If you’re expecting a new bundle of joy to arrive Earth-side in 2022, you’re probably already dreaming of the perfect name to choose. It’s a tough decision for parents and can get even more challenging with each subsequent baby. (Honestly, naming my youngest was so hard.) So what do you do when you need some inspiration? Take to the internet, of course. There’s a whole world of information about current baby name trends to explore right at your fingertips. You can learn which baby names are trending in 2022, which ones are out of style, and what each name means with just a few clicks. What a time to be alive.
Why Do Baby Names Trend?
“We attach certain meanings, attributes, and qualities of personalities to names. We might have expectations for how the person will behave, what they will do for work, what their values are, etc. And assumptions are made — right or wrong — about names,” Deborah J. Cohan, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina - Beaufort and the author of Welcome to Wherever We Are: A Memoir of Family, Caregiving, and Redemption, tells Romper.
From pop culture to current events, the reason that certain baby names trend over others is complex. “We are influenced by so much, by a variety of social institutions that socialize us to become who we are including our families, media, religion, etc. People might be moved by a song, a movie, a television show, or a place and want to select a name that calls up those good memories and associations every time.”
Though popular names tend to trend, the pull to choose a unique or meaningful name can be strong. “Naming is a form of self-expression for parents to be, and it's a way of declaring a special identity for the child and for the parents,” explains Cohan. This means that names can have a variety of roots for reasons that are important to parents, like drawing meaning from a special place, picking a vintage name that has cycled back around into the baby name pool, or wanting an androgynous name that works regardless of gender.
2022 Baby Name Trends
“It's really hard to predict what naming trends will have the most staying power,” says Cohan. “I tend to think that babies born in a pandemic and soon after are likely to be given names that counter the despair and radiate optimism, playfulness, and joy, as well as strength, resilience, and even a bit of a king of the hill quality.”
When it comes to predicting the most popular baby names of 2022, data recently compiled by the team at the baby and pregnancy site The Bump revealed six major trends for the year ahead. They expect to see a continued rise in unisex names, nature-inspired names, interstellar names, names to inspire confidence, vintage names, and uplifting names in 2022.
“If there is anything the past two years of pandemic life have shown us, it is that people are craving an escape from the tumult and stress — and to do that, many are finding a sense of serenity in the open air. For this reason, The Bump anticipates that the biggest baby name trend of 2022 will be names inspired by the outdoors,” Nehal Aggarwal, Associate Editor of The Bump, tells Romper. “We see this mega trend playing out in the surge in popularity of nature- and celestial-themed baby names — themes that are also popping up in nursery design and baby items."
Recent Changes To Baby Name Trends
When you compare the most recent data on popular baby names from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to data compiled by baby naming websites like The Bump and Baby Center, there are notable differences. The SSA’s most recent list includes names registered to babies born in 2020, whereas baby naming sites populate their lists based on search history from users and self-reports.
Based on a comparison from the top 10 baby names for boys and girls from the SSA in 2020 and the current 2022 list from Baby Center, you can see several notable changes to naming trends:
- Emma is back on top. This name just won’t quit. Ranked second in 2020 by the SSA, it’s currently number one on Baby Center. (Though, surprisingly, it wasn’t a top-searched baby name on Google in 2021)
- Mateo is currently ranked fifth by Baby Center, but was the 20th most-popular boy name in 2020, according to the SSA.
- Liam and Noah continue to battle for the top boy name in 2022. Just as they did in 2021, the names have swapped spots on both lists again this year.
- Luna is more popular now. Currently, trending as the fifth most-popular girl name on Baby Center, the name was ranked 14th by the SSA in 2020.
Right now, it seems that names for baby boys are in for a bigger shake-up in 2022 than girl names. Comparing the real-time Baby Center list to the SSA’s 2020 naming data, Mateo, Levi, Greyson, and Daniel have usurped boy names William, Benjamin, Henry, and Alexander, removing them from the top 10. For girls, only the number 10 spot from the SSA’s list, Harper, wasn’t included in Baby Center’s top 10.
It will be interesting to see how the final lists compare when the SSA’s data for babies named in 2021 and 2022 is released.
Baby Name Predictions For 2022
Inspired by current trends, here are a few baby names to keep an eye on in 2022:
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