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.