Biggest changes in girl name popularity, 2017

Which girl names increased the most in popularity from 2016 to 2017? And which ones decreased the most?

There are a few different ways to answer this question. The SSA, for instance, likes to look at ranking differences within the top 1,000. And I like to augment their list by looking at raw number differences across all the data.

So let’s look at increases first…

Girl Names: Biggest Increases, 2016 to 2017


1. Ensley, +1,461 spots
2. Oaklynn, +1,072
3. Dream, +840
4. Oaklyn, +749
5. Melania, +720
6. Emberly, +616
7. Octavia, +435
8. Paisleigh, +364
9. Yara, +352
10. Kehlani, +347

Melania was influenced by the First Lady. Dream was influenced by the latest Kardashian baby.

Raw Numbers

1. Luna, +1,657 babies
2. Mila, +1,123
3. Amelia, +1,047
4. Bella, +957
5. Nova, +748
6. Camila, +704
7. Elena, +685
8. Kinsley, +669
9. Everly, +616
10. Aurora, +590

Camila might have been influenced by Camila Cabello (“Havana ooh na-na…”).

Other names that saw raw number increases in the 300+ range included Raelynn, Willow, Amara, Isla, Samara, and Leilani.

And now let’s check out decreases…

Girl Names: Biggest Decreases, 2016 to 2017


1. Julianne, -263 spots
2. Wendy, -243
3. Milania, -241
4. Montserrat, -225
5. Nathaly, -225
6. Jayden, -204
7. Jessa, -201
8. Tenley, -198
9. Aryana, -184
10. Ciara, -183

Looks like Melania stole a lot of attention away from Milania in 2017.

Raw Numbers

1. Sophia, -1,281 babies
2. Emily, -1,211
3. Abigail, -1,196
4. Madison, -1,167
5. Sofia, -1,027
6. Mia, -978
7. Alexa, -883
8. Riley, -788
9. Brooklyn, -774
10. Lily, -769

Alexa was no doubt adversely affected by the prevalence of Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa.

Other names that saw raw number drops in the (negative) 300+ range included Kylie, Natalie, Taylor, Morgan, Piper, Trinity, and Harper.

Do you have any explanations for the name movement above? If so, please comment!

Sources: Change in Popularity, SSA, Emma and Liam Top Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2017

4 thoughts on “Biggest changes in girl name popularity, 2017

  1. Ensley is the name Teen Mom’s Jenelle Evans
    Yara is a character on Game of Thrones

  2. Interesting to see Tenley dropped so much. It was one of the top risers a few years ago due to someone who was on the The Bachelor. Now that it’s been a while since she was on TV, the name is out of sight. I wonder if the drop in Jessa was due to the Duggar association — have they been on TV/in magazines any less in the last couple years?

    On the other hand, Kehlani was the #1 riser last year, but continued exposure for the singer Kehlani has kept the name (and soundalikes) rising.

  3. Elena is probably due to the Disney TV show Elena of Avalor, which features a Latina princess named Elena. The show premiered in mid-2016.

  4. Octavia could be for Octavia Spencer, especially since the character she played in Hidden Figures is such a role model. I can see a parent who’s looking to that movie as an example of what (black) women can achieve landing on Octavia as the name that has the best balance of fitting in and standing out. It’s dignified and antique, but you can also imagine a little girl answering to Tavie.

    Mila Kunis might have influenced Mila? Between her career and her personal life, she seems to be in the news a lot — though I’m not sure why she’d pop in 2017 and not any other year.

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