As 2020 comes to a close, we look to the future to discover which baby names for boys are going to be huge next year. While predicting names might seem like a magical prospect, you can actually glean a lot about which names will rise and fall by looking at the way things shook out the previous year. We looked at the latest official baby naming data from the Social Security Administration to see which names are expected to improve their standing and move to the top of the charts.
We also looked to BabyNames.com, which has hundreds of thousands of users to see which names for boys have been trending on its database. If you’re an expecting parent or just collecting names to save for later, this list is a great jumping-off point for your baby name journey. We’ll discuss names that previously hit the top of the charts and those that are on the rise. Here are our predictions for the most popular names for boys in 2021!
Daniel is a name that has consistently ranked around or in the top 25 baby names for boys since 1880. It’s been slipping slightly over the last several years, however, which makes us think it will remain in the top but might not be as favored as last year. Daniel is a name with Hebrew origins that means “God is my judge.”
Levi has seen a dramatic change in favor over the past six decades. It’s not surprising that this name is now more popular than ever before in the US. We predict the name will remain in the top 25 after it crossed the threshold last year. With Hebrew origins, Levi means “joined.”
Sebastian is a name that’s not always been at front-of-mind for expecting parents. However, this name is trending up and has landed in the top 25 since 2016. We think this name’s appeal for many cultures and languages is driving its rise in the US and abroad. Sebastian has Latin and Greek origins and means “man from Sebastia.”
James has been and will be one of America’s favorite names for boys. It’s been on or around the top since 1880! It slipped in popularity in the early aughts, but it has made its return to glory! James is an English name with Hebrew roots that means “supplanter.”
Jackson took a backset to other big names in the late sixties, but has been in the top 25 since 2009. How could you go wrong with this impeccable name? It’s more popular than John and Jack today! We think it will keep up its winning streak. Jackson is a name with English origins that means “son of Jack.”
Dominic ranked at 85 last year, but BabyNames predicts it will be one of 2021’s hottest names. We’re into it! This traditional name feels contemporary even though it’s been in use since the days of Antiquity. Dominic has Latin origins and means “belonging to the Lord.”
Anderson has emerged as a popular unisex surname name that is one of the few to come from Scandinavia and make it on the top of the charts. According to BabyNames, the name was a favorite among those looking for baby boys’ names. Anderson means “so of Anders.” Although you will find it in the top 500 last year, we predict the name will explode in 2021.
Alexander has been in the top 25 since 1991. The noble-sounding Alexander has led to the popularity of so many spinoffs, such as Alex, Zander, Xan, and Zan. We predict the name will hold in the top 25 next year. Alexander is a name with Greek origins that means “defending men.”
Joseph is one of the most classic names in American nomenclature, popular with parents from many ethnic backgrounds and having dual-religious appeal. The recent win of a candidate for president might be fueling the surge in popularity for the name at BabyNames. Joseph has Hebrew origins and means “Jehovah is my witness.”
New to the US top 1000 in 2015, Wilder is on many parents’ possibility lists and one of the new generation of bad boy names growing in popularity. At BabyNames it was the tenth most favorited name on the site. Further, the name is trending on other platforms like the Nameberry database. While we think it has a shot of landing in the top 25, this is more of a wildcard pick. Wilder is a surname name.
Caleb is a name that enjoyed its most popular year ever in 2009. While it has slipped slightly out of the top 25, parents on BabyNames are flirting with this name more than most others. We love this gentle name with Hebrew roots that means “devotion to God.” We hope to hear it even more in 2021.
Harrison had its best year ever in 1888, but it’s been trending up over the last two decades. It was the third most loved name on BabyNames this year. Perhaps, the name runs in the family and will be to honor a loved one. Harrison has English origins and means “son of Harry.”
While we expected to find Alexander on the list, we were shocked that so many parents are smitten with the name Axel! It is currently the most popular it’s ever been in the US. Will it land in the top 25? It’s possible! Axel has Scandinavian origins and means “father of peace.”
Oliver was a top-three name last year and one of the most considered names for boys at BabyNames. It could definitely go the route of Olivia and take the top spot in 2021. We absolutely love this classic name that comes from Latin and means “olive tree.”
Aiden is a name that’s seen so much favor in recent years that parents are even considering the name for baby girls (which we think works well). Aiden was in the top last year and we think it’s destined for a return as it’s the second most-saved name by expecting parents. Aiden is a form of Aidan an Irish name that means “little and fiery.”
Ethan derives from the Hebrew name Eitan which means “strong.” The name saw its two most popular years ever in 2009 and 2010. It landed at number ten on the SSA’s list and we think we can expect the same as interest in the name was not wained online either.
We think the name Mason will go the same way as Ethan in 2021. Baby names generally don’t fall off the charts in a single year and we think Mason still has a shine to it. It’s an English occupational surname that means “worker in stone.” Mason sounds strong yet approachable.
Lucas had a middling run on the baby name charts until it shot to the top 100 in 1980. Interest in the name has only increased since. Expect to hear plenty of this name in 2021. Lucas is the Latin form of Luke. The name means “man for Lacania.”
The very top name at BabyNames this year is Henry. The name had its worst year in 1994, but it has swung back once more. All of these indicate that we can expect to see Henry in the top ten once more in 2021. Henry has German origins and means “estate ruler.”
William has been second only to John as the most popular name in the English-speaking world. It is still a favorite at BabyNames, but we foresee this moniker slipping from its spot at number four last year, but remaining in the top ten. William has English and German roots and means “resolute protector.”
Elijah ranked at number five last year and we expect it to do the same in 2020. However, we could be missing a surge in popularity in this name after parents choose to name their child in honor of the late Elijah Cummings. This handsome Hebrew name means “Yahweh is God.”
Here’s another wildcard that BabyNames dealt us as Landon is one of the most highly sought one on their database. Landon cracked the top 100 in 2003 and has improved its standing ever since. Will Landon be in the top 10 in 2021? It’s a possibility! Landon is a name with English origins that means “long hill.”
Noah is a name that was number one for many recent years. However, we expect this name to slip in popularity ever-so-slightly in 2021. This gentle classic is one you really can’t go wrong with! Noah has Hebrew origins and means “rest.”
Jack has been slowly rising in recent years as parents return to this bold moniker. We predict that Jack will move up the charts even further after discovering that it’s the fifth most favorited name at BabyNames. Jack has English origins and is a derivative of John. The name means “God is gracious.”
There’s no doubt in our minds that Liam will be in the top five in 2021. We even expect this name to be the very most popular again, as it has been number one for the last three years. Liam is the Irish short form of William and shares its meaning with the name.
There you go! What do you think of our baby name prediction for 2021? We hope you feel inspired by these names and will consider one of them for your little boy!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Daniel
- 2 24. Levi
- 3 23. Sebastian
- 4 22. James
- 5 21. Jackson
- 6 20. Dominic
- 7 19. Anderson
- 8 18. Alexander
- 9 17. Joseph
- 10 16. Wilder
- 11 15. Caleb
- 12 14. Harrison
- 13 13. Axel
- 14 12. Oliver
- 15 11. Aiden
- 16 10. Ethan
- 17 9. Mason
- 18 8. Lucas
- 19 7. Henry
- 20 6. William
- 21 5. Elijah
- 22 4. Landon
- 23 3. Noah
- 24 2. Jack
- 25 1. Liam
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