Choosing a baby name is something that very few people take lightly, we pour over baby name books, poll friends and family, watch what the famous name their babies, we read baby name meanings, and agonize over choosing a unique but not “too weird” name. Before we order the first monogramed or personalized baby item, we have likely looked at and discarded dozens of candidates. What influences our choices in bestowing that all important given name?

Baby name trends are influenced in many ways – by the royal family and their tots, soap opera characters, book heroes and heroines, tv actors, movie stars, pop culture icons, and even some political giants. We are also often led by what famous families name their little ones; this past year names like Max, Jagger, Sailor, Saint, and Spurgeon made headlines. In general, we just seem to follow the media, in one form or another, in naming our precious bundles. We are obsessed with which celeb is pregnant, when they are due and, most importantly, what they are naming that baby!

Baby name trends transcend social status, economic boundaries, race, and ethnicity… but we are influenced by what surrounds us and what is dear to us – religion, fame, creativity, family, etc. It does not seem to matter if you are wealthy or living paycheck to paycheck, the popularity of names like Isabella and William are everywhere.

2016 seems to be trending towards a rise of non gender specific names. (Perhaps a nod toward Caitlin Jenner?) Star Wars has also played a large role in baby naming, and 18 years from now there will likely be a mob of kids named Finn, Poe, and Rey graduating from high school. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a troop of Kylos in there, too! Unusual spellings and pronunciations are on the rise and will likely continue in 2016 and into next year.

2015 saw these names at the top of the popularity chart, with little change early in 2016.

Girls

1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Sophia
4. Ava
5. Isabella

Boys

1. Noah
2. Liam
3. Mason
4. Jacob
5. William

The bottom line is go with what you love; whatever name stirs your soul, whether it is popular or not. In my opinion, the best baby names are timeless and classic. That does not mean you need to go with Victoria or Edward; more modern names are becoming the standard and will never go out of style.

Need some help? Check out The CMR’s Name Your Baby database!

Robyn has many titles she is proud of – a political science major, business woman, world traveler and, most importantly, Mom. She started blogging in 2006, in the entertainment field. While pregnant with her first daughter in 2010, she started the popular online magazine, Celeb Baby Laundry. She is mom to three girls, 4-year-old Ava, and newborn twin girls Ella & Rose.

Celeb Baby Laundry is one-stop place where moms can enjoy everything they love: delicious recipes, crafts for kids, Disney news, family travel and the latest pop culture happenings. It’s also a resource for moms-to-be looking to discover the latest product trends in the baby and kid world. Celeb Baby Laundry is truly a website that was created by a mom for other moms!