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The Most Popular Baby Names List of 2019 Is Here

top baby names

Verywell / Joshua Seong

Key Takeaways

  • After delaying its release, the Social Security Administration has unveiled the most popular baby names of 2019.
  • The top name for boys remains unchanged, but the decade closed with a new favorite on the girls' side.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has released its official list of the country's most popular baby names for 2019, and there's a surprising shakeup at the top. After five straight years as the most popular name for girls, Emma has been overtaken by Olivia, which was ranked 2nd in each of those years.

The 18,451 new Olivias born in the U.S. in 2019 accounted for just over 1% of all female births from last year. For the third year in a row, Liam is the most popular name for boys, with 20,502 new births.

The SSA announced in May that the 2019 list would be delayed—due to the COVID-19 pandemic—beyond its typical release date just before Mother's Day. The list for 2020 should be released around that time in 2021, after all the data for the year has been compiled. The results are based on Social Security card applications for births in the United States.

The Top 10

Here is how the top 10 turned out for baby boy and girl names in 2019:

The Top Baby Names of 2019
Rank Male Names Female Names
1 Liam Olivia
2 Noah Emma
3 Oliver Ava
4 William Sophia
5 Elijah Isabella
6 James Charlotte
7 Benjamin Amelia
8 Lucas Mia
9 Mason Harper
10 Ethan Evelyn

Despite the big change at the top, not much has changed on the list overall. Ethan is the only new name in the top 10, replacing Logan as the 10th most popular name for boys. This is far from unusual—there is often very little change at the top from year to year.

Names of the Decade

While Olivia and Liam top the list for 2019, neither are the most popular name of the decade. That honor goes to the names Noah and, unsurprisingly, Emma.

Emma has reigned supreme for half of the 2010s, and finishes as the most popular overall name of the decade. In fact, Emma hasn't finished outside the top 3 since all the way back in 2002.

Noah had a similar run at the top from 2013 to 2016, and has been runner-up to Liam in the years since.

Changes in Popularity

Every year, new names will jump into the top 1,000 for the first time, often in response to celebrities with unique names or well-liked characters from pop culture.

Making two of the biggest jumps on the boys' side in 2019 were Sekani and Seven, reaching the top 1,000 for the first time ever, possibly as homages to characters from the popular late-2018 film "The Hate U Give." Another name on the rise is Archie, up over 300 spots last year thanks to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's baby boy.

On the girls' side, Lyanna had entered the top 1,000 in 2017 and joined Arya as another "Game of Thrones"-inspired entry, up more than 200 spots since 2018. Arya has been in the top 1,000 since 2010, and finished the decade strong at 92, entering the top 100 for the first time.

Some names that fell the most in 2019 include Jaxtyn and Brysen for boys, and Emmarie and Tatiana for girls. Karen only slipped 23 spots, but its ongoing decline over the last decade may reach new lows in 2020 given its explosion this year as a pejorative term.

Naming Your Baby

The most popular baby names from year to year are remarkably stable, with bigger changes only revealing themselves over many years. The SSA's annual list is a great way to check out the latest trends or test how unique your name ideas are, or to determine how timeless a given name might be.

For instance, while Olivia and Emma have been widely popular for about two decades, neither are among the top 40 names for girls over the last 100 years. Meanwhile, the most popular name by far over the last century—Mary—hasn't cracked the top 100 since 2008!

What This Means For You

Of course, it's up to you to decide what to name your baby, whether or not it appears on this list at all. Be it a family name, a Biblical name, or your favorite flower, as long as it is bestowed with love, you and your baby can cherish that name forever, no matter how naming trends may change as they grow up.

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  1. U.S. Social Security Administration. Popular Names in 2019.

  2. Breen K. TODAY. Why the official list of 2019's most popular baby names is delayed. May 7, 2020.

  3. U.S. Social Security Administration. Popularity of name Emma.

  4. U.S. Social Security Administration. Popularity of name Noah.