Updated for 2013: Top 22 in 2022

Updated for 2013: Top 22 in 2022Predictions are based on assumptions, the big assumption being that trends from the past will continue today.

Someone from the ‘80s making predictions about the top boys’ names for 2014, might assume that boy trends wouldn’t turn over that often because historically up until that point, they hadn’t.

Take a look at the table below and see how long each top boy name since 1880 had held on to the top spot in the past.

In 2012 I wrote the Top 22 in 2022, a list of the 22 boy and girl names I predicted would be among the top 22 U.S. baby names 10 years from the time I made my predictions.

Top U.S. Boy Names from 1880 - 2012

In the Top 22 in 2022: Revised for 2013, I share some updates on which predictions I feel were spot-on and which ones I feel totally missed the mark–as of 2013 that is…

And with eight years being a long time into the future, at least as far as name trends go, I wouldn’t be surprised if predictions that I doubt now based on 2013 numbers start to look good again based on 2021 numbers. The opposite could also be true. Predictions that look good based on 2013 numbers could look bad in 2021.

If you already signed up for the original Top 22 in 2022, you should have already gotten the 2013 version in your email. If you haven’t signed up yet, enter your email below.

In addition to The Top 22 in 2022: Revised for 2013, you will get email updates for UBN and occasionally stuff I don’t share on the blog. Emails are sent every couple of weeks and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Watch List Names Update & The Newest Watch List

Upswing Baby Names Watch List 2013

The UBN Watch List was born when I found myself mentioning in posts that I was adding certain names to my personal watch list. From there I decided to make my personal watch list public.

Here’s what the UBN Watch List names have in common:

  1. They are mostly outside the U.S. top 300 (most are outside the top 1000)
  2. They all have a special style.

Beyond what these names have in common, there are a three types of Watch List names:

1. Names that are obviously going places.

First Year Example: Atticus

Between 2010 and 2013, the birth numbers for Atticus have grown almost 65% from 442 to 727. Its growth in the past year has slowed down some, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Atticus.

Second Year Example: Hattie

This powerhouse name has seen its birth numbers nearly double in just two years between 2011 and 2013 from 253 to 502.

2. Names that seem like they should be more popular.

First Year Example: Effie

Surprisingly, its birth numbers have remained steady each year since 2010. There have been 145 Effie’s born in total from 2010 to 2013.

Second Year Example: Lachlan

Lachlan is doing better than Effie in terms of birth numbers and has even seen a slight increase in births since being added to the Watch List.

However, Lachlan has a style that suggests it should have Atticus-level success, and its birth numbers don’t even come close. In 2013, there were 199 Lachlan’s born, which places Lachlan in the U.S. top 1000 for the first time at #991.

3. Names that don’t have obvious appeal, but have potential.

In other words, names I like that no one else does. : )

First Year Example: Ferdinand

There were only 87 Ferdinand’s born between 2010 and 2013, and this isn’t surprising. But Ferdinand has historic significance, familiarity, and a cute nickname: Ferdie. All of these qualities combine to make Ferdinand a great choice for a modern baby.

Second Year Example: Geraldine

Yes, Geraldine may seem a bit clunky to some, but underneath that clunky exterior, I see an artsy glamour.

I see Geraldine as an unexpected alternative to fashion-favorite, Josephine. Or even a more subtle alternative to another favorite, Madeline because of the shared a, d, and line-ending. However, I admit, Josephine and Madeline have some cute nicknames while Geraldine does not.

The lack of nicknames may explain why Geraldine’s revisit to the top 1000 in 2011 was short. In 2013 Geraldine saw a decrease in births and left the top 1000. The mainstream may not be ready for Geraldine.

This year there are a whole new list of names, some of them expected, some of them unexpected, and all of them stylish in their own way. For the first time, some Watch List names were submitted by UBN email followers who signed up for the report.

The Third Year Watch List also gives an update on Watch List names for the past, including the examples above.

And here’s another surprising outcome for a First Year Watch List name:

Philippa should have gone places. It was a 2011 “Name of the Year” due to Philippa (Pippa) Middleton, and one of Freakonoimcs predicted top names of 2015 (that list was created in 2005).

Philippa’s birth numbers more than doubled in 2011 but, when there were only 25 births the year before, the increase is hardly significant. After 2012, Philippa’s growth stagnated, and even went down slightly in 2013.

Philippa is an example of how high expectations can backfire or—in this case—lead to a related name’s success.

The real winner is the diminutive, Pippa, which more parents are using as a given name. Here are Pippa’s birth numbers for the past few years:

  • 2010: 16
  • 2011: 69
  • 2012: 105
  • 2013: 78

Pippa’s births multiplied between 2010 and 2012 and then dipped a little in 2013. Perhaps 2013 could signal a decline for Pippa or perhaps the drop is only a temporary retreat. Only time will tell. Either way, Pippa’s birth numbers surpassed Philippa’s in 2013. There were only 43 Philippa’s—just a little over half the number of Pippa’s.

UBN email followers who signed up for the Watch List report get to see which names could be the next Atticus, Hattie, Effie, Lachlan, Ferdinand, Geraldine or Philippa.

If you already signed up for one of the earlier Watch List Reports, you should have already received the Third Year report in your email.

If you aren’t signed up, submit your email address below to get updates, and share some names you are watching. Your personal watch list names could end up in the next Watch List Report. As a Watch List subscriber, you will automatically get future Watch List Reports, unless you unsubscribe.

Happy name watching!

*Update: As Paige pointed out, I misspelled the Little Mermaid’s name, Ariel. It seems I confused it with the font. Oops. Ariel is not one of the Watch List names; it is used as a comparison to one of the names. I have fixed the spelling and slightly revised the conclusion. If you sign up for the report now, you will get the correct spelling. If you signed up earlier, you should have gotten a link with the corrected spelling.

2013 Baby Names: The Other Top 10


The 2013 official top 1000 baby name list from the US Social Security administration has now been made public. The event is almost like a national holiday in the baby name community.

The biggest top baby news: For the first time since 1999 there is a new number one boy name. Noah has surpassed Jacob as number one.

The Social Security list is the official top name list, the last word in a name’s popularity.

But the list is already five months old when it debuts. Because name trends are changing faster than ever before, the official Social Security list is more of a window into the past than the present and future.

For those seeking insight into names that are popular now, there are alternatives. One of my favorite alternative sources for name data is BabyCenter, a parenting site with their own name rankings. And now Google also offers an alternative.

The other day I discovered a tool called Google Trends. The most interesting feature of Google Trends is the “year in review” segment charting the top searches for 2013.

As part of this “year in review” Google Trends provides the top searched baby names for boys and girls. One caveat: not all the names on Google’s top 10 list are necessarily popular because people are considering them for a baby. Some of these names may have made the list due to newsworthy people with the name.

For example, when one digs a little deeper into the top 10 list, one will see that the top boy name, Luke, had a high number of searches mostly due to queries related to country music star, Luke Bryan.

Nevertheless, Google’s top 10 names are important to note. I just had to share them and compare their Google ranking with their official Social Security ranking and their BabyCenter ranking. *Note: the BabyCenter ranking is for the current year at time of writing, 2014, and could change before the year is through.

Every time I discover new name stats, I get giddy. And I don’t think I’m alone. According to Google Trends, the search volume for boy and girl names has gone up in the past year.

Could many of the Google top 10 names end up on the official top 10 at some point? I can’t say for sure, but I’ve included trend information so you can see which way each name seems to be headed.

But wait—there’s more! Sorry I couldn’t help myself.

When applicable, I included the name’s projected 2022 rank in UBN’s Top 22 in 2022 report so you can see which names made my list.

Here is how the Google top 10 fares on the 2013 US Social Security List, BabyCenter, and UBN’s Top 22 in 2022. Included is also where each name is trending.

* About the trend info: Most of the trend indicators are based on how each name is trending on the Social Security list, but if the name isn’t on the Social Security list or there is a big discrepancy, I include how the name trends on BabyCenter.


Name 2013 Social Security Rank 2014 Baby Center Rank Projected 2022 Rank Trend
1.Luke #34 #16 NA Up
2.Austin #65 #50 NA Plateau
3.Jackson #16 #7 #18 Up
4.Adrian #60 #68 NA Plateau
5.Jordan #53 #73 NA Slightly Down
6.Alexander #8 #19 #19 Plateau
7.Carson #90 #92 NA Slightly Down
8.Cameron #59 #42 NA Plateau
9.Christopher #26 #63 NA Slightly Down
10.Cooper #84 #62 NA Slightly Down


Name 2013 Social Security Rank 2014 Baby Center Rank Projected 2022 Rank Trend
1.Fallon NA #189 NA Up (on BabyCenter)
2.Chloe #14 #14 #20 Slightly Down
3.Jaden #980 #191 NA Down (but dramatically Up on BabyCenter)
4.Harper #16 #9 #8 Up
5.Logan #425 #148 NA Plateau (but Up on BabyCenter)
6.Emma #2 #2 #11 Plateau
7.Cadenza NA NA NA Unknown
8.Lily #27 #13 #3 Down
9.Sloane #406 #144 NA Up
10.Mia #6 #6 #14 Slightly Up


Only a few of the Google top 10 also appear on the official US Social Security top 10, and a couple on the girl top 10 didn’t even make the official top 1000.

For example, based on Google’s data, it’s hard to say if Fallon made the top spot because suddenly people like the name or because 2013 was a newsworthy year for Jimmy Fallon. However, sometimes pop culture news influences name choices, either consciously or subconsciously, meaning Fallon is a name to watch either way.

More UBN News: Now that the 2013 top names are available, I’m going to update the Top 22 in 2022 report to track how the names are doing. I’m also creating the newest Watch List Report. If you signed up to receive these reports, you will get the latest versions once they become available.

If you are interested in receiving these reports, regular updates, and other stuff I don’t share on the blog, enter your name and email below.

Readers: Are you surprised by the Google top 10?

Photo Credit: Dyrk.Wyst via Compfight cc. *The photo is a chalkboard background that has been modified.

Reader Q&A: How To Cope With Unusual Name Regret

How To Cope With Unusual Name Regret

Conflicting expectations.


The conventional wisdom is that parents are more likely to regret picking a name that is too common. At least that is the conclusion made in an ABC news segment from 2011.

ABC’s claim is that only a few parents regret giving their kid an unusual name, but that has not always been my experience when talking to parents about baby names. ABC’s claim may be true, but I have also heard stories of regret from parents who discarded a beloved name in favor of a less common one.

One of these parents happens to be a UBN reader who agreed to share her story behind why she regrets not naming her daughter Mia (a top 10 name in the US) five years ago.

The chosen name, Cheyla, comes across as contrived according to reader, Maddie. But that’s not Maddie’s only concern. The family has started using both names (Cheyla and Mia) for the girl and she answers to both. Maddie is afraid of creating an identity crisis for her daughter.

This story also illustrates other top concerns among UBN readers besides avoiding a popular name and regretting it. And that is why I asked Maddie if she would share her story.

Hear more about her story in the latest Reader Q&A video:

FYI: The video is about 15 minutes and I really hope you take a look at it, but if you are pressed for time, you can download a PDF of the presentation here.

Thank you so much Maddie for sharing your story.

Readers: Have you ever regretting discarding a name for being too common? How would you address Maddie’s dilemma?

If you enjoyed this article, and would like to share your biggest baby name challenges, enter your name and email address to get free updates including stuff I don’t share on the blog:


Revisited Spotlight Name: Martha

In memory of Rob’s grandmother, Martha, who passed away on April 14th at the age of 94, I am re-running the Spotlight I did on her name a couple of years ago. 


Rob’s family photo. His grandmother, known by the French MeMere (pronounced Mem-may) is in the center, back row. This was a French Canadian potato farming family that lived in Maine when the picture was taken.


Martha can be the polished, sophisticated business woman. Martha can be the girl next door. If you’re looking for a cute nickname there’s Marty, but Martha is great on its own.

Martha has much credibility. The biblical name also happens to be the name of the US’s very first, first lady.

Martha’s time for a revival has almost passed. She peaked in the 1880s, around the same time as other modern revival names, like Anna and Emma, that have been popular for almost a decade already. Anna has already begun to decline.

However, parents may not have grown tired of the 1880s yet. For proof, see Alice and Clara’s recent rise: Alice jumped 28 places in 2010, ranking at 172, and Clara has climbed steadily the past decade, ranking slightly ahead of Alice at 167.

Update: Both names continue to rise, though Alice is now slightly ahead of Clara. Most recently (in 2012), Alice ranked at 127 and Clara ranked at 136.

Yet Martha continues to decline, dropping over 300 places the past decade, ranking at 697 in 2010. Update: In 2011 Martha dropped to 763 and then rebounded slightly. In 2012 Martha ranked at 730.  I’m not sure why this is, but I’m not really concerned with why, but rather I want to draw attention to an underused gem.

Like many names that appeal to parents, Martha can have many faces. In addition to the first-First Lady, there’s:

  • Model-turned-stockbroker-turned-entrepreneur, Martha Stewart
  • 80’s MTV personality, Martha Quinn
  • Fox News personality, Martha MacCallum
  • And finally, Martha Plimpton who may not be a household name, but whose face would be recognized from several movies, notably The Goonies and Beautiful Girls. Currently she has a regular role in the hit Fox comedy, Raising Hope (another fantastic name).

My husband’s grandmother is Martha, and there’s a good chance many of today’s parents have a grandmother, great-grandmother or great-aunt Martha. The name stayed close to the top 30 until around World War II.

I had briefly considered Martha as a middle name had our son been a girl. But its hard to say if Martha could have ended up on another birth certificate in our family.

When I first mentioned Martha as a potential middle name to Rob, his response was, “Like in Martha Washington. That’s cool.”

When he started nixing every girl name on my list, I thought despite my dislike of alliteration with our M last name, perhaps Rob would agree to Martha as a first name.

When I mentioned Martha again, his response was, “Martha? Isn’t that sort of old?”

And that is the most likely reason Martha is still on the decline; she is still seen as “old” to many modern parents. Why some great-grandmother names are seen as charmingly vintage while others are seen as dusty relics is sometimes a mystery.

Consider this though: Martha has more history and stability than early 20th century flash-in-the pan Gladys. While Gladys still ranked lower than Martha in 2010, I had met a little Gladys at my daughter’s library playgroup. The other parent’s reaction to Gladys on a little one was positive.

Update: Despite the positive reactions Gladys got in my daughter’s library playgroup a few years ago, the numbers don’t suggest Gladys is about to turn around anytime soon. Gladys has been outside the top 1000 since 2000, and its birth numbers have continued to drop. Martha appears to be the name more likely to come back, which (in my opinion, anyway) is a bit of a relief. 

Personally, I would much rather see a little Martha, a name that has the same classic charm as Anna and Emma. Adding even more potential, those stylish Brits appreciate Martha, ranking her at 85 in 2010. As mentioned in my post on nickname names, the UK trends are sometimes a precursor to US trends.

Update: In the UK, Martha has since risen to 77 in 2012. 

For those looking for something a little more exotic and spunky there’s Marta with origins in several European countries, including Spain, Portugal, Poland, Norway, and Italy. Marta was also one of the children in The Sound of Music.

Before I began to consider Martha, I had turned to Marta three or four years ago. Martha still seemed a bit dusty to me at the time. However, after realizing the appeal of Martha, I like that name even more than Marta now.

From what I learned from Rob’s relatives at his grandmother’s funeral this past Monday, Martha was an incredibly hard worker; she was a farmer, a seamstress and cooked everything from scratch. She was in good health. She didn’t have an easy life, but she had a good life. I like Martha even more today than I did when I wrote this a couple of years ago. 

Readers: Perhaps at some point I will run a new poll on Martha later, but for now the original poll on Martha can be found on the original Spotlight on Martha.