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/ Source: TODAY
By Joe Dziemianowicz

What will the most popular baby names of 2019 be? Emma and Liam, No. 1 names for girls and boys last year, will rock steady in the rankings, predicts Names.org.

The naming site’s projected top ten list for girls includes Emma, Ava, Olivia, Isabella, Amelia, Mia, Charlotte, Sophia and Harper. For boys it’s Liam, Noah, Logan, James, Oliver, Elijah, Benjamin, William, Lucas and Mason.

Forecasts are based on the most recent data on births from the Social Security Administration plus several previous years to account for trends combined with user interest on Names.org.

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“After we do a linear regression on the Social Security information, we compare how much traffic a name got on our site during the first few months of 2019 compared to the first few months of 2018,” says chief technical officer Matthew Kolb.

“But,” he tells TODAY Parents, “popular names don’t usually come out of nowhere.” Consistently the top 10 names for a given year were in the top 25 during the previous year.

“My biggest surprise for 2019 is that Liam is still sticking in there for so long,” says Kolb. “I would have expected Liam to drop off. It really grew from 2008 to 2012 and hit number one in 2017. That staying power is unexpected.”

When it comes to 2019 trends, girls’ names, in particular, are going through a shift. “Quite a few names that have been popular in the past several years are declining rapidly,” Kolb tells TODAY. “Emma, Olivia and Sophia all seem to be trending down, while Charlotte, Amelia and Evelyn are gaining pretty rapidly. Basically, the top of the list is starting to drop off and the bottom of the list is starting to come up.”

And while patterns and predictability are the norm, every year there are “wildcard names” that see a sharp rise that comes out of left field, says Kolb. Ezekiel, Maverick and Jameson for boys and Nova, Everly and Kinsley for girls are among names with the steepest growth curves.

Baby girls named Nova grew by more than 650% between 2012 and 2017. “ It could be that some of these wildcard names just take off,” says Kolb. “They might knock some of the lower names off the bottom of the list.”

For parents, rosters of popular names are guides on what to choose or avoid. Ask Kolb, who’s in his mid-30s and recalls being in a college class “with five other Matthews.” It was part of why he and his wife, Megan, named their daughter Iris.

“We didn’t want to pick something that was really obscure or that would bring up spelling and pronunciation issues her whole,” he says. “But we also didn’t want a name from a top ten list where she’s just one of a group.”

Top 10 Boys Names in 2019

  1. Liam (Previously # 1)
  2. Noah (Previously # 2)
  3. Logan (Previously # 5)
  4. James (Previously # 4)
  5. Oliver (Previously # 9)
  6. Elijah (Previously # 8)
  7. Benjamin (Previously # 6)
  8. William (Previously # 3)
  9. Lucas (Previously # 11)
  10. Mason (Previously # 7)

Top 10 Girls Names in 2019:

  1. Emma (Previously # 1)
  2. Ava (Previously # 3)
  3. Olivia (Previously # 2)
  4. Isabella (Previously # 4)
  5. Amelia (Previously # 8)
  6. Mia (Previously # 6)
  7. Evelyn (Previously # 9)
  8. Charlotte (Previously # 7)
  9. Sophia (Previously # 5)
  10. Harper (Previously # 11)

Top 15 Wildcard Names for Boys in 2019:

  1. Ezekiel
  2. Maverick
  3. Jameson
  4. Ezra
  5. Mateo
  6. Elias
  7. Theodore
  8. Asher
  9. Santiago
  10. Sawyer
  11. Grayson
  12. Josiah
  13. Greyson
  14. Easton
  15. Leo

Top 15 Wildcard Names for Girls in 2019

  1. Nova
  2. Everly
  3. Kinsley
  4. Willow
  5. Aurora
  6. Luna
  7. Emilia
  8. Valentina
  9. Hazel
  10. Quinn
  11. Amelia
  12. Eliana
  13. Stella
  14. Naomi
  15. Paisley