Every May, right around Mother's Day, the Social Security Administration releases their list of the top 1,000 baby names used in the United States. And every year, the percentage of children given the number one name in the country drops. Fifty years ago, 4.4 percent of boys were named Michael—the top boy's name in the country. In 2016, not even one percent of baby boys were named Noah, the current number one. In the time of "That username is already in use," people value uniqueness.
If you can pick a name that doesn't appear on the Social Security Administration's list, you did it, right? Your child won't run into anyone else with that name; it's special and unique and completely theirs. Right?
Unfortunately, you may not be as unique as you hoped. The following are a selection of names that I believe, with the help of a bit of math, will be appearing on the chart next year, disappointing creative parents across the country.
Octavia—Parents seeking an alternative to the popular Olivia might have chosen Octavia. It has a couple cute nickname options (Tavy, for one) and a distinctive O initial. It had one of the biggest off-chart rises from 2015 to 2016, which is why I'm certain it'll be appearing on the 2017 list.
Marlowe—After the rise of Harlow (at #420 on the current chart), Marlowe seems like a good alternative. A few celebrities have named their daughters Marlowe recently, giving it a boost.
Lyanna—Game of Thrones has been hugely influential in naming (even those who regularly don't care about names can't shut up about how Khaleesi has charted—we get it, it's a title!) With Lyanna Stark being featured in the most recent season, and Lyanna Mormont being a badass every time she's on screen, it's no surprise this name's on parents' minds.
Harlyn—Suicide Squad may have been a disappointing movie, but it put Harley Quinn front and center in parents' minds. The name Harley got a large boost from the movie (as did Margot). But for the parent who is looking for something less popular? Harlyn might do the trick. Harleen, Harley Quinn's real name, got a boost, too, but not enough to put it on the chart.
Waverly—Freakonomics suggested that this would be among the top names of 2015. They missed the mark by quite a bit, but it seems it might finally be Waverly's turn to shine, following the similar Everly and Blakely.
Bear—Already widely used by celebrities, this nature name follows right along with other one syllable boys names: Jack, Max, Luke, Jace, Cash, Jett. Bear!
Finnian or Finnick —The name Finley's officially more often found on baby girls, so what's an innovative Finn-loving parent to do? Finn on its own is a possibility, but its quite popular (#175). Then there's Finnegan (#392) and the spelling variant Finnley (#631). Or we could look off chart at Finnian or Finnick, a name brought to parents' attention by the Hunger Games franchise.
Kaiser—Despite us being at the 100 year anniversary of WWI, parents are choosing Kaiser ("Emperor" in German) as an alternative to other Ky- sound names.
Shepard—Shepherd is a word that nearly everyone I know struggles with spelling correctly (hint: Shepherds herd sheep, they don't ard sheep). Shepherd as a name appeared on the Social Security chart last year, and it's no wonder that the most common misspelling is soon to follow.
Bastian—Sebastian's hot right now; it'll almost certainly be in the top 20 on the 2017 chart. And for the parent who prefers to avoid "Sebby" as a nickname, the abbreviated Bastian just makes sense.
A few other names you might expect to see on the top 1000 soon? Rae, Opal, Elodie, Florence, Agnes, and Oaklyn for girls, and Kyng, Baker, Onyx, Decker, Idris, and Caspian for boys.
Of course, none of these names are going to be in the top ten (or even 100) next year, and it's unlikely your child will have another in their class when they start school. And as long as you love the name you chose, you have no reason to regret your choice.