SSA Reveals A Sweet Bundle of Beloved Baby Names


Firstcry Parenting

The Social Security Administration releases the most popular baby names from 2020. Check out the complete list at the end of this article.

Liam, Olivia, Emma, Noah, Alexander, and Harper—These are just a few of 2020’s top ranking baby names released by the Social Security Administration in early May 2021. While popularity shifts over time dictate the fluctuation of names on the rise, trends in the enumerative catalogue in recent years are visible. 

Olivia, Emma, and Ava have reigned over the top three most popular baby girl names for two consecutive years. Liam, Noah, and Oliver also sit firmly in their seats for most popular baby boy names. 

Sanderson History Teacher, Samantha Copeland, elaborates on common trends she’s seen, “This year, there have been lots of ‘J’ names–Jackson, Jack, John, Jake, Javier.” She adds, “It changes every year, but there are always three or four students in one class with the same name. It’s funny, now that I’m thinking about it, I can see the patterns.”

The SSA publicizes these popular lists annually, with some dating as far back as 1880. The applications requesting social security cards are utilized by the agency to build the cumulative annual list. 

So, what makes this year different?

Even though the U.S. has seen a steady decrease in the national birth rate for six consecutive years now, 2020’s whammy exacerbated the issue—causing a dramatic decline in the numbers. 

New data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics details: in the last quarter of 2020, the birth rate decreased significantly—upwards of 6% in comparison to the previous year around the same time. 

This is striking, because December 2020 would have been the first month when the majority of babies conceived during the beginning of the pandemic were born. Furthermore, continual scrutinization of the data exhibits that the largest reduction in births transpired in December. 

In totality, this means that the COVID-19 fiasco titanically sunk both fertility and birth rates in the U.S.—prompting astronomical implications on our society for years to come. 

While effects from the pandemic are sure to rock the boat when it comes to baby booms and busts, sure enough births will still occur, just at a much lower rate. Therefore, swings in names are still to be highlighted. 

Not only do we see trends in the names themselves, we see trends in where several of the sought-after names are derived from. A myriad of parents are paying tribute to their favorite TV show characters, contemporary gods and goddesses, biblical figures, singers, athletes, and other celebrities via their children’s moniker. founder Richard Conway noted, “TV and celebrities have a huge influence on our culture, so it’s not surprising to see that these names are becoming more and more popular.” Conway went on to reference Showtime sitcom Dexter, stating, “It’s not a new trend either, people have historically named their children after their icons, it’s just a hundred years ago it was after the Queen or King, not a murderous blood spatter analyst!”

Pop Queen Ariana Grande, the inspiration of the 300% spike in the name Ariana in 2019 compared to 2009, is case in point. Elsa also saw a 197% increase in popularity—prior to the release of Frozen 2.

Additionally, a plethora of other name trends are leaving their mark on the past decade:

Classic vintage names that are making a comeback include Thea, Eloise, Otto, Wallace, Clyde, and Pearl. Likewise, Evie, Archie (Peep, peep. Maybe you’ve heard of this little royal?), Mae, Hank, and Mack are a handful of antique nicknames on the rise.

Biblical names are not a new gravitational tendency parents are prone to opt to. Classics such as John, Luke, Elizabeth, and Benjamin are highly prevalent on the worldwide database of favorable names. Though, mythological and legendary names after contemporary gods and goddesses are beginning to steepenly climb up the fashionable ladder. Calliope, Freya, Titan, Rhea, Amos, Cain, and Aurelia are just some of the elegant and alluring paradigms. 

To browse through more “Baby Names that defined the Decade” check out this article by the New York Times

Top 10 Baby Names of 2020

Girls Names:

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Ava
  4. Charlotte
  5. Sophia
  6. Amelia
  7. Isabella
  8. Mia
  9. Evelyn
  10. Harper

Boys Names:

  1. Liam
  2. Noah
  3. Oliver
  4. Elijah
  5. William
  6. James
  7. Benjamin
  8. Lucas
  9. Henry
  10. Alexander