The Unexpected Baby Names That Will Be Everywhere In 2024
Evergreen names are out, and dictionary names are bigger than ever.
Earlier this week, we spoke with renowned baby-naming expert Jennifer Moss, the founder and CEO of BabyNames.com — the original baby name database, launched nearly 30 years ago. In advance of their annual predictive list of the baby names that will dominate in the coming year, we asked Moss about the trends that defined 2023 and what to watch for in 2024.
Now the big list is out, and it echoes what Moss shared in that interview. In 2024, unique names will continue their reign, while bedrock traditional names — reliable evergreens like Elizabeth and Michael — are slowly trending out for the first time in living memory. And the quest for uniqueness is taking parents into new territory: toward gender-neutral and dictionary-inspired names, and deep into the obscure roots of the family tree in pursuit of a name that feels radically new, even if it’s radically old. (Be sure to check out our list of extinct baby names that are truly original.)
Here are the top-line trends for 2024, as identified by the experts at BabyNames.com, and the names that will define those trends in the coming year(s).
Dictionary names are in.
Names like “Zodiac or Crimson or Winter” have “almost become the norm,” says Moss of the dictionary trend. More and more, parents are “choosing words… that mean something to them or that they think sound great.” In this vein, BabyNames.com predicts that names such as Willow, River, Indigo, Forest, and Calliope will grow in popularity.
Gender-neutral is in — especially traditionally masculine names for girls.
As are names that are gender-neutral — or giving girls traditionally masculine names. Gender-neutral names that are trending right now are, per the site, “Sage, Rowan, Willow, Finlay, Harper and Avery.” The names the site says are traditionally masculine but being given to baby girls are “Noah, Ezra, and Luca.” Other trending names are Story, Dallas, Cato, and Sunday.
Evergreen names are out, but old-fashioned is still in.
That means “grandma names” for girls and “generational English names” for boys, according to BabyNames’ projections for 2024. But stalwarts like Elizabeth — which has never dipped out of the top 100 — are trending downward for the first time in, well, forever. Other classics losing altitude for the first time include Michael — a name that dominated the top of the baby name charts throughout the ’80s and ’90s — as well as William and Jane. Why? “Probably because these names are seen as more common and uninspiring for modern babies,” theorizes the team at BabyNames. But if you’re trying to pick a name that’s not trendy, perhaps these evergreen names are where you should look.
And as for what is trending in the world of “vintage” baby names, for boys, the site says their data points to names like Silas and Simon as trending. (Moss also called out the name Declan in our interview). For girls, old-timey names like Alice, Eleanor, Maeve, and Charlotte are holding strong.
Vowel-heavy baby names are reigning supreme.
Though not numbered among BabyNames’ projections for the coming years, we here at Fatherly are continuing to see the up-trending appeal of shorter vowel-heavy names with a distinctive sound — names like Owen, Aurora, Opal, Cleo, Arlo, and Atlas are all short and sweet, they point to the ongoing vowel-centric trend in baby names.
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