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Top baby names in 7 cities around the world—from Dallas to London

We’re obsessed with them all. ?

Top baby names in 7 cities around the world—from Dallas to London

by Pamela Redmond and Joseph Satran, Nameberry


New York baby namers favor the literary boys’ name Holden, while Oscar is prized by movie-centric Angelenos.

Tradition-bound Londoners love the effete vintage names Ottilie and Otis, while parents on the Chicago plains prefer the earthier Cora and Greyson.

In a ground-breaking study of the top city baby names around the English-speaking world, Nameberry analyzed views of their name pages for the past year by visitors from seven cities in four countries on three continents—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Toronto, London, and Sydney.

Name popularity lists by city are rare, with only New York among our group offering an official count. And we focused on the English-speaking world to compare the preferences of city dwellers drawing from the same name language, surveying the urban centers with the most Nameberry visitors

City-dwellers around the world, we found, share cosmopolitan name tastes and favor sophisticated baby names that are often ahead of the general trends. Cora and Atticus, on the top five in all seven cities, are just beginning to climb international popularity lists. Urban favorites Jasper and Theodore are other emerging names, while city parents love Charlotte and Olivia just like everyone else.

But Nameberry visitors from each city also have quirky favorite names as divergent as Bondi Beach and a Brooklyn brownstone.

Many of these unique name favorites that reflect their city’s style and population, such as Jack in outgoing Sydney and Helen in buttoned-up Toronto, Maeve in Irish New York and Amara in Latino Dallas. Chicagoans love New American baby names as fresh as the frontier, while Londoners prefer their names as ancient as their castles.

Beyond the Top 5, it makes sense that Ophelia is beloved in London and New York, which host the most Shakespeare performances, while Dallas dwellers favor the cowboyish Wyatt and Sydney residents like the beachy Cove.

But many of the cities' name preferences are not so predictable. London and New York have both fallen for Aurelia, for instance, but only London has warmed up to Aurelius. New Yorkers like Maximilian and Dallas residents prefer Maximus, while Torontonians favor quietly quirky baby names that no other cities even register.

Let’s look more closely at the tastes and trends in each city.

London: Quirky Traditional

London parents are more likely to use time-honored first names than parents in our other cities, but also more likely to explore obscure sources in search of distinctive choices. Some of the favorite names of Londoners are inspired by the heavens, for instance: Aurora, Astrid, Andromeda. Londoners also are partial to names associated with Ancient Greece and Rome: Cassius, Penelope, Cressida.

And they draw from names rooted in other European cultures that urban parents outside Europe largely ignore, such as the German Ottilie and Otis, the Italian Cosmo, the French Elodie, and the Irish Rafferty and Orla.

London Girls

1. Ottilie

2. Cora

3. Arabella

4. Olivia

5. Aurora

London Boys

1. Atticus

2. Arthur

3. Rafferty

4. Theodore

5. Otis

New York: Literary

New York is the headquarters of the publishing and magazine industries, a place where authors are still stars and people are more likely to read books than to take in a movie or head to the beach. That literary bent shows in New York’s taste in baby names.

The most popular boys' name in New York City is Holden, as in Catcher in the Rye's Holden Caulfield, which doesn’t pop up in a significant way in any other city. And the extended girls' list is filled with the names of literary characters (Beatrice, Ophelia, Penelope) and authors (Iris, Edith, Lydia).

New York Girls

1. Cora

2. Genevieve

3. Amelia

4. Charlotte

5. Maeve

New York Boys

1. Holden

2. Julian

3. Matthew

4. Maximilian

5. Theodore

Sydney: Friendly

Many of the names that are big in Sydney bring to mind a warm, cuddly image: the Teddy Bear inherent in Theodore, children's book characters Eloise and Matilda, down-to-earth Jack. The British influence is evident in names such as the Scottish Isla for girls and Hamish and Lachlan, both in the boys’ Top 20. Sydney’s favorite names also include a unique choice that nods to its world-class beach culture: Cove.

Sydney Girls

1. Charlotte

2. Cora

3. Adeline

4. Eloise

5. Isla

Sydney Boys

1. Theodore

2. Jack

3. Sebastian

4. Xavier

5. Atticus

Toronto: Iconoclastic

Toronto is the city whose favorite names are the most distinct from all the others, with not a single Top 5 name appearing on any other city’s list. Further, many of the favored names of Canada’s largest city don’t appear on any other popularity lists of any kind.

Boys’ favorites Cary and Ellison have not been on the US Top 1000 for decades, while Helen and Jocelyn lie outside the Top 100 everywhere. But that makes sense for a major city that prides itself on a culture that’s neither American nor British nor even purely Canadian but uniquely Torontonian.

Toronto Girls

1. Helen

2. Jocelyn

3. Alice

4. Juliet

5. Allison

Toronto Boys

1. Cary

2. Ellison

3. Ethan

4. Vincent

5. Willian

Chicago: Contemporary

Chicago is the city that comes closest to favoring the New American names so popular outside US urban centers. Greyson, Finn, Declan, and Isla—are names that have come into widespread use only in the past 20 years.

And looking just below the Top 5, we see other newcomers like Kai, Nolan and Cole on the boys’ side; Aria, Luna, and Kinsley on the girls’ side. As city baby names go, Chicago’s are the least citified.

Chicago Girls

1. Cora

2. Evelyn

3. Olivia

4. Isabella

5. Isla

Chicago Boys

1. Greyson

2. Finn

3. Liam

4. Declan

5. Elijah

Los Angeles: Cinematic

If there’s one thing that sets Los Angeles apart, in both its character and its taste in baby names, it’s the world of film and TV. Oscar is one of the top 5 boys’ names and Milo—as in hot actor Ventimiglia of This Is Us—ranks higher here than in any other city. Many of the popular girls' names are associated with movie stars past and present: Ava, Sienna, Celeste, Claire.

The favorite names of Angelenos also connect to the city’s Latino culture, with Isabella in the Top 5, Leo and Elena in the Top 10, and Xochitl, an unusual Mexican name which comes from the Nahuatl word for “flower”, in the Top 20.

Los Angeles Girls

1. Cora

2. Olivia

3. Isabella

4. Caroline

5. Celeste

Los Angeles Boys

1. Oliver

2. Milo

3. Atticus

4. Jasper

5. Oscar

Dallas: Bold Frontier

Amara, Dallas’s Number 1 name for girls, is a bold multicultural (it has roots in Esperanto and Igbo) choice largely unknown outside the US. The Top 5 is the Texas city includes other distinctive choices, such as Rose (as in the Yellow Rose of Texas) and cowboy name Wyatt.

Further down the list, Dallas extends its reputation for individuality with New World names like Brecken and Weston for boys and Khaleesi for girls.

Dallas Girls

1. Amara

2. Olivia

3. Rose

4. Caroline

5. Evelyn

Dallas Boys

1. Atticus

2. Jasper

3. Maximus

4. Wyatt

5. Asher

Originally published on Nameberry.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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