Image: iStock / Mukhina1
It's that time of the year again, folks. Thankfully we are not talking about flu season or holiday shopping this time. We're referring to the release of the most popular baby names. The Social Security Administration has put out its most popular baby names of 2018. The list is based on government data collected over the last 12 months.
Debating about what to name your impending bundle of joy and can't decide whether to go for a Disney name or a Game of Thrones one? See what ones make it into the list — if any. (No spoilers here.) If you're wondering where your tyke's name stacks up on the list, you've come to the right place. You can also see how the most popular baby names of 2018 compare to last year's results. Keep scrolling to see the most popular baby names of 2018 for boys and girls.
Surprise, surprise Liam has clinched the numero uno spot on the top boys' names of 2018 list. For those with good memories, the name was the number one pick for 2017, too. Our favorite Hemsworth brother, Liam Hemsworth, no doubt has something to do with the popularity, along with former One Direction-er Liam Payne. It is less likely that people are naming their kids after Liam Neeson nowadays unless the parents are massive action movie fans, but you never know. (And we aren't here to judge you either way.) Forgetting about celebrities, Liam is just an adorable, easy-to-pronounce and spell name in general. Don't you think?
Emma has been crowned the top girls name for 2018, according to the Social Security Administration. Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Emma Roberts, Emma Thompson, the list goes on. So, it is understandable that people may have been subconsciously inspired to pick the name based on how much we hear it in pop culture. Or, maybe it was a more conscious choice. Perhaps people still cannot get enough of the name thanks to Baby Spice aka Emma Bunton or because of Ross and Rachel's baby on Friends. The 1990s always seem to be making a comeback so why should baby names be any exception? Emma is also such a pretty name and it won't give little ones a big spelling challenge.
Noah earns the silver medal in the list of top boys' name for 2018. The name hasn't really dated like some. Plus, it is rich in Biblical and historical references. You're likely familiar with the story of God choosing Noah to build his ark, but were you also aware that Noah is a Hebrew name that means "rest" and "comfort?" (That's according to Baby Center.) And don't underestimate the sway of Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp and your new boyfriend Noah Centineo. Noah is on the boys' list, but maybe its popularity will result in it becoming a genderless name. Take a look at Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter Noah Lindsey Cyrus.
Olivia finished just shy of the top spot for girls for 2018. Fun fact: In 2017, it ranked in the same position. I'd like to think that Olivia Coleman has something to do with the popularity of the name, but she did not win her Academy Award for The Favourite until February 2019, so maybe it'll rank at the top next year. It is still easy to see the appeal of the name. Olivia is of Greek origin and it is the feminine form of "Oliver," meaning "olive tree" according to Baby Center. Did you know it has links to The Bard? The name Olivia was reportedly first used by William Shakespeare for a character in Twelfth Night. Try and beat that.
You might be expecting to see some of the names of some of the younger members of the British royal family on the list given that we collectively get baby fever with each delivery. Having William on the list is a bit of a curve ball. Don't me wrong, I'm all for Prince William but you would have thought Louis, Charlotte, and George would have been the names setting the trend. And what would Prince Harry say about this? Moving beyond the heir to the throne, William has a rich history with countless greats having the name from the aforementioned William Shakespeare to William Shatner. It's also a brilliant name for nickname potential.
How cute is Ava, you guys? You can probably see why the girl's name has earned a third ranking. It is actually a variation on Eve. Baby Center states that the name could potentially come from the Latin "avis" which means "bird." Ava is also a simple palindrome (a word where the characters are read the same forwards and backwards). In recent years there has been a baby name trend for old school names gaining popularity with modern parents and this is a good example. Ava has a throwback vibe thanks to Ava Gardner but it also has a new school vibe thanks to Ava DuVernay.
We just talked about William and here's another noble name earning high marks from new parents. James is a classic name that sounds as good for 2019 as it did in 1619. How many other names can you say that about? Exactly. It has been the name of many kings, Harry Potter's dad, a certain 007 agent, and The Godfather of Soul, plus, many, many more. It pretty much could work for any personality. Another thing to consider about its popularity is that maybe a lot of people still have a soft spot for James and the Giant Peach. Naming your little one after a childhood classic is so adorable.
We do not immediately have a mile-long list of famous people when we hear the name Isabella. This could be why it earned the number four spot on the top girls' names for 2018. Perhaps, parents don't want people say, "[insert name here] like the actress/actor of the same name?" There still are some famous Isabellas (Isabella Rossellini, 13th century Queen of Portugal Isabella of Aragon), but it's really all about the beauty of the name. For the record, it is a twist of Elizabeth, per Baby Center, and it means "devoted to God" in Hebrew. And if there happens to be two Isabellas in your girl's class, you have plenty of nickname options.
We had Olivia on the girls' side so it is fitting that we have the male version, Oliver, on the boys' side of the most popular baby names of 2018. It is a common last name, but it works just as well as a first name. According to Babble, the name came to England courtesy of the Normans and it was a spin on the French "Olivier." Besides the aforementioned link to olive trees it is more abstractedly known for peacefulness — and what parent doesn't pray for that in a baby? Some people might also be suckers for the nickname Olly.
Next on the girls' side we have Sophia. Could Sophia Grace have something to do with this? Given that she is a teenager and most new parents are of a different generation, it's doubtful. Although, we're sure some kids would love the idea of being named after the singer-viral star. Other famous Sophias include Sophia Loren, Sophia Vergara, and Sophia Bush. The name is of Greek origin and means "wisdom," reports Baby Center. Sophia with a "ph" wins out by only a couple spots in comparison to Sofia. The latter ranked at number 17 on the Social Security Administration's most popular baby names of 2018 list.
Did it always seem like you had one or two Bens in your class when you were growing up? Clearly the name hasn't dimmed in popularity because Benjamin takes the sixth spot on the boys' list of most popular names. It is one of the longest names on the roundup at a full three syllables. Parents don't appear to be worried about spelling or lengthy name issues. They are probably more taken by its Biblical references and the famous Benjamins from history. Benjamin Franklin and, um, Ben Affleck (full name Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt), anyone? Just think of the nickname potential: Ben, Benny, BJ, Benji, Benno...
A few spots down from William, we have another Royal moniker on the girls' side: Charlotte. Princess Charlotte was born in May 2015. In that year, the name held the ninth position on the SSA's list. In 2016, it moved up to the seventh spot and in 2017 it held the same rank. For the most recent list, it comes in at number six. You can call it the Princess Charlotte effect. Other reasons to love the name are Charlotte's Web and for Charlotte Brontë, the writer of Jane Eyre. Name Berry points out that it means "free man" and the French-origin name comes from Charles.
Elijah? Did we read that right? Yes, you might be surprised to see that one on here, given that the first time you probably heard the name was in 2001 thanks to Elijah Wood and Lord of the Rings. You might not have met many Elijahs since then, but that could change in future generations. The cute unique name earns a decent seventh spot. It turns out that it's a popular Jewish baby boy's name and Baby Center reports that it has "skyrocketed" in popularity since the 1990s. So, it looks like Frodo did have something to do with it.
It is tempting to talk about Mamma Mia in relation to the seventh most popular girls' name, but that would distract from what a genuinely pretty name it is. Mia is loveliness all wrapped up in three simple letters. It is of Italian and Scandinavian origin. It can be the short form of "Maria" and can mean "mine" or "bitter," per Name Berry. Clearly the bitter part has not put people off. Mia Farrow can probably be credited for the name's spike in popularity. And remember that bitter can be good. Think about citrus, green tea, and cranberries.
Here we have Lucas in the respectable eighth place on the most popular baby names of 2018. Is it a coincidence that the name is on the list given that Lucas Hedges is one of the most buzzed about young stars in Hollywood apart from Timothee Chalamet? I think not. And we cannot discount the impact of the Star Wars reboots with Luke Skywalker. Lucas means "light" in French and Gaelic. Apparently Lucas sounds friendlier and more global than straight-up Luke which is why the long form is becoming more popular, according to Babble. Remember that when it comes to nicknames.
A betting person might have suspected that Emilia would have won over Amelia given the obsession with Game of Thrones and star Emilia Clarke as the Mother of Dragons. That turned out not to be the case. Amelia came in at number eight whereas Emilia was number 58. (Daernys did not feature in the top 1,000.) Amelia is of Latin origin and is really a blend of Emilia and Amalia, says Baby Center. It can mean to be industrious, a defender, and striving. It also makes us think of the Amelia Bedelia books. Remember those?
We haven't seen any Kardashian names on the list. There has been no talk of North, True, Stormi, Saint, etc. (Surprise, surprise.) Here, we have the first one. Mason, like Kourtney Kardashian's son Mason Disick, takes the ninth spot for the boys. It is another first name that comes from a surname. Name Berry reveals that Mason is an occupational name and means "worker in stone." Those who name their kids it can hope that they grow up to be sculptors, builders, or some geologist who studies rocks to really fit into their moniker. If the name fits...
We can probably mark this off as another trend that Posh Spice herself, Victoria Beckham, helped start. How many kids did you know that were called Harper before the Spice Girl-slash-designer had her baby girl in 2011? Exactly. Book worms might have also been drawn to the name to honor To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee, who passed away in 2016 after releasing Go Set a Watchman in 2015. If you are wondering about the origins of the name, Baby Center says that it was originally a last name and denoted someone that played the harp.
We have Logan rounding out the top 10 most popular baby names of 2018 on the boys' side. It is a unisex name, but it still remains more popular for baby boys as opposed to girls. (It came in at number 309 on the girls' side of the Social Security Association's most popular baby names of 2018, for your information.) Comic book fans will be into the name thanks to Wolverine aka Weapon X aka Logan. Babble points out that it is also used as a last name of Scottish origin. There aren't a ton of famous Logans apart from The Perks of Being a Wallflower actor Logan Lerman so maybe your Logan can be the most famous one.
Some people might be raising their eyebrows at this one. I know what they're likely thinking, "Isn't 'Evelyn' a grandma name?" It would have probably been more expected to see the name on most popular baby names of 1943 as opposed to the most popular baby names of 2018 list. But, here we are. It's totally a case of everything old being new again. One reason that could account for the retro name's popularity is that parents might want to name their babies after older female relatives. Awww. According to Baby Center, it was originally used as a last name and it is now starting to be used as a boy's name.