Are you expecting in the new year? Or maybe you just want to see how your baby’s name stacks up? Either way, the official top 20 baby names in Ontario for 2016 are out!
So, what are the prevailing trends? Ontario parents are making some pretty classic choices—traditional names like Liam, Benjamin and Noah have made their way to the top of the boys’ ranking, while Olivia, Emma and Sophia have mostly stayed put from last year.
While there may be many repeats, one thing that does stand out is the way those names are being spelled. For example, a name like Ryan has become Riaan, and Emily might now be penned Emilee. You heard it here first: Extra vowels are the new thing!
“Parents want to be unique in how they spell their kids’ names,” says Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, the provincial office charged with compiling each year’s stats. “It appears that there’s pressure to name them something that will have them stand out in classroom.”
A classic name spelled unexpectedly is only one way to distinguish your kid, says Lalonde. When you look past the traditional names in the top spots, there are some new one emerging. The latest and most rapidly rising girl name in Ontario is Tenley, says Lalonde. Tenley, along with Eason and Riaan, are new to the list this year. This signals another trend: The preference for gender neutral names. Logan, Avery, Carter, Ryan and Hunter are more examples of fluid names that suit either boy or girl. Also trending, names ending in –m or –n—like Liam, Benjamin or Ethan—as well as hyphenated first names. As someone with a hyphenated name herself, Lalonde suspects it may be the result of a compromise between parents who can’t quite agree.
As always, nods to pop culture work their way in—Lalonde says she’s seen lots of Khaleesis and Aryas, both characters from Game of Thrones, making their way on to the list. For boys, Jagger is emerging—though the older rock’n’roll fans among us might argue it’s more of a classic name. Ontarians’ fondness for the royals might be the reason why Charlotte ranks as the third most popular name for girls, but even though William appears in the boys’ top 10, Lalonde says it has enjoyed this ranking since 1917.
Every year though, Ontario parents come up with new names that may someday knock traditional Liam and Olivia down a few notches.
“Naming your child is one of the hardest things for a parent to do,” says Lalonde. “It was the same years ago, but more and more parents are now allowing themselves to think outside the box.”
Here are the top 20 baby names in Ontario for 2016:
9. Amelia/ Mia