While the Top 10 baby names in the US were announced by the Social Security Administration last week, the official list doesn’t tell the real story.
The SSA counts each spelling of a name separately in its tally, but if you add all the spellings of a name together, you get a very different picture of name popularity, according to an analysis by Nameberry.
The Number 1 boys’ name, if you count all the variations, is not official champ Liam but Jackson, which doesn’t even make the national Top 10.
For girls, the top name is not newly-crowned Number 1 Olivia but longtime favorite Sophia, whose popular variation Sofia stands at Number 17 all by itself.
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Nameberry’s analysis, which combines numbers of babies receiving all spellings and variations of names from the official SSA list for 2019, ranks the following Top 10:
- Sophia — Sofia, Sofiya, Sofija
- Olivia — Alivia, Alyvia, Olyvia
- Amelia — Emilia, Emelia, Amilia, Ameliah
- Emma — Ema
- Ava — Avah, Ayva, Ayvah
- Isabella — Izabella, Isabela, Izzabella, Issabella, Ysavella, Izabela
- Aria — Arya, Ariyah, Ariah, Ariya, Aarya, Aryah, Aryia, Aaria, Aariyah
- Charlotte — Charlette
- Mia — Miah, Miya, Miyah
- Adeline — Adalynn, Adalyn, Adelyn, Adaline, Adelynn, Addilyn, Addilynn, Adilene, Adilynn, Addalyn, Addelyn, Adilyn, Adalynne, Adalyne, Adelyne, Addelynn, Adelynne
- Jackson — Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxxon, Jaxen, Jaxsen, Jaxyn, Jaxsyn, Jaxin
- Liam — Lyam
- Noah — Noa
- Aiden — Ayden, Aidan, Adan, Aden, Aydin, Aydan, Aidyn, Eiden, Aedan, Aaden, Eidan, Aayden, Aiyden, Adin
- Lucas — Lukas
- Elijah — Alijah, Elyjah
- Grayson — Greyson, Graysen, Greysen, Graycen, Gracen
The combined Top 10 was dubbed The Playground Analysis by creator and Nameberry contributor Kelli Brady. Brady started her analysis after sensing that the names ranked highest on official lists were not the same as the names she heard most often on the playground.
Names with a large number of spellings and variations, like Aria and Adeline, Jackson, Aiden, and Grayson evidence the biggest gaps in rankings between Nameberry’s count and the SSA list. Number 10 Adeline, for instance, ranks all the way down at Number 91 on the SSA list, while Number 8 Grayson is at 33.
“Parents can be confused or disappointed when they choose a name like Adeline or a variation such as Adalyn that seems relatively unique, and then they hear the name everywhere,” says Pamela Redmond, cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. “Kelli Brady’s Playground Analysis is an important tool for parents looking to gauge the true popularity of a name.”
Other names ranking dramatically higher according to Nameberry’s Playground Analysis than to official counts include, for girls: Riley, Madelyn, Elena, Eliana, Ariana, and Kaylee. For boys, combined spellings boost the rankings of Kayden, Jayden, Nicholas, and Cameron.
Names with fewer variations, such as Emma and Charlotte, Oliver and William maintain a more equal ranking on both lists.