The top baby names in America— from A to Z

Which first initials are the most common? You might be surprised.

top baby names

When the Social Security Administration released its baby name data for 2018, there weren't a lot of surprises in the top 10. Emma and Liam continue to be the most popular baby names in America, but the so-called "name nerds" of the nation have dug a little deeper into the data.

One such baby name enthusiast spent some serious time in the SSA records and broke down America's most popular baby names by first initial. This data detective is a moderator of the popular (and perfectly named) subreddit r/NameNerds who goes by Lyd_Euh online (get it? her real name is Lydia. It's a very name nerdy screen name.)


After "a few hours worth of copying, pasting and adding" to a spreadsheet, Lydia found that the letter A is the most common first initial for babies these days, with 4,410 unique 'A' names selected by parents of 477,260 babies. The second most common first initial is 'J' and the third is 'M'.

These are the most common baby names from A-Z in America, according to Lydia's research:


  • Alexander
  • Benjamin
  • Carter
  • Daniel
  • Elijah
  • Finn
  • Grayson
  • Henry
  • Isaac
  • James
  • Kayden
  • Liam
  • Mason
  • Noah
  • Oliver
  • Parker
  • Quinn
  • Ryan
  • Sebastian
  • Theodore
  • Uriel
  • Vincent
  • William
  • Xavier
  • Yusuf
  • Zachary


  • Ava
  • Brooklyn
  • Charlotte
  • Delilah
  • Emma
  • Faith
  • Grace
  • Harper
  • Isabella
  • Josephine
  • Kennedy
  • Luna
  • Mia
  • Nora
  • Olivia
  • Penelope
  • Quinn
  • Riley
  • Sophia
  • Taylor
  • Unique
  • Victoria
  • Willow
  • Ximena
  • Yaretzi
  • Zoey

Notably, Quinn is the only name that is the most popular for a letter for both genders, but the top names for several letters are strikingly similar. For 'O', Oliver and Olivia took the top spots, for 'W' it's Willow and William, and for the 'N' names, Noah and Nora are about as close as two names can be without being, well, Quinn and Quinn.

Here is Lydia's full spreadsheet, which notes each name's top 1000 ranking as well (the top 'U' name for girls, Unique, is so unique that it's not even in the top 1000).

top baby names

"I thought Uma would be higher than Unique," Lydia tells Motherly, noting that Brooklyn's dominance in the girls' 'B' column was also a bit surprising. So was the overall lower ranking of 'E' names compared to other first initials, as Lydia noted in her original Reddit post.

Emma may be the most popular girl's name in the country, but even that couldn't bring 'E' up to the 'A' level.

You might also like:

In This Article

    You will always be their safe space, mama

    You are their haven. Their harbor. Their sanctuary, their peace. You are comfort. Deep breaths. Hugs and back rubs. You're a resting place, a nightmare chaser, a healer. You are the calm within their storm. You are their mother.

    To your child, you are safety. You are security. You are where (out of anyone or any place), they can come undone. Where they can let it all out, let it all go. Where they meltdown, break down, scream, cry, push.

    Where they can say—"I AM NOT OKAY!"

    Where they can totally lose it. Without judgment or fear or shame.

    Because they know you'll listen. They know you'll hear them. That you will help piece the mess back together.

    Keep reading Show less

    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.


    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

    Work + Money

    100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

    From Adelia to Ziggy.

    Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

    Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

    Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

    Keep reading Show less
    Learn + Play