Baby Name Trends
Every year, the Social Security Administration releases the most popular names in the United States. And every year we can see how a particular name changes in popularity -- from huge jumps to massive falls. What baby names for boys and girls had the biggest leaps, and which names dropped on down? Which names held steady two years in a row, or only moved a spot or two? Read on to check out the changes in popularity for both boys and girls!
Baby names biggest movers: Cullen & Maliyah
The Twilight books and films have taken American pop culture by the horns, and its influence is not only seen in fashion and merchandise but also in baby names.
Can you guess what the baby boy name is with the largest climb on the Social Security Administration's popular baby name list? Cullen, the surname of the hauntingly gorgeous vampire family. Hands down, this boy name made its case by rocketing up the chart and moving 297 spots from 782 in 2008 to 485 in 2009. It's doubtful that it is a simple coincidence that the franchise's popularity has inspired parents all over the US to name their newborn boys Cullen.
For girls, the name Maliyah made an enormous jump -- it flew up 342 spots from 638 to 296. Keep in mind that President Obama's elder daughter's name is Malia, which is another version of our top-moving name. Its popularity climb supercedes the top climber on the boy chart, Cullen, which jumped up 297 spots. Maliyah is followed directly by the beautiful name Isla. Pronounced eye-lah, this name moved up 273 spots from 619 to 346.
More buzzworth baby names
The other boy names that had the most movement were:
A few names that leaped into the top 50 were:
The next top movers on the girl chart are:
For girls, there are even more names that moved up, just not so far. Some notable examples are:
Baby names holding steady
The top boy baby name in 2009 was Jacob (incidentally also the name of another popular Twilight character) and it continues to dominate the top spot -- in fact, it's retained its hold on #1 for 10 solid years running.
The other boy names that didn't change rank from 2008 to 2009 were:
Some girl names retained their holds on their ranks from last year as well, including:
Some boy names moved either up or down in popularity, but not by much -- Alexander climbed 2 spots from 6 to 4, Ethan popped up 1 spot from 3 to 2 and Elijah went from 21 to 22. Michael dropped from 3 to 2, James went from 17 to 18 and Joshua went from 6 from 4.
Slight movers on the girl side are Chloe, which stepped up one spot from 10 to 9; Jade, which bumped up from 130 to 129 and Isabella, which gained the top spot in 2009 by skipping up from 2 to 1. Alivia, an alternate spelling of the traditional name Olivia, moved up 3 spots as did the traditional name Juliana. Some girl names with a slight drop in popularity are Emma, which traded places with Isabella and dropped from 1 to 2; Brianna, which fell from 23 to 24 and Madison, which dropped from 6 to the 7 spot.
Baby names free falling
Just as several boy names took huge jumps, quite a few dropped in the opposite direction, including:
As with the biggest movers, the biggest "name drop" on the girl chart outdropped the one on the boy chart -- this time by a wide margin.
Some of the other falling boy names are Cory (down 41 spots from 459 to 500), Dayton (down 35 spots from 486 to 512), Dillon (down 28 spots from 264 to 292), Mitchell (down 24 spots from 335 to 359) and Drew (down 28 spots from 244 to 272). Plenty of other female baby names also dropped, although the plunge wasn't quite as dramatic. Heather, for example, which clocked in at 485 in 2008 fell 73 spots to 558. Other examples are Casey (down 60 spots from 468 to 528), Danice (down 43 spot from 336 to 379) and Kyra (down 33 spots from 238 to 271).
Spotting the name trends
When you break down the popularity chart for both boys and girls and determine which names jumped and which dropped it can be easy to spot trends as well as those names that are classics and never fall too far out of favor with new parents.
It's apparent that for the most part, the biggest movers on the girl chart are names that are different spellings of more common names. Girl baby names are commonly spelled differently in an attempt to make them more unique and special and that is certainly reflected in 2009's changes in popularity for girl names. It's fun to see how your favorite names stack up each year and can inspire you to name your own baby.
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More baby name ideas: