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Most Popular Baby Names of 2012


Image: Igor Kolos/Shutterstock

For the fourteenth year in a row, Jacob is America's most popular baby boy name - but there are new entries in the list as compiled by the U.S. Social Security Administration. Here are the most popular baby names in 2012:

Boys: Girls:
  1. Jacob
  2. Mason
  3. Ethan
  4. Noah
  5. William
  6. Liam
  7. Jayden
  8. Michael
  9. Alexander
  10. Aiden
  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Isabella
  4. Olivia
  5. Ava
  6. Emily
  7. Abigail
  8. Mia
  9. Madison
  10. Elizabeth

As we mentioned above, Jacob has been champ for 14 years since 1999 ("Michael" held that title from 1959 to 1998). This is the second year Sophia came at number one for girl names. Liam cracked the top 10 for the first time, perhaps because of recent movies starring Liam Neeson.

The US Social Security Administration also released the names that underwent the greatest change in popularity from 2011 to 2012:

From Social Security's press release:

Many pop-culture naming trends appear in a popular feature of Social Security’s baby names website--the “change in popularity” page.  This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 500 are Major and Arya.

The fastest riser on the girls’ list may have been influenced by the popular cable TV series “Game of Thrones.”  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.   

For the boys, parents may associate Major with the military title.  Acting Commissioner Colvin added “I have no doubt Major’s rising popularity as a boy’s name is in tribute to the brave members of the U.S. military, and maybe we’ll see more boys named General in the future.”  You also might trace Major’s increase in popularity to a cable TV show.  “Home by Novogratz” is a popular home design show featuring Major Novogratz, the youngest son of designers Robert and Cortney.

The second fastest riser for boys was Gael, and for girls, Perla.  Both names most likely are on the rise due to the increase in the Spanish-speaking population in the United States.  Perla is the Latinized version of Pearl and is popular among Hispanic-Americans.  Gael’s popularity could be tied to Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal.

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