The Most Popular Baby Names in the U.S.

by Laura Massey on November 27, 2012 · 5 comments

Most popular baby names for new babies

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Naming a child is one of the biggest decisions parents make.  The reasons for choosing a name vary but, in the United States, biblical names have historically been the most popular baby names year after year.  But recently more and more new baby names have begun to make their way to the top of the popularity lists.

One interesting trend is how many children are given each name.  In 2001 1.57% of baby boys were given the most popular baby name for boys, but by 2011 only 1% received it.  This trend is a sign of the increasing diversity in the U.S. with names being drawn from many cultures.  On the girl’s side in recent years names that are popular in multiple cultures have rapidly shot up the list.

Here is a listing of the most popular baby names in the U.S.for the last ten years, according to the Social Security Administration, along with the number of children given that name.

2001

In 2001 both lists contain many traditional names.  Jacob became the top name in 1999 and has remained there since while Emily had been there since 1996.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (32,515) 1. Emily (25,049)
2. Michael (29,674) 2.Madison(22,153)
3. Matthew (26,789) 3. Hannah (20,702)
4. Joshua (26,003) 4. Ashley (16,524)
5. Christopher (23,109) 5. Alexis (16,395)
6. Nicholas (22,836) 6. Sarah (15,881)
7. Andrew (22,400) 7. Samantha (15,860)
8. Joseph (21,980) 8. Abigail (14,802)
9. Daniel (20,962) 9.Elizabeth(14,773)
10. William (20,090) 10. Olivia (13,972)

2002

There was not much change in the names between 2001 and 2002.  The order switched up a bit while new names, Ethan and Emma, showed up in the top ten.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (30,546) 1. Emily (24,453)
2. Michael (28,226) 2.Madison(21,772)
3. Joshua (25,972) 3. Hannah (18,808)
4. Matthew (25,145) 4. Emma (16,524)
5. Ethan (22,101) 5. Alexis (15,631)
6. Andrew (22,000) 6. Ashley (15,336)
7. Joseph (21,879) 7. Abigail (15,292)
8. Christopher (21,669) 8. Sarah (14,743)
9. Nicolas (21,381) 9. Samantha (14,655)
10. Daniel (21,298) 10. Olivia (14,627)

2003

Emma continued to rise ending up number two in the list of the most popular baby names for girls in 2003.  Olivia was another name quickly gaining in popularity.  In 2001 it was tenth on the list but by this year it was fifth.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (29,605) 1. Emily (25,049)
2. Michael (27,094) 2. Emma (22,696)
3. Joshua (25,072) 3.Madison(20,194)
4. Matthew (23,984) 4. Hannah (17,627)
5. Andrew (22,138) 5. Olivia (16,139)
6. Ethan (21,352) 6. Abigail (15,914)
7. Joseph (21,338) 7. Alexis (14,856)
8. Daniel (21,024) 8. Ashley (14,508)
9. Christopher (20,729) 9.Elizabeth(14,087)
10. Anthony (20,134) 10. Samantha (13,861)
baby names

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2004

William has historically been a very popular name in theU.S.  It had dropped from the list in 2003 but returned this year.  When not in the top ten it is typically close by.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (27,862) 1. Emily (25,016)
2. Michael (25,425) 2. Emma (21,593)
3. Joshua (24,174) 3.Madison(20,611)
4. Matthew (22,861) 4. Olivia (16,099)
5. Ethan (22,198) 5. Hannah (15,594)
6. Andrew (21,691) 6. Abigail (15,420)
7. Daniel (20,956) 7. Isabella (15,010)
8. William (20,214) 8. Ashley (14,368)
9. Joseph (20,103) 9. Samantha (13,768)
10. Christopher (19,613) 10.Elizabeth(13,539)

2005

Isabella arrived on the girls’ list in 2004 and moved up to sixth in 2005.  Ava joined the top, coming in at number nine all the way from twenty-fifth the year before.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (25,804) 1. Emily (23,914)
2. Michael (23,779) 2. Emma (20,322)
3. Joshua (23,218) 3.Madison(19,555)
4. Matthew (21,446) 4. Abigail (15,744)
5. Ethan (21,297) 5. Olivia (15,688)
6. Andrew (20,705) 6. Isabella (15,165)
7. Daniel (20,189) 7. Hannah (14,835)
8. Anthony (19,353) 8. Samantha (13,629)
9. Joseph (19,187) 9. Ava (13,598)
10. Christopher (19,149) 10. Ashley (13,266)

2006

There were not many changes to the list in 2006.  Ethan continued a slow rise through the top ten and ended up being the fourth most popular baby name for boys, its highest ranking to that point.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (24,805) 1. Emily (21,375)
2. Michael (22,605) 2. Emma (19,096)
3. Joshua (22,283) 3.Madison(18,605)
4. Ethan (20,494) 4. Isabella (18,205)
5. Matthew (20,295) 5. Ava (16,931)
6. Daniel (20,026) 6. Abigail (15,618)
7. Andrew (19,692) 7. Olivia (15,476)
8. Christopher (19,649) 8. Hannah (14,528)
9. Anthony (19,376) 9. Sophia (13,490)
10. William (18,929) 10. Samantha (12,450)

2007

Isabella moved Emma from second place for the first time in a couple of years.  It was also only separated from the top spot by a couple hundred babies.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (24,229) 1. Emily (19,328)
2. Michael (21,937) 2. Isabella (19,117)
3. Ethan (21,002) 3. Emma (18,351)
4. Joshua (20,615) 4. Ava (18,033)
5. Daniel (20,210) 5.Madison(17,929)
6. Christopher (19,976) 6. Sophia (17,007)
7. Anthony (19,585) 7. Olivia (16,559)
8. William (18,854) 8. Abigail (15,455)
9. Matthew (18,705) 9. Hannah (13,277)
10. Andrew (18,422) 10.Elizabeth(13,020)
most popular names for babies

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2008

This year Emily was replaced in the girl’s top spot for the first time since 1995.  It was over taken by both Emma and Isabella, neither of which was on the list just a few years before.  A name new to the list in 2008 was Chloe in the tenth position.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (22,534) Emma (18,781)
2. Michael (20,558) Isabella (18,578)
3. Ethan (20,183) Emily (17,404)
4. Joshua (19,154) Olivia (17,046)
5. Daniel (18,956) Ava (17,016)
6. Alexander (18,659) Madison(16,997)
7. Anthony (18,356) Sophia (16,058)
8. William (18,347) Abigail (15,055)
9. Christopher (17,900) Elizabeth(11,964)
10. Matthew (17,542) Chloe (11,807)

2009

The boys’ list showed a lot of consistency, but in 2009 new names started to arrive.  Jayden made it in to the top ten baby names for the first time and Noah also joined the list.  On the girls’ side Mia appeared in tenth place and Isabella took over the top spot for the first time.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (21,095) 1. Isabella (22,244)
2. Ethan (19,808) 2. Emma (17,856)
3. Michael (18,855) 3. Olivia (17,392)
4. Alexander (18,197) 4. Sophia (16,896)
5. William (17,877) 5. Ava (15,847)
6. Joshua (17,584) 6. Emily (15,317)
7. Daniel (17,491) 7.Madison(15,194)
8. Jayden (17,217) 8. Abigail (14,359)
9. Noah (17,203) 9. Chloe (11,876)
10. Christopher (16,291) 10. Mia (11,393)

2010

Isabella retained the top place for the second year in a row and Sophia moved into second.  Aiden showed up in the boys top ten for the first time after being outside the top 200 in 2001.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (22,011) 1. Isabella (22,822)
2. Ethan (17,956) 2. Sophia (20,566)
3. Michael (17,244) 3. Emma (17,277)
4. Jayden (17,101) 4. Olivia (16,959)
5. William (16,979) 5. Ava (15,382)
6. Alexander (16,701) 6. Emily (14,235)
7. Noah (16,379) 7. Abigail (14,208)
8. Daniel (15,769) 8.Madison(13,133)
9. Aiden (15,479) 9. Chloe (11,715)
10. Anthony (15,433) 10. Mia (10,599)

2011

This year showed the biggest surprise on the boys’ side with Mason appearing at number two after being outside the top ten the previous years.  Jacob continued to reign at number one but with Mason coming in at a close second it will interesting to see the results when the 2012 numbers come out.  Isabella did not last long as the most popular name and was overtaken by Sophia.

Boys Girls
1. Jacob (20,153) 1. Sophia (21,695)
2. Mason (19,396) 2. Isabella (19,745)
3. William (17,151) 3. Emma (18,674)
4. Jayden (16,861) 4. Olivia (17,169)
5. Noah (16,719) 5. Ava (15,383)
6. Michael (16,598) 6. Emily (14,164)
7. Ethan (16,567) 7. Abigail (13,149)
8. Alexander (15,591) 8.Madison(12,298)
9. Aiden (15,389) 9. Mia (11,451)
10. Daniel (15,138) 10. Chloe (10,917)

 

What are your favorite baby names?  Did any of them make the list of the most popular baby names in recent years?  What do you think is most important when choosing a name for your child?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

girl names November 30, 2012 at 3:35 am

Jacob is my all time favorite after watching the twilight movie, but Olivia is new and really damn cute this name is.

Reply

Pompa san December 4, 2012 at 4:19 am

It is amazing, Jacob is on the first place as boy’s name for more than a decade now.

Reply

LollipopMoon December 19, 2012 at 2:37 am

Harry is Nice name for boys

Reply

Cool Baby Gifts April 9, 2013 at 8:32 am

Thanks for sharing all these baby names.

Reply

Emilio Day May 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Baby name brainstormers beware! It seems Isabella is ready to take a bite out of Sofía for the top spot of the 100 most popular Hispanic baby names for girls, according to BabyCenter en Español. As for the boys’ list, Santiago is still sitting pretty at the top as Matías is slowly rising, moving from third to second in 2012.

Reply

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