2015 is long gone and it took last year’s most popular names with it…you’ll notice Sophia and Jackson are nowhere to be found on this list. As it turns out, 2016 is the year of the unisex name. More and more parents are throwing gender stereotypes to the wind and opting for gender neutral names, which is surprising considering that just in 2014 the trend for girls was all about elegant, feminine names. What can we say, it’s a new year! Curious to see which names are coming out on top this year? Check out the most popular girls and boys names for 2016.

Most Popular Girls Names

1. Astrid

This Norse name is a surprising contender on the list! While Astrid (meaning “divinely beautiful”) has been popular in its homeland of Sweden for years, the name has never been popular in the U.S. until 2013. Now, three years later, Astrid is one of the most popular girls names in the country…is anyone thinking only of How to Train Your Dragon? Just me?

2. Thea

With a name that means “goddess”, it’s no wonder this baby name is so high up on the list. With ancient Greek origins, Thea was originally the Titan of sight. The name, which is used a nickname for many longer form Greek names (see Althea, Dorothea), bring about a serene and artistic feeling.

3. Sadie

What a classically beautiful name. Originally this name, meaning “princess”, was supposed to be a nickname for Sarah. However, the name stuck on its own – and for good reason! This name is the perfect combination of spunky and sweet. Although Sadie hasn’t been popular since the turn of the 20th century, the moniker is now at its most popular.

4. Riley

See what I mean by gender neutral? The name Riley was originally an Irish surname, but is now and extremely popular first name for both boys and girls. The name means “courageous”, and you can just get the sense that someone with this name would be just that – very outspoken and bold.

5. Elise

A French variation of Elizabeth, Elise and its sophisticated European flare has been taking the states by storm in the last few years. The name means “pledged to God” and feels like it would be the name of one fabulous individual.

6. Avery

Another neutral name strikes! While Avery has lingered outside the Top 10 girls names for the past two years (it was number 13 in 2014), it’s finally made the cut. Meaning “ruler of the elves”, which is possibly the most boss name meaning EVER, it’s thought that the popularity of Avery is inspired by its slightly-more-delicate counterpart “Ava”, which was the 5th most popular name in 2014.

7. Rowan

Powerful and strong, the name Rowan is another unisex name. We particularly love it for a girl – and America seems to agree! This name is a red hot girls name this year, coming in at number 7. The name means “little redhead” and is actually the name of a red berry tree in Scotland which is thought to ward off witches. Scholars believe both boys AND girls have been named Rowan since the Middle Ages. Very forward thinking of them.

8. Elsie

Baby GirlFlickr via user ARING
You probably think I make a mistake writing “Elise” and “Elsie” in the same list…so did I. Turns out, these two similar names happen to be similarly popular this year! After a 30 year hiatus of popularity, Elsie is definitely back in. The moniker means the same as Elise (“pledged to God”) and is also derived from Elizabeth.

9. Finley

While this name was once entirely a boys name, there is now one girl named Finley for every boy with the same name. We can see why – it’s a pretty cool name. Meaning “fair-haired hero”, you definitely get an aura of effortless cool and playfulness from this name.

10. Jade

The name Jade gives the feeling of everything its stone namesake is meant to bring: wisdom, clarity, justice, courage, and modesty. Jade means “the stone of the side” and literally refers to the beautiful jade stone. Jade has been rising in popularity since Mick and Bianca Jagger named their daughter Jade in 1971, and the name has made it back onto the Top 10 list for the first time since those iconic 70’s.


Most Popular Boys Names

1. James

James has finally made it to the top after being number 9 in 2014. Go James! A Biblical name, James means “supplanter” and is thought to be the more stylish take on the Hebrew name Jacob. Fun fact: More U.S. Presidents and White House officials (6 of them, to be exact) have had this name than any other. Truly a name of style and substance.

2. Elijah

Another Biblical name, Elijah has been steadily rising to the top of this list for several years. Appropriately meaning “Yahweh is God”, the name Elijah plays a role in the teachings of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, explaining the growing popularity of the name. With a sweet but intense vibe, Elijah is a perfect name for the parents who want something religious AND fashionable.

3. Jayden

This unisex name has a few different spellings – the original variations are Jadon and Jaden, which are Hebrew. Again. (I’m sensing a theme!) Jadon is a figure from the Old Testament who helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The name means “thankful”, which perfectly matches the docile feeling the name gives off.

4. Elliot

Baby BoyFlickr via user Nsrnatik
Shout out to number 2 on the Top 10 list – Elliot is a variation of Elijah and similarly means “Jehovah is God”. Which means that it is once again a Biblical Hebrew name. Not joking. Growing in popularity for both girls and boys, Elliot has been popular in Sweden and the U.K. for some time, but is just beginning to experience the same exposure here in the U.S.

5. Logan

Few names feel as inherently cool as the name Logan. The Scottish name means “small hollow” and has been growing in popularity since the mid-70’s. In the early 2000’s the name dropped suddenly, but it’s now back and stronger than ever as number 5 on this year’s list. Unsurprisingly, the name has never lost popularity in Scotland, where it has stayed firmly in the Top 10 for years.

6. Charlie

Charlie is a great example of a new trend we’ve been seeing both last year and this year – the return of retro baby names. Literally meaning “strong”, the name Charlie has an powerful, commanding presence to it, while also having the ability to sound a little quirky and fun, too. This ideal combination has gotten the name to number 6 in the U.S. for the first time in decades.

7. Jude

Hey…no, I’m not going to, sorry. Jude is a artistic, fun name meaning “praised”, and derives from the Latin Judah. The name has a lot of connections to the Bible (Jude was a lesser-known apostle and the name also calls out to the apostle Judas) as well as to The Beatles’ popular song. Which is now stuck in my head.

8. Elias

Surprise! This moniker is a version of the Hebrew name Elijah and bears the same exact meaning. A big difference with this Biblical name is that it has now become popular for both boys AND girls. Strong and charismatic, this has been a popular choice for literary characters through the decades and is a popular name for celebrities’ children.

9. Isaiah

Baby Boy 2Flickr via user Eric Flemming
You may have heard of Isaiah before – he is a famous prophet that foresaw the Jewish people being set free from Egypt. So, yes, this is another Biblical name. Meaning “the Salvation of the Lord”, Isaiah was once one of the least popular names from the Old Testament. The strong name has now surpassed Old Testament stalwarts like Aaron and Adam.

10. Arlo

Looking for something a bit more funky? Then Arlo is the perfect choice. A unisex baby name, the origins and meaning of Arlo are unknown, giving it a decisive feeling of mystery and uniqueness. It’s thought this fun and upbeat name might be a shortened version of the Italian name Carlo or from the Celtic Aherlow, but scholars tend to disagree.

Interested to see how these Top 10 names changed from last year? Check out our Most Popular Baby Names list from 2015.