Move over, Jackson and Emma — new baby names tops in 2017

For at least four years Jackson has been the most popular baby name for boys, but in 2017 a new name topped the list.

Older, more traditional names becoming popular again with parents

Stephanie and Andy Harding of St. John's pose with their daughter, the first baby born in 2018 at the Janeway Hospital. They called her Alyssa, which was number 86 on the list of most popular girl names in the province last year. (NLMA)

For at least four years Jackson has been the most popular baby name for boys, but in 2017 a new name topped the list — Benjamin.

For girls, Emma was bumped after years in the top spot, losing out to Ava.

Duana Taha, author of The Name Therapist, says for girls, older more traditional names are the big trend right now.

She said parents are more concerned than previous generations about having a unique name.

"That's a really big deal for parents today, to have a name where their kid is not one of six or eight in the class," she said.

Duana Taha, who wrote The Name Therapist, says names ending in N continue to be popular for boys, while older more traditional names have made a comeback for girls. (Supplied photo)

"So they go back into their family trees to find old names that feel like they haven't been heard in a while."

That's why names like Olivia, Abigail and Evelyn are popular, she said.

Names ending in N popular for boys

Many of the popular boy names have one thing in common, they end in the letter N. Grayson, Ethan, Lincoln and Hudson are all in the Top 20.

"Parents keep finding new names to be able to pick up on that trend and still choose something that feels new," said Taha.

The list of names in Newfoundland and Labrador is a preliminary one compiled by Service NL, and only includes the names registered on birth certificates that were processed by the end of 2017.

Move over Emma and Jackson, new baby names became the most popular in 2017 in Newfoundland and Labrador 1:16

Taha said there are differences between the popular names in this province and the rest of North America.

She said Mason is close to the top of the list in many other parts of North America but ranks just 41 in this province.

Girls' names starting with a hard-K sound are more popular than elsewhere — she pointed to names like Callie and Chloe that are in the Top 20 names for girls.

What's next?

Taha said the popularity of names goes in cycles, and names that sound old and fussy now will start to see a resurgence.

She said if you want to know the popular names of tomorrow look to names of the past, to your great-aunts and uncles.

"Names that seem a little bit off to us now, Herbert and maybe names like say, Doris, as old fashioned as they sound, are going to start to sound new and attractive."

About the Author

Peter Cowan

CBC News

Peter Cowan is a St. John's-based reporter with CBC News.