Saturday, 07 May 2011 15:04
What are the chances your baby will have several friends with the same name once they go to school? It's very likely, particularly if your child is named Isabella, Jacob, or even Maci. But if your little one is named after Elvis, for the first time in more than a half-century, he probably won't encounter another similarly named friend.
With its release of the most popular baby names of 2010, the Social Security Administration reveals that names that have topped the list consistently for several years are joined by some new and surprisingly trendy choices, such as reality TV star names. The administration also notes that some names we've been used to finding at the top dropped a few spots last year.
"The chances of meeting a baby named Sophia this year versus last year -- you'll see them everywhere," saysLaura Wattenberg, author of "The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby".
Sophia jumped from number four to the second-place girls' spot. Joshua, however, didn't fare as well, sliding down the list from number six to 11. Although Elvis' hits topped charts, the name never secured a top spot. The Social Security Administration says that even though the name peaked only at number 312 in 1957 and made a bit of a comeback 20 years later when the rock icon died, it has consistently held a place in the top 1,000. For the first time in 55 years, Elvis has left the building -- or at least birth certificates -- something the Social Security researchers were sad to see happen.
"I was all shook up," Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's been a tradition tracking his ups and downs, and to see him drop off the top 1,000, I have to be honest, we took that very hard at Social Security."
Although the draw to Ethans and Emmas is fascinating, a study that goes beyond the top 10 most-chosen monikers shows something Americans may or may not want to admit: We love to name our babies after reality show stars.
The top 1,000 names includes Maci, modeled after one of the stars of MTV's "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mother," Maci Bookout. Maci was the fastest-growing girl's name in the country in 2010.
And while Maci Bookout's son, Bentley, had a name that made it to the most-hated list, it was marked as the fastest-growing boy's name in America last year. (Nevaeh, "heaven" spelled backwards, also earned a place as both most popular and most hated.)
The teen-mom-and-toddler duo were not the only people to influence naming trends. Khloe (think Khloe Kardashian) has spent three years climbing the rungs. Wattenberg says that famous people's names often get the spotlight just as briefly as the reality stars'.
"The data suggests that this really is a 15 minutes of fame," Wattenberg said. "The longer trends that you see at the top of the chart require a more broad-based popularity."
One other trend that Americans seem to have embraced is rhyming. Wattenberg said that there are 41 names that rhyme with Aiden (currently holding the number nine spot) in the top 1,000, including many variations of Jayden and Brayden.
For now, Jacob's grip on the number one spot has lasted 12 years. Isabella reigns for the second year in a row. Will William push up on the list following the royal wedding? And will Catherine (or even Kate or Pippa) become what the naming experts call a "rising star"? Only time and lots and lots of babies will tell.
Here are the top 10 names for 2010 in each category:
Top 10 Names for Boys
Top 10 Names for Girls
By Jessica Ashley
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