The Most Popular—and Unpopular—Baby Girl Names for 2023
You've set up the nursery and outfitted it with all the latest baby products and gear you received at your shower. You've installed the baby seat in the car, packed your overnight bag, and even planned the birth announcements. You're all ready for your bundle of joy to make her debut except for one thing: out of all the baby girl names you've researched, you haven't been able to pick a winner. It's just such an important decision—you don't want to saddle your sweetie with a moniker she won't like. You need a name with strength and style, one that will grow with your wee babe, and nothing has been quite right.
Luckily, we've swooped in to the rescue with the complete 411 on what promises to be 2023's most popular baby girl names. We'll take a look at last's year trendiest appellations, as well as ones that are fast falling out of favor. And we'll check out some hot name themes sure to gain big ground this year, like nature and the stars. So sit back, relax, and let us do the work for you. You're sure to find a name that will be perfect for your perfect girl.
The Name Game
Don't go looking for a big shake-up in baby girl names in 2023, at least if 2021 was any indication. According to Social Security Administration, which officially follows the ins and outs of such matters, every name in 2021's top ten list of most popular baby girl names was a holdover from 2020. (2022's rankings weren't available yet when this article was published.) In fact, Olivia, kept the number spot from 2020 to 2021, while Emma snared second place again. Charlotte rose from four to three, Amelia leaped from six to four and Ava fell from three to five. The rest of 2021's top ten, which 2023's top ten will probably look a lot like, include, in descending order: Sophia, Isabella, Mia, Evelyn, and Harper.
Look for Olivia, which has checked in at number one since 2019, and had held the runner-up position for a half-decade before that, to keep its crown in 2023. The name, which was derived from the Latin word for peace, received a big boost in popularity back in the day when none other than William Shakespeare used it for a character in his comedy, Twelfth Night. Meanwhile, Emma, which sat atop the heap from 2014 through 2018, should again place strongly this year. Taken from the German term for "whole," or "universal," it dates to at least the early seventh century.
There are some baby girl names that, for whatever reason, are getting none of the love these days. Parenting website BabyCenter, which analyzed data from 2022 to determine which baby girl names saw the sharpest declines in popularity, found that Hayden plunged a jaw-dropping 203 spots to land at number 443 last year. The name that means simply "hay valley" or "heather-grown hill" (depending on who you ask), was once reserved exclusively for boys, but thanks largely to star Hayden Panettiere is now used for girls as well. Ariyah, Mira, and Kate, runners up on BabyCenter's catalog list of no-no names, all fell a dispiriting 129 places.
There's no word on why these very pretty names are suddenly no longer in vogue, but the fall from grace some names experienced in 2022 just makes sense. After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars last year, Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith's wife, was (fairly or unfairly) seen as the instigator of the attack. The name Jada tumbled 257 on BabyCenter's popularity inventory in the course of the year. Amber Heard, the defendant in 2022's infamous celebrity defamation trial Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard, was, like Pinkett Smith, tried in the court of public opinion and found lacking. Her first name slipped 176 spots on the list, bringing it down to its most unfavorable rating since the 1960s.
Perhaps as a result of the pandemic, which led to a burst of people flocking to the great outdoors as a way of safely escaping their homes, baby girl names themed around nature are a hit. According to the baby-naming website Nameberry, flower names, which first became a trend around the 1900s, "have started to bloom again new forms. If you like your flower names more subtle, there are some wonderful names that mean flower and names with floral associations, such as the Japanese Ren which means water lily or lotus, and Rhodes, which means 'where the roses grow'."
Still, the site's ranking of the most popular flower names shows mostly familiar posies checking in, with the sweetly old-timey Rose (or Rosie, Rosamund, Rosanna, Rosemary, and so forth) taking the top spot. It's perhaps best known as the first name of the female lead in the blockbuster film Titanic, but recently a spate of celebrities—including Jon Stewart, Eric Clapton, and Ewan McGregor—have chosen Rose for their daughters' middle name. Other popular flower names for girls range from Lily to Iris and Ivy to Violet, while less common ones are Leilani, Flora, and Petal.
For their part, BabyCenter says the nature-inspired names have evolved from "an emerging category to a full-blown here-to-stay trend." Last year, Meadow shot up 87 slots on BabyCenter's rankings, with Juniper rising 40 and Wren up 99. Interestingly, Wrenly gained a big 400 spots. Should you want to add -ly, -ley, -leigh or -lyn onto a common name to make a bit more unique, you'll be in good company. BabyCenter says names like Wrenly have been on trend for three years.
An offshoot of the shift toward nature-inspired baby girl names is celestial-themed names. BabyCenter notes that Nova, which refers to a bright star, zoomed up nine places last year and now sits in their top 20 most popular baby girl names. Aurora, an elegant allusion to the northern lights, rose 10 spots to number 14 and placing even higher, at number seven, was the lovely Luna, the Spanish term for moon. After rising 16 notches, Lyla, taken from Arabic word for night, hit number 95.
Nameberry's list of baby girl names sure to be in favor in 2023 includes several based on objects in the sky, such as the bright spiral galaxy, Andromeda; the W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia, visible in the far northern sky; and the fiery Venus, the second planet from the sun and often called Earth's sister, or twin. Soleil, the French word for sun, also looks to light up most popular name lists this year, along with Sunshine, and even Eos, who is the ancient Greek goddess of dawn. You can also bet on Heavenly and Celestial to rise in the rankings as well.
Speaking of goddesses, Nameberry believes, "Greek goddess names are making an unlikely comeback for 21st-century babies, combining ancient roots with august namesakes and distinctive style." Some of these types of names placing high in Nameberry's charts are Selene, the goddess of the moon; as well as Calliope, goddess of epic poetry and one of the muses who are said to inspire artists. The names Persephone (goddess of spring), Athena (goddess of wisdom and warfare), and Irene (goddess of peace) are also popular choices for parents, according to Nameberry.
And that wraps up our predictions of the most popular baby girl names for 2023. Having twins, or just curious about the best baby boy names? Check out our 30 Most Popular Baby Boy Names.
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