Most Popular Baby Girl Names in the United States
On this page we'll look at what the most popular baby girl names are in the United States. These names are taken directly from the Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States.
The table below shows the most popular names for girls born in 2021, with a rank, total count for the number of births registered with that given name, and a comparison for the count for that name in 2020.
You can use the links below to view more popular girl names. This page is currently showing names ranked from 1 to 250.
How Are the Most Popular Girl Baby Names Determined?
It’s always interesting to take a look at popular baby name lists! But just how are these lists made, and how can they report this information when a US Census is only performed every 10 years?
Well, when it comes to baby names, the results are actually taken directly from the social security administration. They collect the data about how people are naming their babies in the current year when the parent submits for a social security card for their baby.
This keeps the information about the most popular baby names more current than other name lists like the most common first names.
Where Do the Most Popular Girl Baby Names Come From?
Are you looking at this list and wondering why certain names are so popular and why others are so far down on the list? It can be difficult to track naming trends, but scientists can frequently come up with hypotheses as to why parents name their children a certain name.
Based on Celebrities and Pop Culture
Surprisingly, humans aren’t all that deep when it comes to naming. In fact, many people name their children a name simply because they hear it and it sounds cool. And by ‘hear it’ this usually means in pop culture, a song, or as the name of a famous celebrity.
For example, take the name ‘Luna’ which is currently in the top 25. This name was rare until the last decade because it was seen as a very unique name. However, famous celebrity, Chrissy Teagan named her daughter Luna, and now the name is all the rage as people heard the name and liked it enough to give it to their child.
The name ‘Isabella’ has a similar story, as this name was also quite low on the list until around the year 2005. What happened in 2005? The famous book ‘Twilight’ by Stephanie Meyer was released, and it featured a main character named Isabella. This brought the name back to the forefront of people’s minds and led to a lot of people naming their kid's variations of the name such as ‘Isabelle,’ ‘Bella,’ and ‘Belle.’
Additionally, the name ‘Ariana’ which wasn’t very popular until the last few years, likely experienced a spike due to the prevalence and popularity of the singer Ariana Grande.
Baby Names Can be Family Names
Many people are surprised to see a name like ‘Eleanor’ is so popular on the baby names list. After all, isn’t this name a bit dated? The truth is, it may be, but people still like to name their children after their parents or elders as a sign of respect.
This practice keeps many of the older fashioned names like ‘Eleanor’ on the list as people wish to name their daughter after their mother or grandmother. Plus, in a day when nicknames are all the rage, it’s very easy to call a baby girl ‘Ellie’ as a nickname when her name is ‘Eleanor.’
People Think of the Implication of Names
While the above two practices do explain quite a few of the names on the list, you may be wondering how a name like Emma, which has been in the top ten baby names for decades, manages to stay there.
When people name their children, they often think of how the child will be received by society. They don’t want their child to be made fun of, or harassed, because of their name. Because of this, many people resort back to common and popular names in the hope their child will blend in and not have to deal with bullying.
This keeps some names like ‘Emily,’ ‘Emma,’ and ‘Abigail’ popular for generation after generation.
Political and Religious Names
Although the United States is becoming less and less religious as the years go by, there are still many names on this list that are given to children because of the parent's religious or political beliefs.
For example, ‘Grace’ is considered a religious name that has appeared in the top fifty names for decades. ‘Hannah’ and ‘Leah’ are two other popular names that make the list year after year that were taken from the old testament of the Bible.
Political names are less common in the 2000s, but back in the 1980s, many people named their daughters Regan after president Ronald Regan. Perhaps this practice is still in play, and in twenty years there will be names on this list from the current US political administration.
How Have Baby Girls Names Changed Over the Years?
Baby girl names in the US are actually an interesting subject, as the names have grown more diverse over the years. This is likely due to a number of factors.
First and foremost, the practice of religious and family naming is dying off in the US. Therefore parents have to go places other than the Bible or their family tree to name their daughters. This has led to the invention of some unique names for girls like ‘Sawyer’ and ‘Zuri.’
Not to mention, for whatever weird reason, society has shifted towards the trend of unique naming. While it was okay in the 1950s and 1960s to have the same name as your neighbor, it seems today that parents are going out of their way to come up with unique names for their children in order to give them a more individualistic identity.
Pop culture is also somewhat to blame, as, during the mid-1900s, there wasn’t an internet to surf all day. Rather, people got celebrity names from watching TV, movies, or reading a book. This meant that only the really famous celebrities who made it to these mediums were well known by all.
Today, you can follow a celebrity you want at the drop of a hat on Twitter or Instagram. Information about celebrities is also much more accessible, so if you really like someone like Chrissy Teagan, it’s very easy to look up the name of her daughter and name your daughter the same name.
And remember, pop culture is constantly changing and evolving. While ‘Katherine’ may have been a popular name when Katherine Hepburn was a star, it’s time for that name to move over so the ‘Isla’s’ (after Isla Fisher) can have their time to shine.
Historical Data for Baby Girl Names
If you're interested to see how the trends and popularity of baby names for girls have changed, you can use the links below to view the historical data by decade.
All of the data on this page is sourced from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and excludes any names with fewer than 5 occurrences in any geographic area.