For some people, it's the easiest part of the journey to parenthood, but for others, naming a child is super hard. There are so many factors to consider when picking a baby name, and popularity is a big one. Some parents are drawn to names that will keep their child as ungoogleable as possible, while others don't want their kiddo to share their name with, well, anyone.
But how do we know which names are going to be popular in our kids' cohort when most of their future classmates haven't been born yet? Well, the science of predicting the year's most popular baby names is actually pretty simple. You don't need a crystal ball—just last year's list.
Names.org just released its predictions for the top U.S. baby names in 2018. Check the list to see if your baby name made the cut (or if you need to cut it).
According to Names.org, every name to crack the top 10 names in a given year since 1937 was in the top 25 the year before. Since the Social Security name data for 2017 won't be released for a few more months, this list is based on last year's trends (that is, the Social Security name data for 2016) and what internet users are currently looking up on Names.org.
Predictions for boys names
The folks at Names.org believe Noah and Liam are going to stay at the top of the chart for 2018, and predict Benjamin, Oliver, Elijah and Lucas will climb the ranks while William, James and Mason will trend downward.
Here's the full list:
Predictions for girls names
Olivia, Emma and Ava (two of which were among the most viewed baby names on Nameberry.com for 2017) top the list which, like the boys', skews very traditional (some might even qualify as vintage).
Here's the full list:
Names.org also keeps track of so-called "wildcard" names—those that weren't in the top 10 list last year but could, potentially make it this year. A good example of this is Ashley, which wasn't in the top 10 list for girl's names in 1982, but jumped right to fourth place the next year. Contenders for this kind of meteoric rise in 2018 include Bryson, Luna, Mateo and Adeline.
Top 10 wildcard names for boys
Top 10 wildcard names for girls
The trend towards more gender-neutral baby names isn't reflected in Name.org's predictions, but it's important to remember that these are just predictions. Who knows? Maybe 2018 will be the year everyone names their kid Chicago.