Which boy names increased and decreased the most in popularity from 2014 to 2015?
Here are two ways to look at it. The SSA’s way looks at ranking differences and covers the top 1,000 boy names (roughly). My way looks at raw number differences and takes all boy names on the SSA’s list into account.
Riaan was boosted by a celebrity baby born in late 2014 to Bollywood actors Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza.
Jaziel’s rise seems to be due to Jaziel Avilez, a young singer featured in the 2014 song “Padre Ejemplar” [vid] by Mexican group Los Titanes de Durango.
Omari’s rise can be traced back to American actor Omari Hardwick, who has appeared in the TV shows Being Mary Jane and Power lately, and Jabari’s to basketball player Jabari Parker, the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
In the girls’ top 50, Alexa, Paisley, Ellie and Violet replace Arianna, Gabriella, Sadie and Sarah.
In the boys’ top 50, Grayson and Charles replace Eli and Aaron.
Alexa rose 31 places, from 63rd to 32nd
Violet rose 17 places, from 67th to 50th
Grayson rose 16 places, from 63rd to 47th
Oliver rose 13 places, from 32nd to 19th
Riley (girl name) rose 12 places, from 47th to 35th
Arianna dropped 16 places, from 40th to 56th
Gabriella dropped 11 places, from 43rd to 54th
Anna dropped 10 places, from 34th to 44th
There’s much more to come! Until then, I’ll quote liberally from the SSA’s press release:
Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 1,000 are Alaia and Riaan.
Alaia jumped 2,012 spots on the girls’ side to number 664, from number 2,676 in 2014. Perhaps this can be attributed to high fashion designer Azzedine Alaia, or maybe it is because of Alaia Baldwin, the model/daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.
Riaan increased 1,360 spots for the boys, from number 2,286 in 2014 to number 926. Of Indian origin, it is also the name of the young son of a well-known Bollywood actor, Riteish Deshmukh.
The second fastest riser for girls was Meilani. If you have ever watched MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” and maybe even if you haven’t, you’ve heard of Jenni “JWoww” Farley. She gave birth to daughter Meilani in 2014. On a different American shore, out in Hawaii, is another well-known Meilani–Bethany Meilani Hamilton, the professional surfer whose story of surviving a shark attack was documented in the movie “Soul Surfer.”
For boys, it was Huxley (a brave new comeback for the late science fiction writer?).
Some other notable names in the top 10 biggest increase category, and some possible reasons for their newfound popularity:
Omari and Jabari for boys. Omari Hardwick is an actor, known for his roles in “Sparkle,” “The A-Team,” and BET Network’s “Being Mary Jane.” He currently stars in “Power,” a popular cable TV series. Jabari Parker is a professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of Duke.
Adaline and Zelda for girls. “The Age of Adaline” is a 2015 fantasy film starring Blake Lively, Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, and Ellen Burstyn. As for Zelda, maybe the legend continues to grow?
I’ll also note that the name Isis dropped from 705th place (398 baby girls) in 2014 to 1770th place (117 baby girls) in 2015.
If you like the idea of anagrams but want to avoid sound-alike sets, I recommend anagrams with different numbers of syllables. Pairs like “Etta and Tate” and “Clay and Lacy” are a far more subtle than pairs like “Enzo and Zeno” and “Mary and Myra.”