593 (with 502 girls). This name’s newfound popularity is attributed to actress Octavia Spencer, who might also be partly responsible for the debut of Spencer (#975 with 266) as a girls’ name.
- Colson is the highest ranking boys’ entry at #736 (with 321 boys). I initially wondered if Colson was a variation on the Marvel character Agent Coulson’s name. While Marvel may have a little influence on Colson, this particular spelling is associated with author Colson Whitehead. His 2016 novel The Underground Railroad won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
- R.I.P. Ann, Gilbert, and Steve. They were in the top 1000 every year from 1880 to 2016, and now they’re gone. Last year, 251 girls were named Ann (6 below the minimum 257 needed to join the top 1000 on the girls side), 194 boys were named Gilbert (7 below the minimum 201 for the boys’ side), and 186 boys were named Steve (15 below).
- The #1000th most popular girls’ name was Alora. Bryleigh and Winnie were just as common for baby girls last year, but were prevented from entry by preference in alphabetical order.
- The #1000th most popular boys’ name was Jaxx. Kamdyn, Marquis, and Turner were just as common, but missed the cut.
- Melania (#930 with 283 girls) replaced Milania (205 girls) as the standard spelling of that name, due familiarity with the First Lady.
- Lyanna (#858 with 317 girls) and Yara (#987 with 262 girls) are character names from Game of Thrones.
- *With the annual blessing of a new top 1000 also comes an annoying update to earlier years’ data sets that shifts a few names around (usually not by much, but enough for name researchers to notice). Meilani was in the original 2016 top 1000, but in 2017 the updated top 1000 for 2016 shows Kensington instead. They’ve swapped places again; for 2017, Meilani is considered a reentry and Kensington an exit. Kensington wasn’t initially in the 2016 top 1000, but it is now. This is confusing, I know. I wish the Social Security Administration would provide a definite answer for why they do this…my guesses are that it’s to correct a) some parents’ failure to apply for Social Security within a certain time-frame, b) data-entry errors, and/or c) legal name changes. Do my fellow name-writers have any other ideas?
Do you have any thoughts or questions about the new names in the top 1000, or the names that have left? Favorites, least-favorites? Are you happy or disappointed about some of the names? Let me know!