When considering a name for your new baby girl, consider choosing one beginning with the letter J. According to data from the Social Security official website, U.S. females since the year 2000 with a name beginning with J have declined from an average of 8.5-9% of the female population to somewhere in the low 6% range in more recent years.* As such, parents wanting names that are a little less common can find something that’s special and powerful in ones starting with the letter J!
Tracking trends in baby names can be really fascinating. Just look at the name Jessica, which held the title as the most popular female baby name from 1993 to 1995. In 2017, Jessica ranked only 248th in popularity among female baby names. Jennifer is another name that has waned in popularity, after enjoying status as the most popular girl's name from 1970 to 1984. Amazingly enough, Jennifer ranked only 310th in 2017. What’s popular today might not be tomorrow, and vice versa.
If the letter J has significance for you, there are numerous choices out there! It’s impossible to sift through every single name out there, so let’s just look at the 10 best girl names that start with J.
This name is the female form of Julius, which carries a Roman origin. It is thought to be derived from the word Iulius, which refers to the first facial hair a person grows. This has resulted in the word carrying with it a connotation of youth. Some of the early historical references to women with the name Julia are Julia Augusta, who was married to the Roman emperor Augustus. The name Julia appears in the New Testament, and William Shakespeare uses it in his play Two Gentlemen of Verona. In the present day, actress Julia Roberts has borne her moniker to great success. Great company, if you ask me!
Also derived from the same etymological roots are the names Juliana, Julianna, and Juliette.
A notable Juliana in history was Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands (from 1948 until 1980). Today, famous people with the title Juliana include Brazilian actress Juliana Baroni and American mountain biker Juliana Furtado. As such, Julianas can be daring and bold, making it the perfect name for any girl.
Emmy award-winning actress Julianna Margulies is widely known today for her work in the popular TV show ER. It has the same roots has Julia, which means that this title has a noble and prestigious past. That makes Julianna perfect for representing strong, independent daughters.
Juliette is a French variant of Juliet. William Shakespeare made this title one of the most recognizable and highly regarded names in the English-speaking world through his esteemed play Romeo and Juliet. In addition to having some literary precedence, Juliettes today also give their monker prestige. Juliette Gordon Low, for example, was the founder of the U.S. Girl Scouts. That's right--you have a Juliette to thank for those delicious cookies!
Josephine is the English equivalent of the French Joséphine, which is the feminine form of the traditionally masculine name Joseph. This name is derived from the Hebrew Yosef, which means “God will add (grow, increase).” Notable people include the Empress Josephine, who was the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte; he famously wrote his wife many love letters.
Josie, a pet name taken from Josephine, also makes its way onto this list. When hearing this title, many probably think of the iconic comic-turned-TV cartoon (and eventually the feature film) Josie and the Pussycats. While parents have primarily assigned Josie to females, sometimes they also apply it to males. Think of the Clint Eastwood movie The Outlaw Josie Wales, for example. Mr. Eastwood plays Josie, a perfect example of the masculine use of the name. As such, this nice-sounding name is also a great unisex option.
Jade is a relative newcomer to the baby-name scene, first coming into widespread use in the 1970s. Referring to the precious stone of the same name, it is derived originally from a Spanish word meaning “stone of the flank.” British singer, songwriter, and actress Jade Louise Ewen is one of the more notable people with the moniker Jade. It’s simple and elegant, making it a classic choice.
Of Persian origin, the name Jasmine is a reference to the fragrant and colorful plant of the same name. The original Persian name was Yasmin, meaning “Gift from God.” Most people nowadays probably remember Princess Jasmine riding around on a magic carpet from Disney’s Aladdin franchise. This name definitely carries a lot of personality.
Jordyn is a derivative of the name Jordan, which many parents use for their both male and female children. The name comes from the Hebrew Yarden, meaning “to flow down or descend.” It is also the name of the river that flows between the countries of Israel and Jordan. This title also has a distinct biblical connotation, as John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. Notable people bearing this moniker include Olympic gold medal winner Jordyn Wieber, a former member of the highly successful U.S. women’s gymnastic team that was dubbed the “Fierce Five.”
Jocelyn comes from the French surname Joscelin, which emerged from the presently out-of-use name Gautzelin. Gautzelin (or Gautselin), is rooted in the name Gauts from the Germanic tribe the Goths. Interestingly enough, Jocelyn at one time was used only as a masculine moniker, but is now almost exclusively given to female children in the United States. In France, however, parents still often name their sons Jocelyn. Notable people include Jocelyn Bell Burnell, a noted astrophysicist from Northern Ireland.
*Note: Statistics on the popularity of these names/number of babies given these names are based on available data of U.S. births, as reported by the official Social Security website.