Many hopeful parents likely have a rough list of baby name ideas for when the time comes for them to ultimately choose a moniker for their baby. But, as we know, baby names are like fashion: ultra-popular baby names will dominate for several years, and become ultra-popular, only to become dated later on. (Linda’s of the world, unite!) So what happens when a baby name you absolutely love becomes uber-popular, and you’re worried about whether or not it will be timeless?
Thankfully, there are often plenty of alternatives you can choose from that keep the same vibe as the original option. For every Emma, there’s an Ema. For every Henry, there’s a Hank. For every Elijah, there’s Eli or Elias. And apparently, there’s one alternative to Lucas, a baby boy name that’s been the 8th most popular boy name in the U.S. three years in a row, that’s already gaining favor — at least if you look to Connecticut.
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), which tracks the most frequent names for male and female births each year, also breaks down data by state — ranking the top most popular baby names in each state every year. And in Connecticut, parents have singled out a name that’s a wonderful alternative to Lucas: Luca.
Lucas means “man from Lucania,” according to Nameberry. For families who love the name but want something a little less popular, the name Luca, a gender-neutral name that means “bringer of light” might be the perfect alternative. It’s rising in popularity, especially in Connecticut.
The top four most popular baby boy names in Connecticut — Liam, Noah, Jack, and Michael — aren’t surprising since they’re popular across the country, and they’ve been popular for a long time. But the fifth most popular boy name in the state — Luca — is different. Plus, unlike the other top names in the state, Connecticut is the only state where the name Luca is in the top five most popular baby boy names nationwide.
According to the SSA, Luca first appeared in the top 1,000 most popular names in the United States in 2000, and it’s seen a steady rise ever since. When the name first entered the top 1000 list, it was ranked at 626, and a decade later, in 2010, the name moved up to spot 272. By 2015, Luca was ranked at 157 and catapulting to rank 28 in 2022. So while it’s very popular, it’s not nearly as common as Lucas.
Plus, there are several different ways to spell Luca if you want to add another layer of uniqueness. For example, The Bump shares that you could spell the name Lucca or Luka (Dončić hive rise, for the Mavs fans out there), or you could take a small pivot and choose Luc, Luke, Lukas, or Lucien as alternatives.
Though gender neutral, the name is most commonly used for boys in the U.S. And if you love the name, you’ll be in good company.
“Colin Firth and his Italian wife chose Luca for one of their sons,” Nameberry shares, “as did Hilary Duff, Vincent d’Onofrio, Rebecca Minkoff, Jacinda Barrett, and Gabriel Macht.” Oh, and did we mention Luka Dončić?