Promising Newcomers: 2011 Top 1000 Baby Names

The Girls

Are these names newcomers on people’s consciousness? Not necessarily, but they are newcomers to the top 1000. Some of them are in the top 1000 for the first time and others are returning after a long absence. Either way, I predict these names will stick around awhile.

Amalia – Debuted at #992. Charted last in 1934 at #937. The similar hit Amelia (#30 in 2011) is actually an Amalia variant. Amalia is a form of Amala. Some sources say Amala is German for “work;” others say Amala is Arabic for “hope.” Amalia is lacy and feminine and just a tad more exotic sounding than Amelia.

Avianna / Aviana – Debuted at #831 and #762. The debut rank of the single N spelling is especially impressive. Neither spelling has charted before. Initially I thought this was one of those modern hybrid names, perhaps inspired by Ava + Anna or Arianna / Ariana with a V. And then I found a definition for Aviana, which is Latin for “Blessed with a gracious life.”

Elliot (on a girl) – This is certainly not Elliot’s first time in the top 1000. Elliot already ranks respectably at #272 for boys. This is Elliot’s first time ever in the top 1000 for girls at #875. Presumably parents see Elliot as another path to Ellie.

Geraldine – Debuted at #960. This name has come and gone. It peaked in the 1930’s, left the top 1000 in the 1970’s and briefly returned in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. After a 20+ year absence, Geraldine is back. Since Geraldine was one of our Spotlight Names, it’s no secret I feel this time Geraldine will stick around awhile. The name manages to seem elegant and heavyweight, like mahogany furniture.

Hattie – Debuted at #993. Charted last in 1968 at #999. Peaked in the 1880’s. This sweet old-time name fits right in. It’s not only the diminutive of Harriet and Henrietta, both feminine forms of the super popular Henry, it also sounds like Hadley and Hailey. Let’s not forget it was used on a Hollywood baby, Tori Spelling’s third child. This could in fact hurt Hattie, but considering all the above, I say Hattie is a contender.

Juniper – Debuted at #962. This darling of the name blogs has never charted before, but its debut is no surprise to anyone who follows name trends closely like yours truly. 🙂 The only surprise is that Juniper didn’t debut higher or in 2010. Also a flowering plant ending in -er this name is like the contemporary answer to Heather.

Liv – Debuted at #953. A first time charter. Liv Tyler probably has less to do with this name’s rise than it being a diminutive of the uber popular Olivia. Liv has long been a nickname for Olivia. Who knows how many Olivia’s are actually known as Liv. Now some parents are just going straight to Liv.

Nova – Debuted at #882. Last charted at #856 in 1938. A few years ago this name might have seemed “too much for this world.” The rise of other “out-of-this-world names” like Luna, and four-letters + 2-syllables + a-ending + V = hit name.

Temperance – Debuted at #934. A first time charter. Nancy’s Baby Names analysis on names from the TV show Bones, shows this name was headed for the top 1000 back in March, two months before the 2011 top 1000 names were released. While this name sounds like something that could have charted back in 1880, the first year name data is available, this name has never charted until 2011. The Bones character could have something to do with this name’s rise, but I feel there is something more subtle at play. Long virtuous names such as Prudence are beginning to feel less stuffy and more off-beat, perhaps due to the rise of other meaning names such as Felicity.

Among top 1000 newcomers, there were some names that show America’s changing culture and should be mentioned. While these names seem traditional, I could not find a lot of information on them. I couldn’t find a single one of these in The Complete Book of Baby Names (from 2009) that boasts 100,001 baby names.

To me these names sound Arabic or African. I found similar Arabic names in The Complete Book of Baby Names. For example, I was unable to find Nahla, but I found Nailah which is Arabic for “successful woman.” I could not find Samiyah, but I found Samihah, Arabic for “one who is generous.” Perhaps these are traditionally accepted alternative spellings of Arabic names, but that is just a guess.

Milania #813
Nahla #861
Saanvi #844
Samiyah #794 – This name was at #1000 in 2009, disappeared and then came back.

Next week the promising boy newcomers will be revealed.

Several of these are going on our 2011-2012 watch list, which will track how these names do in 2012. This will be released when the U.S. Social Security Administration makes the 2012 top 1000 baby names public. If you are curious about our 2010-2011 watch list, feel free to sign up below.



Readers: Which new top 1000 girl name do you like best?

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  1. I’ve loved Hattie for years, one of my friends through school was called Hattie, just Hattie. I’ve actually been hearing Geraldine quite a bit recently, albeit more so as a middle name. I’m fascinated to see where she’s heading.

  2. I voted for Temperance. I love that it has that colonial/Puritan feel; possible nicknames Tempie, Emmie, Perry, Annie, maybe even Cece make it less bulky for a little girl. I was watching Helen Hunt’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, and the discussion of how the temperance movement began really got me to warm up to the name.

  3. Hattie and Temperance are two that I am starting to see around. Amalia is one I am already getting bored with, I see it so much!

    I’d like to see more Nova and Liv, and voted for Juniper as my personal favourite.

    • My problem with Amalia is that it really isn’t that different from Amelia which is really popular here in the states. I know a little Amelia and in actual usage it is a great name, it just doesn’t have the advantage of being a rare find. With that said, I like Amalia, but would never use it for fear it would get confused with Amelia. Sometimes I think if someone really likes a popular name it is better to just use it than a name that isn’t as popular but so similar to the popular name anyway that the parent might as well gone with their original pick.

      • Exactly! Amelia is even more popular here, and Amalia just seems like an Amelia knock-off.

        It’s fine to pick a similar name to replace a more popular one, but they shouldn’t be so much alike you might as well have picked the popular one in the first place.


  1. […] Baby Name Promising Newcomers The Girls | Upswing Baby Names […]

  2. […] week we featured names new to the top 1000 for girls. This week the boys get their turn. This wasn’t mentioned last week, but if you are wondering, […]

  3. […] not mainstream yet, but are popping up in more hospital nurseries (and maybe garden nurseries too). Juniper reached the top 1000 for the first time in 2011. Others aren’t in the top 1000 yet, but seem to be heading in that direction. Between 2010 and […]

  4. […] the Etta diminutive, but rather the Hattie diminutive, which ranks higher than Henrietta and reentered the top 1000 for 2011, after being absent since 1968. Hattie’s success could have been triggered – at least in […]

  5. […] more people are using this name, clear by its appearance in the top 1000 for this first time in 2011. It debuted at #968, not an extremely high debut.  There have been hit names that debuted higher. […]

  6. […] Before we list the 2012 newcomers, here is how the 2011 newcomers did: […]

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