In many ways, 2021 was deja vu all over again…including the state of baby name trends! Back in 2020, the most popular baby names for boys and girls brought lots of nature-inspiration and vintage vibes. At the same time, parents-to-be started to ease up a bit on the Jayden/Brayden/Oaklyn sounds of the very recent past in favor of baby names with an overall more classic and timeless feel. Fast-forward to 2021 and, quite frankly, the lists of top baby names for both years are similar, with the likes of Amelia and Oliver still showing up strong. But there were lots of subtle shifts at the top of the heap.

Top Baby Name Trends of 2021 for Girls

For girls, there’s a definite baby name trend of names opening with the “El–” sound, like in Eloise and Ellie. And there’s been a dip in popularity for long, 4+ syllable names, like Izabella and Evangeline. Other big baby name trends for girls: Lots of florals (Rose!), French baby names (Esme!), and an overall resurgence of vintage names…just as we predicted a couple years ago! Meanwhile, Sophie, Olivia, and Harper have scooted their way down the list after becoming huge hits over the past several years. 

Top Baby Name Trends of 2021 for Boys

With boys, vintage also reigns supreme! Old-timey faves like Atticus and Felix are hanging out at the top of the baby name list, making it pretty hard not to be totally charmed by the trendiest baby names. While hipster-chic Arlo takes the top spot, sweet Liam and Noah (numbers 1 and 2 in 2020), didn’t even crack the top 30 for searched and discussed names of 2021. That means change is coming! Another distinctly boy baby name trend: Gender-neutral names were given or searched with far greater frequency for boys than girls in 2021.

Most Popular Baby Names

If you’re looking for a name-by-name retelling of the Social Security Administration’s list of top names given to babies born in 2021, this is not the list for you! Instead, we looked at which names were given to the most children in the United States, the UK, and other countries around the world in 2021. Plus, we examined the most favorited and the most searched for baby names on Nameberry for the year. Here are the results: 

Top 25 Most Popular Girls’ Names of 2021

Eloise: This French/English name meaning “healthy” or “wide” has an antique feel—and it’s got that popular “El” opening sound for a crowd-pleasing choice that’s only getting more beloved.  

Aurelia: Meaning “the golden one,” Aurelia is a beautiful baby girl name that jumped out of near obscurity to the top of the baby name charts last year.

Ava: This perky pick has been camped out at the top of the list since 2005! In 2020, she moved up to the number three spot and stayed put in 2021. Ava has many meanings including “life” in Hebrew and “bird” in Latin. 

Rose: Bestow this lovely flower name on your little girl and she’ll surely bloom into a beauty.

Maeve: This one-syllable wonder is of Irish roots, meaning “she who intoxicates.” It ranks as the most popular baby girl name in many countries.

Esme: This amazing Old French name means “esteemed” or “loved.”

Eleanor: Of the Ella/Ellie trend but with a bit more length and power. Eleanor means “light-hearted” or “shining light” as the English variation on the French Provincial name Alienor.

Imogen: This one means “maiden” from its Gaelic roots and “innocent” from the Latin…either way, it’s an absolutely precious baby girl name. 

Aurora: This was a top-10 surprise on the most popular baby girls’ name lists from around the world last year. Aurora translates to “dawn” from the Latin and gives off a Disney vibe, which is indicative of the hope and magic parents are craving.

Ophelia: This lyrical Shakespearean name fits perfectly with today’s trend of antique baby name choices. Ophelia means “aid” or “benefit.”

Freya: For a solid story and soft sound, this Nordic name translates to “noble woman.” 

Luna: This is a Latin baby girl name that many associate with the Italian language. Luna means “moon” and follows the nature-inspired baby name trend that’s gaining popularity now. 

Alice: This vintage name was one of parents’ top choices of 2021…and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon! Alice is a German name, meaning “noble.”

Iris: In a time when nature names are super popular, this flower moniker is a favorite for parents around the world. Iris also means “rainbow” in Greek.

Ivy: Short and sweet, this botanical name has grown on a lot of parents in recent years.

Isla: The Scottish place name is also the Spanish word for “island," giving parents two reasons to love this charming baby girl name. 

Olivia: This name may be outranked by newcomers like Aurelia and Ophelia, but Olivia (meaning “olive tree”) is in no danger of disappearing.

Hazel:  Whimsical and cute, Hazel falls in line with the natural trend, meaning “the hazelnut tree.”

Astrid: As more and more flower names show up in large numbers, this pretty, clustering bloom is reaching new heights on the name charts. 

Amelia: Warm and inviting, Amelia stems from the old German version Amalia, meaning “work.” Amelia finished just outside last year’s top 10 and will likely inch upward in 2022.

Genevieve: This lovely French baby name has Germanic roots and means “woman of the race.”

Charlotte: Sweet little Charlotte means “free man,” as it’s a feminized diminutive of Charles. Girls all over the world wear this moniker proudly, including the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Aria: An absolutely gorgeous Italian word name meaning “air,” it's best known as an operatic solo, making this a music name not to miss. 

Elodie: From the French, meaning “riches,” Elodie is a real beaut to consider for bébé

Violet: Belonging to a flower and also a lovely shade of purple, it's no wonder that parents everywhere are plucking Violet as their perfect baby name. 

Other Popular Girl Baby Names of 2021

  • Ada
  • Adelaide
  • Adeline
  • Alexandra
  • Amara
  • Anastasia
  • Anna
  • Arabella
  • Athena
  • Audrey
  • Avery
  • Ayla
  • Beatrice
  • Cecilia
  • Celeste
  • Chloe
  • Claire
  • Clara
  • Clementine
  • Cora
  • Cordelia
  • Daisy
  • Daphne
  • Delilah
  • Elena
  • Eliza
  • Elizabeth
  • Ellie
  • Elsie
  • Esther
  • Evangeline
  • Eva
  • Evelyn
  • Evie
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Grace
  • Jane
  • Josephine
  • Julia
  • Juniper
  • Kaia
  • Lila
  • Lilith
  • Lily
  • Lucy
  • Lydia
  • Lyra
  • Mabel
  • Mae
  • Maisie
  • Margot
  • Matilda
  • Maya
  • Mia
  • Millie
  • Nora
  • Nova
  • Ottilie
  • Penelope
  • Persephone
  • Phoebe
  • Poppy
  • Quinn
  • Ruby
  • Sage
  • Saoirse
  • Seraphina
  • Sienna
  • Stella
  • Thea
  • Willa
  • Willow
  • Wren
  • Zara

Top 25 Most Popular Boys’ Names of 2021

Arlo: This handsome baby boys' name is a newbie to the top of the trend list. It's an Old English name that translates to “between two hills.”

Kai: There’s so much to love about this single-syllable, gender-neutral name, which means “sea” in Hawaiian. (Other translations include “forgiveness.” “willow tree,” and “earth.”)

Atticus: The simplified meaning of this name handed out from the ancient Greeks is “someone Athenian.” 

Silas: Another hipster-chic moniker making waves, Silas means “wood” or “forest.”

Theodore/Theo: Both versions of this timeless name earned spots in the top 25 most popular boys' names. Theodore and the shorter Theo loosely mean “gift of the gods.”

Rowan: A lovely gender-neutral Irish baby name, Rowan means “red-headed.” 

Finn: This one hits two trendy notes: being short and gender neutral. Finn means “white” or “fair” and is the anglicized version of the Gaelic Fionn.

Milo: This charming name has many meanings and origins, including “soldier” (Latin), “dear one; beloved” (Slavic), and “yew-flower” (ancient Greek).

Felix: This name hasn’t been seen much in recent years, but in 2021 Felix started getting some serious traction. It’s a Biblical name meaning “happy, prosperous.”

Soren: This soft and gentle name is a trickster because it actually means “severe” in Danish.

August: An especially apt pick for a summer baby, this handsome month name gives off a warm and breezy beach feel. 

Ezra: Historically the Hebrew name was only assigned to boys, but its final “a” sound has made it a recent popular pick for girls, too. Ezra means “help, aid, protect.”

Jude: This lovely name that’s reminiscent of another era means “praised” in Hebrew. 

Asher: Meaning “happy” and “blessed,” this Old Testament name also has nature vibes as it contains the word “ash.”

Leo: This name is a perfect balance of a soft sound and strong meaning. Leo means “lion,” from the Latin.

Cassius: Last year, we predicted “fairy tale-like names” were coming soon…and here we are! If you can get past its meaning (“vain”), it’s a great baby boy name.

Oscar: Of mixed Irish and English roots, Oscar means “god-spear” or “champion warrior.”

Hugo: Translated to “mind” or “intellect,” the Portuguese/German/Spanish name is gaining traction after spending the past 50-plus years around the 400s!

Jasper: This isn't a gender-neutral name you hear every day, but you might soon! Jasper is a Persian name that means “bringer of treasure."

Atlas: Once a rare choice, this distinguished boy name is now on the rise. 

Arthur: Another cute vintage pick, Arthur is a Celtic name that means “bear” that was first a top baby name in 1880!

Henry: One of the few expected popular picks to pepper the list, the German “estate ruler” name has sticking power. 

Oliver: This bubbly, stylish, and popular name is of Latin origin and means “olive tree.”

Caleb: From the Hebrew, meaning “devotion to God,” Caleb is a beautiful boys’ name that’s inched past Jacob, Noah, and similar biblical names that were big not too long ago.

Caspian: A romantic sounding geographical name, Caspian has risen triumphantly from “never-heard-of-it” to the top of the list in the last couple of years. 

Other Popular Boy Baby Names of 2021

  • Alexander
  • Ambrose
  • Archer
  • Archie
  • Ari
  • Aurelius
  • Beau
  • Bodhi
  • Callum
  • Cassian
  • Cosmo
  • Cyrus
  • Danger
  • Dylan
  • Eli
  • Elias
  • Elijah
  • Elio
  • Elliot
  • Ellis
  • Emmett
  • Enzo
  • Ethan
  • Everett
  • Ezekiel
  • Gideon
  • Isaac
  • Jack
  • Jacob
  • James
  • Jayden
  • Jonah
  • Josiah
  • Julian
  • Kieran
  • Kit
  • Knox
  • Lachlan
  • Levi
  • Liam
  • Louis
  • Luca
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucifer
  • Lucius
  • Magnus
  • Mateo
  • Max
  • Micah
  • Miles
  • Nathaniel
  • Nico
  • Noah
  • Orion
  • Otis
  • Otto
  • Owen
  • Phoenix
  • Remy
  • Rhys
  • River
  • Roman
  • Ronan
  • Rory
  • Sawyer
  • Sebastian
  • Simon
  • Thomas
  • Tobias
  • William
  • Wyatt
  • Xavier
  • Zachary

About Jenny Studenroth Gerson

Jenny Studenroth Gerson is an Atlanta-based lifestyle journalist and novelist (Let Me Let You Go, 2020). Her work can be seen in publications including HuffPost, Cosmo, and WSJ, among many others. Jenny has researched thousands of baby names, combed through hundreds of nursery designs, and curated dozens of baby shower guides, making her absolutely the mom—and writer—you want to talk to when planning for Baby. When not meeting deadlines, she is chasing toddlers or chugging coffee—or both! Find her on Instagram @ourlifeinrosegold for mom hacks and more.

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