If you have ever started a “bucket list” or investigated “crowdfunding,” you have put into practice the most popular words or phrases coined in 2006. As individuals reached the height of the first decade in the new millennium, creating new experiences took on an entirely new meaning. In 2006, the Merriam-Webster dictionary added the term “bucket list” to refer to experiences people wanted to achieve in their lifetimes and the word “crowdfunding” to describe the practice of raising money from a large group of people — usually via the Internet. This was also the year that, on September 26, Facebook changed from an exclusively collegiate platform to be open to anyone over the age of 13 with an email address.
In short, the year 2006 became the era of creating new aspirations and achievements — and using the internet to reach these goals as never before. As individuals' personal and professional lives developed an online presence, people may have repeatedly encountered the most popular 2006 names as they logged onto social media profiles or browsed the web.
Popular girl names in 2006 include short, attractive given names like Emily and Emma. Easy to write and type, both names have the added benefit of looking great on computer or tablet screens.
Rounding out the top five on the list of popular 2006 baby names for girls were Madison, Isabella, and Ava. Popularized as a first name for girls after the movie Splash (1984), parents in 2006 may have felt inspired after watching similar movies on YouTube.
Most Popular Girl Names in 2006
Popular boy names in 2006 included Jacob, Michael, and Joshua. The names are biblical in origin and easy to abbreviate into nicknames like “Mike” or “Josh.”
In addition to their ancient origins, these names may also reflect the year's tone of widespread self-expression. For example, Ethan (the fourth most-popular name) is Hebrew in origin but is also the name of the famous 18th-century revolutionary Ethan Allen.
Most Popular Boy Names in 2006
In other words, popular 2006 baby names were often traditional in origin but reflected the high-achieving connotations of their namesakes. Just as TIME magazine declared 2006 to be “The Year of YOU,” babies in 2006 often received names associated with self-actualization.
How Has the Popularity Shifted in 2023?
Fast forward to the present, and while some of these names continue to be popular, they have dropped down the list.
For girl’s names, Emma has kept its spot at number 2, while Emily decreased in popularity to number 17 (yet still in the top 20). Ava and Isabella are still popular among new parents to this day, landing at number 7 and 6, respectively. On the other hand, Madison — while still in the top 50 — has dropped to 34 on the list.
The name Michael went from being number 2 in 2006 to number 16 in 2023, being replaced by Noah. Furthermore, the names Ethan and Joshua decreased to the spots 211 and 60, respectively.