Top 10 Baby Names of 2009
Move over Emma & Jacob – pop culture names reign supreme.
by Paula Bernstein
Move over, Emma, and make room for the new queen of baby names. Isabella stole Emma’s crown, becoming the most popular girl’s name of 2009.
Social Security has just released their annual list of most popular baby names. For the 11th year in a row, Jacob held the top spot for boys. New to the top 10 this year for boys are Jayden and Noah, and for girls, Mia.
Pop culture has clearly made its mark on the list. In fact, many of the most popular names – and the fastest risers on the list – are straight out of Twilight, in particular, lead vampire Edward Cullen.
While Edward moved up only 11 spots to #137, Cullen was the biggest riser among boys’ names, moving up 297 spots, to #485. Jacob is another character in Twilight, but the name has been popular long before the vampire series began.Many of the most popular names – and the fastest risers on the list – are straight out of Twilight, in particular, lead vampire Edward Cullen.
Isabella, the top girls name, is the full name of Bella, Twilight’s lead female character.
A little more than 22,000 girls born in 2009 were named Isabella, followed by Emma, Olivia, Sophia and Ava. Nearly 21,000 boys were named Jacob, followed by Ethan, Michael, Alexander and William.
Politics also affected the list. Maliyah, a variation of Obama’s daughter Malia’s name, made the biggest jump among girls’ names, moving up 342 spots, to #296. Malia came in at #192, rising 153 spots. Sasha, Obama’s other daughter’s name, moved up 101 spots to #261.
I hope Mrs. Obama doesn’t take it personally that Michelle dropped a spot from last year, to #104.
Barack is still only the most 1,993rd most popular name for boys, but that’s up from #2,424 the prior year.
Celebrities are notorious for branding their kids with strange names. Rob Morrow named his daughter Tu Morrow, and Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale gave their little bundle of joy the memorable name Zuma Nesta Rock.
But don’t let the popularity (or unpopularity) of a name influence you too much. When my husband and I were picking out a name for our first child, we nixed our first name choice for a girl, Hannah, because it was so high on the list. Since my daughter, Jesse, was born in 2002, I haven’t met any other Hannahs in our neighborhood, but I have met another girl named Jesse.
Then, when it came time to pick #2′s name, we chose Ruby, which was far down on the list (and still is nationally), but in our neighborhood, it’s as popular as Jennifer was when I was growing up.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported earlier this spring that 3% of parents regret their choice of baby name and would change it if they could. Alexandra Jacobs had second thoughts about naming her son Seymour.
For all the latest news in baby names, as well as a comprehensive list of girl and boy names, their meanings, popularity, and history, check out Babble.com’s Baby Name resource.