If you’re a child of the ’80s or ’90s, we bet you can remember the sea of Jennifers, Jessicas, Michaels and Christophers you grew up with. Thankfully, the decades since have seen the rise of unique baby names from which to choose.
Whether you’re looking for trendy baby names, hot new takes on popular picks or something completely different, scroll on for our roundup of the biggest baby name trends to be on the lookout for this year.
The Royal Baby Watch is officially on as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex—that’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to us commoners across the pond—are expecting their first child together in 2019. From the birth of Prince Louis to Meghan and Harry’s dreamy royal wedding and Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October, 2018 was totally the Year of the Royals.
According to BabyCenter, two of these royally-inspired names increased in popularity in 2018: Louis (up 17 percent) and Meghan (up 49 percent). We bet whatever Meghan and Harry name the newest royal baby will definitely top the baby name charts by year’s end. Keep an eye out for Eugenie and Jack as popular choices, too.
Nonbinary & Gender-Neutral Baby Names
Gender conformity is so last year. The new hotness? Nonbinary names that aren’t typically aligned with one gender or another, says Nameberry. Parents are raising gender-neutral kids more than ever before, whether it from shopping for gender-neutral clothing or shattering gendered playtime stereotypes.
Look for gender-neutral baby names to rise in popularity this year, with names like Briar, Campbell, Drew, Finley, Journey, Justice, Laken, Max, Revel, Robin, Royal, Stevie, Story and Tyler.
Global Chic Baby Names
Nameberry predicts that 2019 will be the year of globally-inspired baby names. With the rise of inclusivity and representation of cultures and ethnicities in kids books, movies and TV shows, it only makes sense that we’d see a rise in names that hail from all four corners of the Earth. Nameberry has its sights on names like Acacius, Aroha, Cyrene, Jedda, Kiran, Lautaro, Lior, Niabi, Sena and Walken.
We have our eyes on names from popular kids’ media that have made great leaps in representation over the last couple of years, such as Disney’s Moana, Marvel’s Into the Spiderverse new Spider-Man Miles Morales, Shuri from Black Panther or Araminta from Crazy Rich Asians.
Baby Names with Eastern Vibes
While you can work your way around the world in 80 names, Nameberry also predicts that names from Eastern religious traditions steeped with mysticism will also cast a spell on parents-to-be in 2019. Spiritual names with origins in Hindi, Sanskrit, Buddhism and even ancient Egypt are expected to trend this year, including Asherah, Bodhi, Kali, Lakshmi, Manu, Osiris, Raiden, Rama, Tanith and Zen.
Baby Names with Southern Charm
Southern-inspired baby names are definitely in vogue for 2019, BabyCenter notes. So, what’s the allure? Maybe it’s the kindness of Southern hospitality—or maybe it’s the hope that a name inspired by Southern slow living will make for a calmer baby! Look for names full of Southern charm, such as Antonio (as in San Antonio), Austin, Carolina, Charlotte, Dallas, Georgia, Macon, Nash (think Nashville), Raleigh, Savannah and Tennessee.
(PS…Reese Witherspoon, if you’re reading this—2019 is def your year to drop a Draper James baby collection.)
Pastels are anything but boring and according to Nameberry, some of the hottest names of 2019 will be inspired by muted color palettes. Look for muted color names like Ash, Fawn, Grey (or Gray), Ivory, Lavender, Lilac, Mauve, Moss, Olive and Sage to grace their way into Mommy & Me classes this year.
Gemstone & Jewel Tone Baby Names
While muted pastels will be popular, so too will more vibrant complementary color names in gemstone and jewel tone colors rise in popularity in 2019, Nameberry predicts. Break out the color wheel and dial up the saturation for names like Amethyst, Emerald, Garnet, Jasper, Jet, Onyx, Opal, Peridot, Sapphire and Topaz.
Celeb Name Trends: Keeping Up with the Kiddos
Celebrity baby names are always popular every year, but the last few years have afforded us Hollywood stargazers a bounty of particularly unique celebrity baby names. Whether it’s the Kardashians and the Jenners (Stormi, Chicago, True), Hollywood power couples like Chrissy Teigen and John Legend (with kiddos Luna and Miles) or George and Amal Clooney (and twins Ella and Alexander) new celeb moms like Hilary Duff (baby girl Banks) or Kate Hudson (baby Rani Rose), celeb baby names are seriously on fire right now.
While celeb kids are certainly great baby name inspo, so too are their parents’ names…more specifically, their last names, according to Nameberry. Try these celebrity surnames on for size in 2019: (Victoria and David) Beckham, (David) Bowie, (Duke) Ellington, (Jimmy) Hendrix, (Angelina) Jolie, (Heath) Ledger, (John) Lennon, (Annie) Lennox, (Marilyn) Monroe and (Gene) Wilder.
Trendiest Letter: Fantastic “F” Names
2019’s most popular baby names are sure to be fancy, fantastic and fabulous—especially with names that start with the letter F! Nameberry predicts F-names like Faye, Felix, Fern, Finnian, Flora, Florian, Frances, Frankie, Frederick and Frost will festoon plenty of baby name shortlists this year.
Trendiest Vowel: The Ever-Unique “U”
There’s nothing more unique than the letter U, especially when it comes to vowels. As Nameberry notes, there are very few baby names that start with the letter U, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve that most luxurious vowel sound with other names like Eugenie, Hugo, Jude, Juniper, Keanu, Louise, Luca, Luna, Reuben, Tallulah or True.
Trendiest Middle Names: Animals
Look no further than you local zoo if you’re stumped for a middle name. Nameberry’s menagerie of middle names includes everything from the cuddly to the fierce, like Bear, Falcon, Fox, Hawk, Koala, Lion, Lynx, Otter, Tiger and Wolf.
Trendiest Nicknames: Old School Boys’ Names
Any new parent can tell you: it’s not just about picking the perfect baby name—you have to think about nicknames, too. But even nicknames can be their own baby name inspo, and according to Nameberry, old-school boys’ nicknames are making a comeback as first names.
Get ready for a new generation of Little Rascals with names for boys like Ace, Billy, Buddy, Buster, Hank, Ike, Jimmy, Johnny, Scout, Sonny and Spike.
Trendiest Name Length: 3-Letter Names
Kit, Ida and Van: each of these names are short and sweet. Unlike some of the other baby name trends for this year, monosyllabic names with just three letters are easy to spell and pronounce, which makes names like Hal, Jem, Koa, Liv, Lux, Rex and Rio such popular choices, according to Nameberry.
Weirdest Baby Name Trend for 2019: Sneakers
If you’re a famous athlete like Michael Jordan, you get a pair of shoes named after you. But in 2019, BabyCenter predicts the reverse will be true, as sneaker-heads could tip the scales on names like Chuck and Taylor (of Converse fame), as well as Nike styles like Cortez, Max, Monarch and of course, the ever-iconic Jordan. Adidas shoes like the Stan, Smith and Falcon are also possibilities.
We’re pretty sure baby Manolo won’t exactly top the lists, but BabyCenter seems to think Fila and Puma stand a chance in 2019.
Up & Coming Baby Names for Boys
The U.S. Social Security Administration keeps a fantastic database of baby names in America and breaks down the data in interesting ways, including baby names that are rising in popularity.
From 2016 to 2017, the following boys’ baby names have shot up the charts, in order of rising popularity: Wells, Kairo, Caspian, Nova, Colson, Kace, Kashton, Koa, Gatlin and Bjorn.
Up & Coming Baby Names for Girls
According to the SSA, the following girls’ baby names have skyrocketed in popularity between 2016 and 2017: Ensley, Oaklynn, Dream, Oaklyn, Melania, Emberly, Octavia, Paisleigh, Yara and Kehlani.
Tried & True Classic Baby Names
Trends come and go every year when it comes to baby names, but these names have withstood the tests of time. According to the SSA, these are the most popular baby names over the last 100 years, in order of popularity.
For boys: James, John, Robert, Michael, William, David, Richard, Joseph, Thomas and Charles. For girls: Mary, Patricia, Jennifer, Linda, Elizabeth, Barbara, Susan, Jessica, Sarah and Margaret.
The End of “Em” Names
According to Nameberry, it’s the end—or is it the emd?—of an era. Names beginning with “Em” have sharply fallen in popularity in recent years. It’s time to retire names like Emerson, Emery, Emily, Emma, Emmett and Emmy to make way for all the new names that will reign supreme in 2019.