Popular and trendy baby names in the U.S. in 2021

Baby name timeline 2021

Which baby names were the most popular in the U.S. in 2021?

Which names saw the steepest rises in usage?

And which names appeared for the very first time in the national dataset?

Below you’ll find the answers to all three of these questions, plus some of the other baby names that made gains in 2021. (In parentheses are my guesses about the outside factors influencing each name.)

Top Names

These were the most popular baby names overall in the U.S. in 2021:

Girl names: Most popularBoy names: Most popular
1. Liam1. Olivia
2. Noah2. Emma
3. Oliver3. Charlotte
4. Elijah4. Amelia
5. James5. Ava

Rising Names

These baby names saw the largest increases in usage from 2020 to 2021 in terms of number of babies:

Girl names: Top absolute increasesBoy names: Top absolute increases
1. Isla1. Luca (animated movie character)
2. Willow2. Waylon
3. Eleanor3. Walker
4. Nora4. Theodore
5. Maeve5. Luka

These baby names saw the largest increases in usage from 2020 to 2021 in terms of percentage of babies:

Girl names: Top relative increasesBoy names: Top relative increases
1. Thyri (TV character)1. Calian (TV character)
2. Xaila2. Treu
3. Esmeray3. Aliyar [tie]
4. Melek (TV character)4. Nain [tie]
5. Enola (movie character)5. Zealand (celebrity baby)

And here’s a selection of the other baby names that saw higher usage in 2021:

Girl names: Other increasesBoy names: Other increases
Anaia (celebrity baby)Caeleb (Olympic swimmer)
Daphne (TV character)Dayvon (news: rapper)
Hyacinth (TV character)Erling (soccer player)
Kaori (celebrity baby)Kj (actor)
Lainey (country singer)Sterling (celebrity baby)
Lakeyn (TV personality)
Lilibet (royal baby)
Nare (TV character)
Raya (animated movie character)
Sianna (social media influencer)
Sterling (celebrity baby)
Sylvie (TV character)
Vamika (Indian celebrity baby)
Wanda (TV character)
Yomii (rap song)

Debut Names

These were the baby names that debuted most impressively in the U.S. baby name data in 2021:

Girl names: Top debutsBoy names: Top debuts
1. Namaari (animated movie character)1. Azaire
2. Parklynn2. Gediz (TV character)
3. Sayori3. Jeyvier (TV personality)
4. Arianelly4. Damiri [tie]
5. Sanem (TV character)5. Ripton [tie]

And here’s a selection of the other names that appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 2021:

Girl names: Other debutsBoy names: Other debuts
Nezuko (movie character)Zakius (social media influencer)
Imaray (social media influencer)Biden (politician)
Xylo (celebrity baby)Maclen (social media influencer)
Daneliya (TV personality)Ice (celebrity baby)
Rivia (TV show)Gervonta (boxer)
Oyku (social media influencer)Yahnis (celebrity baby)
Jehiely (social media influencer)Yasuke (animated TV character)
Renfri (TV character)Arminius (TV character)
Este (song)Hiraeth (brand/advertisements)
Hartford (celebrity baby)Zagreus (video game character)
Hiraeth (brand/advertisements)Lightning (celebrity baby)
Lupine (celebrity baby)Haaland (soccer player)
Ice (celebrity baby)
Sunisa (Olympic gymnast)
Sylphrena (book character)

If you’d like to read more about the 2021 names, here are my blog posts on the fastest-rising girl names, the fastest-rising boy names, the top-debuting girl names, the top-debuting boy names, and the most popular names overall.

If you want to check out another year on the timeline, here’s the baby name timeline main page.

Data source: U.S. Social Security Administration