Cottagecore, Bridgerton and nature were all big themes for the babies of 2021, and given the last two years of turbulence and confinement, it’s really no surprise that new parents were drawn to a sense of hope, escapism, bygone eras and the great outdoors.
When you think about the magnitude of, ya know, naming a tiny human for the rest of their life, it’s a wonder any parent manages to name their child at all. You need a moniker that’s sweet enough for primary school, strong enough to serve them in parliament and low stakes in the risk-of-becoming-a-meme department (Karen is basically extinct at this point). With a brief like that, it’s easy to spiral into overwhelm, but looking at the 2022 trend forecast is a great starting point, even if it’s to identify exactly what names you want to avoid.
Stumped on the perfect name for your little one? Whether you’re pregnant, trying to conceive, doing your due diligence for a mama-to-be in your life, or simply want to keep your iPhone notes well-stocked for when a future bun is in the proverbial oven (*locked* iPhone notes because no one will get their mitts on your name), here’s a look at the top baby name predictions for 2022…
The most popular names for 2020
Before we get into this year’s predictions, let’s look at the names that topped the charts over the course of the pandemic.
According to the latest data from Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2020, Oliver held onto the top spot for the eighth year running, whilst Olivia remained the favourite girls name for the fifth consecutive year. Ivy climbed 221 places to the sixth most popular girls name, entering the top 10 charts for the first time alongside Rosie, and replacing Grace and Freya.
For the first time since 2010, Charlie dropped off the top 10 boys list and Archie, the name chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their firstborn, entered the top 10 for the first time since records began.
Maeve has also enjoyed a beautiful renaissance, climbing 124 places since 2019, as has Otis which was among the largest movers too, moving 28 places to 96th in the top 100 list. The power of Sex Education knows no bounds.
Sian Bradford, Senior Research Officer at ONS, said, “We continue to see the age of mothers having an impact on the choice of baby name. Archie jumped into the top 10 boys’ names for the first time, driven by younger mothers as well as the obvious Royal link. While on the girls’ side Ivy rose to sixth place.”
“Popular culture continues to provide inspiration for baby names, whether it’s characters in our favourite show or trending celebrities. Maeve and Otis, characters from the popular programme ‘Sex Education’, have seen a surge in popularity in 2020. While the name Margot has been rapidly climbing since actress Margot Robbie appeared in the popular film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.”
Top 100 Girls Names of 2021
Top 100 Boys Names
Baby Name Trend Predictions for 2022
With season 2 landing in March (Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers will be heading to print any day now), Bridgerton is the talk of the Ton once more. Regencycore names such as Daphne, Phoebe and Benedict are set to dominate the charts as they did in 2021, shortly after the acclaimed period drama first graced our screens in December 2020 and subsequently took over our lives.
Nameberry, the world’s largest website dedicated to baby names, wagers that the likes of more uncommon character names and on-trend actor names will also ascend the charts this year *adds Regé to the list immediately*.
Listen up mums of 2022, you’re not a regular mum, you’re a cool mum, and fun is the name of the game this year. Short, lighthearted and endearing names, sometimes with a nod to animals, such as Coco, Ziggy, Bear, Birdie, Gigi and Buddy, are predicted to be more popular than ever after two years of restrictions, isolation and living in a pit of despair, to put it bluntly. A cute, uplifting name to match your light at the end of the tunnel – what could be more apt than that?
Unsurprisingly, cool ‘n’ earthy nature names are here to stay after even our best-laid travel plans went awry thanks to *drum roll please* another new variant. Our appreciation for mama nature coupled with some serious wanderlust has meant we’re expanding our horizons this year from the coast to the woodlands.
“We expect to see beachy baby names get a boost, especially in the wake of the hit HBO series The White Lotus, set in an idyllic Hawaiian island resort.
Other trending nature names for 2022 will evoke wild, rugged, expansive landscapes – think Prairie, Dune, Ridge and Sequoia,” the Nameberry experts have predicted.
Bali, Bay, Capri, Forest, Coast, Woods and Ocean are also tipped to rock the charts this year. We’re thinking of Katie Hopkins at this difficult time…
Gender Neutral Names
Spoiler: They’re going nowhere. As conversations around gender evolve beyond the pink is for girls and blue is for boys narrative, non-binary baby names will continue to rise up the ranks, with boys names being used for girls and softer girls names such as Artemis, Juniper and Nova, for boys.
Hell yes for progress and more choice, whatever the sex of your child. The biggest trend for 2022 is challenging societal expectations and calling your baby whatever gender-bending name you want.
Spiritual & Virtue Names
To balance out the negative energy of the last two years, parents will be drawing on divine powers, looking to ancient mythology and spirituality for inspiration.
Expect to see virtue names such as Dream, True, Shine, Psalm and Praise pop up alongside Sanskrit names like Veda and Rishi. The Kardashians, as ever, were way ahead of the curve with this one.
Names Ending in ‘S’
How a name sounds is just as important as how it looks in 2022, so make way for some seriously stylish names ending in ‘S’ – as pleasing for the ears as they are on the eyes.
If you’re looking for a name that will stand the test of time, old school is always a good idea. Charming vintage names steeped in history offer something distinctive and characterful, without the risk of being too ‘edgy’. From classic books and authors to the golden age of cinema and the period drama greats such as Downton Abbey, looking to the past for your modern day baby is one way to discover an antique gem.
Naming your baby after a favourite grandparent can also be a meaningful way to honour their memory with the ultimate tribute. Make like Meghan and Prince Harry and opt for a timeless name like Lilibet that’ll transcend the trends for years to come. Grandma / grandpa chic is going nowhere, kids!
For the music lovers of the universe, your Spotify Wrapped is all you need to have an on-trend child in 2022. Lyrical names are on the rise, from Sonnet meaning ‘little song’ to Rhapsody (Queen fans, our work here is done) and it feels different from anything we’ve seen before. If you’re on the hunt for something unique, your listening habits could provide all the shortlist potential you need.
The feminine urge to name our collective Team Zoella child: Evermore…