May 14, 2012

Sophia is the new #1 girl's name, knocking Isabella down to second place.

Meanwhile, Jacob continues its dominance in the boy's category.

The up-and-coming boy's name is Mason, jumping 10 places to #2... pretty obviously caused by Kourtney Kardashian naming her kid that.
The fastest rising name for girls: Briella, which jumped 394 spots, to No. 497. Briella Calafiore stars in "Jerseylicious," a reality TV show about battling stylists at a beauty salon in Green Brook, N.J. She's also in a spinoff called "Glam Fairy."

Brantley was the fastest rising name for boys, jumping 416 spots to No. 320. Brantley Gilbert is a singer who had a No. 1 country hit called "Country Must Be Country Wide."
Pop culture, baby.
... Elvis returned to the list at No. 904, after dropping off for a year. When Elvis dropped off the in 2010, it ended a run that had started in 1955.
Pop culture.

Here's the Social Security Administrations chart showing the changes from last year to this year. You can do a search there too. I checked my own name, which is just about to fall off the list, at 996. It was #493 in 2000, and it's dropped almost steadily since then. People in the "Ann" zone are going with Anna, which is #38. Ana, Anne, and Annie are all more popular than Ann.

88 comments:

Original Mike said...

"...knocking Michael out of the top five for the first time in 63 years"

I'm crushed.

Robert Cook said...

I think a lovely girl's name is "Ariadne."

"Briella" and "Brantley" are both for the birds!

Paddy O said...

Hey, the O family is in the Ann zone too.

Our new daughter, Vianne. Which doesn't rank in the top 1000 from anytime period. It did rank #1 for me and my wife when we heard it while watching Chocolat.

Means 'alive', and appropriate given she was born on Easter--which was entirely a coincidence (or maybe not!).

Tibore said...

Brantley??

cubanbob said...

Why do people insist on giving children ridiculous names? They ought to consider how the name will sound to the child when he or she is forty or more years old.

Mitchell said...

One has to admit that Mason sounds better than Electrician, Roofer, or Pipefitter.

Tibore said...

Oh, as an aside, speaking of "Sophia" and "Bella":

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuggleSam

There's at least one pair of parents out there who are all for those two names being the top ones for girls.

john said...

"Monica" is still in decline.

Mitchell said...

It comes as something of a surprise to find that Keeping Up with the Kardashians" has been more influential than Downton Abbey.

Lyssa said...

I've been struggling to come up with boy's names that are both not weird and not overly common. It's fairly easy for girl's names, but very difficult for boys.

Right now, I'm entertaining: Clark, Riley, and Dalton, but I'm still looking really hard. I won't do Michael or Jacob or Christopher (or, I guess now, Mason, though I'd never have thought of that one), because I don't want the kid to be one of multitudes, but I also don't want anything that folks can't pronounce or spell or immediately identify as a name (Brantley?), or that people immediately associate with only one thing or person (i.e., Elvis).

This is much, much easier for girl's names. I wonder why that is.

Balfegor said...

Right now, I'm entertaining: Clark, Riley, and Dalton, but I'm still looking really hard. I won't do Michael or Jacob or Christopher (or, I guess now, Mason, though I'd never have thought of that one), because I don't want the kid to be one of multitudes, but I also don't want anything that folks can't pronounce or spell or immediately identify as a name (Brantley?), or that people immediately associate with only one thing or person (i.e., Elvis).

How about something like Titus, Granville, Severian, or Havergal? Or what about Pelham? (I would be horrible at naming babies)

MadisonMan said...

My names was in the teens back when I was born. Alas, ever since I acquired the moniker, its popularity has dropped, to beyond 300 now.

I'd like to think it's not my fault.

Bruce Hayden said...

How about something like Titus...

Don't know about that one. Likely to think about one of our somewhat periodic posters, though we haven't heard that much recently about his sexual exploits.

Nothing against the poster who has or uses that name here, but I think that if I were to name a kid (boy or girl) that, I would keep thinking too much about the images that he has put into my head over the last couple of years.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

None of "Barrack", "Hussein", and "Obama" rank in the top 1000.

"Sasha" is 374. "Malia" is 314. Even the first pet, "Bo", is a more popular name than the president's name, coming in at 763.

"Bristol" has gained each year since Sarah Palin became a national firgure. Now at 434.

"Willow" is 202. However, "Trig" and "Trak" didn't make the top 1000.

Lyssa said...

MadMan: My names was in the teens back when I was born. Alas, ever since I acquired the moniker, its popularity has dropped, to beyond 300 now.

I'd like to think it's not my fault.


My name was in the top 5 the year that I was born, and it's now hovering around 200. Sigh. I looked up all of the other really common girls names from when I was growing up, and they were the same (Jessica, Jennifer, Heather, Stephanie). Weird how that works.

EMD said...

Right now, I'm entertaining: Clark, Riley, and Dalton, but I'm still looking really hard. I won't do Michael or Jacob or Christopher (or, I guess now, Mason, though I'd never have thought of that one), because I don't want the kid to be one of multitudes, but I also don't want anything that folks can't pronounce or spell or immediately identify as a name (Brantley?), or that people immediately associate with only one thing or person (i.e., Elvis).

Seven.

EMD said...

Of course, we were part of the beginning of the Ethan trend.

He's 9, and there are 2 other Ethans on his baseball team.

Named after a revolutionary war hero and a fictional bigoted confederate soldier.

Chip S. said...

From the SS site:

Barack is not in the top 1000 names for any year of birth in the last 12 years.
Please enter another name.


Wow. People are simply fascinated by the guy.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Sophia is the new #1 girl's name, knocking Isabella down to second place."

I might have a problem with Isabella. A GF named her mare that (and her gelding is "Beauty"). Gorgeous Friesians.

Still a horse though, which reminds me of the final scene in an Indiana Jones movie where we find out that "Indiana" was the dog's name, and he was really named after his father, "Henry".

Shanna said...

This is much, much easier for girl's names. I wonder why that is.

Because when people get tired of the existing girls name, they just steal boys names! Endless supply of new girl names, diminshing supply of boy ones :)

My name isn't in the top 1000.

BarrySanders20 said...

It seems that androgynous names that blur the distinction between male and female are still popular. I don't know why people would leave others guessing the sex even after hearing the name.

The pop culture influence, though pervasive, reflects superficiality. I bet we start to see little Ritalin, Paxil and Zoloft soon.

And how about App or Avatar or little Download?

I like me some Bible names (particularly Old Testament). Fire and brimstone. But just as you cannot control all the influences on the child's life, you also cannot control the name forever -- kids are going to pick up nicknames along the way anyway.

Later on, the kid might appreciate a name that looks good on letterhead or in print.

edutcher said...

A lot of traditional names from the Bible and names of the Saints.

Looks like we're getting away from the romance novel style names.

Thank Heaven.

One thing about an old name, a kid can look it up and see it means something.

Lyssa said...

I've been struggling to come up with boy's names that are both not weird and not overly common. It's fairly easy for girl's names, but very difficult for boys.

A few from my family - Edward (or Edmond), Alexander, Arthur, Charles, or William.

Try the Old Testament - plenty of good strong men's names. There are also the Apostles' names and those of the Saints (no idea your religious background). And don't forget your ethnic ancestry and your husband's - Old English, Irish, Russian, Greek, or Scandanavian will also have strong choices.

Paddy O said...

"I've been struggling to come up with boy's names that are both not weird and not overly common. It's fairly easy for girl's names, but very difficult for boys."

That was precisely our goal too! And it is harder for boys. We found a girl's name we liked pretty early but are only kind of pleased with our potential boys name.

Paddy O said...

"Try the Old Testament"

Almost everyone we know has OT names for their boys these days. The only ones left are the truly odd ones. I mean, sure, Nebuchadnezzar is a strong name, but Neb is a goofy nickname.

ricpic said...

Sophia and Isabella both sound affected to me. When is a really ugly but unaffected name like Ethel gonna make a comeback?

traditionalguy said...

I want a recall election. Or is that a recount?

If the Jacob is translated to James which was #17 in itself , then we win.

What happened to Willie Smith? That was the most popular name on Judgement Fi Fa's in Fulton County, Ga for many years. It's only #614.

OK, Willie has to go into William's box which was #3.

BarrySanders20 said...

Nebuchadnezzar is a strong name, but Neb is a goofy nickname.

But Zar is a great nickname.

As an infant, he's the Bottle Zar.

As a youth, the Candy Zar.

As a teen, the Car Zar.

As a college kid, the Beer Zar.

Etc.

Bruce Hayden said...

It seems that androgynous names that blur the distinction between male and female are still popular. I don't know why people would leave others guessing the sex even after hearing the name.

One problem there - some names cross over over a period of time. Some of my family names have done so. Always wanted to name a daughter "Meridith". My mother's mother was a Meridith - a family name from Wales. Then, it was a boys' name, and now a girls' name. My last name seems to be moving in the same direction, as are some other family surnames.

Bruce Hayden said...

Well, my last was probably a bad example. The Welsh apparently swapped names back a forth a bit. And, I shouldn't complain - apparently my first name moved from a Scotch last name or title to where it mostly is today. Just hasn't gone over to the dark side yet.

Shanna said...

family surnames

I love the use of a mothers side maiden name for the boys name (that's where my brother's name came from, and a cousin did the same). I like family names in general, too. If you go back far enough you are sure to find a name you like.

sleepless nights said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gutless said...

Lyssa said...

I've been struggling to come up with boy's names that are both not weird and not overly common. It's fairly easy for girl's names, but very difficult for boys.

How about Walid? Nice name and great nick name, Wally.

I note that for the umpteenth straight year Gutless didn't make the list. BTW, I actually go by Les.

BarrySanders20 said...

"My last name seems to be moving in the same direction, as are some other family surnames."

I noticed that quite a few names use the _ayden suffix, starting with just plain Aiden/Ayden: Brayden, Hayden, Jayden, Kayden.

Along with Meredith is Leslie as a name that switched.

Jordan and Riley still seem to be vying for a domniant gender.

acm said...

I have a few solid boy names in mind, not too popular, that you might like, Lyssa. Nathaniel, Jefferson, Carson, Cormac and Gabriel. My husband talked me out of Benedict and Linus, two of my favorite saint names, but I thought they would've been lovely as middle names.

As for the "Ann/Anna" thing---I was born in 1983 with the name Anna and I've been correcting people who insist on calling me Ann all my life. Really, people, it's already a pretty short name, there's no need to cut off that one little "a". If it wasn't that, it was people mistaking it for "Amanda" which was the name of at least one other girl in my grade every year---no other Annas. The past year, though, it seems like every other four year old in my neighborhood is named Anna. If I'm at the park with my daughter, I spend half the time resisting the urge to turn around when I hear my name called.

Original Mike said...

"When is a really ugly but unaffected name like Ethel gonna make a comeback?"

Who would name their kid after a gasoline?

Freeman Hunt said...

I have one son whose name has never been in the top 1000, one whose name was number two in the year of his birth, and one whose year isn't available yet.

Bob said...

I like to use the Baby Name Wizard, which shows naming trends in graph form for the last 100 years. Robert, I'm sad to say, had its heyday around 1920 and has declined in popularity ever since.

EMD said...

One problem there - some names cross over over a period of time. Some of my family names have done so. Always wanted to name a daughter "Meridith". My mother's mother was a Meridith - a family name from Wales. Then, it was a boys' name, and now a girls' name. My last name seems to be moving in the same direction, as are some other family surnames.

My middle name is Meredith. As is my father's. We have Welsh ancestry.

My daughter is Madelyn Ellen Meredith

Ken said...

Seriously, people name their kid Maverick? And to such an extent that it jumped 80 places?

rhhardin said...

Adolf is due for a comeback.

Ken said...

BarrySanders,

You're not the only one.

MadisonMan said...

Favorite old-fashioned girl's names: Mabel, Dorothy, Jessica, Mildred, Alice.

These were all ancestors of mine.

Carol said...

seemed like every boomer guy I knew was named Steve, Mike, or Mark.

If I had a kid, the names would be straight out of the NT. Angels and saints can't be beat, for aspirational intent anyway.

Alan said...

knocking Isabella down to second place

Isabella in the top 2? Oh dear sweet Cthulhu no. That's the name of the Twilight central character.

edutcher said...

rhhardin said...

Adolf is due for a comeback.

Jawohl, but you might want to spell it with a 'ph'.

MadisonMan said...

Seriously, people name their kid Maverick?

You're all individuals!

yes, We're all individuals!!

samanthasmom said...

It's been hundreds of years since my name made the list
-Maleficent

Schorsch said...

"Archer" is another pop culture reference: the eponymous foul-mouthed, narcissistic, alcoholic spy from the (wonderful) animated spoof. Not exactly like naming your kid "Dougie" after MacArthur, but hey, it's not your life, after all.

Pogo said...

No boys named Sue?

Schorsch said...

Also:
-"Dexter," a serial killer with a conscience
-"Axel," a washed-up rocker who refused to show up for his award
-"Xander" and "Zander," which combined must mean that Buffy fans are starting to have kids
-"Ashton," the man-child who is twice the recipient of sloppy seconds

Carol said...

Ann is a swell name. So are Mary, Theresa, but Martha not so much. Too 50s-ish.

But anything is better than the endless proleferation of Jaydens, Kaylees, Kay-Leighs, Kaytee-Lees, ad nauseam.

Pogo said...

Just don't call me late for dinner.

netmarcos said...

Among the names in my own family (children and siblings) are Joshua, Cade, Eli, Aaron, John, Paul, Scott, Brent, with Ann, Lori, Chelsea...
I couldn't name any of my children after my granparents nor those of my wife; the male name choices were Milton, Wesley, Chester, and Clarence.

Pogo said...

Call me Ishmael.

Rabel said...

Hazel comes in at 211 with a bullet.

Who'd a thunk it.

Carnifex said...

@Lyssa

Definitely Dalton. Why? ROADHOUSE

Carnifex said...

I tried to talk my stepson into using a name from 1 of my favorite books for our grandson, instead of Jacob. My suggestions of Zaphod Beeblebrox, or Slartibartfast, were both shot down, alas.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

acm,

I second Gabriel and Nathaniel. Would add Gideon. (Though you can't abbreviate that one, unless you want to go through life as "Giddy.")

Pogo said...

I named our daughter after an Elvis Costello song.

But we found it increasingly annoying to say What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding?, so we started calling her Lipstick Vogue.

Dan in Philly said...

Muhammed continues to rocket up the charts...

traditionalguy said...

Point of interest: When a Jacob/James has a son born of him ( .e., Ben Jacob, in Hebrew), then he is called BenJamin, which is my son's name.

Freeman Hunt said...

Interestingly our first, who has a pop culture name, is the one whose name has never been in the top 1000. I do know of a film scholar who gave his son the same name though.

Curious George said...

#165 on the charts but #1 in your heart: George!

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

I checked my own name, which is just about to fall off the list, at 996.

Names like Ann and Jane always seem to come back. People get tired of naming kids stuff like Cheyenne.

(after all, only man could really own it...)

Schorsch said...

"Archer" is another pop culture reference: the eponymous foul-mouthed, narcissistic, alcoholic spy from the (wonderful) animated spoof. Not exactly like naming your kid "Dougie" after MacArthur, but hey, it's not your life, after all.

I doubt anyone ever called him, "Dougie", but nothing wrong with Douglas.

Carol said...

Ann is a swell name. So are Mary, Theresa, but Martha not so much. Too 50s-ish

Martha was the sister of Mary Magdalene. Hardly 50s-ish, unless you mean the 1850s.

Curious George said...

"Pogo said...
No boys named Sue?"

They went with Bill or George.

LarsPorsena said...

Lots of girls names LaShonda (or variations thereof) around my area. Hum? Didn't see it on the list.

Ipso Fatso said...

Viagra is a good girls name as is Levitra. Just sayin....

Alan said...

What happens when the girls with -shonda and -quisha names grow up and find out that their names aren't in those "what your name means" books? They'll have to stop publishing those books because they're so discriminatory.

(FYI, Ann means "gracious." Source: zelo.com.)

Bill White said...

You can use Wolfram Alpha to play around with Social Security name data. Go to wolframalpha.com and type, for instance, madison name or madison vs brianna for a comparison of statistics.

PaulV said...

My mom was an indentical twin born in 1915. She was Bertha and her sister Beulah. The doctor named them. Their mother was a Beulah and his sister who died five years before her and looked a lot like my grandmother. He told the family that the twins were another Bertha and Beulah. Just after Krup named the gun used to shell Paris from 75 miles away after his daughter "Big Bertha". Bertha became unpopular. So did Beulah for some reason. Beulah sent her daughter a package with newspaper as filling. Laura reads everything. There was article explaing that Bertha and Beulah had become 2 of the 3 most unpopular names for babies of the female persuasion.

Pogo said...

Her Name was Bertha, Bertha Butt, one of the Butt sisters

Tari said...

Both my boys have very traditional names that rank very high, but strangely enough, neither of them has been on a team or in a class with a guy who shared his name.

And they have those ordinary names for a reason: both my husband and I have spent a good deal of time over the years explaining how to spell and pronounce our first (and last) names. It gets dull after a while.

deborah said...

Pogo and PaulV, my sister and I were recently discussing that Lil' John vid because we had two great-aunts named Beulah and Bertha. But I had it confused with the Gitarzan vid by Hoolihan and Big Chuck. Any fans? It was the highlight of my week. Every Friday night around 11:30 they'd run old-fashioned horror shows.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhlFlBiO7LY&feature=related

Ralph L said...

People (the few who've heard of it) pronounce tiny Sophia, NC, as Soh'fee ah. I wonder what percentage of girls go by Sof eye ah. We had Sophronia's in our family, which I always liked the sound of.

My 10 y.o. niece Mary may grow up the only Mary she knows, yet in my mother Mary's time, it was by far the most popular girl's name for decades.

My cousin (who has a sister Susan)went back to our g-g-grandmother Susannah Washington for one daughter, Julia (g-g-aunt) for another. Late cousin Julia always went by Bootsey.

If you want to be cruel, give a child an odd spelling of a popular name, like Nathanael.

Penny said...

Second amendment enthusiasts are falling down on the job.

"Colt" only went up five points.

Penny said...

And this to Pogo and his boy named "Sue"...

It seems smart thinkers just send their sons to law school, whereupon they end up slathering a J.D. at the end of any ol' name.

Doesn't matter what the name is, because we all know it's code for "SUE".

gutless said...

There is a girl in my town named Klamidia. Another, Tarantula (pronounced tare-an-tula). Real names.

lemondog said...

Speaking of OT names, I have/had uncles, aunts, cousins named:

Gideon, Saul, Goliath, David, Jonathan, Ruth, Joel, Samuel.

And a dog named Shadrach.

ken in sc said...

Maverick was—maybe still is—a family name. A lawyer named Maverick moved from South Carolina to Texas. He accepted livestock in payment for his services. However he did not brand them and let them roam the range. This allowed him to claim that any unbranded livestock were his. Locals started calling any stray livestock mavericks.

Chuck66 said...

I checked out my names and names of people I know. Names that were common a while back.

When I was a little boy, the name "Jill" was kind of the cute girl name. Gals in high school when I was in elementry, and in college/20s, when I was in Jr High/high school. And my first real girl friend's name was Jill. She was born in 1978. Probably at the end of the Jill era.

That name was 986 in 2000, and hasn't been in the top 1000 since.

Deb said...

I named our daughter after an Elvis Costello song.

So did I, Pogo: "Alison". It sounded nice with "Kate" and the Scottish surname.


Callum is a nice old fashioned Scottish name for a boy. I like Calvin, too. Charlotte is a favorite for girls.

Ralph L said...

My late step-grandmother's family has alternated between Charlotte and Anne for at least 5 generations. Fortunately, the only child in each generation (until the latest) was a daughter.

Palladian said...

I'm partial to 17th century Puritan names. Why not try Wrestling, Humility, Oceanus, Resolved, Peregrine, or Remember?

All of those were names of actual passengers on the Mayflower.

wyo sis said...

I've always like Max for a boy's name, but didn't use it for either of my boys. Not sure why.

Kirk Parker said...

Palladian,

I'd go for Learned, myself.

Kirk Parker said...

Penny,

Yeah, but isn't "Beretta" gaining?

lemondog said...

I'm partial to 17th century Puritan names. Why not try Wrestling, Humility, Oceanus, Resolved, Peregrine, or Remember?

Peregrine meaning traveler. I like that.

I could vote with relief for a candidate named Humility with character to match, or even named Resolved in hopes of actions leading to settlement of thorny never-ending issues.

nonrobot=kingdope

Jennifer Whatnot said...

Doesn't anyone remember the great Michael J. Fox movie The Secret of My Success? His character was named Brantley Foster. I can't hear the name "Brantley" without thinking of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7n_3JmS49Q&feature=related