Early Trend Forecast for Baby Names, a.k.a. the “100 Club”

This month, we’re talking to the experts! Laura Wattenberg, author of “The Baby Name Wizard” was kind enough to chat with us about one of our favorite topics – baby names! We asked her about upcoming baby trends and the scoop on the “100 Club.” Enjoy the Q&A below and don’t forget to click through for the top 40 “100 Club” names. These are definitely not your typical traditional names!

  • Adalia


    Meaning: Noble.

  • Adiel


    (Obscure biblical name, rising with the huge popularity of -iel names among Spanish-speaking parents)

  • Adley


    (Country singer Adley Stump, a contestant on The Voice)

  • Aries


    Most comonly associated with the astrological sign, Aries is of Latin origin and means “ram.”

  • Annabeth


    (The female lead in the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” tween/teen books. Note that the first middle schoolers who started with the series’ debut in 2005 are just entering their twenties today, so this name could climb further.)

  • Axl


    (The spelling Axel is a traditional Scandinavian name. Axl is the lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, and a character from the video game Guilty Gear.)

  • Brayleigh


    (A natural remix, using the popular root of the boys’ name Brayden in the mold of Brayleigh, Bryleigh, Brynleigh and more.)

  • Boone


    (Country singer Eric Church’s young son, Boone McCoy [note McCoy, below]; the name Boone had already risen somewhat due to a character on tv’s Lost)

  • Cambrie


    This name has had a very steady rise in popularity!

  • Brayton


    (As a perfect cross between Brayden and Payton, this name feels inevitable.)

  • Eisley


    Eisley, pronounced “eyes-lee,” is uncommon but very phonetically similar to the very popular name, Ashley. It is thought to be an Americanized surname from the Swiss surname Eisele. As a baby name, Eisley means “cheerful.”

  • Cairo


    Meaning “victorious one” in Arabic.

  • Gentry


    (A country/cowgirl name; forget the common word and think of country music act Montgomery Gentry. Compare to Paisley.)

  • Carver


    Old English in origin.

  • Guinevere


    (Proof that “newly popular” doesn’t have to mean “new” or “unfamiliar.” Rising in the wake of the recent popularity of Genevieve.)

  • Castiel


    (An angel on the tv series Supernatural; the name is based on rabbinic stories of an archangel Cassiel.)

  • Hartley


    (A new “Andro-Girly” choice that requires no creative spelling, Hartley balances its androgynous surname style with the hint of romance. Expect to see more of this name.)

  • Creed


    The meaning of Creed is ‘guiding principle’.

  • Irie


    (Jamaican word referring to a state of good feeling)

  • Dakari


    (An alternate spelling of the African name Dakarai. The clearer pronunciation of this version appeals to American parents.)

  • Layan


    Of Arabic origin meaning soft and gentle.

  • Damani


    (Rising in multiple spellings. This spelling often includes an apostrophe: D’Amani.)

  • Love


    The most important thing in the world ;).

  • Jad


    A shortened version of Jadon.

  • Marlowe


    (Literary surname rising in the wake of Harlow; a daughter of actress Sienna Miller)

  • Isa


    It originates from the word isan which means ‘iron’.

  • Palmer


    Previously used as a boys name only, it’s becoming more popular for girls as well.

  • Eason


    (Fashionable surname, would make a deadly set of triplets with Ethan and Easton.)

  • Pippa


    (Pippa Middleton, England’s royal sister-in-law)

  • Kiyan


    (Son of basketball star Carmelo Anthony)

  • Story


    Another gender neutral name. Story Elias Elfman, is the son of actress Jenna Elfman. This could easily work both ways.

  • Koa


    A Hawaiian name meaning “fearless man.”

  • Tala


    (This simple little name has separate origins around the globe, from Tagalog mythology to medieval Scandinavian ballads to D.C. Comics. Yet it never reached the 100 level until this year.)

  • McCoy


    An Irish name!

  • Zendaya


    (Actress/singer Zendaya of Shake it Up)

  • Noam


    An unconventional pleaser, Noam is a modern Hebrew name from the same root as Naomi. It appropriately means “pleasant.” The name is often associated with linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky.

  • Sutton


    (Actress Sutton Foster of Bunheads)

  • Ruger


    (Firearms manufacturer; see previous note on the rise of gun-inspired names)

  • Zaya


    Meaning “a victorious woman.”

  • Zayn


    (One Direction singer Zayn Malik)

  • Want More?

    “The Baby Name Wizard” is one of the best books on baby names that I’ve read to date. It was my go-to ‘name bible’ during all three of my pregnancies and offered more than just a list of names. You’ll find extensive research on names, trends, usage and popularity over the last hundred years. This is more than just your standard baby name book!

    Buy it now through Amazon.com

Q: What is the “100 Club” and how do you think they’ll affect naming choices for 2013?
A: My “100 Club” is a list of names that reached the popularity level of 100 or more babies for the first time this year. You can think of them as an early trend forecast: As a group, they give us a sense of what parents are thinking about, and where name fashions might be heading.
Q: Are there certain name trends you’ve noticed this year?
A: For girls, almost-androgynous names are soaring. Names like Hartley, Marlowe, and Eisley take their style cues from unisex surnames, yet have a feminine sound. On the boys’ side, parents seem more willing to give their sons word-based names than in the past. (That used to be more of a girls’ style — think of Lily, Grace, and Pearl, or place names like Savannah and Asia.) The boys’ 100 Club includes “meaning” names like Creed, Cairo, and even Ruger.
Q: Instead of one middle name I’ve noticed many parents are using 2 or 3 instead. Is this a popular practice? What are your thoughts on middle names?
A: America has traditionally followed the one-middle-name rule. But as we have smaller families today, and as parents are less willing to sacrifice style to name children after relatives, I’m hearing from a lot of parents who want to squeeze in extra middle names as family homages. It’s better than hurting your relatives’ feelings, but the extra names do make for practical headaches.
Q: What are the best baby name resources for first-time parents?
A: If you’re not around young kids much, you might be surprised by what names are popular today. Looking at the top names in your state is a great way to get a feeling for the name landscape. To find ideas to fit your personal style, I’ve designed The Baby Name Wizard book to let you start with just a couple of names that appeal to you. The book will lead you to more ideas that share a similar style and feeling.
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