For parents-to-be expecting a baby in 2023, choosing a name might be at the top of their new year's to-do list. Some moms and dads might want a classic name, while others opt for something a bit more unique.
No matter what baby name you choose, it's always fun to predict trends and popular names for the upcoming year.
For baby naming expert Sherri Suzanne, a top baby name is one that is trending upward, but also has “staying power," she tells TODAY.com.
"Family members, cultural traditions and religious guidelines have always influenced naming and still remain important," she says. "However, popular culture is by far the most common way new names are introduced and spread nowadays. Celebrities, sports figures or just a person in the news can start a trend overnight."
Suzanne says what celebrities name their own children is even more influential than celebrity names themselves.
"Actor Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan drove a trend with their daughter Everly, and Prince William and Catherine are responsible for the growth of George, Charlotte and the French pronunciation of Louis," she says.
Top Baby Name Predictions For 2023
Suzanne tells TODAY.com she believes parents of girls will continue to show interest in grandma names with strong sounds like Ruth, Josephine, Eleanor and Eloise.
She predicts historically underused feminine classics like Lydia, Natalia and Cecilia will also be popular, including "very feminine" choices like Eliana, Alina and Athena.
"River, Blake, Parker and Sloane are attractive gender-neutral names that are growing more popular girls," Suzanne says. "And Isla, Nova and Eden are short, modern names that parents continue to favor."
For boys, Suzanne says 2023 will see the name Jack "firmly entrenched" in the top ten.
"Theodore, which is already there, is pulling Theo up fast behind it," Suzanne tells TODAY.com.
The baby naming expert also predicts that familiar names that “never got near the top 10 in the past” — including Bennett, Graham, Wesley and Miles — are really starting to shine.
Suzanne says non-English names like Enzo and Luca, "which are easy to pronounce in almost every Indo-European language," will be heard more.
"Parents I speak to seem to love Asher, but many other lesser-known biblical names continue to rise, like Levi, Josiah, Caleb and Ezra," she says.
Baby Naming Trends For 2023
Suzanne tells TODAY.com that society is at a point in history where individual choice is valued.
"You can see it in naming as well," she explains. "Lots of varying —and sometimes contradictory — trends are under way."
Predictions for top naming trends in 2023 include:
"Global awareness as well as shifting demographics have brought an assortment of names not previously seen on the U.S. popularity charts, like Spanish Ignacio, Portuguese Thiago and Arabic Yusuf," Suzanne says.
Gender Lines Blurring
More names than ever can be found on boy and girl popularity lists at the same time. Charlie, for example, is being given to boys and girls at a relatively similar rate.
"Unisex names have resulted from the trend toward surnames, such as Riley and Rowan, as well as 'word' names, like River, because they are less associated with a specific gender," Suzanne says.
Suzanne adds that "the blurred gender line" is also the result of parents searching for more names that yield popular nicknames.
"For example, parents of girls are seizing the traditionally male name Everett to achieve Evie or Evvy and Elliott to achieve Ellie," she says.
Gender-Specific Names Still Lead
Despite the growing trend toward gender-neutral names, the nation’s most popular names are quite gender-specific.
"The very top names for girls are mostly ultra-feminine — Olivia, Ava, (and) Sophia — and those for boys are traditionally masculine —Liam, William and Henry," Suzanne says.
Fine Antiques Still Have High Value
Parents continue to admire vintage names from a hundred years ago or more.
"Of course, Leo and Theodore are top names now, as are classics like Amelia and Evelyn," Suzanne says. "But the trend toward antique names is stirring the return of Arthur and Clementine."
Lesser-Known Bible Characters
"One of the most surprising trends for me is the proliferation of unconventional biblical names," Suzanne says. "This trend shouldn’t be surprising, given that Noah has been in the top ten for boys for nearly fifteen years, leaping over more conventional choices like Joseph and Matthew."
Suzanne shares that today, many parents are picking Levi, Asher, Ezra, Josiah, Ezekiel, Caleb and Jude with regularity.
Familiar But Off the Radar
"Timeless-but-underused classics are what you may call an 'anti-trend,' but represent the most requested name style in my practice," Suzanne says. "Familiar names that are somewhat 'off the radar' excite many parents who seek my assistance."
These include names like Claudia, Astrid and Simone for girls and Garson, Pierce and Lowell for boys.
Suzanne says that more than ever before, parents seem to enjoy “new” names inspired by existing popular names.
"These names are safe and proven, but have a 'twist' that makes them feel more unique," Suzanne says. "For example, parents who’d otherwise choose Benjamin are picking alternatives like Bennett, Bentley and Benson."