Naming your baby is a big decision – after all, she’ll be stuck with whatever you choose for the rest of her life! Emma, Madison, Jaden, Noah, Maria, and Jacob are names that have been trending for the past 10 years and will probably continue to hang around a little longer.
Most recently, there has been a rise in the names Kate, Will, George, and Charlotte in honor of the too-cute royal family we all love to love. But if you’re looking for something edgier, something a bit more current, you might want to skip these classic options. For better or worse, baby naming trends are often driven by pop culture, so here are a few up-and-coming names that are likely to be big in the next few months:
- 2016 is an election year, and civically-minded parents may show their support by naming babies after their favorite candidates. Expect to see a rise in names like Hillary, Ben, Jeb, Bernie, Carly, Rand, Marco, and—dare I say it?—Donald. Get in on the trend and you might be naming your child after a future president–but can you pick a winner? (Just no “Chads” this year—O.K., Jeb?).
- Sports figures will always inspire baby names. After all, we like to be reminded of our heroes. Female athletes like Ronda Rousey, Serena and Venus Williams, Hope Solo, and Carli Lloyd will gain namesakes this year, as will male athletes like David Beckham, Kobe Bryant, Mike Trout, LeBron James, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady. A fun twist here is to use the last name as a first name so expect to hear “Solo,” “Beckham,” “Brady,” and “Rousey!”
- Countless children are named after their parents’ favorite literary and film characters, which explains the rise of Bella, Cullen, and Edward from the Twilight series, and Scout, Jem, and Atticus from To Kill and Mockingbird and, more recently, Go Set a Watchman.
- With releases of the last Hunger Games and the third Divergent movies, we’ll continue to hear names like Tris, Katniss, Tobias, and Cinna. Movies based on comic books will continue to be big, so look for Bruce, Clark, and Harley in 2016.
- If birth announcements feature a lot of Elizabeths, Bennetts, and Darcys, know that the parents might just be zombie fans: the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies premieres in February.
- The movie event that will have the biggest impact on baby naming in the next few months will, undoubtedly, be Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens later this year. You’ll see the names Luke, Leia, and Han—all appear in the movie—but also new names like Rey, Hux, Kylo, Finn, Maz, and Korr. These names are short, simple, fairly gender-neutral, and accepted all across the galaxy!
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Kristen Berthiaume is a clinical psychologist whose other day job is as mom to three willing product testers. Find her articles on all things child-wrangling at “Parenting with a Ph.D.” over on birminghammommy.com.