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Daniel: New King of Names?

Daniel tops the boys’ chart for the very first time in the just-released 2007 New York City name popularity statistics, with Jayden rising to number two and long-time top name Michael falling to third place.    Isabella and Sophia tied for number one for girls, unseating Ashley and Emily.

The rise of Isabella and Sophia is interesting, but Daniel is the real story here — and not just because it’s number one in New York.  It’s also in first place in other big states like California and Illinois (though way down at number 25 in Alabama).  Daniel‘s been in the nationwide Top 10 for many years now, but why suddenly the rise to Number 1?

Daniel, more than national number 1 name Jacob, is a natural for the top spot.  With a modern feel and traditional roots, Daniel appeals to a wide range of parents: Christian and Jewish, conservatives and forward thinkers, it relates to Danny Boy and Daniel in the Lion‘s Den.  Plus it’s a name that crosses many ethnic lines: Its Spanish version, for instance, is just like its English one.

And there are fewer male names with this kind of widespread appeal than you might think.  Matthew is another one that qualifies.  Alexander, sort of.  William, okay.  Andrew, maybe.

But long-time favorites such as Joseph and James and Robert feel a tad traditional.  Anthony, a little ethnic.  Joshua and Justin and Ethan, too nouveau.

Daniel sits comfortably in the middle, with very few equals among boys’ names.

Famous Daniels include Webster, Boone, and Day-Lewis.  The name has been in the national Top 20 since 1952 and in the Top 50 since 1921.

A few other tidbits from the New York City popularity statistics: Ryan is the number one name for Asian boys.  Because of the large Jewish population, Chaya is actually in the Top Ten for white girls.  Giuliana, spelled this way as a possible tribute to Mayor Rudy, is on the popularity list.  And Brooklyn, the number 57 name for girls nationwide, is nowhere to be found.

Here’s the whole story on New York City names.

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