Can I let you in on a little secret? One of the very best places to look for baby name inspiration is the “bottom of the barrel.” The lowest ranking names on the Social Security Administration’s baby name popularity list are exactly where you want to set your sights.
While the idea of “unpopularity” may be negative in many other contexts, baby names are one exception… unless, of course, you want your kid to share a name with five other kids in every classroom for the rest of their lives. The bottom of that Social Security baby names list is a veritable gold mine of untapped baby-naming potential, and I’ve rounded up 25 of my favorites.
1. Gus (#999 for boys)
Gus was just about at the very bottom of the list at number 999 out of 1,000, but it definitely deserves another look. Has the same short and sweet vibe as other more popular boy names like Jack and Abe, but feels much more unique.
2. Merrick (#977 for boys)
Next up, we’ve got Merrick. I’m not sure what it is that I love about this name, but it just sounds so cool. It’s the kind of name that sounds completely “made up” while simultaneously feeling like an absolute classic.
3. Leif (#969 for boys)
A nice option for those with Scandinavian roots, or for those who just love a good viking vibe. This name is super unassuming and effortlessly cool.
4. Micah (#968 for boys)
Micah is a name with biblical roots, in case that’s on your radar, but it’s far less common than the go-to biblical options (think: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc.). Micah may be a good option for those looking to pay homage to a Michael in their family lineage, but with a more modern-sounding twist.
5. Foster (#965 for boys)
Foster plays perfectly into the last-name-as-first-name trend, but travels a bit further off the beaten path. Your little boy will probably never have to worry about getting his kindergarten cubby mixed up with another little Foster in his class.
6. Sylvie (#957 for girls)
Sylvia may feel dated to some, but to me, Sylvie feels fresh and fun — and for some inexplicable reason, it’s so rarely used. This one is a personal favorite for me.
7. Seamus (#951 for boys)
If you like the sound of the name Sean, but want something more unique, Seamus could be a good fit for your little one — especially if you have Irish roots!
8. Ramona (#951 for girls)
If you had a soft spot for Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby books, then this name might be a fun way to pay homage to your childhood literary interests. Ramona was always my favorite.
9. Ira (#950 for boys)
Blame it on Ira Glass if you will, but this name just feels so sophisticated and cerebral. I’m surprised it isn’t higher up on the popularity list!
10. Gibson (#925 for boys)
Another last-name-as-first option that you likely won’t hear elsewhere. Give it a closer look if you are a lover of music — as Gibson is also the name of an iconic and much-beloved guitar brand.
11. Ephraim (#884 for boys)
Another name with lesser known biblical roots, this name feels like the perfect name for a little boy with an old soul.
12. Sutton (#882 for boys)
Can you tell last names are kind of my thing? Sutton is another quality surname that may not have been on your radar previously.
13. Ingrid (#871 for girls)
Ingrid has a “little old lady” feel to it while also sounding very much like a little girl’s name. The perfect package!
14. Huxley (#867 for boys)
This name evokes images of philosopher and writer Aldous Huxley and has great nickname potential. Can’t you see a little Hux running around the playground? I’m definitely into this one.
15. Henrik (#834 for boys)
If you love the name Henry but can’t bring yourself to give your son such a popular name, Henrik is a great stand-in to take a second look at.
16. Anders (#818 for boys)
If you love classic boy names like Andrew/Andy, then Anders is a less expected alternative. Classic with a twist: just right.
17. Emmeline (#788 for girls)
If names like Emma/Emily are your jam, perhaps you should try Emmeline on for size. Equally lovely, but a bit more distinct.
18. Gwen (#762 for girls)
Can you just imagine the sweetness of a little girl name Gwen? I’m pretty smitten with this one.
19. Otis (#752 for boys)
I have a never-ending soft spot in my heart for “man names” for little boys and Otis feels very much like a “man’s name” (perhaps due to the deep crooning voice of Otis Redding), but still really cute for a little guy. A good one to grow into.
20. Clementine (#749 for girls)
A great option if you lean toward names with a nature spin – Clementine has you covered with originality to spare!
21. Noa (#749 for girls)
While Noah has been #1 in popularity for boys since 2013, it is far less popular as a girl’s name. With a more feminine spelling, I think it could be really lovely for a little girl. If “boy names” for girls are your thing, this one is definitely worth giving some thought.
22. Rosie (#722 for girls)
The name Rosie has spunkiness built into it in spades. While Rose sounds a bit more sweet and safe, Rosie seems like the kind of girl to be a little spitfire, filled with confidence.
23. Jolie (#676 for girls)
Jolie (which means “pretty” in French) is just so lovely for a little girl. A great option if you happen to be a Francophile!
24. Dorothy (#652 for girls)
An adorable “little old lady name” with wonderful nickname-ability. Can you just imagine a tiny, little Dot or Dottie? I’m swooning!
25. Azalea (#585 for girls)
A nature name you won’t likely hear very often. Azaleas are lovely flowers and could provide a perfectly sweet name for a little girl.