The 10 Most Common African-American Names & Their Meaning

The 10 Most Common African-American Names & Their Meaning

These popular picks consistently make the cut for baby names.


Naming your new bundle of joy can be a joyous occasion filled with themes of legacy, family pride, and anticipation. For African-Americans, it's often tradition to name children after a parent, an elder loved one, or an esteemed leader who had impact on the parents' lives. Some also name their children with a certain term or meaning related to prosperity, longevity, wisdom, or love. The Social Security Administration regularly reports on the most popular baby names in the country. Let's explore 10 top African-American names from states that, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, have the highest percentage of African-Americans:

Most Common African-American Names & Their Meaning

1. Noah

Many are familiar with the Biblical figure who is associated with bravery, noblity, and obedience to God. From state to state, this name made numerous appearances in the top 5, and singer Trey Songz recently had a son who is named Noah. Other notable stars with this name include Broadway actor Noah Ricketts, track-and-field star Noah Lyles, and football player Noah Fant.

2. Emma

The name Emma is reportedly English in origin and means "complete", "whole", or "universal." Famous women with this name include Emma Thynn, the first black marchionese in British aristocratic history, esteemed painter Emma Amos, and author and scholar Emma Dabiri.

3. Elijah

Elijah is another popular baby name from the Bible, with a meaning associated with connection to "Yaweh" or the "Lord" as "God." Famous leaders with this name include wrestler Elijah Burke, politician Elijah Cummings, and actor Elijah Kelley.

4. Mia

The meaning of this name can vary from culture to culture and it can go super-left with "bitter", or super-positive with "mine". It's also reportedly a pet name for Maria. Leaders with this name include politician Mia Love, the first black Republican woman to be elected to Congress in Utah and voice-over star Mia Bank as well as wrestler Mia Yim.

Image via Shutterstock

5. Mason

The name Mason typically refers to a "stone layer" or "stone maker", and celebrities with this name include rapper Mase, football player Mason Foster and baseball player Mason Williams.

6. Charlotte

With French and English origins, the name Charlotte is associated with royalty. Leaders include concert singer and Howard University professor Charlotte Holloman, law pioneer Charlotte Ray, and Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III.

Image via Giphy

7. Jackson

We all know Jackson as a common last name for super-famous families from entertainment to politics, but it's also a popular first name. Its meaning is literally "son of Jack" and it originates from England. More than a few soccer players share this name including Jackson Martinez, Jackson Richardson, and Jackson Pereira.

8. Harper

Who doesn't remember the sexy author Harper (played by Taye Diggs) in The Best Man films? Well, the name has origins in Scotland, England and Ireland and refers to one who plays the harp. Celebrities who share this name are former NBA player Harper Williams, child model Harper Anthony, and Harper Rhimes, daughter of TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes.

9. Ethan

A poetic man of the Bible, Ethan was a pivotal leader in the book of Psalms. Its meaning is related to strength and firmness. Famous figures with this name include actor Ethan Herisse.

10. Ava

In Hebrew, it translates into meaning "like a bird", and it's associated with glamour and grace. Leading ladies who carry the name well are iconic filmmaker Ava DuVernay and one half of the young online influencer duo the McClure twins.

Featured image by Shutterstock