It’s that time of year again when baby name experts start to piece together their stats from the past 12 months and compile their annual list of popular names. Last year, we discovered another kind of British Invasion was making waves across North America and we learned that combo names were the new thing in creativity.
Read more: Baby name trends for 2013 >
Keeping it traditional
Some names never go out of style, and research shows that traditional names often remain relatively high on baby name lists for expectant parents. Last year, Wattenberg predicted that a mini British Invasion would start in North America, thanks in large part to the much-anticipated Royal Birth.
Moss also projected an upswing in traditional, British-sounding names and it looks like 2014 will continue this trend. “For boys I’m seeing a lot of Irish and British names coming into popularity,” Moss says. “Charlotte and Liam were the top names of 2013.”
However, one baby name tradition that has started to see a recent drop in popularity are Biblical names — specifically for boys. “A lot of these names have been a trend for more than 100 years, but people are starting to get more creative than just Michael, David and Stephen,” Moss explains.
Read more: Baby names: 100 years of popular choices >
For parents who find themselves struggling to select the perfect name, Moss suggests finding inspiration by sifting through your own family tree first. Keep an eye out for first and last names, traditional or not — they could spark a little creativity.
I’d like to buy a (long) vowel
“Long vowels have been hot for years now,” Wattenberg says. “Due to the fact that there’s been so many “A” and “E” names in the last few years, any name with a long “U” or a long “I” sounds especially fresh. Look for more names like Isla, Ruby and Miles this year.”
Read more: Top 100 baby names in Canada 2013 >
The impact of pop culture
It’s no surprise that pop culture and celebrities influence us in a variety of ways, even when it comes to naming our children. But where film once reigned supreme in this category, television is leaving more of an impact on the public.
The popularity of shows like Game of Thrones can often have a direct affect on name trend statistics, with names like Aria claiming a spot on the list for the first time.
Even the name Finn (made popular by the musical series, Glee) has earned a spot on the 2013 list after the untimely death of its lead star Cory Monteith.
Trends to avoid
For many, baby name lists become a way for parents to decide which names to avoid when naming their child. Gone are the days when expectant parents would embrace a name they’d heard often.
“Avoid top 10 names,” Moss advises. “That way the name you choose for your child won’t seem dated or tied to a specific decade 20 years down the road.”
Wattenberg agrees: “Any popular name that peaked in the year 2000 is starting to fall fast. The names we are starting to see less of are one like Taylor or Nicole for girls and Brandon or Trevor for boys. These names have hit their tipping point.”
Moss also points out the recent upswing of parents giving their children names with unique spelling in an effort to make it appear more original. “I’d advise against taking a popular name and changing the spelling,” she says. “Your child will be destined to spell it like that for the rest of their lives and it may not age very well.”
Stand out in a crowd
Everyone wants the perfect name for their child — something that sounds current and stylish, but isn’t necessarily a big hit on the playground. Wattenberg suggests using local statistics for your city or province to uncover information on top name trends as a helpful tip. It can help get your creative juices flowing while providing you with an accurate, timely information of what other parents are naming their children.
But often, in the end, it’s just a matter of following your gut instinct.
As Wattenberg explains: “Sometimes there’s something kind of magical in the air when a name strikes parents right — and it’s not always the names in the news headlines.”