For several years now, I have been putting together the Playground Analysis as a fun way to view the true popularity of names. When you hear a name on the playground, do you know how it is spelled? A lot of people may name their child a name after hearing it and liking it, and decide to spell it as a variant of the traditional spelling.
So, you may hear more “Aiden!” yelled on the playground than “Liam!” and wonder why Liam is ranked #1 on the SSA’s 2018 Popular Names list, well above Aiden. Since the SSA list is done purely by spelling, the Playground Analysis combines the different spellings of names to reveal the true Top 50 most popular names of 2018!
Note: These are the combined spellings of the names in the Top 1000 only. When the numbers from the entire list are added, positions could change. The main name listed below is the spelling given to the most babies in 2018 (SSA Rank is in parentheses). The others are in alphabetical order. Opinions vary on how different spellings are pronounced. Keep in mind that when you hear “Alayna” vs “Elena” on the playground, the sound differences that make the names unique may not be clear. In any case, I went with my best judgment.
GIRLS MOST POPULAR NAMES
Emma still remains on the top of the 2018 SSA list for girls. But while Sophia is #5 on the SSA list, it still remains on the top of the 2018 Playground Analysis. When looking at the PA’s Top 50, the largest jumps that take place after adding the alternative spellings are by Adeline (#78 to #7), Madelyn (#72 to #16), Elena (#66 to #29), Ariana (#68 to #35), Eliana (#83 to #37), and Hailey (#79 to #49). Some variations of names have risen into or fallen out of the SSA Top 1000, and any differences from last year have been noted in the list below.
Birth numbers are another way of showing how this analysis explains what you hear around town. When combining the Top 1000 names in spelling, there were more than 2,000 girls named Sophia and Sofia in 2018 than named Emma. It is also interesting to consider the continuing spread of name popularity, meaning the popular names are being used less than before even though they are ranked the same or even increasing in rank. For example, Zoe went down in usage from 5,129 girls in 2017 to 5,062 girls in 2018 but increased in rank from #41 to #40. In fact, out of the PA’s Top 50, only 12 popular spellings went up in usage: Amelia, Charlotte, Aria (all spellings of Aria went up except Ariah), Harper, Layla, Camila, Mila, Ella, Luna, Eliana, Everly (all spellings went up), and Eleanor.
Sophia (5) – Sofia
Olivia (2) – Alivia
Amelia (8) – Emelia, Emilia
Isabella (4) – Isabela, Izabella
Ava (3) – Avah
Adeline (78) – Adaline, Adalyn, Adalynn, Addilynn, Adelyn, Adelynn (Adilynn dropped from the SSA Top 1000)
Mia (7) – Miah
Aria (19) – Ariah, Ariya, Ariyah, Arya
Riley (28) – Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie
Evelyn (10) – Evelynn (Evalynn dropped from the SSA Top 1000)