Liam ousts Noah as most popular boy name, Emma defends her title

Move over, Noah — there’s a new guy in town. 

Today the Social Security Administration released its list of the most popular baby names in 2017, and this marks the first time Liam topped the boy list, knocking Noah down to No. 2 after a four-year ride at the top. 

On the girls’ side, Emma defended her title for the fourth consecutive year, followed by Olivia and Ava. 

Here’s the top 10 list: 

Most Popular Baby Names from 2017
1. Liam 1. Emma
2. Noah 2. Olivia 
3. William  3. Ava
4. James 4. Isabella
5. Logan  5. Sophia 
6. Benjamin 6. Mia
7. Mason  7. Charlotte
8. Elijah 8. Amelia 
9. Oliver  9. Evelyn 
10. Jacob  10. Abigail 

Here’s the website with all the baby-name deets. You can get the new top 100 if you want to scan for your children’s names. 

Every May the release of this list excites moms like me who have a weird fascination with baby names. I’ve written before about the topic, assessing how national trends differ with favorites in Minnesota. (A state-by-state breakdown on last year’s most popular baby names is not yet available.) 

Baby names offer a unique reflection on our culture and the values we hope to instill in our children, beginning with our first parenting choice — the most defining one — their names. 

And to be honest, I think some parents (myself included) take a smug interest because we believe we have chosen the best names, and we feel amused by the others selected. Perhaps even judgy.

Of course, none of us wants our child’s name to land in the most-popular spot. This year the Social Security Administration has provided a list of the names that have surged the most, a helpful guide for expectant parents hoping to avoid this outcome. 

Wells climbed 504 spots over the past year on the boy side. Ensley, meanwhile, leapt a whopping 1,461 spots on the girl list, while Dream surged 840 spots. (Kardashian influence, perhaps?) 

Several new names made the top 10. Amelia cracked it for the first time, and Evelyn joined in for the first time since 1915, a testament to our ongoing interest in classic names. “These traditional names,” the Social Security Administration noted in its press release, “show how parents are keeping up the trend of naming daughters after grandmothers.”

I would clarify this observation: We are naming our daughters after their great-grandmothers more often than their grandmas, choosing names like Evelyn, Ava and Grace lifted from the early 1900s rather than the Baby Boomer names (Susan, Barbara, Nancy) that surged in the ’50s when our moms were born. We seem to prefer the vintage, the fashionably older, providing a bit more distance than simply our mothers’ birth era. 

I am braced for our daughter’s name Jane to catch on but read with relief that it actually dipped a few spots in the past year, sitting at a comfortable rank of No. 282. 

Archibald, meanwhile, still doesn’t crack the top 1,000. Neither does Archie, our son’s nickname, though Archer climbed to No. 254. 

Where does your child’s name rank? How do you feel about its standing?  

 Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and three young children in Inver Grove Heights.