The Most Popular Baby Names List of 2020 Has Arrived

drawing of babies holding 2020

Verywell / Bailey Mariner

Key Takeaways

  • The Social Security Administration released its updated list of top baby names from 2020.
  • The top names for both boys (Liam, Noah, and Oliver) and girls (Olivia, Emma, and Ava) remained the same in 2019 and 2020.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) just released its list of the top 1,000 baby names in the United States for 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019 list was released much later than usual. For 2020, the SSA is back to its usual timetable, allowing a look at which names were chosen during such unprecedented times. 

Despite the overall consistency, there were a couple of unexpected changes—Mason dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in a decade—but parents clearly felt better sticking to what was tried and true during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Liam was the most popular boys name for the fourth year in a row and Olivia managed to keep the top spot after surpassing Emma in popularity in 2019. Both Olivia and Liam accounted for 2.1% of the 3,747,540 babies born last year.

The Top 10

Not a whole lot changed from 2019 to 2020 with parents sticking to their favorites from 2019. Olivia, Emma, and Ava remained in first place for girls, and Liam, Noah, and Oliver held onto the top spot for boys.

Still, there were some clear shifts a little farther down the list. In the boy's category, Elijah overtook William for 4th place, while Henry and Alexander beat out Mason and Ethan for spots 9 and 10. This was the first time in a decade that Mason dropped out of the top 10. 

On the girls’ side Charlotte and Amelia rose in rank above Sophia and Isabella, but unlike the boys, the last three names—Mia, Harper, and Evelyn—remained the same.

The Top Baby Names of 2020
 Rank  Male Names  Female Names
1 Liam Olivia
2 Noah Emma
3 Oliver Ava 
4 Elijah  Charlotte 
5 William Sophia 
James Amelia 
Benjamin Isabella 
Lucas Mia 
Henry Evelyn 
10  Alexander Harper

Names of the Decade

Olivia and Liam may be the highest-ranking the past couple of years, but when we take a look back at the 2010s as a whole, Noah and Emma take the cake as the most popular names overall.

Emma is such a popular name that it has ranked in the top 10 for twenty years. Olivia and Isabella have managed to maintain that status as well. For the boys, that same award goes to Ethan, William, Jacob, and Michael who all stayed in the top 10 for both decades of the 21st century thus far.

Changes in Popularity

The greatest shifts up the list on the girl's side were the names Avayah, which wasn’t even in the top 2000 in 2019 but managed to jump to 930 in 2020, and Denisse, which moved from 1796 in 2019 to 854 in 2020. 

For the boys we have Zyaire, a name of African origin meaning river, which made a massive jump into the top 1000 from 1558 in 2019 to 968 in 2020. In second place there’s Jaxtyn, a creative rendition of the name Jackson, which also entered the top 1000 in 2020 and shifted up 575 places from 2019 to 2020. 

The names Vivaan and Alexzander for boys along with Yaritza and Marissa for girls saw the biggest declines in 2020 while also falling out of the top 1000.

About the List

The Social Security Administration releases its list of the top baby names every year, which is a fun and informative way to look at changing naming trends over the years. So you might use it because you want your child to have a name people are familiar with, or maybe you'd prefer your child's name to be entirely unique and want to make it isn't on the list at all!

The resource also allows you to look at increases and decreases in popularity and what the most popular names were in past decades.

What This Means for You

While the annual Social Security Administration list is good information to have, it should ultimately have minimal influence over what you choose to name your child. Naming a baby is an extremely personal and intentional process. If the names you love are on the list, great! If not, that's perfectly fine too.

There are millions and millions of possible names and only you know what will be right for your bundle of joy.

By Kate Nelson
Kate Nelson is the associate news editor and contributing writer at Verywell Fit, Family, and Mind.