2012 Baby Names: Boy Top 1000 Newcomers

Neymar_celebrating_(cropped)Earlier this week, we covered which girl names were new to the top 1000 in 2012, and now the focus is on the boys.

Just like with the girl’s list, not all names new to the top 1000 are included in this list. For example, names that were too similar to already popular names, such as variant spellings, were excluded. The purpose of this exercise is to glean upcoming trends.

Before we get to 2012’s top 1000 newcomers, here is how 2011’s newcomers did:

2011 2012 Trend
Arlo #915 #818 Up
Benton #939 #879 Up
Brecken #964 #860 Up
Cristiano #978 Unranked Down
Crosby #739 #670 Up
Enoch #995 #935 Up
Maksim #967 Unranked Down
Maxton #949 #884 Up
Miller #932 Unranked Down
Otto #931 #784 Up
Zeke #976 #868 Up

Wow! The boy’s outshone the girl’s this time, with 70% of 2011’s newcomers ranking higher in 2012. One of the big winners was Otto. Crosby continues to soar.

A little side-note: Last year I speculated that I was unsure if Cristiano would soar or fizzle. The name appears to bridge an old trend (the Chris family, being the Portuguese cousin of Christian) with a new trend (o-ending names), and I wasn’t sure which trend would win out. For a moment, there was some discussion in the blogosphere that Christian would become more popular due to the Fifty Shades of Grey series. (See the links under “Sources” after this post.*)

I had my doubts. The idea of moms naming their sons after a sadomasochist seemed far-fetched regardless of the book’s popularity. Also, no matter how successful the novel, a novel isn’t enough to revive any name past its fashion-peak. While Christian is less dated than other Chris names, it peaked a little over five years ago. The Chris trend appears to be on the way out after a couple of strong decades.

Based on the 2012 baby name numbers, I was right.** Christian’s popularity doesn’t seem affected by the books. Christian continues its gentle fall, ranking at #33 in 2012, down from #30 in 2011. In the end, trends usually win. As Christian declines, the o-ending wasn’t enough to keep Cristiano in the top 1000 for another year.

Now on to the 2012 newcomers:

Apollo – Debuted at #993. First time charter. Ancient mythological names are coming into style for girls, clear by the growing popularity of Athena (#247) Daphne (#420) and Penelope (#125). Now these names might be catching on with the boys too. Apollo is one of two Greek mythology names on this list.

Jionni – Debuted at #870. First time charter. “Never underestimate the impact of reality TV,” I keep telling myself. Frankly, I don’t understand it, but apparently many parents are influenced by reality TV when it comes time to pick a name. Jionni LaValle is reality TV star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s fiance.

Neymar – Debuted at #699. Anytime I see a name hit the top 1000 for the first time, and the debut rank is higher than #750, I take notice. Like baby name phenomenon Iker, Neymar most likely reached notoriety thanks to a foreign football (or as Americans call it soccer) star. Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior is a Brazilian football star, known mostly by his first name.

If Neymar repeats the baby name success of Iker, it could be in the top 300-350 within three years. Iker hit the chart in 2010 at #646 and continues to be one of the fastest rising boy names. In 2012 it ranked at #230.

Oakley – Debuted at #880. Last charted in 1920. This name spent some time at the bottom of the top 1000 over a century ago, and seems like a good revival candidate. This surname may be most familiar from Annie Oakley. Oakley is also a place-name and a manufacturer of sunglasses. Perhaps Americans were inspired by the British. In the U.K. Oakley was close to the top 200 at #222 in 2011.

Thiago – Debuted at #862. First time charter. This Portuguese name fits the o-ending trend, but also might hint at an emerging trend: the TH beginning. The TH beginning is found in fashionable Theodore (#197), and Thaddeus which has held steady in the 900s (a #903), but I feel is a name to watch. But the biggest influence could be international football (or soccer in America). Thiago Silva is a Brazilian football player.

Titan – Debuted at #961. First time charter. This is yet another ancient mythological name on the newcomer list. This name’s first-time chart presence could be linked to the growing popularity of Titus, which ranked at #360.

Last year’s list represented some established trends: n-ending names, o-ending names, surnames, and the Max family. This year this list is a little different. The boy newcomers seem inspired by pop culture events such as Brazilian football (soccer). A new trend for boys, Greek mythology is also represented on the boy’s list. In time, we will know which of these names will climb and which ones are one-shot deals.

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



** While I may have been right about Christian’s popularity, I could be wrong about the ‘Fifty Shades’ influence on baby names. The protagonist’s last name, Grey, has gained some attention as a by name. Grey is still outside the top 1000, but has increased a little on BabyCenter. This growing popularity, of course, is probably not entirely attributed to the character, but also the growing popularity of Grayson and Greyson, which were at #85 and #174, and trending upwards.

Photo credit: By Fotos Gov/Ba (Neymar) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. I think we’ll be seeing an upswing in Spanish/Latin American names. A lot of the names on this list seem Spanish in origin. Like my own son’s!

  2. I think Thiago was probably inspired by Lionel Messi, who named his son it in November last year. In Spanish and Portuguese the h is silent, so I don’t think it really fits into the Th trend.

    I like Thiago a lot, though I prefer the spelling Tiago (which is more common in Portugal). I also like Apollo.

    • I’m a bit embarrassed. Clearly I never took Spanish! My name hobby has made me a little more knowledgeable in other areas, and as Spanish names become more popular, I’m learning more about the language. I just looked up Thiago again and see it could be a variant of Tiago, which could be derived from Santiago. Thiago was completely unfamiliar to me, but not Santiago. I think I prefer the Tiago spelling too.

      • Hello 🙂 I’m Portuguese and I love your blog 🙂

        Just a detail: Thiago is not a Portuguese name. In Portugal we have a list of approved/forbidden names, and “Thiago” is not even listed – Tiago, on the other hand, was the #7 most popular name for boys last year, with 1527 little boys. There were only 18 Thiago, probably sons of Brazilian people living in Portugal (as I believe that in Brazil the Thiago spelling is really popular).

        Keep up the good work! 🙂

        • Thanks for your kind words and insight! I’m always fascinated to learn where my readers come from and get inside info on other cultures’ name traditions / regulations.

Leave a Reply to Angela Cancel reply