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20 surprising baby names that are becoming more popular

Even after having kiddos, we still can't get enough of baby name talk—it's downright addictive. So, after discussing Nameberry's predictions for 2020's trendiest names earlier this month, we decided to look at another indicator for more clues on which names will be most popular next year.

We all know that the Social Security Administration gives us its annual rankings of baby name popularity, based on parents' applications for kids Social Security cards. But the SSA also has a bit of fun crunching the numbers on those names and calculates a list of the biggest changes in name popularity from year to year. So while we won't have the numbers on 2019 until next May, we can at least see what the trends are in baby naming, based on the changes from 2017-2018.

This isn't a perfect system, though. Some bumps during those years may have been responding to temporary influences that won't last. If you're using this list to make sure that your child won't have the most common name when they grow up, we can't guarantee the results. What we can say is that you can rest assured your little Oaklynn and Jaxtyn won't be the first of their name.

Here are the 10 baby girl names that made the biggest jumps from 2017-2018:

  1. Meghan
  2. Dior
  3. Adalee
  4. Palmer
  5. Oaklynn
  6. Haisley
  7. Keily
  8. Novah
  9. Yara
  10. Ensley

We wouldn't exactly call any of these "popular" names yet. The highest ranked among these baby names is Oaklynn, at #542. But what this list shows is the influences at work in baby naming. Meghan Markle's wedding in 2018 certainly had an impact (kicking that name up from 1404 in 2017 to 703 the next year).

Adalee (1225-855) is most likely a variation on the "Ad" name trend, while Oaklynn and Palmer are a continuation of people gravitating to more earthy tree names, like Willow and Ash.

Yara may be inspired by Youngish actress Yara Shahidi. All sorts of "ly" and "ley" names are doing well of late, so Haisley, Keily, and Ensley seem quite reasonable. And, well, some people are such devotees to fashion houses that Dior is a logical choice, like Chanel has been.

The top baby boy names that increased the most are:

  1. Genesis
  2. Saint
  3. Baker
  4. Kairo
  5. Watson
  6. Kenzo
  7. Jaxtyn
  8. Kylo
  9. Dakari
  10. Karsyn

We can see some pop culture influences in Saint (after Kim and Kanye's son), Kylo (after Han and Leia's son). Even Dakari sounds vaguely like something out of Game of Thrones.

The growth of Genesis (from 1592 to 984), which is usually considered a girl's name, may be the result of parents searching for less obvious Biblical choices. Kairo, the highest-ranked of the bunch at #482, is a twist on the city name incorporating the K that people seem to like more these days.

Speaking of K names, the Japanese name Kenzo may have risen thanks to that fashion brand, but we have fewer clues about Karsyn's rise. So, parents of Karsyns, please come forward and explain yourselves. Bring along Jaxtyn's parents while you're at it.

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