Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baby-Name Statistics Smackdown

La liste est arrivé! The Social Security Administration released its annual ranking of infant names yesterday, providing a wealth of picayune data to baby blogs such as this one.

From the Huffington Post:
Sophia is the new top girls’ name in the U.S., unseating Isabella after a two-year reign, according to the Social Security Administration’s announcement of 2011’s popular baby names.

Jacob remains the most popular name for boys for the 13th year in a row. An Old Testament name that means “supplanter” and a cousin of James, Jacob has been in the Top Ten for nearly two decades.

The celebrity baby name influence is evidenced by two names leaping up the ranks. Mason, the new number two boys’ name, is the name of Kourtney Kardashian’s baby boy. And Harper, the fastest-rising name for girls, was chosen last year by Victoria and David Beckham for their first daughter.
I continue to be mystified by Jacob's No. 1 rank — not because I dislike the name, but because I encounter so few Jacobs in real life. I've said before that the two most common children's names in our circle are Jack and Sophia.

On the girls' side at least, it appears America is catching up with our trendsetting friends.

In fact, nearly all the girls' names in the top 10 are solid. (I'm not crazy about Madison, but that's really the only weak spot.)

On the boys' list, meanwhile, Jayden feels like it's not going to age well. And Aiden, despite being more of a "real" name, carries a bit of that taint. (I'm still not sold on Mason either, but I guess I'll give it time.)

On a personal note, I was happy to see both Alice and Elliot climb the charts this year. Alice jumped to No. 172 from 142, while Elliot rose to No. 272 from 301. Unlike Alice, which peaked in the 1800s, Elliot is now in record territory.

  1. Sophia
  2. Isabella
  3. Emma
  4. Olivia
  5. Ava
  6. Emily
  7. Abigail
  8. Madison
  9. Mia
  10. Chloe
  1. Jacob
  2. Mason
  3. William
  4. Jayden
  5. Noah
  6. Michael
  7. Ethan
  8. Alexander
  9. Aiden
  10. Daniel
I wouldn't worry too much about the boys, though. They'll probably just rename themselves Tyrannosaurus Rex anyway.

UPDATE: The Mommy Files blog has zeroed in on the top 10 names in California.

It's not radically different than the overall ranking, but Sophia makes TWO appearances in the top 10 (the "Sofia" variant is No. 7). And Jayden is even more popular in California than it is nationally — a bit surprising. But then, the state is home to Jaden Smith.

California girls:
  1. Sophia
  2. Isabella
  3. Emily
  4. Mia
  5. Emma
  6. Olivia
  7. Sofia
  8. Abigail
  9. Samantha
  10. Natalie
California boys:
  1. Jacob
  2. Daniel
  3. Jayden
  4. Anthony
  5. Matthew
  6. Alexander
  7. Ethan
  8. David
  9. Andrew
  10. Nathan