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Hillary or Donald? Arya or Anakin? Baby Name Trends for 2016

Thankfully pregnancy lasts for nine months because it often takes that long for a couple to decide and agree upon the name they will give their new baby. Will it be a family name? Something cute? Quirky? Old fashioned? Trendy? That is the big question that leads to hours of debate and discussion.

A lot of things influence baby naming these days and at the top of the list is pop culture, celebrities and what they name their children, explains Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of, an online source for names and their meanings. “Because of the Internet, it’s more in your face now. Trends are moving faster.”

Often when parents see that a name they are considering hits the top 10, they tend to avoid it. So a popular feature on her website shows what names are moving up and down in popularity. After all, she says, parents want their child to be unique and not find themselves in a kindergarten classroom with five other children with the same name. And as a “Jennifer,” she should know; it was one of the most popular names of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Other name influencers come from the worlds of fashion, TV, movies, and music. Moss says there has recently been a big jump in names from HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” with Arya and Khaleesi trending as popular girl’s names. She also expects to see “Star Wars” leading to a new rash of Lukes and Leias. Anakin, anyone?

Mother nature is inspiring more and more parents lately as well. Welcome back Violet, Savannah, Rose and Autumn, along with Everly, the name of actor Channing Tatum’s baby. Embracing the idea that everything old is new again, vintage names continue to climb the charts with Abigail, Sadie, Ezra and Leo rising in popularity.

Boy’s surnames continue to be popular, like Jackson and Grayson. Plus there’s a British and Celtic influence with boy’s names like Liam, Owen and Finn moving up the charts, Moss says.

Inspiration is often found in history. Lincoln is a name rising in the ranks for both girls and boys possibly due to Hollywood’s recent fascination with the 16th U.S. President in movies like “Lincoln” with Daniel Day-Lewis and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

It also is part of the inclination towards gender-neutral names that Moss expects will grow in 2016. Actress Kristen Bell and husband Dax Shepard recently named their daughter Lincoln Bell Shepard. Their latest creation: another girl, named Delta. Always a trendsetter, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg named his new daughter Max, while Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have a baby girl named James.

When coming up with a baby name, try to avoid “anything that will be a burden or is teasable,” suggests Moss, also the author of “The One-in-a-Million Baby Name Book.” You also don’t want to choose a name that’s “too cute,” and while it may sound good for a baby, it might not be good for the boardroom. “Think long term,” says Moss. 

Also consider Googling the full name of your baby-to-be to make sure it’s not associated with someone who is notorious or disreputable.

While the Kardasians have influence on many things, she doesn’t see the names North, Saint or Reign becoming top picks. But this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro may add some new names to the mix as athletic superstars hit the podium.

And of course, we have a presidential election in 2016. “Politics don’t usually influence baby naming, people are polarized by it,” she says, noting that there weren’t a record number of Baracks born in the last eight years.

But who knows? Only time will tell if there will be little Bernies, Hillarys or Donalds arriving in hospital delivery rooms across the U.S. 

Image : Getty

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