What are the top baby names?
I'm pregnant and for months have been looking at different online baby name sites trying to figure out the top 100 baby names, top boy's names, top girl's names and so on. It's amazing how many weird and offbeat names the various sites have, but even then, I have to admit I'm skeptical that they really have both the names and their meanings right. So, Dave, what are the top baby names in the United States and where can I find out their meanings?
It wasn't so long ago that my (now ex) wife and I were in the same situation, looking for just the right baby name for our little girl, but being a geek at heart, I went ahead and built a baby name site that's focused on both the names and their meanings. It's a part of my parenting site, the Go Fatherhood Blog, but that's another story. :-)
In terms of identifying the top baby names, that's actually a bit harder. On the other hand, what better place to look for baby names than the Social Security Administration since, after all, every newborn eventually gets a social security number.
And so, according to the SSA, here are the top 10 male and female names for 2005:
There's more info there too. Pick a name you like and you can see how popular it is. Search for "Dave", for example, and you'll find that in 1993 it was ranked 976th for boys, in 1992 it was 980th and in 1991 it was 910th. On the year I was born it was in the top 150 and it appears to have peaked as a popular name in 1959. Fun trivia!
You can also find the top names on a per-state basis. For example, in 2005, the top name in Alaska was Madison, while Olivia took the top slot in Connecticut and Alyssa scored #1 in New Mexico. On the boy's side, Arizona had Angel as its top choice, while Florida had Joshua and Texas had Jose. This shows clear ethnic and demographic differences in these states.
Perhaps the most interesting information from the SSA is the popular twin names, and it reads a lot like some sort of Bible study class. Here are the top 10 twin names: Jacob and Joshua, Matthew and Michael, Daniel and David, Faith and Hope, Ethan and Evan, Taylor and Tyler, Isaac and Isaiah, Joseph and Joshua, Nathan and Nicholas and Madison and Mason. Recognize any twins in that data set?
Wondering about our birth rate in the United States? Here's an interesting graph:
Finally, again, if you seek baby names and their meanings, I invite you to check out my Baby Names and Their Meanings mini-site, where you can learn exciting tidbits like the fact that popular name Joshua means "God is salvation. The biblical figure who led the Israelites to the promised land. Also see Hosea and Jesus (origin: Biblical)" and that Jacob means "Held by the heel (origin: Biblical)". On the girl's side, Emily turns out to mean either "Admiring (origin: Latin)" or "industrious, eager (origin: German)".
Good luck with the naming, and good luck with the birth!
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