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The Most Popular Baby Names of 2021 (From A-Z)

18 min read

By Katherine George

For most people, picking out a name for their baby is really difficult! It’s a huge commitment. You want the name to be special, unique, and in some cases, meaningful. As a result, many parents turn to the internet for ideas and inspiration. While the names “Olivia,” “Emma,” and “Liam” still rank as the most popular names in America, every year new trends emerge.

If you’re expecting a child in 2021, it’s time to do some research! Whether it’s a boy or a girl, there are several trending names that might peak your interest. While we won’t know what the most popular names of 2021 are until 2021 is over, here are some predictions by Nameberry based on searches between 2019 and 2020.

1. Amelia (ah-MEE-lee-ah)

First up is the ever popular girls name, Amelia! It’s of German origin meaning “work.” It’s one of the hottest girl names out there right now and was likely introduced as an updated version to past favorites like Emily and Amanda. 

It first appeared in Britain as a top name in 2011 where it still retains the No. 1 spot. It was later introduced to the Top 10 for the first time in the U.S. in 2017 and has remained there ever since! It’s one of the most popular girl names starting with the letter “A” and a favorite in countries like New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Scotland, and Poland. As of 2019, it’s the seventh most popular girl name in the U.S.

2. Arlo (ARE-low)

Arlo is relatively new on the scene. It only recently experienced a spike (somewhere around 2011) and while it still ranks pretty far up the list at #271 for boy names, it’s expected to move down the list which is why Nameberry includes it on their list of top boy names based on searches in 2020.  

This name is of Spanish origin and possibly a shortened version of Carlo. It has also been seen as a unisex name, but is definitely more commonly seen among males. Outside the U.S., Arlo is even more popular in the UK and New Zealand.

3. Asher (ash-er)

For parents who love traditional biblical names, Asher is a good choice. It’s of Hebrew origin meaning “fortunate, blessed, happy one.” In the Bible, Asher was one of Jacob’s twelve sons who gave their names to the tribes of Israel. 

Something about this name makes it sound very soft and sensitive, perfect for any little boy! It’s making quite the comeback considering it took a 100-year hiatus from the Top 1000 between the 1890s to the 1990s. As of lately it sits comfortably in the Top 100 as the 43rd most popular boy name in the U.S.

4. Atticus (at-i-kes)

Atticus is the cutest little boy name! It’s of Greek, Latin origin meaning “from Attica.” Most parents who choose this name are fond of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird and its main (and very noble) character, Atticus Finch. According to Nameberry, so many people have been inspired by this character that he was voted the greatest hero of American film by the American Film Institute. 

This name entered the Top 1000 boy names in the US in 2004 and has since been a longtime Nameberry favorite. Even though it currently sits at #309 overall, it’s been steadily rising every year and we suspect it’ll continue to do so in 2021.

5. Aurora (oh-roh-ra)

A new baby girl can light up any room which is why she should be named Aurora! This name is of Latin origin meaning “dawn.” It’s the name of the Roman goddess of sunrise whose tears turned to morning dew. It’s also associated with the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis. 

For parents who are a fan of Disney or princesses in general, they might be interested in the fact that it’s also the name of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. This might be a fun thing to share with your daughter to make her feel more like the princess she is! 

According to Nameberry, Aurora has been a top contender since the nineteenth century, but it’s currently on the rise, and fast. It’s one of the Top 50 girl names in the U.S. and most commonly searched girl names on Nameberry.

6. Ava (a-VAH)

Even though it’s the last of the names beginning with the letter “A” on this list, Ava is a front runner. This name currently ranks as the third most popular female name in the U.S. 

It’s of Latin origin meaning “life; bird; water, island.” It received a huge popularity boost after high profile stars like Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman used it for their daughters. But it might also be a top contender because of its simplicity. It’s short and sweet, easy to pronounce and spell. It also works well with many different names. 

7. Benjamin (ben-JA-min)

Benjamin is a traditional and classic name that has been around for a very long time and is likely never going to go out of style. It’s of Hebrew origin meaning “son of the right hand.” 

In the Old Testament, Benjamin was the youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob and Rachel in the Book of Genesis and one of the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. Despite its biblical origins, it’s enjoyed widespread popularity for decades and continues to be one of the most commonly used boy names of all time. 

It became one of the Top 10 boy names in 2015 and remained there ever since. Nameberry refers to it as one of those golden names that is very traditional, but also quite stylish which is why it’s popularity has never wavered. It’s currently the 7th most popular boy name in the U.S.

8. Charlotte (sh-AHR-luht)

A royal favorite, Charlotte is of French origin meaning “free man.” Parents love to use this name for their little girls because it’s very feminine, as well as classic and timeless. It also transitions nicely into adulthood as a very sophisticated and grownup name. 

It’s commonly used in pop culture. We all remember Charlotte’s Web, as well as Charlotte York from Sex and the City. It was the name of Scarlett Johansson’s character in Lost in Translation and been featured on shows like Lost and Revenge

For parents who are admirers of the Royal family, Charlotte is the name of a young Princess of Cambridge, but there was also Queen Charlotte, mother of 15 children and patron of Mozart and Bach.

9. Elijah (eh-lai-JUH)

Elijah has become a “fashionable biblical choice,” as Nameberry would say. It’s of Hebrew origin meaning “Yahweh is God.” It’s derived from the Hebrew name Eliyahu. In the Old Testament, Elijah was the prophet who went to heaven in a chariot of fire. 

Similar to many of the other boy names we’ve included on this list, it’s a traditional biblical name that is becoming a much more common pick for parents. In fact, it’s quickly becoming a strong contender for Noah and Liam’s coveted top spots in the U.S. 

After rarely being used in the 50’s and 60’s it was rejuvenated in the 70’s when Cher and Gregg Allman named their son Elijah Blue. It’s since been chosen by other celebrities like Donnie Wahlberg, James Spader, Tracy Nelson, Wynonna Judd and Bono. 

10. Eloise (EHL-oh-eez)

Unlike some of the other female names on this list, Eloise doesn’t currently rank super high in the U.S. It sits at #151, but Nameberry has noticed an increase in searches on this name in 2020 which has put it on the map for 2021. 

It’s of French, English origin meaning “healthy; wide.” It’s considered a very chic name, along with many other EL beginning names. It jumped in popularity in 2009 thanks to Eloise Hawking on Lost and was the name of Jennifer Aniston’s character in Love Happens

Parents looking for something a little more unique and unusual, but also chic and stylish would love this name for their little girl.

11. Emma (EM-ah)

Right behind Olivia, Emma takes the cake as THEE most popular girls name on this list. It’s of German origin meaning “universal.” And while it’s quite similar to Emily and British’s No.1 name Amelia, they all have different meanings. 

Emma has been a top girls name in the U.S. for four years in a row. It basically made leaps and bounds up the charts thanks to all the Emma heroines and beloved celebrities with this name like Emma Stone, Emma Watson, then of course Jane Austen’s fierce protagonist. 

It also received a huge boost when it was used on Friends as the name for Rachel and Ross’s baby girl in 2002. There’s also no denying that girl names beginning with the letter “E” have always been a favorite among parents.

12. Ethan (EE-thuhn)

Ethan is a very simple, yet strong name. It’s of Hebrew origin, literally meaning “strong, firm.” It’s derived from the Hebrew name Eitan. It also has strong Biblical roots as there are several Ethans in the Old Testament.

Nameberry points out that there was a huge spike in interest in this name after the success of the Tom Cruise film series, Mission Impossible. While it’s still a popular name in the U.S. it’s just barely sitting on the Top 10 in the tenth spot overall.

13. Evelyn (EH-ve-lin)

Evelyn fits the bill as one of those very old-fashioned names that is being reintroduced as stylish and trendy. It’s of English origin meaning “desired; or water, island.” It was also derived from the French feminine given name Aveline. 

While it’s no newcomer, it’s somewhat returned to the baby name stage in a big way. In 2017 it made the Top 10 girl names in the U.S. for the first time. Today, it’s remained a top contender and even surpassed other favorites like Eva and Ava. 

As if 2019, it sits on the edge of the Top 10 in the #10 spot.

14. Harper (HAR-per)

Another English origin name, Harper means “harp player.” Similar to Evelyn, it hasn’t always been a popular choice, but as of lately it’s become a hot commodity. It sits among the Top 10 girl names in the U.S. at #9. 

It entered the Top 10 for the first time in 2015 and has been there ever since. It’s the perfect example of a surname that turned into a boys name, and now transitioned into a girls name. It was rarely chosen by parents prior to the mid-2000s until it was introduced as a girls name in 2004. It’s been steadily rising ever since which is why we think it’s a name to watch in 2021!

15. Isabella (i-ze-BEH-lah)

Isabella is of Hebrew, Spanish, and Italian origin meaning “pledged to God.” This name is used all over the world thanks to its cross-cultural appeal. It’s feminine, classic, has a long history both as a royal and classic name for Spanish girls and is recognized around the world. Parents also like it also feels quite modern. 

While it’s always been a major superstar among girl names in the U.S. (it was the top girls name for two years in a row between 2009 to 2010), it might have enjoyed an extra boost thanks to the Twilight franchise and its lead character, Isabella “Bella” Swan. 

As of 2019, it’s the fifth most popular girls name in America.

16. Isla (eye-la)

Despite the unusualness of this name, both in spelling and pronunciation, it’s actually become a super popular name in the U.S. It’s of Spanish and Scottish origin meaning “island.” It’s the Spanish word for island and the name of a Scottish river. In addition to Scotland and Ireland, it’s also popular in England and Wales. 

In the U.S. it ranks just outside the Top 50 girl names sitting at #57. 

Nameberry says it’s part of the old-fashioned trend of girl names that start and end with a vowel. Other names that fall into this pattern are Ava, Ada, Emma, Ella, Eva, Ida, and Ivy.

17. James (JAYMZ)

Keeping with the trend of 2021, James is another traditional name that ranks well. It’s of Hebrew, English origin meaning “supplanter.” It’s the English derivation of the Hebrew name Jacob. It’s popularity may stem from the fact that it’s both a biblical, royal, and presidential name, and shared by many famous writers and entertainers. 

James is a classic Anglo-Saxon name that has aged quite well. Unlike some other names, it only grows more stylish with time! According to Nameberry, it was recently polled as America’s No. 1 favorite boy name. It’s also the most classic and authentic English name for boys. 

This name entered the Top 5 in 2016 for the first time since 1980 and remains in the Top 10 at #6. It’s one of the most commonly used boy names beginning with the letter “J.”

18. Jasper (jas-per)

Even though Jasper seems like an unusual name, it’s on Nameberry’s list of Top 20 boy names (based on searches in the last year) and is within the Top 150 boy names in the U.S. at #136. It’s of Persian origin meaning “bringer of treasure.” 

While it has long been considered a posh and charming name in England, it’s now a favorite for hip parents looking for something a little outside the box. This may be thanks to the Twilight books and movies, as well as nature loving parents who’ve visited Canada’s famous Jasper National Park in the Alberta rockies.

19. Leo (lee-oh)

It might not appear so at first glance, but Leo is a very masculine name as it’s of German, Latin origin meaning “lion.” These animals are known for their courage and bravery, as well as their power and strength. 

While in the past Leo has historically been used as a nickname for names like Leon and Leopold, these days, Leo stands on his own. It’s a strong, but friendly name that is on the rise thanks to popular actors like Leonardo “Leo” DiCaprio. It’s currently seeing a big surge in France, Finland, England, Wales, Scotland, and Sweden. In the U.S. it’s the 40th most popular boy name (as of 2019).

20. Levi (lee-vye)

Like a good pair of jeans this name will never go out of style! Levi is of Hebrew origin meaning “joined, attached.” It can also be found in the Old Testament as the third son of Leah and Jacob or in the New Testament as Matthew’s given name before he was an apostle. 

Today, Levi is considered a very light and energetic name for any little boy. Nameberry points out that this name has been surging upward on the charts in recent years, especially after Matthew McConaughey, Sheryl Crow and Sara Gilbert chose it for their sons. 

As of 2019, it’s the 25th most popular boy name in the U.S.

21. Liam (li-am)

An Irish name, Liam means “resolute protection.” It originated as a nickname for Uilliam, the Irish variation of William. Today, Liam is one of the top boy names in the U.S. It joined the Top 10 in 2018 and has quickly become one of the fastest rising Irish names in the U.S. 

It cracked the Top 10 for the first time in 2012 and was in the No. 1 spot for a short period of time before moving to the No. 2 spot for four years in a row. As of 2019, it’s back in the coveted No. 1 spot as the most popular boy name in the U.S. It’s also a favorite in countries like Ireland and Sweden.

22. Lucas (LOO-kuhs)

Lucas is another mega popular name in America. It’s of Greek, Latin origin meaning “man from Lucania.” It’s the Latin derivation of the Greek name Loukas and is related to names like Luke and Luca. 

While it’s not as popular as Leo, it’s well within the Top 10 boy names sitting in the No. 8 spot. It’s been steadily rising as parents look for alternative options to other similar boy names like Luke. In addition to being a favorite in America, it’s also popular in Sweden and the Netherlands. 

23. Luna (LOO-nah)

Made for a personality that is just out of this world — Luna is the name of Roman goddess of the moon! Derived straight from the Latin word for moon, Luna is of Italian and Latin origin. 

Shimmering like the star that it is, Luna stands out among most other names. It may seem like a whacky, modern name but it’s started becoming popular around the turn of the 20th century. It ranks extremely well as in the sixteenth most popular girl name in the U.S. Nameberry also points out that it typically ranks No. 1 on their internal charts. It’s a favorite in Europe, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Spain, and Portugal. 

We think this name may be experiencing newfound popularity thanks to Harry Potter’s character, the oddball but loveable Luna Lovegood. It was also a character in True Blood, and used by many celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, as well as Penelope Cruz and Ellen Pompeo.

24. Maeve (mayv)

Looking for something unique for your special little girl? Maeve might just be the name for you! It’s of Irish origin meaning “she who intoxicates.” It appears in Irish mythology in two forms, as the Queen of Connacht and the queen of fairies. 

It’s considered a very sweet, but also stylish Irish name and became a modern hit in the U.S. It would make a great first or middle name for any little girl. Parents could also shorten it to Mae, May, but there’s no denying Maeve has the most character. 

While it doesn’t rank super high at the moment, sitting at #244 in the U.S., Nameberry lists it as one of their most commonly searched girl names in 2020.

25. Mason (mah-sun)

Mason is a somewhat unusual name that has become surprisingly popular in recent years. It’s of English origin meaning “worker in stone.” It’s one of the few occupational surnames on this list, and considered a trendy version of names like Jason. 

It was the No. 2 boy name in the U.S. in 2011 and has remained near the top of the charts ever since. This may be thanks to celebrity use like Kourtney Kardashian, Cuba Gooding Jr., Melissa Joan Hart and Kevin Richardson. It’s currently the ninth most popular boy name in America.

26. Mia (mee-AH)

Short and sweet — perfect for any little girl! Mia is of Italian, Scandinavian origin meaning “mine or bitter.” It originated as a short form for Maria which was derived from the Hebrew name Miryam. 

These days, Mia is used as a short form for Amelia, Emilia, and Miriam, but it’s also a solid name on it’s own. Parents like it because it’s easy to pronounce, spell, and it’s a multicultural name that has been steadily rising in popularity. It has long passed the original Maria and is currently the No. 1 girls name starting with the letter “M.” It sits within the Top 10 girl names in the U.S. in the eighth spot overall.

27. Milo (miy-lo)

The name Milo is of German origin meaning “solider or merciful.” While it’s a short and sweet name, it’s also strong and masculine. Milo is similar to the name Miles, but according to Nameberry actually predates it. Parents could also use the spelling Mylo. 

Not surprisingly, this name has been a favorite among parents both in the U.S. and around the world. It’s recently seen a surge in use, likely thanks to the actor Milo Ventimiglia who plays the beloved father, Jack, on NBC’s hit show This Is Us. It has also been the name of characters in Catch-22, The Phantom Tollbooth, Milo and Otis, Alias, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

28. Noah (no-ah)

We all recognize this name from the Bible as Noah was deemed the only righteous man to survive the great flood. It’s of Hebrew origin meaning “rest, repose.” While it’s a boy’s name, the female variation is Noa, however it can be seen as a variant spelling of the male version. 

It came as a bit of a surprise when this name shot to the top of the charts in 2013 and became the new No. 1 boy baby name in the U.S. It dethroned Jacob after a 13-year reign and has maintained its spot in the Top 5 ever since. It’s currently the second most popular boy name and we don’t see this changing anytime soon.

29. Oliver (AW-li-ver)

Oliver is of Latin origin meaning “olive tree.” It’s derived from Olivier, the Norman French variation of the Ancient German name Alfher which comes from Olaf (hello, Frozen!) 

This is definitely a traditional classic when it comes to names and is a popular choice in England, Australia, and New Zealand, however it only recently entered the Top 100 in the U.S. about a decade ago. 

While this name is no doubt trendy and stylish, it’s not as popular as the female version “olivia” which has ranked as one of the top girl names in the U.S. for a long time. However, Olivier isn’t far behind as the Official Social Security website lists it as the third most commonly used boy name in the country.

30. Olivia (oh-LI-vee-ah)

Similar to Emma, Olivia is a long standing champion when it comes to popularity. It is the Top girl name in the US and the most popular girl name in English-speaking and European countries around the world. 

The use of this name can be traced back to 13th century England, but was definitely popularized by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

Olivia is of Latin origin meaning “olive tree” and is a common name for girls because of its strength and femininity. It’s a favorite choice for parents not just in the U.S., but also in Australia, the UK, Canada, and throughout the Western World. It’s one of only four girl names starting with the letter “O” in the U.S.’s Top 1000. It will always be a solid name choice for any baby girl, but just be wary of how common it is! 

31. Ophelia (oh-feel-ya)

This name is quite unusual and doesn’t rank well in terms of numbers (it’s #387 in the U.S.), but Nameberry lists it as one of their most commonly searched girl names in 2020 which puts it on the radar for 2021. 

Ophelia is a female name of Greek origin meaning “help.” While it doesn’t necessarily appeal to the masses quite yet, there’s no denying it’s an elegant name. It’s suffered a bit of stigma as Hamlet’s tragic heroine, but there’s been enough distance between it now that parents seem to be putting that aside. 

According to Nameberry, it’s one of only 9 girl names beginning with the letter O to rank in the Top 1000, so it’s definitely unique! We think it might be the next Olivia.

32. Silas (siy-les)

Silas is a really cool and trendy name that might intrigue any parents who are a fan of hipster or folksy culture. It’s of English, Latin origin meaning “wood, forest” and based on the name Silvanus, both of which are used in the Bible. 

Ever since the 1990s this name has been on the rise in the U.S. and is currently sitting just outside the Top 100 at #107 for boy names in America. 

33. Sophia (soh-fay-uh)

Another top contender for girl names is Sophia! It’s of Greek origin meaning “wisdom.” This name has been around for a long, long time. It was first made famous by St. Sophia in the Greek Orthodox church and first used in England back in the seventeenth century as both the mother and wife’s name of George I. 

Today, it’s recognized as one of the Top 10 girl names in the U.S. It was the No. 1 name from 2011 to 2013, and currently ranks quite well as it sits in the No. 4 spot. Similar to Isabella and Olivia (two other popular names) this name has reached such heights thanks to its wide appeal. Intellectuals like it for it’s meaning and femininity, then there are those parents who are just looking for a classic name. It also draws attention for having Latin roots and its alternative French spelling which is Sophie.

34. Theodore (THEE-e-dohr)

Theodore and it’s short form “Theo” are quite popular in the U.S. right now sitting well within the Top 50 boy names at #36. They are of Greek origin meaning “gift of God.” Perfect for any little gift coming in 2021! 

This name became quite popular after Theodore Roosevelt took office in 1901 which is when it became one of the Top 40 boy names, along with Ted and Teddy. It did suffer a bit of a dip afterwards, but has rebounded thanks to the very likable nickname, Theo. 

It’s been used by several celebrities including Ivanka Trump, Bryce Dallas Howard, Natascha McElhone, and Ali Larter. It’s also the name of the fictional son of Christian and Ana in Fifty Shades of Grey.

35. William (wil-lee-am)

This name is bound to be a favorite among parents who are fans of the royal family. Plus, it’s such a classic and traditional name which is why many people still love it to this day. It’ll never go out of style or be considered “overused.”

William is of English origin meaning “resolute protection.” Not surprisingly, it’s considered one of the most popular boy names in America. It’s quite conservative, but also contemporary. According to Nameberry, second to John, William has been the most popular name in the English-speaking world for 400 years! That is no doubt where the tradition comes from. The contemporary aspect of the name? We can thank the beloved and high-profile Prince William for that! 

It’s been the namesake of many high profile and admired people in the past and present including William Shakespeare, Bill Gates, and four U.S. presidents.

Senior Managing Editor

Katherine is the Senior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat and Childhood. She is constantly striving to live a more active and healthy life, from eating healthy, exercising, and just spending more time outdoors. She enjoys cooking (with wine), walking her dog, reading, and recently joined a yoga studio!