Year after year, the Social Security Administration releases its list of the most popular baby names in the U.S., and each time, the top 10 aren’t terribly shocking. Indeed, recent favorites like Liam, Noah, Emma and Olivia have consistently dominated for the past decade.
If you take a closer look at the agency’s latest baby naming data, however, you’ll find some unexpected trends. From the rise of less traditional picks like Maverick, Oaklyn and Messiah, to the decline of classics like Christopher and Edward, we’ve rounded up 15 baby name statistics that may surprise you.
Maverick is more popular than Christopher.
A record 6,991 baby boys born in 2022 were named Maverick, making it the 40th most popular choice for boys. Meanwhile, Christopher ranked at No. 56, with 5,535 newborn baby Christophers.
Brynlee is more popular than Brittany.
In 2022, Brynlee was the 204th most popular baby name for girls, with 1,410 little Brynlees. That’s more than four times the number of baby girls who were named Brittany (329), which ranked at No. 848. The alternate spelling of Brynleigh also outranked Brittany at No. 751.
Julian is one of the top five names for boys in California.
The SSA’s data indicates that the top national names like Liam, Oliver and Noah tend to dominate on the state level, but there are some outliers. One is Julian, which ranks at No. 35 nationally, but was the fifth most popular name for newborn boys in California last year.
Messiah is more popular than Patrick.
Despite its prominence in history and pop culture, Patrick is not in the top 100. The name actually ranks at No. 218 ― below the somewhat controversial name Messiah, which is No. 188 and went to 2,006 newborn boys in 2022. Only 1,703 boys were named Patrick last year.
Wrenlee is the fastest-rising name for girls.
The name Wrenlee rose 708 places from 2021 to reach No. 712, breaking into the top 1,000 for the first time ever. This jump is likely related to the increasing popularity of the name Wrenley, which rose from No. 497 to No. 284.
Promise is more popular than Kelly.
In 2022, 363 baby girls were named Promise, making it the 782nd most popular girl name. Meanwhile, Kelly is No. 805, with 346 newborn Kellys in 2022.
Leonardo is more popular than Adam.
Adam peaked at No. 18 in the 1980s, but now it’s down to No. 97, with 3,625 baby Adams born in 2020. Leonardo, however, ranks at No. 75, with 4,347 boys named Leonardo born last year.
Oakley, Oaklee, Oakleigh, Oaklynn and Oaklyn are each individually more popular than Meredith.
Although the name Meredith rose from No. 570 in 2021 to No. 549 in 2022, it’s still far below a host of Oak-names on the popularity list: Oakley (No. 157), Oaklee (No. 677), Oakleigh (No. 524), Oaklynn (No. 159) and Oaklyn (No. 590).
Jream is more popular than Bridget.
With 364 baby girls named Jream in 2022, this alternate spelling of Dream ranks at No. 777. That makes Jream more popular than the classic Bridget, which ranked at No. 791 and went to 355 baby girls last year ― as well as former top names like Linda (now No. 807) and Lisa (No. 933).
Gunner is more popular than Seth.
Gunner is the 387th most popular name for boys, while Seth is No. 479. In 2022, 817 baby boys were named Gunner, while there were 654 newborn Seths.
Fewer than 80 girls were named Tracy, Gretchen or Lacy last year.
In 2022, there were 75 newborn baby girls named Tracy, 52 Gretchens and 68 Lacys. The first fell out of the Top 1,000 ranking after 2008, while Tracy dropped off in 2004 and Lacy in 2006.
Chosen is one of the fastest-rising names for boys.
These days, it seems increasing numbers of parents have chosen the name Chosen. In fact last year, the name rose 410 spots to No. 898 on the list of the most popular names for boys, with 257 newborn Chosens.
Khaleesi is more popular than Erin.
There were countless news articles about the rise of “Game of Thrones” baby names when the show was in its heyday, but even fans might be surprised to see the trend’s staying power. In 2022, 444 baby girls were named Khaleesi ― a word from the series meaning “wife of the khal.” The name ranks at No. 662, which is above the more familiar Erin at No. 685.
Axel is more popular than Robert.
With 4,318 baby boys named Axel in 2022, the name ranked 77th. That makes Axel more popular than the classic Robert, which ranked 84th and went to 4,051 baby boys last year.
Nova and Kinsley are two of the top five names for girls in Mississippi.
While Kinsley is No. 61 in the U.S. as a whole, it’s the fifth most popular name for girls in the state of Mississippi. Similarly, Nova is fourth in the Magnolia State but 32nd in the country overall.