Are you expecting and trying to decide on a baby name for your new little one? Choosing a name can be one of the most fun and important steps in bringing a child into the world. Whether you're looking for something strong and classic, or unique and new, it helps to have options and examples.
If you're curious about the top baby names in Hawaii in 2023, you're in the right place! Every year, the Social Security Administration lists the top baby names of the year, but because it can take some time to compile the information, real-time reporting can be found at Names.org. While some of the names in Hawaii are similar to top names across the country, a few are more unique to the islands that make up our 50th state. Read on to learn about the top baby names in Hawaii.
Top Baby Boy Names in Hawaii
More than half of the most popular boy names in Hawaii are not predicted to be in the Social Security Administration's top ten list in 2023. These names are unique to the region and have meanings that tie back to Hawaiian culture.
Noah is a popular name nationwide and has Hebrew origins. This name is found in both the Bible and the Quran, though it's a popular name even without its Biblical roots. Interestingly, while Noah may have different spellings around the world, many countries have their own variations of the name. In Hebrew, this name means “rest” as well.
Last year, Noah was the most popular name in Hawaii. It's also ranked as the second most popular name nationwide.
In Hawaiian culture, Kai means “the sea.” It has other meanings across the world, however, though all meanings are similar. In Japan, this name means “ocean” or “shell.” While the exact origin of this name isn't known, it's popular in many cultures and is most popular in Hawaii.
Kai didn't reach the SSA's top ten list this year, but it continues to be a popular name The Aloha State, moving from the #3 spot to the #2 spot since last year.
Liam continues to be one of the most popular names across the nation. Not only was ranked #1 last year countrywide but it was also ranked #2 in Hawaii.
With Irish origins, Liam is the shortened version of Uilliam. It's also thought to be the shortened form of the old Germanic name, William. Liam is a strong name and means “protector,” “helmet of will,” or “guardian.” In Irish, it's also thought to mean “strong-willed warrior.”
The name Oliver comes from a few different backgrounds. In Latin, Oliver signifies peace like an olive branch and means “olive tree” or “one who plants an olive tree.” In French and German, the name also uniquely signifies an “elf army.” Either way, this name signifies dignity and peace.
Oliver also moved up from the #6 spot to the #4 place this year in Hawaii. It also continues to be one of the most popular names in the nation, consistently hitting the SSA's top 10 list.
Maverick is a unique name that doesn't rank in the top 10 in the nation. However, it was the seventh most popular name in Hawaii last year and continues to grow in popularity here.
Made famous by pop culture characters with the same name, Maverick signifies independence and a free spirit. Its origin is American and dates back to the 1800s when a Texas rancher by the name of Samuel Maverick made his mark by refusing to brand his cattle. In the 1950s, the TV show Maverick hit the air and afterward, this name made its debut on the Social Security Administration's most popular list. Made more famous by the main character in the 1986 classic Top Gun, and again by the sequel in 2022, Maverick continues to grow in popularity.
Luca is another name that's more unique to Hawaii and doesn't make the top ten list nationally. It also continues to make strides in popularity as it moved from the #15 spot last year to #6 this year in the state.
The name Luca originates from Latin America and is a popular name in countries like Italy, Spain, and Portugal. It's also the shortened version of Lucas and a different take on the name Luke, meaning “bringer of light.” Luca first hit the charts in 2000 and continues to grow in popularity. It is also the name of a famous Disney/Pixar movie released in 2021.
Similar to Luca, Luke is a name that has deep roots and revolves around the meaning of light. It's a shortened version of the Latin name Lucas, or the Greek name Loukas, and officially means “light-giving.” It's also a popular Biblical name as Luke the Evangelist was known for his work writing the Gospel of Luke.
While Lucas is on the SSA's top 10 list, Luke is not. It appears to be growing in popularity in Hawaii, though, as it moved from the #22 spot last year to the #7 spot this year.
Coming in at #8 is the name Levi, which means “joined” or “united.” This is also a popular name found in the Bible as it's the name of Jacob and Leah's son in the Old Testament. Because of its background, you can probably guess that the name originates from Hebrew culture and language.
Levi is another name that isn't as popular across the country, but it continues to grow in popularity in Hawaii.
Continuing with the Hebrew and Biblical trend, Ezekiel was a well-known prophet known for writing a book in the Old Testament sharing the same title as his name. With Hebrew origins, the name means “strength of God.” A popular nickname for Ezekiel is simply Zeke, which has also grown in popularity over recent years.
While Ezekiel isn't on the SSA's top ten list from last year, it holds steady as being one of the top ten names in Hawaii.
Interestingly, the name James isn't even in the top 25 most popular names in Hawaii last year. However, it continues to be a popular name nationwide and was even ranked as the fourth most popular in the country last year.
James is another Biblical name with Hebrew origins. Translated, it means “supplanter” or “one who takes the heel.” James derives from the name Jacob so the two names have the same meaning. While Jacob is well-known from the Biblical story of two brothers, Jacob and Esau, James is a more traditional name that's been given to kings, presidents, and nobles throughout history.
Top Baby Girl Names in Hawaii
Only a few names below are unique to Hawaii itself. Many of the most popular girl names in the state are also popular nationwide. Let's take a closer look!
Similar to Oliver, Olivia has Latin roots that relate to an olive tree. Olivia is a name that signifies peace, and the name first became popular in the 17th century after William Shakespeare used it as a character name in one of his plays. Popular nicknames for Olivia are Liv, Olive, and Vivi.
This name has also been in the SSA's top ten most popular since 2001 and continues to hold the #1 ranking in both the state of Hawaii and nationally.
Luna is a name that's continued to grow in popularity in recent years after it made its first appearance on the SSA's list in 2003. It was ranked #10 in the United States last year and #4 in Hawaii.
With Latin roots, Luna means “moon” in more than one language. It was also the name of a goddess in Roman mythology which the Romans idolized because they used the moon to help them calculate dates and times. The name Luna is often thought to be strong, brave, and charming.
While it isn't clear where the name Ameilia originates, it gained popularity when English kings George II and George III passed the name on to their daughters in the 17th century. Amelia is thought to mean “industrious” or “hard-working” and you may find other spelling variations of the name like Emelia and Amilia. Popular nicknames include Mia and Millie.
The name has steadily grown in popularity over the years. It's currently the fourth most popular name in the U.S. and only dropped from the #2 position this year in Hawaii.
Isla is a popular name in Hawaii, even though it doesn't make the Social Security Administration's top ten list. Its uniqueness makes it a popular one for parents who are looking for less popular, strong, female names. In fact, Isla has only made it to the nation's top 50 names in the past decade.
The origins of the name are unclear, but some believe it's derived from the name of a Scottish island called Islay. The name Isla also means “island” in Spanish, making it a popular name in both Scottish and Spanish cultures, though it continues to grow in popularity worldwide.
While popularly used in British royalty and through many cultures, Sophia has a Greek origin and means “wisdom.” It was first used by the Greek Orthodox Church as they celebrated and honored St. Sophia. Throughout the Middle Ages, this name was given to English queens and other royalty. Sophia is thought to be a traditional and sophisticated name.
Sophia is also a popular name both nationwide and in Hawaii. It was ranked #6 last year by the Social Security Administration and continues to hold its top 5 ranking in Hawaii.
Due to its soft vowel sounds and easy pronunciation, Ava is a name that continues to be popular in both the United States and Hawaii. It was ranked #7 nationally last year and moved up to the #6 spot from #7 in Hawaii.
The name Ava has many different origins. It's most popularly thought to have Latin roots and come from the Latin word avis, which means “birds.” In Hebrew, the name Ava means “life” and in Persian culture, it means “voice.” You may also see the name spelled Eva. The name has also fluctuated in popularity throughout history, gaining momentum during medieval times and again in the 1950s before hitting the top ten list in 2005.
Mia is also a popular nickname for Amelia, so it's no surprise that it hits the list of top ten names both nationally and in Hawaii.
The origin of the name Mia is unclear, but it's thought to have Latin roots, meaning “mine.” Some also believe it's a shortened version of the name Maria which comes from the Hebrew name Miryam. It didn't become popular in the United States until the early 2000s, however.
Similar to its male counterpart, Kai, Kaia is a popular Hawaiian name that also means “sea.” However, it's thought to have originated from Scandinavian culture where it means “life” or “pure.” Pronounced, kai-uh, the name has only recently grown in popularity since 2000.
While Kaia was not on the SSA's top ten list this past year, it moved up from the #9 spot in Hawaii.
Similar to Mia, the origin of the name Evelyn isn't entirely clear. Some believe it stems from the French surname Aveline, while others believe it's a mix of two names: Eve (Hebrew for “alive”) and Lynn (Welsh for “lake”). Either way, the name has been used for more than a century and continues to be popular for new babies.
In the U.S., Evelyn was ranked as the ninth most popular name last year. In Hawaii, this name only hit the top 25 list last year, while moving to the top 10 list this year.
Like a few other names on this list, Mila is popular in Hawaii, but not as popular nationwide. It doesn't make the Social Security top ten list, but it continues to round out Hawaii's top ten.
Some believe the name Mila has Spanish roots and means “miracles.” Others believe the name has a Russian or Slavic origin that means “gracious” or “favored one.” While Mila has only recently become popular in the United States (only after hitting the SSA's list in 2006), it's a well-known and traditional name in other countries. It's also considered to be the nickname for Milena, Camila, and Emilia.
While some of the names discussed here are popular countrywide, a few are popular in Hawaii and its culture. One thing is clear, however. Traditional and short, easy-to-pronounce names remain popular into the 2020s.
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