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15 Baby Name Predictions For 2017

It's hard to believe that another year is almost at an end. The year of 2016 has been a year of triumph, and a year of tragedy. The world cheered on beloved athletes at the Olympic Games in Rio and wept together when acts of terror brought injury and death to innocent victims. The presidential election was yet another part of this historic year that was full of passion on both sides. This year has been full of many happy moments and a few sad ones.

Parents planning to welcome a new baby to the world in 2017 have their work cut out for them when choosing a name for their child. There are many names that have shot up astronomically in popularity since the beginning of 2016. Some have been heard before, while others are rising out of obscurity. These names may not yet be widely used, but the amount of recognition they've received in a short amount of time has caused us to take notice.

The 15 names on the list below don't have much in common other than the fact that they are all currently experiencing a meteoric rise in popularity. Some are quirky, some are wacky, some are inspired by places, others by wood, and still others are names that were forgotten centuries ago, but are being rediscovered.

Parents looking for a name that is bold, charming, dynamic, romantic, lovely or versatile will likely find what they've been searching for on the list below. Let's make 2017 a great year full of adorable babies with irresistible names.

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15 Wells

Wells is an English name that means spring. It is up 202% in popularity in 2016. Rosie Pope is an entrepenuer and business woman who specializes in all things pregnancy and baby. She chose the name Wellington for her son born in 2011, but calls him Wells for short.

Another possible reason the name Wells has made such a jump? The boyish yet sexy Wells Adams, who works as a radio DJ in Nashville, Tenesee, was one of the men who attempted to capture the heart of Jojo Flethcer on the most recent season of The Bachelorette. He didn't get the final rose, but he did stick around long enough to garner many fans on Twitter and Instagram. He appeared on televisions across the nation once again this summer on Bachelor In Paradise where he was quite the hot commodity among the ladies. His wit, charm and heart-melting grin may have inspired a few moms-to-be to use his name.

Wells is currently 2,408th most popular name choice for little boys, and has been assigned to just under 100 boys so far in 2016. This creative, classic and dapper name may be one we see much more of in 2017.

14 Astoria

Only 16 girls have been assigned the name Astoria in 2016 so far, but it is up 59% in popularity, meaning there's something about this designation people love. What's not to adore? It's stunning, unique, feminine and unexpected.

Astoria is the name of a New York neighborhood in Queens known for it's delicious restaurants and low housing prices. Many hipsters and young professionals have made this neighborhood home in recent years, adding to it's cool factor. Astoria, Oregon is a quaint town that sits near the mouth of the Columbia River. It's another enchanting place to call home. Both locations were named after American investor, John Jacob Astor.

Astoria is currently the 5,989th most popular choice for little girls, but wasn't even ranked in 2016, showing this name may be one of the future. Exquisite nicknames for Astoria include Ria, Story, Rory or Storia. Everything about this name is current, fresh and as sweet as a the homemade cannoli at La Guli bakery in Astoria in Queens, and they've been called the best in all of New York City.

13 Abel

Abel is a biblical name that broke into the top 100 names chosen for boys in the United States for the first time in 2016. This name is ancient in origin, but is a fresh choice just recently gaining the notice it deserves with it's adorable sound and simple spelling.

This Hebrew name means breath and sounds similar to the adjective, able, which means capable, competent and willing. Adam and Eve's younger son, Abel fell victim to his older brother, Cain in the bible. While this story is an unfortunate one, we feel boys given this name are as lucky as can be.

The hilarious former couple, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett chose the name Abel for their second son, possibly helping boost its notability. Similar names include Levi, Ezra and Solomon. This fantastic name is certainly one able to continue its rise to the top of the baby name charts.

12 Essex

While this name is currently ranked near the bottom as the 10,102nd most popular choice for baby boys, and not even listed as a girl's name, we have a feeling it might be one to watch in 2017. Essex is the name of a county in England, making this name right on-trend with other hip and unusual place names being chosen for babies around the globe.

The recent use of this name by former star of The Bachelorette, Ashley Rosenbaum and the recipient of her final rose and husband, J.P. for their brand new baby girl born this November gives this name a real shot at being a moniker we might be seeing a lot more of.

Essie is an exquisite and floaty nickname often used as a shortening of the biblical name, Esther, the vintage name, Estelle or even all on its own as a pretty and original girl's name. It works equally well with the name Essex. We love the effortlessly cool sound of this name. It's so on point we're willing to overlook the fact that it does in fact contain the word sex. Parents will have to decide if the risk is worth the reward when deciding whether or not to uses this ultra-sophisticated and lovely name.

11 Tobias

funny baby with a mustache on the brick wall background

Tobias has jumped 43 places in ranking this year alone on Nameberry.com. This Greek from Hebrew name, that means God is good, continue its climb in 2017. It is currently the 231st most popular choice for little boys in the United States.

Tobias Snape is a character in the Harry Potter series, and Tobias Wolff is the esteemed author of This Boy's Life, a memoir published in 1989 that was made into a film starring Rober De Niro in 1993. Actor Tobey Maguire was given the name Tobias at birth and has a son named Otis Tobias. Tobias Funke is the name of the hilarious Arrested Development character known for his silly antics and trademark mustache.

While this name has a bit of a hipster feel, we think it will become more mainstream in 2017. Toby is an approachable and dashing shortening of the more serious-sounding Tobias. Fans of this name may also love the names Asher, Liam or Silas for a little man.

10 Freya

This interesting and whimsical sounding title is making a name for itself in 2016. According to Bounty Baby's Club, Freya is ranked as the 4th most popular baby name for the first half of 2016, and is ranked 18th on Baby Center's similar list. It has also reached the top 100 on Nameberrry.com for the first time ever this year. Everyone seems to be buzzing about the name Freya, and it isn't difficult to understand why.

Currently ranked as the 283rd most popular name used for girls in the United States, and up 14 places since 2015, this name has risen from obscurity into a bright spotlight. Pronounced FRAY-uh, it's a Norse name that means a noble woman.

Freya is the name of the Norse goddess of beauty, love and fertility. This name has been a hot one in the United Kingdom for awhile now, but has only recently become a hit in North America. All indicators point to the fact that this name is one we're sure to see a lot more of in 2017.

9 Julian

Julian has risen 30 places in popularity on Nameberry.com in 2016. It is an English variation of the Latin name Julius and means youthful or father of the skies. It's another gender-neutral name that works for either sex. Julian began making a steady climb in the early 2000's, and hasn't fallen since.

This name is already quite a hit, ranking as the 37th most popular name used for boys in the United States in 2016 and up 9 places since 2015. This name doesn't seem to be stopping its rise to the top anytime soon and will most likely become even more well-known in 2017.

Gabriel, Sebastian and Alexander are other luxurious sounding names that may appeal to  those who love the elegant yet modern sound of Julian. Time will tell if this name is sticking around and whether or not it will continue its climb, but all signs point to definitely yes.

8 Astrid

Astrid has risen 55 places this year so far on Nameberry.com and was up in use for baby girls 101% in January of 2016. It hasn't slowed down since. Astrid is a Norse name that means divinely beautiful.

This name has long been used in Scandanavia, and was used as the name of the strong and fearless female character in the movie How to Train Your Dragon. She is the love interest of the movie's protagonist, Hiccup. Her independence and can-do attitude are refreshing and may be the reason for this name's recent jump in popularity. Astrid Lindgren is also the name of the Swedish author of the much-adored Pippi Longstocking stories.

Astrid is currently the 881st most popular choice for little girls in the United States, and is ranked in the top 25 in Sweden. It's quite possible this gorgeous name will be a hot commodity used for many little girls in 2017.

7 Neo

This name first came into the spotlight when it was used for Keanu Reeve's character in the hit 1999 film, The Matrix. Despite the movie's popularity, the name Neo is only recently gaining recognition. It's up 127% in popularity, joining similar names Leo and Theo on a rise to the top.

Neo is a name of Latin origin and means new. It is currently ranked as the 1,154th most popular name for boys, and has risen 10 places since 2015. This name is short, sweet and special. It's not often used, but is definitely gaining notice. It's a name that may be on the cusp of being chosen by parents around the world.

What's not to love about this cool name? A little lad named Neo is a lucky guy. Only 8 boys were named Neo in 2015, but this name is ascending the baby name ranks. It's quite possible 2017 will be the year it becomes a new favorite.

6 Thea

This gorgeous baby girl's name has been determined as the 6th fastest rising name for girls on Nameberry.com this year. It has jumped 26 places in popularity on the site and was up 54% for use in January of 2016. It is a name of Greek origin that means goddess.

Thea has been used as a shortening for the pretty and prestigious names Althea, Theadora and Dorthea, but seems to be venturing out on its own as a name that will be widely used in years to come. It's lovely all on its own whether it's pronounced THEE-ah, TAY-ah or THAY-ah.

This name has risen quickly in popularity United States on the heals of its popularity in Europe. It was the number 1 name for girls in Norway in 2006 and 2007. It is currently ranked as the 207th most popular name used for girls in the United States and up 93 places since 2015. Those who love this name may also love the recently popular and similar choices Isla, Mia and Stella.

5 Kaiser

Kaiser is a name of German origin that means emperor. Searches for this name on Nameberry.com are up 75% since the start of 2016. The recent boost in the interest in the name may be due to Teen Mom star Jenelle Evans choosing it as the name of her second son. She has added to its appeal by often shortening her son's name to Kai; this cool-as-a-cucumber nickname is easy to adore and adds to the appeal of this interesting name.

This moniker is currently the 1,003rd most popular name choice for little boys in the United States, and is up 278 places since 2015. If this name continues its meteoric rise, it's sure to be well within the top 1,000 boys names by the beginning of 2017. Watch out, world. The name Kaiser is here to stay.

Those who like the name Kaiser may also appreciate similar names assigned to leaders. Possibilities include Duke, Saint, Prince and King.

4 Mika

Funny little baby girl in a white knitted hat and warm white coat playing with snow. Kids play outdoors in winter. Children having fun at Christmas time. Child and infant cold weather clothing.

This stunning name (pronounced Mee-kah) is a fresh choice that is currently being used for both boys and girls. It hails from two different parts of the world, though it is spelled the same way in both regions. It is a Japanese name for girls that means beautiful fragrance or new moon. For boys, Mika is a shortening of the name Mikael, the Scandinavian and version of the name Michael, but currently widely used in the Netherlands and Germany.

Whatever gender this name is used for, it's a stellar choice with a crisp sound and a rich history. Mika is currently the 1,375th most popular choice for boys and the 926th most popular choice for girls in the United States.

This stunning name was given to just under 200 girls in 2015 the United States, while only 50 boys were given the honor. Time will tell if Mika will become a mainstream name for little ladies of the future or tiny gentlemen. It's possible Mika may be a permanently beloved choice for both genders.

3 Ragnar

This fierce sounding Norse name means warrior or judgement. Ragnar is a smoldering character, played by Travis Fimmel on the The History Channel's series, Vikings. His eyes are a piercing blue. He's rugged. He's dreamy. He may have had a hand in the 30 boys that were named Ragnar in the United States this year. These 30 boys are the first we know of outside of Scandanavian to ever be given this name.

Ragnar is also the name of a popular long distance relay race many across the country are passionate about. Teams in these event run approximately 200 miles total, taking turns running while others on the team attempt to sleep or eat. It's a tough feat, not for the faint of heart, and adds an extra level of cool to this original name.

The name is currently ranked as the 2,646th most popular choice in the United States, and is up 188 places in popularity since 2015. Searches for the name Ragnar are up 91% on Nameberry.com. It seems as if this interesting and manly name is quite possibly a quirky choice that may be mainstream in the near future.

2 Seren

Searches for the alluring and exquisite name Seren are up 57% on Nameberry.com so far this year. This darling Welsh designation is pronounced SEH-ren and means star. This name is currently a top choice for parents in Wales, but is still widely unheard of everywhere else.

Less than 50 tiny darlings were given the name Seren last year in the United States, but it's likely this name is a hidden gem about to be discovered. Seren is currently ranked 2,197th in the United States, but is up in popularity 125 places since 2015.

Seren is the name of the goddess of the hot springs in the Sirona form. It is also a common name used for boys in Turkey. This name has international appeal and an exotic sound without being wacky or weird. It's elegant and has an ethereal quality. This name is another we won't be surprised to be seeing a lot more of in the coming days, weeks, months and years.

1 Koa

Searches for the name Koa are up 327% this year on Nameberry.com. It's safe to say people are showing interest in this lovely boy's name that was virtually unheard of when lovers kissed each other at midnight while ringing in the new year at the start of 2016.

Koa is a type of tree native to the Hawaiian Islands used in the making of surfboards and canoes. A name doesn't get much more hip or chill than this. The similar name Noah was the number one choice for boys in 2013. Koa may be following in its footsteps in the near future.

Approximately 16o boys were blessed with the name Koa in 2015. The name has doubled in popularity in the last 5 years. This Hawaiian dream of name means warrior, and pays homage to nature and the refreshing spray of ocean waves. This name will most likely be surfing into the top 1,000 and beyond in 2017.

Sources: Nameberry.com, BabyCenter.com, BehindtheName.com, GoodtoKnow.co.uk

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