Naming babies is tough. You want to find a name that is strong and beautiful but also unique. Or maybe you want one that is easy to spell (because you went your entire life correcting folks on how to spell or pronounce your own). Perhaps your choice is based on family history and significance. Could also be that your choice is based on other personal preferences, like your favorite musician or character in literature. Regardless, you may be interested in to know that the list of 2016’s most popular baby names is out now.

The info here has been culled from the Social Security Administration’s data on names and features the top 10 lists of boy and girl names for the past year. But they’ve also got some additional snazzy info, like the top 5 names over the past century, which names were more common by state, and how popular these names have been over time.  I won’t keep you in too much suspense, though. I’m sure you’re itching to find out if your kiddo’s name made the list (or stayed off the list, depending on what you prefer).

Prince William

Image: Giphy

Top 10 Boy Names

1. Noah
2. Liam
3. William
4. Mason
5. James
6. Benjamin
7. Jacob
8. Michael
9. Elijah
10. Ethan

emily and haley

Image: Giphy / Bachelor in Paradice

Top 10 Girl Names

1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Ava
4. Sophia
5. Isabella
6. Mia
7. Charlotte
8. Abigail
9. Emily
10. Harper

I’ve got to say I’m a little surprised at the names. It was starting to seem like less-traditional names were on the rise, but now it looks like we’re going back to sticking with the classics. That said, Emma and Noah have both stayed steady in the number one spot for a number of years now. Perhaps we have young actresses like Emma Stone and Emma Watson to thank for the popularity. Or maybe it’s just a slight variation on another name that was steadily in first place from 1997-2006: Emily. Personally, I think my favorites on the girl list are Charlotte and Harper.

Thinking Beyond The Presented Data

I do have a few questions about this data, though. For example, these all appear to be names given at birth, but are they accounting for people who change their names as they get older? Also, when are we going to stop categorizing names by gender (or gender assigned at birth)? It also speaks volumes to the types of names that are picked (many of which are biblical, and certainly not straying far into non-white cultures). And since we have about 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, can you imagine how the popularity of names might change if we had data on all children living here? Just some food for thought.

(Image: Unsplash / Laura Lee Moreau)