It’s that time again! Baby name experts across North America have gathered together stats from the past 12 months to compile their annual list of popular names. Last year, we learned traditional names still rank high on the charts, while pop culture continues to influence new parents.
While readers pore over the lists, searching for their kids’ names—not to mention their own—baby name experts are already looking ahead at the new year. So, what’s changed since we last checked in a year ago? Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of babynames.com, gives us the scoop on the early forecasts for the name trends that will define 2015.
A British Invasion revival?
Despite the fact that Prince William and Kate Middleton continue to captivate the public with their red carpet appearances and charity work—not to mention the release of those adorable family photos with Prince George—it would appear that the British influence on baby names is waning a little. However, while there may have been a decline in parents searching for names like “George” and “Katherine,” Moss predicts a resurgence in late 2015 after the latest addition to the Royal Family is born sometime in April. “Because William and Kate are expecting again, I’m anticipating a spike in more traditional British names once again,” Moss says. “Personally, I’m hoping for a Royal Baby named Diana!”
The impact of pop culture
When it comes to what inspires us in terms of baby names, the trend of giving our little ones the names of our favourite celebrities has become a thing of the past. Instead, new parents are latching onto character names from their favourite TV series, books and films—especially when it comes to names for girls. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the hottest trends for the coming year involves more than a few cartoon princesses. “Disney heroine names are hot!” Moss says. “Aurora, Elsa, Anastasia and Alice are all in the top 100. I predict Tiana, Giselle and Ariel will become popular, too.”
There’s also been a rise in searches for girls names that come from not-so-family-friendly TV series and films. Arya (Game of Thrones), Hazel (The Fault in Our Stars) and Piper (Orange is the New Black) have all gained traction. Meanwhile, back in 2012, the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln saw the presidential name crack the top 100. Surprisingly, the name is still going strong, two years later. “It has continued to rise in popularity for boys,” Moss confirms. “I love the name… and its nickname, Linc!”
No “rhyme” or reason
Every few years there seems to be a rash of kids with similar-sounding names. But watch for that trend to take a bit of a nosedive going into the new year. “The Aiden/Braden/Caden phase is finally petering out,” Moss notes. “As is Madison and Addison for girls.”
The decline of unisex names
Taylor Swift may be dominating the music charts, but unisex names in general have seen a dip in popularity over the past year. Jordyn, Chayse and Harper have all taken a hit this year, dropping down the list in favour of more feminine or Disney-inspired names (see above).
Best baby name tip
If you’re searching for a name that’s unique, yet still somewhat trendy, checking the local statistics for your city or province can help get your creative juices flowing with accurate, timely information of what other parents are naming their children.
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