A baby's name is a big decision for mom and dad, so they often go pouring through baby books and debate the name for months. Some parents go for something that stands out, but others stick to the tried and true favorites — and those names tend to get used over and over and over again.
The top 10 baby names for both boys and girls have remained pretty much the same for the last several years — and there are some that have been at the top of the list for decades. That's a lot of kids sharing the same name. It can lead to confusion in the classroom and a lot of parents calling out the same name on the playground. Just yelling out Jake or Jack might mean that five or six heads turn at the same time, and the same is true for Bella or Abby. Teachers, especially, dislike these names since they are definitely going to have to add the last name every time.
While every mom knows that their child is special, that doesn't mean that the name choice is. These names are so popular because they are adorable, but that doesn't mean that we want them around any more.
Here are 18 baby names so common they should be banned.
When a mom is calling for her little Abby or Addy, the playground clears out of little girls answering. They may have a longer version of the name, but those two nicknames that sound so much alike they are often confused, is one of the biggest around these days. If you have a doubt about a girls' name, you might just want to guess Abby.
From 2010 to 2016, there were 88,704 Abigails born. Plus, there were 55,490 Addisons. Plus another 25,000 or so Adalyn/Adalynns. That's a lot of kids answering to basically the same nickname, and a lot of girls who are getting confused for their classmates. Names are identities, and many kids would much prefer something unique, and that doesn't happen when 10 other kids in your grade answer to the same thing.
Aidan is a good, strong name that has grown in popularity to be one of the biggest names of the 2010s. Nearly 100,000 Aidans were born between 2010 and 2016 in the United States (on top of all the ones born in the United Kingdom where the name has long been a favorite). But the thing is, there are far more names than that around.
People spell Aidan a ton of different ways, and while the most popular version finally slipped out of the top 10 in 2016, you've still got all the Adens, Aidens, Aydens and so forth to account for. That's a lot of kids who will turn around when the name is called on the playground, so it's about time to banish that name from the popularity list.
Bella names are beautiful — in fact, that part of the name means beauty. But no matter the beginning of the name, there are entirely too many Bellas in school these days. The worst culprit is Isabella or its cousin Isabelle. The name has been at the top of the charts for the past decade, meaning that the Social Security Administration has 126,845 Isabellas had been born between 2010 and 2016 (the stats aren't in for 2017 yet).
Of course, that is just one variation of a Bella name. There is Annabella or Annabel, Arabella or Arabelle, Corabella, Claribel, and on and on and on. Any Bella kid in school is definitely going to have to go by their name and initial, so you should just take if off of your name list right now.
Olivia was a popular name for a while, and then Shondaland introduced us to Olivia Pope, and we all realized how truly spectacular that name is. It was definitely underutilized when moms these days were born, so it's making a comeback in the only way that a trend can — by getting so popular now that everyone wants it banned.
Olivia is the third most popular baby girl choice of the decade so far, so there are 128,710 toddlers and preschoolers with that name. It used to be a name that stood out among all the Emilys but that is no longer the case, and we're convinced that this one needs to go away for another generation before it comes back again in full force.
Emily used to be one of the most popular, simple sweet baby girl names on the planet. And then Ross and Rachel had a baby on Friends, and everyone had to name their little girl Emma — except the ones that still wanted to use Emily.
Emma is the No. 1 most popular choice for girls of the 2010s so far with 138,708 precious little ones with that name. But when you add on the 90,593 Emilys, the number cruises on past 200K and makes it so that we all know at least five little girls with some variation of the moniker. We wish that they both would fade away quickly so that we can find the magic in the name again. Right now, we just want it to be banned.
Disney was on to something when it named its popular cartoon princess Sophia — but then again, so were thousands of parents who took the pretty name for their own little princess. The Sophia spelling alone has been used for 137,986 girls this decade, and there are another 59,032 Sofias. Of course, there are another 26,616 who shortened it to Sophie, just to add to the overuse.
The best thing about Sophia is that it has a little bit of an exotic name while still being soft, feminine and recognizable. But it's gotten so recognizable that there is one or two or three in every class in preschool. It's time to adopt another princess name and let this one be banned.
The next name on our list is already starting to trickle down the baby name charts and we can't be more thrilled. Madison was one of the leading contenders of every girl name list between 2000 and 2010, and it's started a bit on the downward slope. Since there are so many Madisons in elementary school these days, we're pretty grateful.
Despite that, there have still been 76,872 Madisons born in the 2010s, which is still enough to rank at No. 9 among girls. But it's not just about Madison — the problem is Maddie — it's everywhere. And a resurgence of Madeleine and Madilyn is not helping matters. Let's try to avoid Maddie for a while, please.
William is an oldie-but-a-goodie. It's a name that has remained a popular favorite for a century or more, and it's often passed down among generations from grandfathers or fathers to little boys. It's a good, solid name that evokes a past, but lately, we're hearing too often on the playground.
Part of that is because of the combined weight of William and Liam, a nickname that has become nearly as popular as the original. This decade so far has consisted of 116,186 Williams and another 114,117 Liams, putting them at No. 4 and No. 5 on the list individually, but blowing No. 1 out of the water if you were to put the two together. Enough is enough, so the name should be put to rest for a while.
In the 1970s and 80s, Jason was one of the most trendy names on the block. It died away since there were way too many Jasons in every class, and we spent a couple of decades without -son names giving us grief. Then a Kardashian had a baby and named him Mason. The name jumped from relative obscurity to top the baby name chart in no time at all, and it's been in the top 10 ever since.
There have been 119,941 baby boy Masons born so far this decade. Now it's being adopted for girls names. That's really going to mean the playground is full of little Masons, so the trend needs to stop.
There is no doubt that Michael is a good name. It's a Biblical mainstay that was at the top of the boy name chart in the United States for more than 50 years. That means there are a lot of Michael fathers who are naming their sons Michael, and while it isn't No. 1 any more, it's still one of the most popular choices out there for far too long.
The 2010s have seen 109,542 Michaels born, and that doesn't count all the ones who have the name in the middle spot. For a while there were a ton of Makaylas with various spellings, but we're grateful that trend has stopped. Will Michael ever go away? It's definitely looking like it would need to be banned before it would ever be forgotten.
Here's another old name that has forever been a part of the United States lexicon. There have been six presidents named James, more than any other, so it has a stately charm. But this one went away for a while and then came back with a fury that we can't quite figure out.
There were nearly 250,000 James boys born in the 1990s, and that number cut in half in the 2000s. But it's back in style and Already so far this decade, 98,005 sweet baby Jameses have been born — and that number only includes the boys. The name has now caught on for girls, thanks to Blake Lively, so this name is bound to surge like no one would expect on both sides of the boy/girl name list.
When this generation of moms was growing up, they probably never met an Ava in person. They may have heard of a few, like Hollywood starlet Ava Gardner, but it was mostly an exotic-sounding name that seemed destined for a beautiful, fascinating woman. Now, it's become commonplace.
Ava has been in the top 5 baby girl names since 2006. There were 109,931 born between 2010 and 2016, and the name has only grown in popularity. To only compound it further, parents have started to get creative by using the old-fashioned name Ada or a variation like Adalyn. There are just so many ways to make a name like Ava boring, and overusing it is definitely putting it on the fast-track.
Lily used to be one of our favorite nature names — until we met 15 of them at the playground last weekend. Now, it's no longer a rare flower; it's a name that we would love to see banned from the baby name lists. The rose loses its bloom when it is one of the most popular names around.
According to the Social Security Administration, there were 51,058 Lilys born between 2010 and 2016, and to top it off, there were another 47,918 Lillians. Plus, there were 18,217 Lilianas and 18,126 Lillys. That's a lot of little girls answering to basically the same name. It's hard to make a precious flower feel special when there are so many called by the same name, and that's why Lily is no longer so amazing.
Remember when Amelia was the old-fashioned but fresh take on Emily? No, we don't either. It's been a long time sine the name was anything more than another trendy and trite girl name that is placed on five out of six baby name lists. Amelia Earhart's name really stood out back in the day, but nowadays, there is one Amelia in each preschool class, and then there are a couple of Mias as well.
There have been 56,411 Amelias born so far this decade, and Mia, which used to be a nickname for Amelia, has become even more popular, with 90,046 girls bearing the name in the same period of time. The name doesn't stand out like it used to be, and that's a big shame.
Wait until after the school bell rings at the end of the day and call out the name Alex and at least 30 kids will come running. Some will be boys; some will be girls; but all will go by Alex. It's a name that has unisex appeal and it sounds strong and unique. But it's just not — not anymore.
Alexander has spent a lot of time in the top 10 in boy names since 2000, and it's racked up 105,785 boy names from 2011 to 2016. While Alexandra still adds on 23,765 girls, the more popular version for girls lately has been Alexis (a name that can also apply to boys). Alexa isn't far behind, with 32,984 girls so far this decade, compared to the 35,184 Alexises. That's nearly 200,000 Alexes in five years, and we would be just fine if there wasn't one more.
It used to be that pretty much no baby was ever named Jack. It was popular in nursery rhymes, but in real life, it was just a nickname for a kid named John. But now, there are more Jacks than Johns by far on the playground. Part of that is because of the popularity of Jackson, which is the 2oth most popular name for boys this decade so far. There were 84,910 born between 2010 and 2016. And you can add another 58,781 Jacks.
Then there are the moms who get creative and spell the name Jaxon or Jaxson or something like that. It adds to the overuse and makes us all go a little bit crazier when we hear the name called at school and at least five kids per grade stand up. There are probably still some Johns called Jack as well, just to contribute to the insanity, of course.
Riley may have been the first true unisex name to skyrocket in the past decade. It's not too bad when you consider it on its own, but when you figure that there are girl Rileys and boy Rileys, it makes it much harder to get through the roster at school without hitting on a few.
According to the Social Security list, parents named their girl Riley 37,934 times between 2010 and 2016. And their boy got the name 18,754 times. That's a combination of more than 50,000 kids, and they all compete with the favorite Ryan, which has been super popular with boys but is now becoming trendy for girls as well. These RiRis are all over the place, and we're ready for the trends to end.
If there is one boy name that tops them all for being the most overused of this century so far, it is definitely Jacob. The name has been in the top five of the boy baby name list since 1994, and it was at No. 1 from 1999 to 2012. It was the runaway most popular name of the 2000s with 273,746 baby boys with that name for the decade, and another 126,832 were born between 2010 and 2016, which is still at the top spot.
The good news is that the name has relinquished the top spot for the past few years, and it actually left the top five in 2016, but there are still lots of Jacobs born every year — too many, we think. (And Jake is just too close to Jack, right?) It's about time that parents tried another name for their little boy, so we wouldn't hear it over and over and over again.
Sources: Social Security Administration, Nameberry