These names experienced the biggest jump in popularity in 2016, according to the Social Security Administration.
Looking for something a little edgier than Noah or Emma for your family’s newest addition, but a little less unusual than, say, Regis or Flannery? Why not Kylo or Kehlani? According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), these two names experienced the biggest increase in popularity in 2016.
Unlike Nameberry’s February predictions of the hottest names of 2017, which shows a change in search popularity from parents doing research in names, the SSA’s list shows which names were actually given to children in 2016, making it a better marker of how names in pop culture, as well as other trends, actually influenced parents' choice of moniker. For example, though BabyCenter said that there was a trend of Pokemon Go-inspired baby names, that data isn’t reflected in the SSA’s data. Though parents might have been researching or considering the names for their children, very few actually put that name on the birth certificate.
But that doesn’t mean pop culture didn’t inspire parents: in fact, many names on the top 10 for both girls and boys had clear lines to cultural moments from the past two years. See which ones made the top 10 trendy names list for both boys and girls below, and view the whole list on the SSA’s website.
Trendy Boy Names
The baby-naming force was awakened in Star Wars fans last year—a total of 238 boys (and even seven girls!) were named after the newest episode’s villain, Kylo Ren, causing the name to jump 2,368 positions and make the top 1,000 boys names list at 901.
Creed and Aldonis
Another major pop culture influence for last year’s baby names? Ryan Coogler’s 2015 Rocky spin-off Creed. Not only did the name jump 370 positions with 206 boys being named Creed in 2016, but “Adonis” (the first name of the movie’s protagonist) also experienced the fourth highest rise in popularity with 800 boys given the name.
Best known as the first name of Sicario actor Benicio Del Toro, this Spanish name meaning “blessed” jumped 356 spots, with 208 boys named Benicio in 2016.
What does the Fox say? Probably Mama and Dada right now. 323 boys and 12 girls received this name in 2016. We’re thinking the name was inspired by David Duchovny’s character on X-Files, a show that made a comeback with a new season last year.
This phonetic spelling of the Hawaiian name Kai, meaning “Sea,” had a new wave of popularity last year—rising 281 spots to 703 most popular.
This Arabic name meaning “judicious” was given to 235 boys last year, finally breaking the top 100.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld might have started a trend over a decade ago when he chose this name for his son. Last year, the name rose 242 places to land at 863.
Last August, Willy Wonka actor Gene Wilder passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s. 337 parents likely decided to honor the unforgettable character actor by bestowing this name upon their sons.
It’s easy to see why 741 boys were named Zayn last year: the former One Direction singer Zayn Malik released his first solo album in 2016, likely causing this name to jump 222 places on the top 1,000 list.
Trendy Girl Names
This name moved up a whopping 2,487 positions in 2016. Though the association isn’t as clear cut as Kylo to Star Wars, it’s likely the 320 parents who gave this name to their daughter were influenced by R&B singer Kehlani Parrish.
Though they may never be real royals, 581 girls will be known as “Royalty.” The name experienced a 618-spot jump last year.
The same number of girls—271—were named Saoirse, an Irish name meaning “liberty,” and Heather last year. We assume the 465-position spike was inspired by Academy Award-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan.
This Hamlet-inspired name had a revival in popularity last year, jumping 396 positions to 580 on the top 1,000.
This uncommon, but trending name, which is a mountain in Spain, was given to 564 girls in 2016—just four more than Anne and nine more than Tiffany.
This name jumped 356 positions, landing at 769.
This Italian name meaning “defending warrior” was given to 334 girls in 2016—meaning it is now just as popular as the name Courtney.
This name, now at 755 on the top 1,000, was given to more girls in 2016 than the name Whitney.
On the rise since first entering the US Top 1,000 in 2011, this name rose 298 positions, now resting at 453.
This Hawaiian name meaning “calm skies” is becoming increasingly popular—rising 294 positions to 986.