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Number One Names: So Long, Jacob and Emily?

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On Friday the official list of most popular names will be announced, and we’ll find out whether Jacob and Emily will continue their reign or end their long runs as the Number One Names in the U.S.

(Plus, everyone who’s entered the Nameberry Mother’s Day Contest will see whether their guess of the top ten names for girls and boys matches the official statistics, which we’ll announce on the site as soon as the news breaks.  For more details and rules on entering the contest — plus a description of the prizes — see the end of this blog.)

Judging from the state popularity statistics, Emily seems more vulnerable than Jacob.  She’s held the top spot longer – since 1996, compared with Jacob’s decade-long reign – and she was astonishingly Number One in ONLY THREE STATES last year.

Of course, two of those were huge states: California and Texas.  And everyone who’s sweated through a presidential race knows how that works: You can win fewer states, but if they’re the right states, you take the whole election.  But still, only three thumbs up with 48 (D.C. is counted separately) top spots going to other names doesn’t look very good for Emily.

Without tallying the NUMBER of girls that got each name – if you’re really a baby name geek, you can do that yourself at the social security site — here are the girls’ names that took the top spot somewhere and the number of states in which they were the Number One Names:

MADISON – 11
EMMA – 10
AVA & ISABELLA – 9 each
EMILY, SOPHIA & OLIVIA – 3 each
ADDISON – 2
ASHLEY – 1

Jacob seems more solidly in the lead on boys’ names, claiming the top place in 15 states.  Boys’ names move up and down the ladder more slowly than girls’, and once a name reaches the top, it tends to stay there: Michael was Number One for forty years.  Other boys’ names that were Number One in 2007, and how many states they won:

ETHAN & WILLIAM – 9 each
MICHAEL – 7
DANIEL, ANTHONY & LOGAN – 2 each
AIDEN, ANGEL, JOSE, MATTHEW & NOAH (Noah??) – 1 each

Names that have ever been the national Number One name are an elite group, pointed out by the list on nameberry constructed by rachelmarie.   Until I saw her excellent list, I don’t think it had ever really hit me what a small group it was.  Number One names since the beginning of recorded U.S. naming history, aka 1880, are, for girls:

ASHLEY
EMILY
JENNIFER
JESSICA
LINDA
LISA
MARY

The boys’ list is even more limited, comprised of just six names:

DAVID
JACOB
JAMES
JOHN
MICHAEL
ROBERT

So will there be a new king and queen of names come Friday?  What do you think?  Send your official guess for the new Top Ten to contest@nameberry.com by midnight EST on Thursday, May 7.  The first person to guess the correct Top Ten for girls and boys will win four signed baby name books, including a sneak peek edition of our brand-new Beyond Ava & Aiden.  If no one guesses the correct Top Ten, we’ll pick the person who in our opinion comes closest.  We’ll be broadcasting the official popularity results on nameberry on Friday, just as soon as they come in.  The contest winner will be announced Monday, May 11, so tune in then to find out whether it’s you!

And just for fun, vote in our poll on whether you think Jacob and Emily will be unseated.


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