When it comes to picking baby names, parents are spoiled for choice. The possibilities are endless! But if you find choosing a name to be overwhelming, don’t worry: the Social Security Administration has you covered. The government agency has compiled a list of names ranging from the most popular to the most unique in America today. We’ve got 40 of the stand-outs right here, and we’ve conveniently broken them down into four different categories: names that are rising in popularity, the year's most popular girl names, the year's most popular boy names, and the names no other baby will have. Things sure have changed since the 1950s...
Trust us, that’s a real name! "Everleigh" was created in the United Kingdom, and it means “wild boar wood.” Its first appearance on the SSA chart came in 2008 where it didn't even crack the top 1,000 names.
The name has become more popular in the U.S. since then, but it remains pretty obscure compared to other choices. The 2021 ranking had it in 100th place.
If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, then you’ll know that Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom. And over the years, it’s also been used as a baby name.
Yet considering how famous this member of the Greek pantheon is, the name hasn’t caught on like you might expect. Athena was sitting at 98th place, just inside the top 100 names of the SSA’s ranking.
The word serenity has ties to both Latin and French language. It means “calm.” But somewhere along the way, it eventually became a name for girls. Did the connotations with peacefulness fuel this change?
In more modern times, you could argue that fans of the sci-fi action film Serenity might’ve played a role! It’s still somewhat rare in America, though, coming 95th in the chart.
Just like "Easton", "Weston" has practically the same origin story. The only difference is that the name was given to those living in western communities. Makes sense! Now, it’s a boy’s name that a lot of moms and dads could miss when choosing one for their baby. That’s understandable.
After all, Weston came 95th in the SSA’s most recent chart for boys' names, so it's not exactly the world's most popular name!
The name Beau got its start in France, and is now seen as a gender-neutral option. It’s not hard to understand why. After all, it means “beautiful”, which works for any gender!
By 2021, though, the name was hotter than ever for boys in particular, according to the SSA rankings. It was 94th on the boy’s side — its highest positions on record. Could Beau continue to climb going forward?
In Latin, "Silvanus" meant “forest” or “wood.” And the same meaning could be attributed to a name birthed from the word — Silas.
So, for those of you who may be expecting a boy and love the great outdoors, that might be a choice to consider. It’s a pretty rare name in America, though; Silas was in 91st place on the SSA’s 2021 rankings.
This might come as a shock, but "Emery" has been around as a gender-neutral name since the Middle Ages. The Normans apparently brought it to the United Kingdom and it’s stuck ever since. Even so, Emery is still a wildly obscure name today, especially in America.
On the boy’s part of the SSA chart, it came 764th. As for the girl’s section, it was higher at 89th.
"Nevaeh" is a name born in the U.S., and its meaning is pretty clear. Just take a closer look at it. Do you see it? Yep, it’s "heaven" spelt backwards!
It’d be hard to argue that the name has hit the mainstream since it made its debut on the SSA chart in 1997. Having said that, though, more parents are picking it for their babies now. It was 86th in the 2021 ranking.
Although Genesis may seem like a strange name for a baby, its meaning is quite fitting — and beautiful. Yes, the word, which comes from both Hebrew and Greek, signifies “birth” and “origin.”
It’s a gender-neutral choice, but it looks like parents are more inclined to give it to a daughter than a son. Genesis came 973rd on the boy’s side of the SSA ranking, while the girl’s was at 75th.
How’s this for an interesting journey? The surname Schuyler came from the Netherlands, meaning “scholar.” Dutch immigrants then brought it to America in the 1600s, where it eventually birthed a new variation — Skylar. That’s the spelling you usually use when naming a girl, as the boy’s version is "Skyler", with an "e".
Around the time that Breaking Bad was airing with the (female) character Skyler White front and center, Skylar shot up the SSA chart. By 2021 it’d settled into 74th place.
If "Easton" sounds more like a surname to you, you'd be right! That’s how the name started out. Folks would adopt it while living in eastern towns in the past. But at some point, there was a switch.
Now, Easton is a gender-neutral name that’s still quite rare around the United States. When looking at the SSA chart, it was 70th on the boy’s side.
"Valentina" emerged from Latin, and shares the same significance as its male counterpart, "Valentine". The girl’s name emits health and strength. And what parent wouldn’t want that for their newborn baby?
Then again, for as long as it’s been around, it only recently has taken off in the United States. As per the SSA chart, Valentina was sitting at 69th place in 2021.
Angel sprang from an ancient Greek word that meant “messenger.” Mind you, within the pages of the Bible, its definition was more specific — “messenger from God.” Given the connotations, it shouldn’t be that surprising that parents like it as a baby name.
Or perhaps some are just big fans of the iconic character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Angel came 67th on the boy’s side of the SSA chart and 491st on the girls'.
While there are many names that boast complex backstories, you can’t say that for the name "Jaxon". The meaning is literally “son of Jack”! It’s also seen as a contemporary take on another name — Jackson.
It first sprung up in the United Kingdom, and American parents have really become enamored with it over the last 20-plus years: Jaxon sat 395th in the SSA rankings in 2001; by 2021 it had leapt to 55th place.
“Strength of God” — that’s the meaning behind "Ezekiel". It’s Hebrew, descended from the moniker "Yechezkel". And if you’re into religious studies, you’ll no doubt know that a famous prophet from the Old Testament period also had the name.
This might surprise you, though: As per the SSA, Ezekiel has grown in popularity as a baby name over the last few decades. It sat 53rd in the 2021 rankings.
Originating out of the U.S., "Maverick" describes “an independent man who avoids conformity.” But despite that, it’s become a gender-neutral choice over the last few years, rising up the SSA’s “Popularity Trend Chart.” Still, by 2021 it was 47th in the boy’s rankings and hadn't cracked the top 1,000 girls names.
The name has shown steady growth with each passing year, and following the huge success of 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick, we don’t expect that to change!
Getting its start in Great Britain, "Addison" simply means “son of Adam.” But here's the thing: it’s actually a more popular name for girls now in America!
It may be gender-neutral, but Addison came 45th on the SSA rankings of girls' names, while it didn't even make the top 1,000 boys names in 2021. The shift occurred around 1996. We wonder what prompted this change?
"Nova" is a particularly beautiful name for girls. But where did it come from? Well, it stemmed from the Latin word “novus,” which translates to “new.” The perfect description of a baby! Mind you, as a name, Nova didn’t crop up until the 1800s.
It’s since been a big hit in Nordic countries, and has steadily climbed the ranks in America, too. The SSA had it in 32nd place on the chart.
Originating from Italy, "Aria" has multiple meanings, “honorable,” “lioness,” and “noble” among them. But “air” is the exact translation. While it’s considered a gender-neutral name, Aria has enjoyed a significant jump in popularity on the girl’s side in recent times. Why?
Well, the Game of Thrones character Arya Stark might have something to do with it! The SSA had it at 22nd place in 2021.
"Luna" has been around for a very long time. It has Latin origins, cropping up in ancient Rome. The name was given to the moon goddess, who was usually depicted sitting in a chariot that gracefully flew above the cities. As a baby name, though, its popularity has been really up and down.
It suffered a massive dip in the mid-1980s before enjoying a steady resurgence. As of 2021 Luna was sitting 11th on the SSA chart. Who knows — it could crack the top ten next year!
According to its Latin origin, "Olivia" came from the word for “olive tree.” Now, if you look at ancient Greek history, those trees became symbolic with friendliness and peace, giving the name some added importance.
It really came to the fore in the 1600s thanks to William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and it hasn’t looked back since. The SSA had Olivia in first place in the 2021 name rankings, and it's still one of the most popular names today.
Emma originated from Germany and holds a couple of meanings, “universe” and “whole” among them. But now, it’s a tried-and-tested name that U.S. parents go for when naming their daughters. It topped the SSA rankings from 2014 up to 2017.
Going into 2021, it was sitting at second place. We wonder if the bevy of famous Emmas in show business and literature helped maintain its popularity?
Much like its male alternative "Charles", "Charlotte" was originally a French name, meaning “free man.” Some very notable women have carried the moniker throughout history, such as England’s Queen Charlotte and author Charlotte Brontë.
But since the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s daughter Princess Charlotte in 2015, the name has been embraced by a lot of American parents. It was third on the SSA’s chart in 2021.
Now, in 4th and 5th place is Amelia and Ava, respectively, but neither of these names has the staying power that Sophia has. "Sophia" was originally known as σοφία, which meant “wisdom.” Going forward, though, it eventually became a huge hit in America.
According to the SSA chart, Sophia was the most popular baby name for girls between 2011 and 2013. By 2021 it’d slipped down to sixth, but it has cracked the top ten every year since 2006.
The name "Isabella," which is ranked 7th on the SSA's 2021 list, has been popular since the early 2000s. What's more surprising is how the name "Mia" has slowly risen the ranks! The name has ties to several different cultures, from Australia to Spain to the Nordic countries as well.
Regardless of that, though, American parents love the name, whether as a variant of "Amelia" or on its own. Mia came in 8th on the SSA’s 2021 chart.
Yes, it's official: grandma names are back in style! At one point in time, the name "Evelyn" may have brought quilts and homemade cookies to mind, but times have changes.
Originating from the words "desired" and "wished for", Evelyn is a name more and more parents want their babies to have — emphasis on "babies," as the name is traditionally gender-neutral. It ranked 9th on the SSA's list.
Your baby girl will no doubt be angelic, so she needs an angelic name! The name "Harper" has risen the ranks on the SSA's list ever since it first cracked the top 100 in 2004.
The name spiked in popularity back in the '60s (perhaps because of acclaimed author Harper Lee's book To Kill A Mockingbird), and now it's reached heavenly new heights by ranking 10th.
Derived from Elisheva, a Hebrew name, "Elizabeth" harbors interesting meanings: “God is my oath” and “God’s promise.” It really came to the fore while Queen Elizabeth I ruled England during the Tudor period, and it still holds a royal connection today, as proven by its ranking at 14th place in 2021.
Queen Elizabeth II only recently passed away in 2022, so don’t rule out a surge on the SSA chart. Folks may want to name their daughters in honor of the monarch.
The word scarlet came from France, and it described an eye-catching shade of red. Eventually, a new name was derived from the attractive color — Scarlett. And it’s since become synonymous with many famous characters and actresses, such as Gone with the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara and Hollywood megastar Scarlett Johansson.
The name has really jumped in popularity over the last two decades in America, too: by 2021, it was in 20th place and rising.
In ancient Rome, Aemilia was a popular Latin name. But over time, a new name emerged from Aemilia. Of course, we’re talking about "Emily"! It started to crop up more in the 1700s, and has since been picked by countless parents naming their daughters.
As per the SSA rankings, Emily was the second-most popular girl’s name in 2005. It’s yet to reach those lofty heights again, but never say never! It now sits pretty at 21st place.
Coming from the British name "William", "Liam" got its start across the Irish Sea in Ireland. It means “strong-willed warrior.” Having seen Liam Neeson’s Taken movies, that seems pretty fitting!
The name Liam was the top-dog when it came to baby names for boys in America in 2021. According to the SSA chart, it’s been sitting in that position since 2018. Good for Liam!
"Noah" first cracked the top 50 of the SSA's list in 1996 and hasn't looked back. It reigned supreme from 2013-2016 and has sat comfortably in 2nd place since 2017.
It makes sense why the name has been so popular for so long: it not only means "peaceful", but is the name of one of the most iconic Biblical figures. From Noah's ark to Noah Wylie to Noah Centineo, every Noah seems to have a special place in people's hearts.
Much like "Olivia", "Oliver" also emerged from Latin and has ties to “olive tree.” So yes, the symbolic meanings of peace and friendliness apply to the male variation of the name, too.
Today, though, Oliver has never been hotter as a baby boy’s name in the United States. According to the SSA rankings, it reached third place in 2021. That’s the highest it’s ever gotten.
Originating from Hebrew, "Elijah" is a name that no doubt resonates with those who are deeply connected to the Jewish faith. After all, the prophet who bore his name stood up for those who worshipped the Hebrew God in the Book of Kings.
But outside of that, Elijah has been a really popular baby name recently across the United States. The SSA had it at fourth on the chart!
A name that continues to endure, "James" is a descendant of the Hebrew moniker "Jacob". “Supplanter” is its meaning, but few names have been able to supplant it over the centuries!
In the U.S. at least, James has shown no signs of disappearing, sitting fifth in the SSA rankings for 2021. That was even an improvement on the previous year, where it sat at sixth place.
Few names can boast this kind of history! "William" originated from the German name Wilhelm, which meant “resolute protector.” The English variant came about thanks to William the Conqueror’s exploits in 1066 and it hasn’t looked back since.
Folks such as Prince William have certainly helped to keep it relevant. It’s also been a popular baby name in America for a while now, coming in sixth place in 2021.
Ben, Benny, Benji — whatever nickname you choose, the name "Benjamin" is a beloved classic. It started rising in popularity in the '70s and hasn't stopped since. It has hovered around 6th and 7th place on the SSA's list for around 6 years now, and in 2021 it claimed 7th place.
Rooted in Judiasm, the Hebrew translation of Benjamin is "son of the right hand" and "son of my days." You can't go wrong with that.
Look, the name "Lucas" may in eighth place, but "Henry" — the name in ninth place — is really having a moment right now. "Henry" derives from a German moniker known as "Heimeric", meaning “house ruler.”
Suddenly, it’s starting to make sense why all those old English kings got the name! At ninth place, Henry's ranking is the highest it’s been since 1887!
Why did the name "Theodore" leap from 23rd place to 10th place between 2020 and 2021? Perhaps it's because classic names have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, or maybe people are sharing a newfound love of teddy bears.
Whatever the reason, "Theodore" beat out another popular name, "Jack", for 10th place, while Jack took 11th place.
While "Alexander" stemmed from the ancient Greek name Aléxandros, it’ll always be tied to a certain historical figure. You can probably guess who! Yep, we’re referring to Alexander the Great.
The name is unlikely to disappear thanks in part to the famous Macedonian King, and it’s still going strong in America. The SSA chart shows that Alexander was ranked 13th in 2021.
Of all 1,000 names on the SSA's list, the name "Soraya" is among the most unique. Rooted in Greek mythology and the stories of Atlas and Oceanus' seven daughters ("the Pleiades"), Soraya is the perfect name for a little girl with curiosity in her eyes.
It brings to mind stargazing and complex constellations, two things your little one will no doubt have an appreciation of. With a name like Soraya, your daughter is sure to find meaning in the cosmos.
Palmer is an adorable name for a baby of any gender, but it slowly gained steam as a boy's name in 2021. Ranked at #990, the name has a classic and modern quality to it that makes it extremely versatile.
It's possible that Palmer's classic qualities are connected to its British origins; it translates to "pilgrim" and "he who holds the palm" in Old English, which evokes a fearless and faith-based journey.
How many women do you know by the name "Arlette"? Ranked at #989, Arlette has slowly but surely lost popularity over time, making it a name that's even more unique today than it used to be. Although it may be German in origin, that's pretty much all anyone knows about where the name came from.
We do know that it roughly translates to "noble warrior", so if your little girl has a mischievous gleam in her eye, consider giving her the name Arlette!
If you name your child "Leif", prepare to hear the battle cries of a noble Viking warrior (or, more likely, the irritated cries of a baby with a dirty diaper). Seriously, though, the name Leif descends from the Scandinavian word for "heir" and was undoubtedly inspired by the famous Norse explorer, Leif Erikson.
At #992 on the SSA's list, the name evokes strength, honor, and loyalty — qualities fit for only the most respectable Viking baby.
On the girls' side of the list, the name "Zola" hit #990 in 2021. Although it was a well-liked name in the '40s, it didn't crack the top 1,000 names again until 2018. It's clearly an exceedingly unique name, and it has even more interesting origins.
It first popped up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is where it translates to "quietness." Zola would no doubt be a grounded, fascinating thinker with a tendency to get her head stuck in the clouds.
He's tough, he's brave — he's Zev! And ranked at #996, Zev probably won't have to compete with anyone else for "coolest name in the class."
The Hebrew origin of Zev is thought to come from the word "wolf", which only bolsters the name's cool vibes. It's also thought to be a variation of the name "Benjamin," which makes it even more unique.
In 2021, the beautiful name "Vida" found itself on the SSA's list of the most popular names for the first time since 1946. That's quite the accomplishment! It's hard to say why the name is suddenly gaining in popularity, but the resurgence of "grandma" names in recent years may have something to do with it.
Of course, it helps that Vida is just an objectively gorgeous name, making it quite possible that it'll rise above its current ranking at #992 in the coming years.
The last time the name "Bishop" was ranked 998th was in 1915. It briefly gained traction again in 1998, fell out of style just as quickly, and then surged yet again in 2015. Clearly, people just can't get enough of the name!
It's obvious where the name Bishop came from — the religious title — so it's perfect for any parents who want their baby boy's name to be rooted in Christianity.
Further proof that "old lady" names are coming back into style, the name Eleanora is a lovely variation of the name "Eleanor". When it hit #997 for the first time since 1939, parents in search of a classic-yet-unique girl name rejoiced.
The fact that the Greek name means "shining light" is evidenced by one of history's only famous women named Eleanora, the transcendant jazz singer Billie Holiday.
At #1,000 on the Social Security Administration's list of popular baby names, "Davian" may be the most unique boy's name in the U.S. It has fallen out of popularity since 2004 and is now considered one of the most rare names.
This makes the name totally unique! Even more interestingly, it's a modern name with American origins. It means "beloved" — fitting for your newborn baby, right?