There might not be official statistics for the most popular middle name right now, but this naming expert is cracking the code in her way.
Times change and people come up with innovative names for their babies. Some are inspired by their favorite artists, while others might be inspired by their favorite fictional characters. Similarly, people are obsessed with finding the perfect middle name for their little ones. A few decades ago, names like Marie or Elizabeth used to be at their peak of popularity, but they are still as popular as ever. Personalized baby name consultant Colleen Slagen—who goes by @namingbebe on TikTok—might have the answer to that question since she has built her whole career around researching suitable names for babies.
"What is the modern-day 'Marie' of middle names? Like 80–90% of girls born in the '80s or '90s had Marie or Elizabeth as a middle name," Slagen says at the beginning of her video, "I wish we had middle name data to get an accurate answer." Even though the Social Security Administration maintains a registry of trending first names for each year, they don't have a specific registry for ranking middle names. So here is where baby name experts like Slagen come in, who have to rely on their first-hand knowledge and experience of naming.
Slagen starts her video by mentioning the first name she thinks is trending as a popular middle name and it's called "James." "So, what's the new 'Marie,' in terms of trendiness? It has to be James," says Slagen, "Everyone is using this. I hear it everywhere with every type of name style. Sutton James. Everly James. Amelia James. Grace James. It works with everything. While I'd love to hate it, it just sounds too good. It's like instantly adding a shiny top coat to your child's name. It's also a family name for so many people, so, like Marie, you get that significance."
Then she moves on to other popular middle names such as Mae, Lou and Belle. "In terms of the modern-day equivalent to Marie, so more feminine, traditional. I think it's these one-syllable, sort of Southern Belle-type names. Like Mae, especially, and then Lou and Belle," Slagen shares. "I still hear my fair share of Grace, Rose and Jane in the middle. All of which I love."
"It is more in vogue now, just like with first names, to give your child a stylish and stunning first and middle name combination that will be printed on an Etsy banner above their crib," Slagen adds. Slagen wraps up her video with a fun question for her audience, "What are the other middle names you are hearing a lot and if you were born in the 80s or 90s, what is your middle name?" People shared their experiences with hearing a bunch of popular middle names from the past and present.
@lovewhatyousell joked: "As a Grace, I would have to say Grace is the new Marie. Everyone I meet tells me it’s their daughter/niece/granddaughter's middle name." @morganmiller11422 wrote: "Born in 1996 and my middle name is Dolores. I think that’s why I was so adamant about an uncommon middle name for my daughter." @beyondthecee shared: "I joke that the women in my family have the most generic middle names. Mine is Marie (95). Mom’s is Lynn (70), sisters are Renee (94) and Ann (98)." @ladyfinnegan quipped: "When I think of 80s middle names, I think of Marie, Lynn, Nicole and Renee."