December 3, 2013

10 observations about the top 100 girls' and boys' names for babies born in 2013.

Link to the lists, here.

1. Super-short girls' names are popular: Mia (#5), Ava (#6), Lily (#7), Zoe (#8), Chloe (#10). Further down: Ella, Aria, Lila, Anna (but not the shorter Ann), Leah, Nora, Mila, Lucy, Maya, Ruby, Eva. 3-letter boys' names that make the list are: Eli (#28), Max (#31), Leo (#75), and Ian (#80).

2. Reagan is #69 for girls. A tribute to our former President?

3. Skyler is #99. "Breaking Bad" fans?? I'm not seeing Walt as a top 100 name. Or even Jesse. (Jesse's a great boys' name. What's happening?)

4. The top of the girls' list is clogged with the same popular names from the last few years: Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella. Move on, mommies and daddies.

5. Some of the weird names sound like new drugs. I'm looking at you, Adalyn (#32 for girls).

6. What's with Jackson being #1 for boys? Is that about Michael Jackson? Can't be Jesse Jackson, could it? Fans of the former President? The wonderful Supreme Court Justice? Someone in sports? I find the Wikipedia page on the name Jackson, and here's an English "football" player named Elphinstone Jackson (1868–1945). I dare you to name your baby Elphinstone.

7. The #11 boys' name is something I've never seen as a name: Caden. Further down, there's Camden (#82), which to me is more of a city in New Jersey. Why not name your son Jersey?  Or is that a girls' name?

8. Christian is now a more popular boys' name than Christopher.

9. Dylan is down at #30. Was it only a name used by Baby Boomers? Elvis is off the list, if it ever was on. Who are the rock stars that dazzled Generations X and Y? I'm not seeing Bruce, and who wants to name the kid after the suicide-committing Kurt Cobain?

10. Muhammad is all the way down at 70, snuggling up against Christopher (#71).


Rob said...

Mary doesn't even make the list. Mother of God!

madAsHell said...

My grandfather's name was Elmer Ellsworth Edwards. Later in life, I came to realize that Elmer Ellsworth was the first Union casualty of the civil.

His initials EEE was also his shoe width.

kimsch said...

#5 - Adalyn is the name of the Hexenbeast (Witch) Wessen on Grimm. It's pronounced Ad-da-lynn.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

The first thing I notice is that my name (Michelle) and my husband's (George) don't make it into the top 100. But our cats do, sort of: Charlie makes the guys' list, and Lili (shamefully misspelled as "Lily") is way up there on the girls'.

The girls' list is positively alarming. Madison? Addison? Aria? Harper? Riley? Mackenzie? Savannah? Skyler? Jordyn? And, of course, Charlie on the distaff side as well.

I decline to believe that that there are more baby girl Addisons than there are baby girl Michelles, and more baby boy Rileys (another name that shows up in both columns) than baby boy Georges. The world may be nuts, but its not quite that nuts.

Ann Althouse said...

You'd think the royal George would lead to more Georges.

My brother and paternal grandfather are named George.

kimsch said...

Probably a lot more Georges in the UK. Another name that is popular there is Jemima. I can't see that here as much. Pancake syrup and racism and stuff...

Dad was John, his dad was Kenneth, his dad was Edward, and his dad was Jethro. Edward's brother was George.

Crunchy Frog said...

My name has been relegated to the 300s for the last five years. Oh woe!

There's about ten kids at my church named Jackson. No word on whether their parents are Sons of Anarchy fans.

Crunchy Frog said...

The girls' list is positively alarming. Madison? Addison? Aria? Harper? Riley? Mackenzie? Savannah? Skyler? Jordyn? And, of course, Charlie on the distaff side as well.

Porn star names, all of them.

Crunchy Frog said...

Lots of Gaelic names on the list, but #93 Declan? Seriously?

The only Declan I can think of is Elvis Costello.

kimsch said...

Crunchy, Declan was a character on "Revenge".

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Hmmm. My parents (Norman and Linda) aren't there. My husband was named after his dad, so he's not there either. His mom (Katherine) is. His siblings aren't. No Margaret, no Charles (Charlie, yes; Charles, no), no Robert. My younger sister was Tamara. No Tamara and no Tammy. My uncle-in-law is named Thomas; he doesn't make the list either.

All very strange. It's as though all the children in the US are characters in a Sara Paretsky novel, living in a tony Chicago subdivision. Hard Time had kids in it named Utah and Madison and Rihannon, IIRC.

Saint Croix said...

Top 10 baby names in Japan!


1. Hiroto
2. Ren
3. Yuto
4. Shota
5. Yamato
6. Sota
7. Yuma
8. Sora
9. Haruto
10. Sho


1. Yui
2. Aoi
3. Hina
4. Rin
5. Ria
6. Yuina
7. Miu
8. Sakura
9. Miyu
10. Nanami

Deirdre Mundy said...

No Mary, but Maria makes the list. (Sounds more in line with names like Sophia--- and popular across several ethnicities...)

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

One other thing I notice is the number of Old Testament names on the boys' side. There are a few on the girls' side too (Hannah, Leah, Sarah), but they are about a quarter of the boys' list; if you can see past the Gavin/Jackson/Brayden/Wyatt/Cameron contingent, it's pretty obvious.

Titus said...

I interviewed a kid named Samsun today.

William said...

Robert doesn't make the cut. Tristan does. Bob is ebullient. Tristan is sad.....A lot of people are dooming their children to a lifetime of misspelled names. Aaliyah's file is going to be lost as often as it gets placed on top of the stack.

ddh said...

I'm waiting for Katniss.

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Birches said...

I've tried to make sure none of my kids' names are no where near the top 100. I've grown up being the only Birches in my classes and I'll be darned if my kids have to be Birches K. or Birches L.

We've gone with rather traditional names. A family member named their child George (he's 3 now). So they can say they started the trend.

SJ said...

To my eye, the Bible-sourced names on the female side are:

Gabriella (indirectly)

For guys, there are many more.

David...and I've stopped at number 50.

An argument could be made that "Sophia" and "Zoe" are also Bible-sourced names. Both words show up often in the Greek New Testament, but never as personal names.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Birches, my mom shared her (literal) one-room schoolhouse with another girl in the same class with the same first and last names. They went by middle names.

SJ said...

Clicking on a few names in the list, I get a surprise:

Christopher is number 71 on the overall list kept by BabyCenter (with values between 44 and 60 over the past five years).

But the BabyCenter stats are from a limited sample of 500000 parents. They also have access to baby names seen by the U.S. Social Security Administration, which places Christopher between #10 and #23 over the past five years.

Muhammed is at number 71 in BabyCenter's overall stats, with rankings between 99 and 137 over the past five years.

But Muhammed is between 450 and 600 in the Social Security Administration's list during the past five years.

Unrepresentative sample?

Henry said...

Two of my three kids are waaaay outside of the envelope. We've been trying to talk the first into a new name but he's resisting.

Henry's not all that popular, but it's more popular than when I was a kid. I know more Henry's in the twelve-and-under crowd than in the thirteen-to-forty-eight crowd.

Michael said...

Racist. What about Latrelle, Laquisha, Quintella and the whole array of fabulous African American names.

Tari said...

Both my husband and I had parents with plain names (Sandy & Bob, Mary & Tom) and those parents went out of their way to come up with odd names for us (or at least an odd spelling - my name is pronounced "Terri"). We in turn went back to old and popular with our boys. Surprisingly, neither of them have had a duplicate name in a class. Both of their schools have kids from over 40 birth countries, so that may have something to do with it. Picking through a school directory at random, I get a class of 5th graders from a few years ago as follows:

Austin (we're in TX)
Ze (called Alex)
Larry (Chinese kid - this is his "American" name)
Jennifer (almost old-fashioned now!)

Interesting stuff.

MadisonMan said...

My kids' names are in the top 50. They're very normal used-forever names.

I am not on the list, alas. Nor is my wife, brother, sister, Dad. Mom is there, kind of, but not her given name, but what she was called.

Names from my family that aren't there: Cornelia, Dorothy, Mabel, Mildred. When will these come back?

Fred Drinkwater said...

kimsch: Jemima was the wife of Edward Montagu, first Earl of Sandwich, and one of Sam Pepys favorite people.
That might explain part of the name's popularity in the UK.

Paddy O said...

I wonder if Francis is going to make an appearance in the next few years.

traditionalguy said...

A strong name for a grandson is Grant Jackson.

jelink said...

Charlie Hunnam's character on "Sons of Anarchy" is Jackson "Jax" Teller.

jmm43 said...

I teach high school, and I have at least one Caden in every class.

jmm43 said...

I teach high school, and I have at least one Caden in every class.

Hank said...

Interactive graphic tool that displays most popular name by decade (20th century) and year (21st):

kimsch said...

Fred, thanks. I like that name. And Gemma, and Hannah and Sarah (with those ultimate h's)...

I had a cousin named Fred.

There was a woman on TV for Thanksgiving. She was in Afghanistan, I think, and saying hi to her family. Her name was Aquanette Hair. Her mother was Hairnette... I think her daughter was Ava.

kimsch said...

Way back in highschool, we read a book called "The Name Game". It talked about people named Vaseline and Kiwanis.

Joe said...

A very cool site is

One thing it lacks is regional statistics (they have state, but I think region would be more telling.)

My oldest daughter's name was the third most popular name the year she was born--something I didn't know until a few years ago--yet she rarely had any classmates with that name.

My youngest child's name is 23 on the list for that year--again, I thought it rather unique at the time--and yet there has always been a classmate with her name and at least five in high school.

Then there is my granddaughter. Unusual name. Ranged around 900 for that year, yet she has multiple classmates in pre-school with the same name!

EDH said...

Titus said...
I interviewed a kid named Samsun today.

I bet you did.

Kelly said...

My sister named her youngest Jackson. She was pregnant right around the time Michael Jackson died. She already had the name picked out and wanted to change it because she didn't want anyone to think she named her son after him. Her three children threw a fit since they were already attached, so the name remained.

Michael said...

The girl's name is Regan, as in King Lear. Reagan is more likely confusion than tribute, sadly.

Gahrie said...

Anyone else know that Wendy never appeared before Peter Pan?

Scott said...

The demonically-possessed girl played by Linda Blair in the 1973 movie "The Exorcist" was named Regan.

Scott said...

I knew a girl name Inersha. She was pretty lazy.

kimsch said...

Gahrie, I knew that about Wendy.

eddie willers said...

I knew a girl name Inersha.

Don't get me started.

David said...

Jackson as the favorite boy's name?

How droll.

How's your Jackson, Jackson?

jaed said...

I notice that all the common short girls' names Althouse mentions - and the boys' names too - are two syllables, even if they're only three letters long.

Perhaps this is why "Ann" is not on the list. Too few syllables!

Bruce Hayden said...

Things are so faddish now. My four brothers have/had names in the top 10 over the previous century, but barely make the top 100 these days. And my next brother has 2 in the traditional top 10.

When we were looking for names a couple of decades ago, we went for surnames - ended up with 4 of them, with 1, 2, and 4 being used elsewhere as both given and sur names. Two are English and two are Germanic. Definitely WASP.

LordSomber said...

Parents give their daughters stripper names nowadays.
Boys' names are equally lame.
Says more about insecure parents striving to be 'unique' — their egos override that of their kids.

Donna B. said...

I'm the grandma and I like the names my children have chosen for their children. The constant is that they have chosen names they like the sound of for first names and picked family names for middle names.

It's a fluke that I and my first granddaughter's other grandmother both have the same middle name -- one that doesn't show up on any of the popular name lists -- and now our granddaughter shares that name with us.

My 2nd granddaughter gets her middle name from her grandmother and great-grandmother on my side. Her first name is even more obscure than her middle name.

My grandson's middle name is the middle name of his great-grandfather, but his first name is the middle name of his great-great grandfather. His first name has been mentioned in this thread, but not as a 'popular' name. His middle name isn't even on the radar yet...

But his middle name is so appropriate given his parents' occupation.

Yes, yes, I am having trouble resisting my privacy instincts here because I really really want to tell you what my grandchildren are named... but can't. Won't. Just take my word for it that they are cute and their names are awesome.

Mr. D said...

The neighbor kid's name is Kaden. I know of at least a few other kids named Caden or Kaden or some variation of that.

The Drill SGT said...

What does it tell you about the UK when:

Mohammed is 17
Muhammad is 31
Mohammad is 67?

MadisonMan said...

What does it tell you about the UK when:

Mohammed is 17
Muhammad is 31
Mohammad is 67?

They can't spell?

Robert Cook said...

Maybe it tells you there are variant spellings of the name.

Robert Cook said...

If I had a son I wanted to name "Jackson," I'd spell it "Jaxon," after the great underground cartoonist Jack Jackson, whose nom de cartoon was Jaxon.

Robert Cook said...

"My name has been relegated to the 300s for the last five years. Oh woe!"

Well, you've got to admit..."Crunchy Frog" no longer retains the euphony or cultural cachet it had back in the Summer of Love/Days of Rage.

Michael said...

My wife and I (both traditional names from the 70s) did not want a faddish name for our son. But we seemed to have ended up with one anyway. When we chose the name in 2009, Grayson was barely in the top 200, and it's risen every year since to around 50. I don't get it.

My parents and grandparents: David, Wanda, Elmer, Earline, Reginald, Margaret.

Tank said...

I checked the history of names once, and my first name has been less popular (pretty much) every year since I was born.

Not taking it personally.

When I was in grammar school, there were two other boys with my name in my class (of 30). It was a very popular name, and not eccentric. My kids had zero classmates with that name throughout their entire schooling.

As you might expect, my name is not in the post or any comment.

Jim Gust said...

There are interesting differences between the list you linked, based upon a sample of 1/2 million volunteers, and the Social Security baby name list, based upon applications for new SocSec numbers. The girls names are pretty consistent, the boys much less so. Link:

Mitch H. said...

I dare you to name your baby Elphinstone.

The historical relevance of that name is rather... inauspicious.

Top 10 baby names in Japan!

Sora as a male name? What the hell are they thinking? Well, Guys and Dolls & Sky Masterson, I guess the connotation isn't completely effeminate. And not a single -ko in the female top ten - that's notable.

Anyways, name your children after your grandparents (or, if they're too young to achieve the following effect, your great-grandparents). Frex, my grandparents on my mother's side were Emerson and Thalia. Strong, earthy names - and not at all likely to be lost in a sea of Marias and Jacksons.

Joe said...

Things are so faddish now.

I sure hope you were being sarcastic. Here is a website which charts name popularity over time:

Deb said...

When did Deborah fall out of favor? It's the best name in the world! Just don't spell it DEBRA or DEBORA.

Deb said...

Looks like Deborah peakedin 1954 and took a serious nose dive after that

Deborah said...

+1 Deborah! I got my name in 57 and there was at least one other in my classes at school growing up.
Not many spelled their name Deborah like ours.

Re: Jackson- Daughter and Son-in-Law named their son Jaxon born in 2012. We love the name and spelling.

Could it be that Son's of Anarchy character Jackson "Jax" Teller influenced this name's popular position this year?

Smilin' Jack said...

Too soon for Trayvon. Probably next year.

Robert Cook said...


That's because young parents today don't know who the heck Debbie Reynolds is/was.

Mike said...

Our 18-mo-old grandson is Jackson. We suspect because Dad is a Sons of Anarchy fan, among other things.


Deb said...

Hey Robert, I suspect you are correct, and since in was born in 1950, I'm sure that is why my mom chose that name. However I prefer to believe I was named for the biblical prophet Deborah.

Deb said...

Hey Robert, I suspect you are correct, and since in was born in 1950, I'm sure that is why my mom chose that name. However I prefer to believe I was named for the biblical prophet Deborah.

Mohamed Shimran said...

Hmm.. found mine on the comments section


Marvin Lee said...

I like your post. This is excellent and very well written and I also want to thank you because it helped me in creating a list of some popular english boys names.