Article: Top Baby Names of the Decade (So Far)
By Deirdre Byrne
Top 5 Names of the Last 5 Years
As the first half of the 2000s comes to a close, AmericanBaby.com has compiled the top baby name trends that'll carry us through the rest of the decade. So whether you're picking the perfect name for your baby -- or just having fun -- check out these baby-naming facts.
Most Popular Names
What do the names Michael, Matthew, Christopher, Jacob, and Joshua have in common? In the U.S., they are the top five boys' names of the last five years. So what have we learned? For top names, consistency is key and little variation has occurred. For girls, Ashley, Emily, Samantha, Hannah, and Elizabeth show staying power.
All this name information was obtained from the Social Security Administration; since 1879, they have been tracking card applications for births that occurred in the United States. The most recent data is from records on Social Security card applications as of the end of February 2005.
On the List, Off the List
We're sad to see them go, but these are the names that have slowly descended the popularity list: Robert, Kyle, Kevin, Courtney, Nicole, and Victoria. Look out for these current favorites to remain on the charts:
Names to Watch
So, which baby names have the best chance of cracking the top 10? We're predicting that based on their growth in popularity since 2000, these names will top the charts:
Ava: Has flown from the 39th position in 2003 to the 25th position in 2004. With such steady growth, the top 10 is not far from sight. Famous people with this name: Ava Gardner and Reese Witherspoon's daughter Ava Grace.
Grace: Has shown continual growth since its introduction in 2000 to the top 20 list. In 2004, Grace maintained the #13 slot. Famous people with this name: Grace Kelly and Grace Jones.
Nicholas: A former top 10 boy's name of choice for eight out of the last 10 years, Nicholas maintained the #13 spot in 2004. Because of its flip-flopping tendencies, it is a name to watch. Famous people with this name: Nicolas Cage and Nick Lachey.
Changing Spaces & A Matter of State
The following names have pulled a "switcheroo," changing places from the top 10 into the top 20, and sometimes back again. The trend indicates there may not be such a big difference between the top 10 names and the top 20 names. Nonetheless, it takes some fighting to stay in the top 10 when other names are vying for the spots. These names have been on the move in the last five years:
Anthony: Rose from the lower half of the top 20 to temporarily find a home at #10 in 2003, only to be dropped back to #11 in 2004.
Daniel: Dropped from #10 to #11 in 1996, but resurfaced in 1999 at #10.
William: Jumped into the top 10 in 2001, only to be dropped down to the #11 spot in 2002. William did, however, make a comeback in 2004 at #8.
Elizabeth: A usual favorite in the top 10, Elizabeth was booted in 2002 and landed in the #11 spot, only to push back into the top 10 in 2003 to secure the #9 spot.
Rachel: The ride into the top 10 in 1996 with a place at #9 was a short-lived victory, because in 1997, Rachel dropped to #13.
A Matter of State
Each state maintains its own personality and level of distinction from the other 49, but surprisingly, the list of 2004's top five baby names from each state showed little difference. The tried-and-true favorites win out, but unique names have been spotted in various regions across the country:
Jose -- #1 in Texas
Hunter -- #2 in Wyoming
Noah -- #2 in Hawaii
Angel -- #5 in Arizona
Isaiah -- #5 in New Mexico
Caroline -- #5 in District of Columbia
Chloe -- #5 in Hawaii
Celebrity Babies & Biblical Names
Where do the trendy baby names of the stars rank? Relative to the nation's top 10 baby names list, you may be surprised to see that what is popular among the rich and famous is not necessarily what is most popular among the masses in 2004. Why do stars go to so much trouble to find such original, creative names for their little ones? Well, once we hear these names, we rarely forget them -- and that may be just the point.
Jack -- #41; son of Val Kilmer
Sean -- #65; son of Britney Spears
Jaden -- #83; son of Will Smith
Ella -- #29; daughter of John Travolta
Lily -- #52; daughter of Johnny Depp
Lola -- #523; daughter of Kelly Ripa
O, Holy Name
Where did that name come from? That's a common question among expectant parents when thinking of the name that may define their child. If the most popular names of the past several decades are any indication, we've noticed that expectant parents seek name inspiration from the Bible. Perhaps the recent biblical preoccupation isn't so surprising, given the recent national obsessions with books like The Da Vinci Code and dialogues about intelligent design and "holiday trees." But truth be told, biblical names have never really gone out of style. These top 10 names exhibit the biblical name trend:
Christopher -- Greek for "Christ-bearer"
Jacob -- Hebrew for "supplanter"
Joshua -- Hebrew for "Jehovah saves"
Matthew -- Hebrew for "gift of the Lord"
Michael -- Hebrew for "who is like the Lord"
Elizabeth -- Hebrew for "oath of God"
Hannah -- Hebrew for "graceful"
At the End of the Decade...
Tried and True
These are the names you hear wherever you go -- in the store, at the park, at the doctor's office, and at family reunions. It is no coincidence that the majority of top five boys and girls names of the last five years are among America's favorites. These names have not budged from their top 10 thrones for over 20 years. Clearly, these names have stood the test of time and we predict that they will top the charts in 2010:
Source: americanbaby.com (there are TONS more to read about baby names on this site--check it out!)