Even if you’re not expecting a baby of your own soon, we highly recommend speculating about baby name trends as a way to launch the new year. The newborns of 2021 will represent so much hope to us all, won’t they? Thinking about their arrival, who they’ll be, and what their parents will name them is going to be a form of pleasant meditation with which we’ll start January.
While there are many parents who choose their names based on family members or long-held traditions rather than trends, no one names their kids in a complete vacuum. That’s why name experts like Jennifer Moss, founder of BabyNames.com and co-host of The Baby Names Podcast, can make some predictions about which names will become popular this year. Current events influence names in ways both subtle and obvious, as she’s already seeing in the names people mark as favorites on her site.
“We’re seeing a rise in god and goddess names, like Odin, Persephone, Athena, Freja, Apollo and Adonis,” Moss told SheKnows. “That seems to be part of the ‘power names’ phenomenon. We’ve talked on our podcast about the ‘tough’ names trending like Maverick, Axel, and Rogue. Then there are the weapon names like Remington, Colt, and Blade, so the gods and goddesses fit. We believe parents want to instill the characteristics of power and strength into their children, because we feel powerless during these times, which feel out of control.”
Along those same lines, Moss thinks people are opting for Biblical names because they’re leaning on their faith in a difficult year. Ethan, Benjamin, Gabriel, Elijah, Levi, and Lucas are Biblical boy names on the rise right now. On the girls’ side, Abigail, Hannah, Naomi, Elizabeth, Delilah, Leah, Esther, and Lillith are trending.
That’s not to say that parents are just going for the classics. There are those who can’t bear for their kids to have the same names as everyone else.
“Parents are still becoming more and more creative in baby naming, using alternate spellings of more common names and creating names from combining two names, like Avonleigh,” she said.
Another trend that’s been popping for the past couple of years that we can look to continue is the use of Spanish and Italian names — Hilaria Baldwin isn’t the only one who likes the sound of these monikers that have nothing to do with her own heritage. Back when the Social Security Administration’s baby names list of 2019 came out last fall, Moss talked to us about this, too.
“Mateo at 26 [on the SSA list] is signaling a new trend of Italian/Latinx names, like Luna, Gianna, Giovanni, Lorenzo, and Enzo,” Moss said. “I predict that will be more prevalent in the next one to three years. We’re seeing these on both sides of the charts. For girls: Ximena, Catalina, Kataleya, Selena, and Daleyza. For boys: Alejandro, Maximiliano, Rafael, Francisco, Eduardo, and Fernando. Very romantic and elegant!”
In 2020 we saw two celebrity moms, Eva Amurri and Nikki Bella, name their sons Mateo/Matteo. BabyCenter.com also pointed to Mateo and Gianna as popular names of 2020.