19 Surprising Baby Name Statistics

The Social Security Administration's baby name data contains some unexpected insights.
The Social Security Administration's baby name data reveals some interesting trends.
Monashee Alonso via Getty Images
The Social Security Administration's baby name data reveals some interesting trends.

Baby name popularity lists usually aren’t too shocking, with recent favorites like Emma, Noah and Liam consistently dominating over the past five years.

But if you look closer at the Social Security Administration’s name data, there are still some interesting ― and at times unexpected ― insights. From the rise of less traditional names like Maverick and Axel to the decline of old favorites like Edward and Jason, here are 19 baby name statistics that may surprise you.

1. Maverick is more popular than Adam.

In 2018, 5,014 baby boys were named Maverick, making it the 73rd most popular choice for boys. Meanwhile, Adam ranked at No. 78, with 4,675 newborn baby Adams.

2. Brooklyn is more popular than Anna.

The famous New York City borough of Brooklyn is also a Top 50 baby name for girls, with 4,611 little Brooklyns born in 2018. The name currently ranks at No. 47, seven places higher than Anna, which is No. 54. Last year, 4,145 baby girls were named Anna.

3. Oaklynn is one of the fastest-rising names for girls.

Speaking of lyn- and lynn-ending names, Oaklynn rose from No. 888 in 2017 to 542 in 2018. Last year, 572 baby girls were named Oaklynn.

4. Axel is more popular than Edward.

Despite the influence of “Twilight” character names, Edward is not in the Top 100. The name ranks at No. 169 ― below less traditional names like No. 94, Axel, which went to 4,055 newborn boys in 2018. That same year, only 2,268 boys were named Edward.

5. The SSA has tracked more than 4,000 more names for girls than for boys.

The SSA’s baby names data includes every name given to at least five baby boys or girls in a given year. The 2018 list includes 18,029 girl names and 14,004 boy names ― suggesting that parents are more likely to get creative with their daughters’ names.

6. Fewer than 100 girls were named Tracy, Gretchen or Justine, respectively, last year.

In 2018, there were 78 newborn baby girls named Tracy, 96 Gretchens and 81 Justines. All three fell out of the Top 1,000 rankings in the first decade of the 2000s.

7. Genesis is more popular than Lauren.

Genesis is the 57th most popular name for girls, while Lauren is No. 171. In 2018, 4,068 baby girls were named Genesis, and there were only 1,696 newborn Laurens. Genesis was also the fastest-rising name for boys from 2017 to 2018, when it rose 608 spots from No. 1,592 to 984.

8. Kairo is one of the fastest-rising names for boys.

Kairo rose 321 places from 2017 to 2018, from No. 803 to 482. Cairo with a ‘C’ has never reached the Top 1,000.

9. Raelynn is more popular than Alexandra.

With 2,599 baby girls named Raelynn in 2018, the name ranks at No. 115. That makes Raelynn more popular than the classic Alexandra, which ranked at No. 125 and went to 2,394 baby girls last year ― as well as former top names like Mary (now No. 126 ― 2,327 in 2018) and Margaret (No. 127 ― 2,312).

10. Aurora is the top name for girls in Alaska.

The SSA’s breakdowns show that the national top names like Emma, Olivia and Ava tend to dominate on the state level, but there are some outliers. One is Aurora, which ranks at No. 44 nationally but was the most popular name for girls in Alaska last year.

11. Elsa is one of the fastest-declining names for girls.

Despite the overwhelming success of “Frozen,” Elsa’s baby name boost did not last long. The name peaked in 2014 at No. 286 but has been rapidly declining ever since. Elsa dropped 202 places from 686 in 2017 to 888 in 2018. Perhaps “Frozen 2″ will give it another bump, however.

12. Angel is more popular than Jason.

Jason peaked at No. 2 in the 1970s, but now it’s down to No. 100, with 3,847 baby Jasons born in 2018. By contrast, Angel ranks at No. 72, with 5,032 boy Angels born last year.

13. Grayson is the top name for boys in South Dakota.

While Grayson is No. 32 in the U.S. as a whole, it was the No. 1 name for boys in the state of South Dakota in 2018.

14. Dior is one of the fastest-rising names for girls.

The name Dior entered the Top 1,000 list for the first time in 2018 at No. 792 ― rising 566 places from No. 1,358 in 2017.

15. Fewer than 200 boys were named Ross, Perry or Bernard last year.

In 2018, there were 174 newborn baby boys named Ross, 133 named Perry and 165 Bernards. By 2013, all three had fallen out of the Top 1,000 rankings.

16. Serenity is more popular than Julia.

Serenity didn’t enter the Top 1,000 until 1997 and has risen over the years to No. 76 in 2018, with 3,517 baby girls named Serenity that year. The older classic, Julia, has fallen to No. 93, with only 2,989 baby Julias born last year.

17. Only about 300 baby girls were named Brittany last year.

Brittany was the third most popular name for girls in 1989, 1990 and 1991, but now it’s down to No. 879. Only 305 baby girls were named Brittany in 2018. There were 116 Britneys.

18. Craig is one of the fastest-declining names for boys.

While the list of declining names for boys includes less traditional choices and spellings like Maxton and Dilan, it’s notable that Craig was the third most declined from 2017 to 2018. Craig dropped from 985 to 1188, with only 159 baby boys named Craig last year.

19. Roman is more popular than Justin.

In 2018, 4,364 baby boys were named Roman, making it the 85th most popular boy name. Meanwhile, Justin is down at No. 141, with 2,787 newborn Justins in 2018.

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