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.
Top Ten Baby Names for 2009:
1. Isabella – Jacob
2. Emma – Ethan
3 Olivia – Michael
4. Sophia – Alexander
5. Ava – William
6. Emily – Joshua
7. Madison – Daniel
8. Abigail – Jayden
9. Chloe – Noah
10.Mia – Anthony
Pop culture and politics has clearly made its mark on the list. Barack still didn’t crack the top 1,000 for boys, but a version of the president’s daughter’s name, Malia, was the fastest riser for girls.
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 No. 137 , Cullen was the biggest riser among boys’ names, moving up 297 spots, to No. 485. Jacob is another character in “Twilight,” but the name has been popular long before the vampire series began.
Isabella, the top girls name, is the full name of Bella, the lead female character in “Twilight.”
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.
Maliyah, a variation of Obama’s daughter Malia’s name, made the biggest jump among girls’ names, moving up 342 spots, to No. 296. Malia came in at No. 192, rising 153 spots. Sasha, Obama’s other daughter’s name, moved up 101 spots, to No. 261.
I hope Mrs. Obama doesn’t take it personally that Michelle dropped a spot from last year, to No. 104.
Barack is still only the most 1,993rd most popular name for boys, but that’s up from No. 2,424 the prior year.
Miley Cyrus (128 to 189) and Lindsay Lohan (381 to 524), take note. Your first names dropped in popularity last 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.
Over the past decade, there has been a trend towards more unusual names.
Don’t let the popularity (or unpopularity) of a name influence you too much. Regional differences in naming are significant. When my husband and I were picking out a name for our first child in 2002, we nixed Hannah, our first name choice for a girl, because it was so high on the list. Instead, we opted for Jesse (unusual spelling and all). Ironically, I haven’t met any other Hannahs in our Brooklyn neighborhood, but I have met another girl named Jesse.
Then, in 2005, when it came time to pick #2’s name, we chose Ruby, which was #130 on the list (it’s now 108). Now when we call out little Ruby’s name on the playground, a gaggle of girls come running. It seems to be as popular in our neck of the woods as Jennifer was when I was growing up in the 70s.
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.
Check out Babble’s guide to Baby Names.