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Baby Name Expert Predicts Up-and-Coming Names for 2006
by Bruce Lansky

Popularity of names, like the length of hemlines and the width of ties, is subject to change every year. It seems that every decade a new group of names rises in popularity and an old group of names declines. So, when choosing a name for your baby, it’s wise to consider whether a name’s popularity is rising, declining or holding steady.

But remember that the popularity issue cuts two ways: Psychologists say a child with a common or popular name seems to have better odds of success in life than a child with an uncommon name, while a child whose name is at the top of the popularity poll may not feel unique and special as a child whose name is less common.

Here are my predictions for the changes in name “fashions” for 2006:

Girls’ Names

Top pick for 2006: Emma

Emily has been the number one girls’ name throughout the 2000s, but its popularity has peaked. I’m picking Emma to unseat Emily in 2006. Amazingly, Emma wasn’t in the top 20 in 1999, but during the 2000s it, along with Grace and Isabella, was the fastest rising girl’s name.

Other Trendy Up-and-Comers

These trendy names will challenge for the top five most popular girls’ names in 2006. All are names that have dramatically gained popularity during the last five years:


Boys’ Names

Top pick for 2006: Jacob

Jacob has been the most popular boys’ name during the 2000s, but unlike the top-ranked girls’ name, Emily, its popularity is still on the rise.

Other Trendy Up-and-Comers:

There are several boys’ names moving up the list that could challenge for top spots in 2006, including Ethan, Nathan and William. Also on my list of up-and-coming boys’ names:


Bruce Lansky is the number one author of baby name books in the world. He has compiled and published six baby name books, which have sold well over five million copies. His recently updated book, The Very Best Baby Name Book: 55,000+ Baby Names (Meadowbrook Press, $8.50; www.meadowbrookpress.com), contains over 55,000 names complete with origins, meanings, variations, fascinating facts and famous namesakes.

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