Hailey, Haleigh, Haylee… which spelling is best?

Which spelling of "Hailey" is best?

Back when I published the first version of this post — using the SSA’s 2007 baby name data — the name Hailey was the 23rd most popular name for U.S. baby girls.

(It’s highest-ever usage had been a few years earlier, in 2003.)

But, while “Hailey” was the most popular spelling of the name, it certainly wasn’t the only spelling being used. Other popular variants included…

And, of course, there were dozens more. Some examples: Halley, Hayli, Haylei, Haile, Haylea, Haili, Haillie, Hailea, Hailei, Haeley, Haely, Haelee, Hailley, Haeleigh, Hailly, Haeli, and Hayliee.

Which spelling of Hailey do you prefer? Why?

P.S. Fourteen years later, the entire name-group is not as trendy as it once was. The most popular spelling is still Hailey, though it now ranks 77th. Haley, Haylee, and Hayley are still in the top 1,000, but Haylie, Hailee, Haleigh, Hailie, and Hayleigh have since dropped out.

[Latest update: Jan. 2023]

68 thoughts on “Hailey, Haleigh, Haylee… which spelling is best?

  1. My first instinct would be to say no, because I don’t believe most people pronounce Halle or Hallie as “HAY-lee.” But some people might. They could certainly comment with one of those spellings.

  2. I was going to vote for Hayley, because it seems that Hayley Mills was the beginning of the popularity of that name after she starred in the original “Parent Trap”. I almost always prefer original/standard spellings of names. But I don’t like the way Hayley looks — beginning with the word ‘hay’. So I looked up Hayley in a couple of my name books and read that Hayley Mills (born 1946) was named after her mother Mary Hayley Bell Mills and was the source of the name’s popularity. “Oxford Dictionary of Fiirst Names” states that Hayley is ” a transferred use of the surname, which derives from a place name, probably Hailey in Oxfordshire, which was originally named from Old English ‘heg’ (hay) + ‘leah’ (clearing). The name is NMS (particularly with its origin and meaning), but it does have a nice sound to it. Were I to use it, I’d go with Hailey.

  3. I like Hayley, it’s my neice’s name and my sister went with the spelling she thought was most traditional at the time (going back to Hayley Mills making it popular). She was born in 1999.

  4. Below are all nine of the spellings of this particular “H” name that made the top 1000 with the SSA in the year 2007. They are listed in order of popularity (rank listed before spelling), and the number in parentheses representing the number of children in 2007 who received that particular spelling of the name.

    23 – Hailey (8,331)
    76 – Haley (4,144)
    237 – Haylee (1,472)
    305 – Hayley (1,098)
    422 – Haylie (765)
    438 – Hailee (723)
    622 – Haleigh (472)
    821 – Hailie (346)
    984 – Hayleigh (268)

    So, all 9 of these spellings are included in your poll of 10. The one in your poll that is not in the top 1000 is the Haily spelling.

  5. For stat fans (or nerds) like me, here’s some info of further interest, especially if the popularity of the first name Hayley, etc, comes from Hayley Mills, who appears to carry a former name/surname of her own mother’s family as her own.

    Among the over 88,000 surnames ranked by the US Census Bureau in the 1990 census, these are the only 2 of the 10 spellings of the name in your poll to rank as a surname (ranks listed before the name).

    750 – Haley
    3862 – Hailey

  6. My “divider” for which name is in which pronounciation is similiar to yours. I pronounce Halle and Hayley very differently and would pronounce any that began “Hal…” like Halle and any that began “Hay…” or “Hai…” like Hayley. This was part of my question, since your list seemed to mix both.

  7. Was looking up my name online and came across this and noticed your having trouble deciding. As you can see I’m a Haleigh and would like to help you out. I was born in 1989 so my name and especially its spelling weren’t very popular then and I will admit I’m not to fond of my name because of its spelling. Almost everyone I meet pronounces it wrong which is really frustrating and my friends have gotten into the habit of calling me Hal as a joke nickname which I hate as well. Hope this helps :)

  8. My name is Hayleigh, and to be honest, i love it because its original and different compared to the other spellings.. i was in fact named after the haley’s comet. I love my name BECAUSE its individual. I would rather have an unpopular name and be the only Hayleigh in my class^^

  9. I first heard this name because of Eminem (I was about 13 then, and nope, haven’t heard of Hayley Mills yet back then. Shame on me). And because his daughter is a Hailie, I kinda always spelled it like that. But I actually like Hailey better. It looks adorable on in 3rd grade little girl handwriting with a little heart above the i dot…but I cannot picture it on anyone but a child. The spellings Hayley and Haley seem more suited for a grown woman to be, but I still do prefer to look of Hailey. If I were to use it, it would most likely to Haley though.

  10. Thanks for putting my name up there but I’m a little bummed out. I’m the only one who really has the name HAY-LEE spelled Haily. I really wish that my parents gave my name with an e. When I was younger everybody thought my name was spelled Hailey. I wish it was too.

  11. Hi I really want to call my daughter Hailie, But Im also struggling to find a nice middle name … As i would love her to have one as I haven’t and I wish I had.

    She will be called Hailie …… Fleet.

  12. I think Haylee is the most obvious way to spell it, yet no one can ever remeber how to spell it or guess that’s how u spell it.

  13. My mother named me after Hayley Mills, her favorite actress. I was born in 1982.

    …yet everyone always spells my name as Haley.

  14. I spell my daughter’s name Hallie Joyce.love the spelling but it’s constantly mispronounced.drives me crazy!

  15. I am not particularly crazy about the name but my son and daughter in-law are expecting a little girl in May and apprently this is the name they chose.. Now they can’t figure out how to spell it.. I, myself, like Hayleigh.. oppose to Haylee.. To me this name sounds too much like Hay like when you want to call you would say Hey Hay.. Down on that.

  16. For a name with so many popular spellings, it is probably the best to avoid it at all. Correcting misspelled documents all the time is just waste of lifetime.

  17. Hailey:)
    lol that’s my name:)
    i like this spelling the most, then Hailee or Hayley or Hayleigh. I don’t like it spelled Haily (no e) at all (sorry). and Haley, even though that’s how most other girls named Hailey/whatever’s name is spelled, looks unbalanced to me.

    <3 Hailey

  18. and my middle name is Nicole.
    so… Hailey Nicole:)
    I also like Rose, but that’s my sister’s middle name (Marley Rose)
    there are a BUNCH of middle name that work with Hailey, and i don’t think any of them sound particularly bad.

    ***btw, i HATE it when my name is misspelled because of all these different spellings. *sigh* it’s not their fault, but it gets pretty annoying…

  19. I like Hayley. I was Born in 1999 and MId name Cecelia so its a good combo.. Hayley Cecelia :) I was also named after Hayley Mills. But i hate that people always spell Haley on my cards and stuff. But i love the other spellings like Hailee. Also one thing is that it means a meadow.. wel my spelling , but its your choice :) good Luck and GOd Bless

  20. Hayleigh all the way. It’s the most unique and I personally think its makes the most sense. (:

  21. My sisters name is Hallie pronounce (Hal-E) as in Halle Berry. She constantly gets called Hayley to the point where she doesn’t bother to correct people. Yet she hates it and it drives her crazy!

  22. My favorite spelling of the name is ‘Hailie’. Not just b/c is she Eminem’s daughter, but cause i just love the way it’s spelt. H A I L I E its spelt real pretty imp….i dont like spelling realize with an ‘s’ it sound better with a ‘z’ which i think it should be spelt all around the world with and the same with color there should be no ‘u’ in it……thats just my opinion…..and NO im not English..i’m Irish and proud to be Irish :)

  23. I was also born in 1995 and my name is spelled Hayli. My moms name is also a more original spelling (Sheri) and my name has a similar look. She too discovered the name after watching the original parent trap movie while in labor with me. My mom loves being original with names, so she decided on H-a-y-l-i. My middle name is Rose and I just really love the way Hayli Rose looks together. I would not want any other spelling of my name because it makes me unique.

  24. I think Haily! because its very unique and people with this name and this spelling (like me)….. well whenever someone is trying to spell it they ALWAYS spell it wrong i dont exactly care but i think that if more people name their child haily and spell it like that it would be more popular and more people would know about that spelling and because whenever you look somewhere on line to try to find that name with this spelling you can NEVER find it

  25. I like Hayley best (not just bc its my name) I think its more aesthetically pleasing, and it looks balanced. I just wished it had the same meaning as Haley (heroine instead of hay meadow)

  26. I’m actually not surprised that the way my name is spelled is not on the castings, mine is spelled “Halie” which most people pronounce as “Hally”, which is quite irritating.

  27. I think that all parents who want to give their daughter a Haley name should stick to the proper spelling – Haley. 90% of the time people spell my name that way, and I always have to tell them that it’s spelled HAYLEY, with an extra y! I think that my life would be easier if my name was Haley.

    To be frank, I think that Hayley is a pretty dumb name. People always butcher it, and it means “hay meadow.” Mom, Dad, you could have named me Rose, Daisy or Lily, but no, you settled on Hayley. Gee, I sure wish I was a Daisy!

  28. To be honest, I think Haley is the best way. So many people call me HA-lee and I HATE IT! I wish it was spelled differently

  29. I like Haley the best. It’s not traditional but it’s hard for it to be mispronounced. it’s my name too, tee hee. And, it’s not a very popular spelling, even though it’s widely preferred. And besides the idiots spelling haly, it’s hard to misspell my name. Plus, Hayley means hay meadow. Haley means heroine, the hero. #HaleyIsTheway

  30. My name spelling was to look cool with a two y them because my name is Hayley Skyy but the spelling sounds right to me “hay-ley”

  31. My name is spelled Haley … The way my mom was thinking was Hayliegh or Hayley … Be she went with ley because my she wanted all her girls or boy to end with ley or le of ly or ell my 12 year old sisters name is Emily and my to 9 year old twins sisters names are Isabellah and Angle and now she is pregnant again with triplets she having 3 girls and their names will be Symphoney , Alley, Kimberley

  32. omg wow, for the person who said her middle name was nicole thats just weird, because MY name is also Hailey Nicole! Spelled that way too! Wow thats so funny!

  33. I prefer it Haley but its also my name so…. *looks down sheepishly* It just looks neat and balanced. I was born in 2004 and my middle name is McKane. Haley McKane Hobson

  34. Hi, my name Amberlynne Nicole. Yes, I have 10 letter first name. Sorry if I poor English I deaf since born. I sign language most time if I need to talk to hearie person I have to gesture or write I can’t really talk voice I wouldn’t know how say words if I tried no one would understand me. I 25 year old. I want name daughter Hayleylynne I think said hay lee lin. 11 letter and it weird looking but I think it cool. I marry next year to handsome man. My family hearing and deaf mom deaf dad hearing hearing sister. I sign mom and gesture write dad sister. We learned to communicate one another. Husband to be deaf.

  35. We named our daughter Haileigh I love it! She is named after Eminem’s daughter I am a big fan. We changed the spelling because we liked Hailey but liked the Leigh instead. My daughter is older now and loves her name because it’s spelled like that. She does hate that when we go to fairs we always have to have it made or buy it spelled wrong. Very cute name.

  36. My name is spelled Haleigh. I work with the public and when people see my name tag they always make a comment on it. I have never went a shift without hearing “You have such a pretty name” at least once. Yeah it gets mispronounced sometimes but it’s better then being Haley number 5 in a classroom. Or in my case that’s how it was. I went to school with at least a dozen Haley’s mine was the only one with different spelling.

  37. I personally think Haleigh is the best way to spell it because 1. That’s how you spell my name and 2. It is a beautiful way to spell it.

  38. My name is Haley. my middle name is jane, so I’m haley jane. I’m 21 years old and I like my name I just wish it were spelled like “hailey” instead of “haley” that’s just my opinion. I like hailey better.

  39. My name is spelt really weird it’s spelt Hailei but people always spell it Hayley or Hailey or Hailie it’s so annoying but you get use to it after 7 years also I can’t believe that there is so many different spellings of Hailei

  40. I was reading an article about David Hasselhoff and realized that one of his daughters (with his second wife) and his third wife are both named Hayley. Very odd coincidence given the wide variety of spellings and the fact that wife #3 is Welsh.

  41. For some reason I can’t shake the instinct to pronounce Hailey as hail (rhymes with mail, grail)- ee.

  42. My name is Hailey and it’s cause my mom didn’t want to spell it like the comet, Halley. I hate it cause every kid at a grocery store seems to be Hailey or however they spell it. I was born in 77, possibly the oldest hailey out there. I did think of changing it but my baptismal name isn’t my favourite either. I thought of tweaking my baptismal name a bit then I realise it’s also popular, not as popular as Hailey though.

  43. I love the spelling Haylie. It is my name obviously. I like this version of the spelling, because it is spelled the most like it sounds. Some of the others are spelled nothing like the actual name. Haylie for the win!

  44. Hailey is the prettiest spelling to me, followed by Hailie. Haley reminds me of a boy, specifically Haley Joel Osment. lol Although, the character of Haley James Scott on One Tree Hill spelled it that way too. Her name just all around didn’t sound very girly to me, since her maiden name and married name were both popular boys’ names.

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