These Are the 10 Most Influential Baby Names of the Decade
Just like fashions, baby name trends come and go—and the 2010s definitely introduced its fair share of new styles. While names like Emma, Noah, and Sophia may have topped the charts, these are the names that defined the past decade. Why? Because even if you didn't pick one, you were most likely influenced by the trend behind it.
Since the turn of the 21st century, parents-to-be have turned to pop culture for baby name inspiration—and the meteoric rise of Game of Thrones-inspired Khaleesi, the Dothraki word for queen, as a baby name is the perfect example. (And it's also the perfect cautionary tale as to why you might want to hold off on picking the name to avoid any unexpected turns to the dark side!) Other fan-favorite baby names include Arya (also from Game of Thrones), Luna (Harry Potter's offbeat pal), and Star Wars' pair of complicated guys, Anakin and Kylo.
A top 20 favorite throughout the 2010s, this alternative spelling of the Celtic classic Aidan inspired a massive wave of "den" names of various spellings—including Braden/Brayden, Jaden/Jayden, Zayden, and Caden/Kayden. Though the trend was most popular among boys, many girls were given "den" names, too.
This vintage nature name reemerged, thanks in part to the YA novel and film The Fault in Our Stars. Parents also brought some other unique nature-themed names into vogue this decade, including Juniper, Poppy, Magnolia, Jasper, Briar, Clementine, and Wren.
Unisex baby names had their moment in the 2010s, as Cameron, Nova, Sutton, Emerson, Phoenix, and Lennon were favorites for boys and girls. But it seems that even very traditionally male names can now cross the line, as celebrities this decade picked names like Wyatt, Maxwell, and James for their girls.
You can thank the Kardashians for bringing this occupational name into the spotlight, after Kourtney picked it for her eldest son. But any time a celeb picked a name for their baby, you saw interest in that name spike—with names such as Saint, Archie, Ivy, and Ophelia among the beneficiaries.
Parents of the 21st century want their kids to have a unique name—even if they really love popular names like Olivia and Jackson. That's how we get to equally popular alternative spellings—some of which get pretty creative. You'll find creative spellings sprinkled throughout the top 200 names, including Aiden, Ayden, Jaxon, Jaxson, Zoey, Rylee, Aubree, and Khloe.
We aren't ready to let our Wild West past mosey on off into the sunset—and names with a bit of Western swagger have appealed to parents throughout the decade. While Wyatt remained a top pick throughout the decade, names like Stetson, Austin, Levi, Colt/Colton, and Sienna also caught parents' eyes.
Exotic locales still have their fans, but many parents opted for baby names a little closer to home. Brooklyn was popularized after Victoria and David Beckham, and Vanessa and Nick Lachey picked the name for their kids. But other parents opted for other American geographic names, including Memphis, Savannah, Camden, Princeton, Madison, Georgia, and Aspen.
After decades of picking more formal names, parents have started outright giving their kids the name they plan to call them. Maisie, a nickname for Margaret, hit it big after actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones, but other parents helped bring Gus, Louie, Theo, Charlie, Ellie, and even #1 name Liam into vogue.
Has the top honeymoon destination inspired a lot of parents-to-be—or could President Obama have brought a fresh eye to the lovely baby options, since his daughter, Malia, bears one of the more popular options? Kalani, Malia, Leilani, Kai, Kailani, Keanu, and Koa are among the top Hawaiian baby name picks.