Chance the Rapper. Disney's "Moana." LeBron James. You may not see the connection, but they all have one thing in common. All three personalities are influencing parents this year, according to BabyCenter, the digital pregnancy and parenting platform.
Millennial and Gen Z moms and dads found inspiration from their varied interests and values for their newborns’ names this year, including from pop-culture figures, Disney heroines, colors and even the weather.
"Young parents have deep respect and concern for the environment,” says Linda Murray, BabyCenter global editor in chief. “Storms, climate change and the sheer beauty found in nature are driving a whole new category of popular baby names.”
Take a look at this year's top trends.
Role-model rappers: Popular rappers have made an impression on parents and their baby name choices. BabyCenter saw a growth in the name Chance, as in Chance the Rapper, (up 21 percent since 2016), Kendrick (up 9 percent), Queen, as in longtime star Queen Latifah (up 41 percent) and Dre (up 40 percent).
Colors of the rainbow and beyond: Beyoncé and Jay-Z began the color trend when they named their daughter Blue Ivy back in 2012, and it has persevered. In 2017, the name Blue rose in popularity by 14 percent for boys and 9 percent for girls. Lavender (up 27 percent for girls) and Red (up 16 percent for boys) also made the list. Thinking beyond the rainbow, new parents chose less common colors, such as Hazel (up 88 percent for boys and 25 percent for girls), Ivory (up 71 percent for boys and 42 percent for girls) and Ebony (up 35 percent for girls).
NBA stars: The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors faced off in the NBA finals this year, and inspired parents to name their newborns after some of the teams’ biggest stars. LeBron, (up 64 percent), Kyrie (up 39 percent) and Kevin (up 9 percent) soared for the boys category. For girls, Zhuri, the name of LeBron James’ daughter, increased in popularity by 81 percent.
Disney: Parents also seemed to find inspiration from some of Disney’s most beloved characters, especially for their little girls. New Disney princess Moana had a 64 percent increase in baby girls’ names. Belle rose 23 percent and Tiana was up 2 percent. Old Disney favorites like Ariel (up 22 percent), Nala (up 8 percent) and Jasmine (up 1 percent) did well, too.
Earth, wind and fire: Mother Nature had its impact on the Earth this year as well as on the minds of new parents. Earthy names like River (up 26 percent for girls and 6 percent for boys), Forest (up 26 percent for boys) and Willow (up 32 percent for girls) were on the rise this year. Parents also chose weather-related names like Storm (up 44 percent for girls), Sky (up 20 percent for girls) and Cloud (up 23 percent for boys). Ember (up 47 percent for boys and 28 percent for girls) and Blaze (up 19 percent for boys) have gained popularity, as well.
There were many adventurous parents in 2017 as BabyCenter also saw fun, unusual names pop up in this year's list. For example: Foodie names (Ginger, Saffron, Miso); Harry Potter homage (Severus, Albus, Minerva); mountaineers (Everest, Rainier, Zenith); abundance (Lux, Fortune, Prosper, Heiress); virtues and values (Freedom, Truth, Wisdom) and the cosmos (Andromeda, Celestial, Gemini, Starla).