The Rarest Baby Names In The U.S., According To The Most Recent Data

Both Dua and Lipa made the cut.

by Mia Mercado and Emma Carey
Originally Published: 
Two babies play in a crib. The rarest baby names in the U.S., according to the most recent data, inc...
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You can learn a lot about what's going on in the world based on what people are naming their babies. For example, after relative obscurity, the name “Khaleesi” was among the 1,000 most popular baby girl names in 2018 thanks to Game of Thrones. The rarest baby names in the U.S. also tell an interesting story, from names seeing a small resurgence a century after their initial heyday to names just starting to gain popularity for the first time.

There’s something special about finding uncommon names for babies. Maybe you are looking for a way to make your baby-to-be stand out, or the typical roundup of common names just isn’t resonating with your bundle of joy. (Or, maybe you’re just curious to find some especially rare, long, or wacky names that you didn’t know existed.) The history of baby name statistics in itself is fascinating — with different historical figures, movies, or cultural moments often inspiring parents to (consciously or subconsciously) pay homage to their likeness. And a lot of baby names statistics are readily available to browse online.

Most of our names are actually pretty unique. In 2021, for the third year in a row, Olivia was the most popular girl name, with 17,728 babies being given the title. (Guess it’s not so brutal out here after all.) Liam, the most popular boy name also for the third year in a row, was given to 20,272 babies. Each name, however, makes up less than 1% of the over 3.6 million babies born in 2020, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).

What’s more, with the rise of people purposefully seeking out unique baby names, there are some interesting baby name statistics about how rare certain conventional names are becoming. A 2021 analysis of the SSA’s 2020 data by HuffPost found that the girl’s name Nova is more popular than Hannah, Julia, or Marissa. For boys, Maverick and Ezekiel are more popular than Robert or George. In 2021, the five names that rose in popularity the fastest were Raya, Wrenley, Angelique, Vida, and Emberlynn for girls, while for boys, Amiri, Eliam, Colter, Ozzy, and Loyal grew in popularity most quickly.

“When we pick names for our children, we are often trying to select something unique but not too crazy, different enough to be interesting but where a child will not be picked on, something timeless, something traditional or grounded in family meaning, yet fun,” Deborah J. Cohan, associate professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and the author of Welcome to Wherever We Are: A Memoir of Family, Caregiving, and Redemption, previously told Romper. “This also explains why we see spelling variations on names to try to mix things up and to be clever.”

In an effort to find rare and interesting names, parenting site BabyCenter regularly puts together a list of the most unique baby names in the U.S. based on a survey of their users. Their most recent survey, from 2019, collected nearly 600,000 names, and their list of unique names includes 100 names each given to fewer than 100 babies in their survey. To further look into the frequency of these uncommon baby names, we’ve used the most recent data available from the SSA, from 2021, to see just how many babies were given these rare names. (To be included in the SSA's data, at least five babies must be given the same name with the same spelling)

Hit it, babies with uncommon names!

Rare Girl Names

  1. Alexia
  2. Amal: This name has seen an understandable spike in the years since human rights lawyer Amal Clooney married George Clooney.
  3. Amelie: When the beloved French film Amelie premiered in 2001, only 35 babies born that year were given the same name. In 2021, 329 babies were named Amelie.
  4. Aurelia
  5. Bonnie
  6. Calliope: 492 babies born in 2021 share a name with the greek muse associated with music, poetry, and Disney's Hercules.
  7. Cameron
  8. Carolina
  9. Chanel
  10. Clementine: 552 babies born in 2021 were named for the orange fruit, while only 13 were given the name Apple.
  11. Cleo
  12. Colette
  13. Coraline: Unfortunately, "Wybie" isn't on the SSA's list at all.
  14. Dua: 99 girl babies were given the name Dua in 2021, while 50 male babies were named Lipa. (No word yet on how many were named Duo or Lingo.)
  15. Edith
  16. Esmeralda
  17. Estella
  18. Faye: The name Faye peaked in popularity in 1934. In 2021, 489 girls were given the name.
  19. Giana
  20. Greta
  21. Ida
  22. Iman: 82 girls and 81 boys born in 2021 share a name with supermodel Iman, who likely gave a boost to the name in the mid-90s.
  23. Jewel
  24. Joelle
  25. Legacy
  26. Liberty
  27. Livia: While Olivia was the most popular baby name for girls in 2021, just 336 babies were given the abbreviated name Livia.
  28. Mabel
  29. Mallory
  30. Maren
  31. Miley: The name Miley spiked in popularity in 2008, two years after Hannah Montana premiered on Disney Channel.
  32. Miriam
  33. Marlowe
  34. Monroe
  35. Navy: This name is more commonly given to baby girls, as just 74 male babies born in 2021 were named Navy.
  36. Nellie
  37. Nori
  38. Palmer
  39. Pearl: The name Pearl peaked in popularity in 1890 as the number 24 most popular girl's name. In 2021, just 377 babies were given this name.
  40. Persephone
  41. Regina
  42. Rhiannon: 221 babies were given this name, which means "great queen." And because you were curious, 132 babies born in 2021 share a name with Rihanna.
  43. Roselyn
  44. Samira
  45. Sia: After the 2014 hit single Chandelier, the name Sia saw a significant spike. In 2021, 165 babies were given the name.
  46. Tabitha
  47. Vienna: When Billy Joel released his hit “Vienna” in 1980, only five female babies were given the name that year. Perhaps we have the New York songbird to thank for the 324 babies named Vienna in 2021.
  48. Waverly: When Wizards of Waverly Place debuted in 2007, just 40 girls were named Waverly. In 2021, 378 babies were given the name.
  49. Winnie
  50. Zoya: A Muslim word meaning loving, 262 girls were named Zoya in 2020.

Rare Boy Names

  1. Alec
  2. Ares: Though more commonly a male name — 565 boys were named Ares in 2020 — 27 girls were also given the name in the same year.
  3. Armando
  4. Armani
  5. Benji: While over 12,000 newborn babies in 2021 were named Benjamin, just 82 were named Benji. (Adriene Mishler’s dog surely had nothing to do with it.)
  6. Boston
  7. Bruno: Long before Encanto graced the small screen, the name Bruno peaked in popularity in 1915.
  8. Callum
  9. Case
  10. Cassius
  11. Cesar: According to Baby Center, children named Cesar tend to have siblings named Julian, Angel, and Daniel.
  12. Dalton
  13. Deacon
  14. Dennis: Clearly the early ‘90s hijinks of Dennis the Menace didn’t scare off parents from the name too much, as almost 2,000 babies were named Dennis that year. However, in 2021, only 380 babies were named Dennis.
  15. Denver
  16. Drake: 494 babies born in 2021 were given the first name Drake.
  17. Dustin
  18. Edgar
  19. Edwin: This is the more common spelling of the name, as in 2021, 913 babies were named Edwin while 13 were named Edwyn.
  20. Finnegan
  21. Flynn
  22. Forrest: Gump trumps Whitaker with 763 babies being given the name Forrest in 2021, while 359 have their name spelled with just one 'r'.
  23. Franklin
  24. Gunnar
  25. Hank
  26. Hezekiah: If you're going for biblical names, babies named Hezekiah commonly have siblings named Josiah, Elijah, Nehemiah, Ezekiel, Ezra, or Jeremiah.
  27. Justice
  28. Lachlan
  29. Lance: While there was a teeny bump during the *NSYNC era, the name Lance was most popular in 1970.
  30. Lawrence
  31. Lionel
  32. Louie
  33. Makai
  34. Marcel: Though technically a derivative of Marc, which means "warlike," it's hard not to picture a shell with shoes on when you hear the name Marcel.
  35. Moses
  36. Nate
  37. Neil
  38. Onyx: The name Onyx has doubled in popularity among Baby Center users, though only 759 boys were given the name in 2021.
  39. Quincy
  40. Ray
  41. Remy: The number of Ratatouille stans increased in 2021, with 901 baby boys sharing a name with the protagonist.
  42. Rocco
  43. Santana
  44. Sincere: 460 boys were named Sincere in 2021.
  45. Solomon
  46. Sullivan
  47. Tate: Among boys, the name Tate is more common than Tatum.
  48. Tripp
  49. Valentino
  50. Warren: 939 babies were named Warren in 2021, sharing a name with 10 girls born the same year.

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