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The Defining Baby Names of the Decade

December 11, 2019 laurawattenberg 1 Comment

The Defining Baby Names of the Decade

December 11, 2019 LauraWattenberg 1 Comment

Linda and Larry are the 1950s. Jennifer and Jason are the ’70s. In the future, when we look back, what names will represent the 2010s decade?

A simple list of the most popular names of the decade won’t answer that question. Most of the top-10 girls’ names of the 2010s were also top-10 for the decade prior. And on the boys’ side, top names like William, Michael and James are too classic to conjure up any era at all.

What we need are the decade’s defining names. The names that were not just hugely popular from 2010-19, but vastly more popular than in decades past…and future. They’re flying high, yet as the ’10s draw to a close they’re already starting to decline from their dizzying popularity peaks.

Meet your future nostalgia, the baby names that have defined the sound of the past ten years in America.

#1 Aiden Sophia
#2 Logan Ava
#3 Mason Aubrey
#4 Jayden Alexa
#5 Brayden Mia
#6 Jacob Madison
#7 Gavin Abigail
#8 Chase Isabella
#9 Bentley Brooklyn
#10 Gabriel Olivia
#11 Lincoln Annabelle
#12 Landon Aubree
#13 Hunter Emily
#14 Dylan Paisley
#15 Ethan Sofia

The boys’ names are strikingly consistent. 13 of the 15 names are two syllables. 10 of the 15 end with the letter N, and three (Aiden, Jayden, Brayden) actually rhyme. Traditional surnames make up about half the list. I think it’s fair to say that this era of boys’ names does indeed have a trademark style.

The girls’ names are a little harder to pin down. There are mini-names (Ava, Mia) and maxi-names (Isabella, Annabelle); ultra-modern names (Paisley, Brooklyn) and ultra-traditional names (Sophia, Abigail). Yet when you take them as a group, the sounds of a decade start to emerge. Aubree-Abigail-Annabelle, Ava-Olivia-Alexa. The majority of the names include the letter L, and the majority include a long E sound. It’s the same fashion instinct, played out across diverging ideas of what a girl’s name should be.

That’s the 2010s. Tuck the list away for your children and grandchildren to roll their eyes at down the road.


Namerology founder and "Baby Name Wizard" author Laura Wattenberg is a globally recognized name expert, known for her scientific approach to understanding name trends and culture.

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1 Comment

  • Nicwoo December 13, 2019 at 5:24 am

    I work with children in grades 1-3 (so born within the last ten years) and there are about 215. Every name you mentioned except two (last two on the boys side) is represented *at least once* in the east side of the community in which I live. Seems like you made a pretty great hole in one here. On another note: Alexa will likely not ever be recovered… as long as a generation has it to command with voice activation.

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