Names are an important business. You don't want your child to have the same moniker as everyone else his or her age, but you also can't really reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Here are Parenting.com's picks for the most popular baby names in 2014. They are listed in alphabetical order, not by rank.
Baby Girl Names
Baby Boy Names
Now what do these names have in common? A lot, actually. Each of these names resides in at least one of the following five categories:
Unisex baby names are a polarizing category—you either love them or you hate them. We are strongly pro-unisex monikers. We just can't help but love Finn Hudson and Finn Carter; Hunter Hayes and Hunter Ansley Wryn; Logan Echolls and Logan Goodman, wife of David Strathairn. Other unisex options on our Top 2014 list are: Avery, Aria/Arya, Harper, James, Mackenzie, Owen and Piper. We realize Aria/Arya, James and Owen may not seem unisex at first, but Arya is a nickname for the boy's name Aryan; James is a pet-name for Jamie and is becoming a popular female middle name; and singers Michelle Branch and Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas named their daughters Owen.
Short and sweet
Everyone loves a name with some history and sophistication, but that doesn't mean it has to be weighed down with extra letters and syllables. An added bonus to these tiny titles is that shorter names are easier for little ones to learn to write and pronounce. Try Anna, Cora or Levi for names with some historical significance without the added lettering. Other short and sweet names included are: Isla, Mila, Eli, Finn, Jax, Knox and Owen.
Celebrities and pop culture
We're not recommending you run out and name your child North, but taking a hint from today's Hollywood crowd isn't always a bad thing. A-listers (and not-so-A-listers) have a knack for picking the next hot baby names, like Fiona, Harper and Knox. We also love celebrity names, like Mila, Leonardo and Scarlett. Have you ever read a book or watched a TV show and thought, "That HAS to be my baby's name"? A lot of parents have, which is why these names have risen in popularity: Aria/Arya, Jax and Merida. Other names on our list brought to you by pop culture (think Disney) are: Anna, Aurora, Dominic, Ellie, Elsa, Finn, Genevieve, Henry, Isaac, Isla, James, Jasper, Levi, Logan, Mackenzie, Natalie, Oliver, Penelope, Piper, Sebastian, Silas and Violet.
Tried and true doesn't have to be boring and overused. Names like Claire, Henry and Owen are just as fresh and popular as they were when they first appeared on the Social Security's Top Baby Names list in 1880. If you aren't a fan of the Short and Sweet category, try longer, popular options, like Genevieve, Penelope or Sebastian. And don't forget these classics also found on our Top 2014 list: Anna, Caleb, Cora, Elijah, Ellie, Elsa, Isaac, James, Jasper, Levi, Oliver, Silas and Violet.
Whether you're a follower or not, a lot of names are connected to Christianity through sainthood or the Bible. Could your little one be a mini saint with a name like: Claire, James or Sebastian? Maybe you'd prefer to name your child after a character straight from the Good Book, like Asher, Elijah or Silas. Other names on our list with a Christian connection are Anna, Caleb, Eli, Henry, Isaac, Levi, Oliver and Owen.