We think of baby names as being evergreen, since each one lasts for so long, but, like fashion, haircuts and home design, baby girl names are also affected by trends. And, when you’re deciding on a baby name, it is important to stay on top of the trends, because choosing a name that’s too common or too unusual is likely to be a cause of baby name regret.
So, what are the themes affecting baby girl names in the coming year? For starters, we’re seeing more and more parents moving away from stereotypical gendered names, says Pamela Redmond, CEO of Nameberry, a baby-naming site that keeps track of baby name trends. This comes through in ways both expected and unexpected, as you can see in these prominent baby girl name trends of 2023.
Strong names for baby girls are in.
“The overriding trend in girl names is toward strong heroic names, often taken from myth and legend or from classic literature,” Redmond says. “Parents are also looking toward names of real-life heroines or women of accomplishment, contemporary or historic. Some of these names are rather grand: I’m thinking about Aurelia and Freya, Persephone and even Eloise. Then there are the quirkier badass girl names such as Billie and Wednesday, Oakley and Nyx.”
This trend includes other goddess-inspired names like Athena, Flora and Kali; newsmakers like Ruth and Kamala and athletes like Serena, Coco and Simone.
Grandpa names are going to baby girls.
Nameberry also found that names that we might think of as old-timey names for boys are finding new life as little girl names. This is an intersection of two trend: First, names are taking on a more gender-neutral life in general and second, old-man nicknames are getting more popular (think Archie).
So, what names did Nameberry see going to the girls? Bobbie, Drew, Frankie, Georgie, Ozzie, Ray and Teddy are headed to the pink column from the blue one.
Baby girl names are looking on the bright side.
BabyCenter, which also put out its own 2023 baby-name report, says that optimistic, “utopian” names are on the rise. Alora, which means “dreamer,” is one of the site’s highest climbers; it’s up 226 places in the BabyCenter ranking. Other upbeat names that rose in popularity include Dream (up 116 spots), Miracle (up 70 spots), Heaven (up 114 spots) and Destiny (up 90 spots). Things are really looking up for the 2023 babies!
Parents are looking to nature for inspiration.
This trend has been manifesting for a while now, but it shows no signs of slowing down: Names inspired by the natural world are in. BabyCenter has seen big jumps for eco-names including Wrenly (up 400 places for girls) and Wren (up 99 spots), Meadow (up 87 spots), Juniper (up 40 spots), Iris (up 24 spots) and Ivy (up 11 spots).
But the nature we see around us isn’t the only source of inspiration. Outer space is a fertile ground for baby names as well, with BabyCenter seeing an increase in celestials names. Nova, Luna, Lyla and Aurora are just some of these far-out names.
Jazz Age names are coming back around.
Redmond already mentioned Billie, but that’s just one of the vintage names getting popular again. When The Bump came up with its 2023 baby name forecast, it said to expect an influx of names from the Roaring ’20s. Evelyn, Amelia and Charlotte are three names popular in the ’20s that have already cracked the top 10 in recent years; names like Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, Frances, Florence, Louise and Lillian may not be far behind.
These are currently the most popular baby names for girls — and the ones that are rising through the ranks.
Will they stay on top? The Social Security Administration keeps track of the 1,000 most popular baby girl names in the United States — the real, final names used by real families. And the top names have been pretty steady for a decade, so it’s a good bet they’ll hold firm into 2023.
But even more telling is the list of names that have increased most in popularity from one year to the next. These are the names with heat; ones that might launch into the upper tier in 2023.
You can see some of the 2023 trends taking hold here, and also a new one: Long names for girls seem to be on the rise. But long or short, no matter which name you settle on, it’ll suit your little one perfectly.
Looking for more baby girl name inspiration? Check out our list of top Indian/Hindu girl names, Irish girl names and Hispanic girl names, along with baby boy names and unisex names for good measure.
Senior Parenting & Relationships Editor
Marisa (she/her) has covered all things parenting, from the postpartum period through the empty nest, for Good Housekeeping since 2018; she previously wrote about parents and families at Parents and Working Mother. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, where she can be found dominating the audio round at her local bar trivia night or tweeting about movies.
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