The Social Security Administration sluggishly releases their baby naming data year after year and we are still sorting through their findings from last year! We decided to take a look at baby names for girls that have changed in popularity year over year to see which appellations parents are currently drifting towards. What names are the fastest rising for girls?
It turns out many new parents are finding names for girls that start with “Al” most attractive at the moment Alaya, Alayah, Alaiya, and Alaia accounting for the top of the pack. Now, if you are looking for a completely rare name, this list might not be best suited for your needs as the baby names you will find here are destined to increase their popularity in the coming years. So, what names are moving the needle? Check out the 25 fastest-rising baby names to discover which unique (for now) names parents are giving the newborn girls!
Waverly is a girl’s name of English origin meaning “meadow of quivering aspens.” Find a name with a better meaning, we dare you! In fiction, Waverly is the name of the daughter of Buttercup and Wesley in The Princess Bride and a memorable character in The Joy Luck Club, who was named by her Chinese mother for the San Francisco street on which the family lived. This charmer landed in the US top 1000 for the first time in 2018 and is on the rise in a big way!
Not too far from Waverly, you will find her cousin, Everlee. Everly is a girl’s name of English origin meaning “wild boar in a woodland clearing.” So, if you are looking for a baby name with a poetic meaning, these first two are the tickets! Everlee is the alternative spelling of this name that is currently the most favored of a bunch that includes, Everleigh, Everley, etc. Everlee first made its appearance in the top 1000 in 2017 and has been hopping up the chart ever since.
Legacy is proof that any attractive-sounding word can be turned into a baby name, and this one has the added attractions of an inspirational meaning and a cool, original namesake. This is considered a gender-neutral name, but it is currently more popular for girls being in the top 1000 since 2017.
Malayah first arrived on the charts in 1994 and has steadily climbed its way into the top 1000. It’s a spelling variation of Malaya, which derives from the same root as Malaysia, which in addition to being a country name, is a baby name that ranks in the top 600. The Filipino name means “free.” We love this variation and are pleased that so many new parents are recognizing its beauty.
Parents really love A’s and L’s in a baby girl’s name! Aila is a rarer form of the once-obscure, Scottish name, Isla. Aila has Finnish origins as a variation for Helga. In Scottish Gaelic, the name means “from the strong place.” Another variant, Ayla is popular in Turkish tradition as well. However you decide to get this baby name spelled, it’s a great choice. The spelling, Aila cracked the charts last year and we are in love.
Dior is a French surname that comes from d’Or which means “golden.” We imagine the luxury, French, fashion house of the same name is the inspiration behind this name that first appeared in the US top 1000 in 2018. No judgment here, but we are not huge fans of naming children after brands. By all means, live your life, but there are plenty of baby names without that sort of baggage!
Elodie derives from Elodia, the Spanish variation of Alodia, a gothic German name associated with Saint Alodia. Saint Alodia was a child martyr in 9th century Spain, along with her sister Nunilo. Happy story, right? In France, Elodie is spelled Élodie, with an accent over the E. The name means “foreign riches.” Elodie was a popular baby name in the US up until 1886 when it fell from favor until last year! Wow!
Of all the beautiful names on this list, we are most excited about the comeback of the classic Zora. This swoon-worthy name multicultural hit with use in Arabic, Slavic (Serbo-Croatian), and African traditions. This sunny name means “dawn.” For some parents, Zora would be a literary heroine name honoring Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer, and leader of the Harlem Renaissance. The baby name reached its height of popularity in 1885 and shortly thereafter fell off the list for nearly 100 years until it returned last year. Bring it on!
Chances are that you would not encounter many children with the name Winnie after 1957. But, Winnie’s back! This absolutely adorable diminutive form of Winnifred, Edwina, or Gwendolyn, has Welsh origins that mean “holy peacemaking” or “gentle friend.” We are into both of those sentiments! We are thrilled that this baby name returned last year!
It’s clear that humble vintage names are making a comeback as we also see the return of Nellie. It’s not just having a moment here! The name is trendy in Sweden today! Nellie is a shortened form of Eleanor or Helen that means “horn.” Historically, this baby name has been one of America’s favorites so we were delighted to welcome it back to the top 1000 last year.
A growing trend in recent years has been for new parents to choose names for baby girls that start and end with A. Alora checks that box and, we believe, this made-up name was conceived to do just that. Alora is closest to Hebrew names Eliora or Elora which both mean “the Lord is my light.” This fabricated baby name hit the top 1000 for the first time in 2017 and it has climbed to the 738th spot.
Palmer’s history as a given name was almost entirely used for baby boys until very recently. New parents have seen the name as a gender-neutral option for baby girls with the name, now, more popular for girls than for boys. Exciting stuff! Palmer has English origins and means “one who holds the palm.” The last time this name made the top 1000 was in the 1940s when it was given to many baby boys. It hit the charts for girls in 2018!
Blessing is among the top 1000 girls’ names in the UK today and recently joined the ranks in the US as well. This word name is a spiritual baby name among others in its class like Faith and Grace, Blessing sounds more secular. We think a logical nickname for this one would be Essie. We are excited to see where this one goes!
Kamari is such a charming name and any little girl would be so fortunate to be given it. The name comes from Kamaria, a name in Swahili that means “moonlight.” Kamari is more popular than the original Kamaria in the US and we think both are great options. This name first made the list in 2008 before falling from the charts and rebounding last year. Keep it up, new parents!
We were taught not to be quiet if we do not have nice things to say and we will follow that advice for the name Kaisley. The baby name premiered in the top 1000 last year.
Lyanna is one of many influential names invented by George R.R. Martin for A Song of Ice and Fire. Lyanna Stark was the courageous, spirited younger sister of Ned Stark, whose broken engagement to Robert Baratheon motivated a war. Lyanna cracked the top 1000 in 2017 and it has only grown in popularity ever since. We think this one might have more staying power than another popular name from the franchise, Khaleesi.
Salem is a biblical place-name in Canaan, thought to be the same as Jerusalem. In the US, the name probably is chosen for its Biblical association more often for girls, who make up more than half the babies named Salem. For boys, the alternate Arabic version Salim is used about a third of the time, while for girls the feminine Arabic versions of the name Salima and Salimah, are also found and are excellent options as well! This attractive baby name means “safe.”
Name of the French town where a vision of the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared, this name, virtually unknown elsewhere, is in the Spanish top 100. Parents have been expanding their horizons and this name made the top 1000 in the US last year. If you want to sound like you are pronouncing every vowel, this is an excellent name!
As with Kaisley, we do not have many nice things to write about the emerging name Oakleigh. Woo. This invented baby name landed in the top 1000 for the first time last year. Let’s see where it goes.
Yaritza is a name we absolutely cherish. This name of Arabic origin means “butterfly” and we will commonly find it used in Spanish and Portuguese traditions as well. It’s a form of the Arabic name Yara with a common Spanish suffix, -itza as in Maritza, added to the end. What a blast! Yaritza first appeared on the top 1000 list in 1993 when it become a top 500 name! It’s latest return follows it falling off the list in 2014.
Imani is a girl’s name of Arabic origin meaning “faith.” While it is very popular today, it’s cousin, Emani has been gaining steam. Though the alternative spelling is unusual, we really love this name for girls.
She can be your little Navy bean! When R & B singer Nivea made this highly original choice for her daughter’s name, she claimed to have thought of it in terms of the color and not the seagoing armed service. It enjoyed one of the greatest leaps in popularity last year which landed it on the top 1000 list. Navy is a word with Latin origins that means “ship.”
Theodora is one of the most revival-worthy of the charmingly old-fashioned Victorian valentine names. It’s the female form of Theodore, a name which means “gift of God.” The name fell off the top 1000 list in 1950s before making a return last year! This name has belonged to queens, princesses, and empresses! It has a storied history your daughter will love learning about someday.
2. Alaya, Alayah, Alaiya, and Alaia
In Buddhism, Alaya refers to the base consciousness, all of our memories, ideas, and desires. It’s a lofty concept, and an attractive name, slowly on the rise since entering the US top 1000 in 2009. Aaliyah, Aliya, etc. are all forms of the same Arabic name that means “exalted.” Each of these names is very similar and all have had wind behind their backs for a decade now. Taken together these names represent some of the most popular choices for baby girls in the country that have seen huge year over year gains.
1. Amoura and Amora
Amoura is the alternate spelling of Amora and it rose over 1000 places in last year, making it the fastest-rising girl name of the year. While the original Amora is still more popular and a top 500 name. Amoura, with its French touch, will be a beloved alternative for years to come but we do not expect it to surpass Amora’s popularity. Amoura has Latin origins and means “love.”
There you go! The 25 fastest rising baby names for girls are both surprising and very exciting as they are charting a path forward for modern parents hoping to buck tradition. We were surprised by several of the fastest risers as they represent changing trends away from religious names and a turn toward more secular options. These names are tracking to be big hits so if you pick one of them, expect to find it belonging to another little girl in her class.
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 1 25. Waverly
- 2 24. Everlee
- 3 23. Legacy
- 4 22. Malayah
- 5 21. Aila
- 6 20. Dior
- 7 19. Elodie
- 8 18. Zora
- 9 17. Winnie
- 10 16. Nellie
- 11 15. Alora
- 12 14. Palmer
- 13 13. Blessing
- 14 12. Kamari
- 15 11. Kaisley
- 16 10. Lyanna
- 17 9. Salem
- 18 8. Ainhoa
- 19 7. Oakleigh
- 20 6. Yaritza
- 21 5. Emani
- 22 4. Navy
- 23 3. Theodora
- 24 2. Alaya, Alayah, Alaiya, and Alaia
- 25 1. Amoura and Amora
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