Social Security Administration Announces Most Popular Baby Names Of 2022


Once again, the most popular names for babies born in the United States are Liam and Olivia—Liam has topped the list for six years in a row, and Olivia has been the top choice for new parents for four years.

The rankings are determined by Social Security Administration (SSA) data based on applications for Social Security cards. According to their data, Social Security numbers were recorded for 3,648,019 new babies, with male births (1,863,582) edging out female births (1,784,437). That reflects a slight uptick from 2021 but an overall trend of fewer births in the U.S. since the highest year on record, 2007, which welcomed 4,330,961 new babies.

Top 10 Lists

Here’s the top 10 list for boys:

  1. Liam
  2. Noah
  3. Oliver
  4. James
  5. Elijah
  6. William
  7. Henry
  8. Lucas
  9. Benjamin
  10. Theodore

And here’s the top 10 list for girls:

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Charlotte
  4. Amelia
  5. Sophia
  6. Isabella
  7. Ava
  8. Mia
  9. Evelyn
  10. Luna

If those names sound familiar, they are. While the order is a little different, there is only one new name in the top 10, Luna, placing #10 in the list of most popular girls’ names.

For purposes of the list, variations and alternate spellings are treated as different names. That’s why Liam (1) and William (6) made the list. Ditto for Amelia (4) and Mia (8) – The Princess Diaries, anyone? That also explains why you’ll see Sophia (5) in the top ten list for girls and see Sofia (13) a little further down.

According to the agency, the top 1000 names represent about 71% of all names of U.S. births in 2022.

“Just like your name, Social Security is with you from day one. One of the first things parents do for their newborn is get them a Social Security number. That makes Social Security the ultimate source for the most popular baby names each year!” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.

Names That Changed The Most

Each year, the list also shares the names that changed the most in popularity. A change in popularity is indicated by the difference, either an increase or decrease, in ranks from one year to the next.

The names which changed the most for boys are:

  1. Dutton
  2. Kayce
  3. Chosen
  4. Khaza
  5. Eithan

And the names which changed the most for girls are:

  1. Wrenlee
  2. Neriah
  3. Arlet
  4. Georgina
  5. Amiri

Pop Culture Influence

Pop culture tends to play a part in baby names. It’s probably not a coincidence that Maverick made the list, coming in at #40 for boys. The action film, Top Gun: Maverick, grossed $1.493 billion worldwide, making it the second-highest-grossing film of 2022.

And there were clearly some Bridgerton fans among new parents. Four character names from the series made the top 100—Violet (20), Penelope (21), Anthony (44), and a top spot for Queen Charlotte (3). Eloise (86), Daphne (278), Colin (293), and Francesca (387) all made an appearance in the top 500.

If you’re curious about the popularity of a particular name, you can find out more on the SSA website. The Social Security Administration has released baby name data since 1997, although if you head over to the site, you can find data ranging well before that: Names in the database range as far back as 1880. Be prepared – it’s addictive. (Also, shout out to the 346 new baby girls named Kelly—It’s a pretty great name.)

Applying For Social Security

As noted earlier, the lists are compiled from names on Social Security card applications. Nowadays, getting a Social Security number at birth is so streamlined that the application typically happens when you submit information for the birth certificate.

If you decline to get a Social Security number for your child when you submit information for the birth certificate, you can always apply later, but that’s a little more complicated and time-consuming. You can start the process online, but if you cannot apply online, you can fill out Form SS-5. If your child is over the age of 12 when you make the application, the child has to come along with you even if you’re the person signing the application on that person’s behalf. You can find more information here.


Of course, unless you have a Gerber baby, the chances are slim that your little one will be headed to work immediately. So why get a Social Security number at birth? Taxes. Your child must have a Social Security number for you to claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return—but remember that there are no personal exemption amounts from 2018 through 2025.

If you can’t claim your child as a dependent, you can’t claim certain tax breaks, including the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the newly expanded child tax credit. Additionally, without a Social Security number for your child, you can’t file as head of household (HOH) or qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child.

Opting Out

If you don’t want a Social Security number for your child, you don’t have to get one. In particular, some folks may object to having a Social Security number assigned for religious reasons. You can request an exemption/waiver on this basis, but ironically, you must get a Social Security number. What happens, practically speaking, is that you must obtain a number solely to fill out Form 4029 for the waiver. Assuming you qualify for the exemption/waiver, you must notify SSA that this is your intention and that you do not want a card created or mailed.

History And Numbers

Most Americans do get a Social Security number. Around 453.7 million people have received Social Security numbers since the first number was issued on December 2, 1936. That first number, SSN 055-09-0001, belonged to John D. Sweeney, Jr. of New Rochelle, New York (fun fact: Sweeney never received Social Security benefits).

The numbers on your card used to mean something—the first three digits were assigned by the geographical region where the person was residing when they obtained a number. Generally, numbers were assigned beginning in the northeast and moving westward. So people on the east coast tended to have the lowest numbers, and those on the west coast had the highest numbers. The remaining six digits in the number are more or less randomly assigned and were organized to facilitate the early manual bookkeeping operations associated with the creation of Social Security in the 1930s.

In 2011, the SSA implemented a new assignment methodology for Social Security Numbers, which uses a new randomized assignment methodology.

Social Security numbers are widely used today for various purposes, although only about 40 official uses are approved by Congress. The Social Security Act also allows state and local governments to require a Social Security number for tax and other reasons. As for IRS? The agency didn’t begin using Social Security numbers as official taxpayer identification numbers until 1962—you can blame computers for the uptick.

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