Thursday, May 09, 2013

It's Christmas for Baby-Name Geeks

The sequester may have caused government furloughs and airport congestion, but it's comforting to know it didn't slow down the delivery of baby-name data.

Lucy, our own member of the naming class of 2012.

The Social Security Administration released its annual rankings of the most popular names today — almost a week earlier than last year, in fact — letting us wonks pore over the numbers.

The top names, culled from 2012 data, aren't much of a surprise. The seven most popular girls' names are exactly the same as last year, other than Emma and Isabella trading places in second and third place.

Sophia remained No. 1, which is no shock — I seem to meet a new Sophia every week. I think it's a wonderful name, so I have no complaints on that front. Actually, all 10 of the top girls' names are respectable (other than the persistent scourge Madison). You've got great taste, America!
1. Sophia
2. Emma
3. Isabella
4. Olivia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Abigail
8. Mia
9. Madison
10. Elizabeth
Jacob continued its mysterious reign at the top of the boys' chart, followed again by the dubious Mason (it's a bit too "surname-y" for my tastes). One favorable trend: Jayden appears to be releasing its grip on our nation's parents. It fell from No. 4 to seventh.
1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. Ethan
4. Noah
5. William
6. Liam
7. Jayden
8. Michael
9. Alexander
10. Aiden
All three of our children's names climbed the charts. Elliot rose to 242 from 272. Alice jumped to 127 from 142. And Lucy is fast approaching the top 50: It increased to 66 from 72.

It's perhaps odd that with each child we chose a more popular name than the last. (You might think people would get more adventurous as they had more kids.)

The fastest-climbing girls' name is Arya. I was a little puzzled by this, until I learned that she's a "Game of Thrones" character.

From the Social Security Administration press release:
Arya is the daughter of a leader of one of the Seven Kingdoms. She also is an expert sword fighter, so doubt her influence on the popular names list at your own risk.
I think I can live with Arya being a popular name. I'm more disturbed by the fact that even faceless government bureaucrats have HBO.