The Enduring Ella

Isabella Dormer, Countess of Mountrath, Aged 8

Some people dream of skydiving. Some dream of getting published on Nameberry. One of those items was checked off my bucket list. I have a guest post on Nameberry today, about one of my favorite vowels, the letter u. Go ahead and check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.

If you found Upswing Baby Names through Nameberry, Welcome! You might be like me and follow name trends with an obsession. If that’s the case, you probably don’t need to be told girl names ending-in-ella have been popular for a while.

The “ends-in-ella” trend (Isabella, Gabriella, etc.) has grown for almost a decade. The ends-in-ella (or “Ella name”) trend is not anything new, so why am I covering it today?

Because the trend seems to have staying power. This suggests that while popular names are turning over quickly, name styles aren’t turning over that quickly.

When the top 1000 baby names for 2011 were announced, I eagerly began my research, hoping to prove some hypotheses. One hypothesis was that Ella names were on the way out. Once I proved this, the idea was to discover the next big trend.

I downloaded the U.S. Social Security Administration’s raw data, and began doing a boolean search for *ella (which will quickly find anything ending in “ella”) in the 2011 and the 2010 data. For these names, I compared the number of births the past couple of years.

The results are in the tables below. These are the 13 Ella names in the top 1000 for 2011. Names that increased between 2010 and 2011 are color coded green.

Once names fall outside the top 1000, the numbers are too small to be statistically reliable. Nevertheless, names that were given to at least 100 babies last year gives some sign of which names could be heading towards the top 1000. Here are the 11 Ella names outside the top 1000 that were given to at least 100 babies in 2011.

Six of the 11 names in the above table are coded green, showing they became more popular last year. Many of these names have a shot at entering the top 1000.

These tables show that, while top ranking Ella names are trending down somewhat, many lower ranking Ella names are increasing – in some cases dramatically. Notice the percent increases in the last column for Briella, Aubriella, Abriella and Della. These names all when up at least 29% in 2011.

What this tells us is Isabella might be going down in popularity, but Ella names aren’t going away that quickly. This further suggests that many parents say they want different names for their children, but still like the same kinds of names as everyone else.

Could these findings suggest a second wave of  Ella names? Possibly, but there could be other explanations for these names’ growing popularity. Trends often overlap. For example, astrological names are becoming more popular and many of these names also follow other trends. Stella is an astrological name that just happens to follow the ends-in-ella trend.

Among the fastest rising Ella names, Briella, Aubriella, and Abriella have the up-and-coming “bree” sound like other fast-rising names: Aubrey (#20 and trending upwards) and Aubree (#99 and trending upwards dramatically). Della follows the old-fashioned trend like Charlotte, Eliza, Emma, Lucy, Olivia, Ruby, Sadie, and Sophie.

A note about Miabella: This name could be an example of both the ends-in-ella and an emerging double first name trend. Of the 105 babies the U.S. Social Security Administration counted as Miabella in 2011, some could have the hybrid name, Miabella, while others could be named Mia Bella or Mia-Bella. However, there is no hard facts to support or refute this since the U.S. Social Security Administration drops punctuation (such as hyphens) in their data.

Despite the overlapping trends, the -ella ending is in many up-and-coming names. Up-and-coming names could continue to climb or could peak and fall off the radar. The Ella name trend will eventually run its course, but when that will happen is hard to predict. However, there is the real possibility that Isabella, Ella and Gabriella could get replaced with Stella, Daniella, and Arabella, perpetuating ends-in-ella names for another decade.

If you like these names but are tired of the trend, there are still some under the radar Ella names. One of my personal favorites is Fiorella, only given to 36 babies last year. It is from the Italian “fiore” which means “flower” combined with the “ella” suffix. It seems like a more elaborate take on Flora, and has the F sound found in favorites like Daphne #450, Fiona #267, Josephine #182, and Sophia #1. Fiorella has a lot of offer, but as an English speaker, I find the pronunciation a little difficult: fyo-REL-lah.

Overall, ends-in-ella names are elegant and undeniably feminine. There are worse things than a generation or two of women with these names.

What happened to “ends-in-elle” names? Will “ends-in-etta” names be the next trend?

If these are the questions you think about, I’m creating an email course to discuss them. Fall is fast approaching, and classes will begin at Upswing Baby Names.

Introducing: The Phonics Fashion Course

Don’t worry, there’s no homework and there’s no tuition. Just email updates on the hot vowels and consonants here, there, everywhere… past, present, and future.

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  1. If English-speakers find Fiorella too difficult, they could always use Florella – not too different, Latinised, and is an “authentic” name since it’s often used in the scientific names of flowers.

    I must admit that after 20-odd years of Ella names, I’m getting slightly bored with them. I never thought I’d say that, because 20 years ago they seemed so fresh! So feminine! So youthful, yet so elegant! I fully intended to use one myself … but not now.

    • I’m not sure if all English-speakers find Fiorella too difficult or just me. 🙂 I do like the suggestion of Florella. Good idea.

      • Just to make it clear, I was one of the million-and-one school girls in the ’90s who couldn’t wait to have a daughter named Isabella. I changed my mind – apparently the other million didn’t!

        • I am astonished and happily surprised though , recently my sister gave birth a baby girl and we named her Florella ,its beautiful name ,my Sister’s name is Ella since we pick this name for our beautiful darling. 🙂


  1. […] Nearly a decade later, Ella ranks at #12 for 2011 and could hit the top 10 next year. While someone who looks ahead at name trends might be bored with Ella, the general public’s affair with Ella, and names ending-in-ella, doesn’t appear to be cooling do…. […]

  2. […] point. If you are a regular reader of Upswing Baby Names, you may remember my stance is that names turnover quickly, but general trends do not. Maybe parents will get tired of Lily, but still love botanical […]

  3. […] to have more short-term potential, but I wouldn’t discount Estelle. While super popular ella-ending names may still have a few years at the top, when people finally tire of these names, the more sparse elle-ending names may see new […]

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