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America’s Favorite Baby Names

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What are America‘s Favorite Baby Names?  Not the top names on the Social Security List, not even Nameberry’s own favorites, but the most well-liked names chosen by popular opinion.

Recently we collaborated with Huffington Post Parents to create a brackets challenge, asking readers to vote for America‘s Favorite Baby Name.  We picked the 16 contenders for each sex from the ranks of Nameberry favorites, pitting Henry against James, Scarlett vs. Charlotte, Hudson against River (how could we resist?).

Through a series of elimination rounds, thousands of parents voted for their favorites.  And today we have the winners!  Read on to find out which the finalists were, and the identity of America‘s favorite baby names.

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Click here for the new list of most popular names.

What choices do we see leading the way for baby names 2011? Here, we look at some of the most popular categories for parents and pick out the specific names we predict we’ll be hearing much more of this year and in the decade ahead, based on nameberry statistics.

Biblical Names 2011

Biblical names have been popular for several decades now, which means parents are forging into new territory in search of biblical names that haven’t been overused.

Girls: Delilah, Jemima, Magdalene, Ruth, Susanna
Boys: Abel, Asher, Eli, Gideon, Levi

Celebrity Names 2011

The hottest celebrity names are either the names of newly-hot celebrities such as Isla Fisher; the fresh-sounding names of new celebrity babies, such as Flynn; new ways to use the names of megapopular celebrities, such as Anniston for Jennifer; or rediscovered names of celebrities such as Isadora Duncan.

Girls: Anniston, Evangeline, Isadora, Isla, Seraphina
Boys: Arlo, Dexter, Flynn, Penn, Rufus

Hero Names 2011

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Cool Baby Names: Which Are The Hottest?

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What are the cool baby names?

That’s the first question most people ask us when they hear we have the unlikely profession of baby name experts. We hear it so often, in fact, that we wrote a book called Cool Names for Babies.

Still, when people ask us the question, we find ourselves stuttering and stammering.

Why?  Mostly because cool is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.

Certainly, the websites that have sprung up purporting to direct you to cool baby names do nothing of the sort.   They only pop up when you google cool baby names because they’re optimized for that popular search term (one of the hard facts of the rough-and-tumble baby name biz) and not because they know anything about cool….or even baby names, for that matter.

One way to identify cool baby names might be to look at what cool people are naming their babies.  For the most part, this dovetails nicely with the names that nameberry visitors like best — yes, of course we’re cool! — and that are most searched for on the site.  These tend to have traditional roots but an offbeat feel and include:

girls

ALICE

BEATRIX

DOROTHY

IMOGEN

IVY

MAISIE

MILLIE

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We made waves recently by writing a piece for The Daily Beast about Hipster Names.  Almost universally, the cry went up: Oh no! I’ve given my baby a hipster name!  “I have a one-year-old named Matilda,” one mom wrote.  “I hate you.”

Ooops, sorry.  We love the name Matilda.  Really!  We’re just a little confused about why hipster has become such a dirty word.

Or not.  I mean, we do get it, in a way.  There’s something sneering, something dismissive about branding someone or something “hipster.”  It connotes the feeling that someone (or something) is trying too hard to be cool, which of course is the definition of uncool.

On the other hand, what are you supposed to do: be deliberately uncool?  Call your kid Jennifer, or Jean, or something that thumbs its nose at the entire planet of style?

Would not caring about style lead you to a transcendentally cool name?  Or a thoroughly uncool one?

Insert deep sigh here.

The real question on many parents’ minds: How do you choose a name that’s genuinely stylish and interesting but that’s neither too hipsterish or too uncool?

Let’s play (and for you Message Board fans, this would make a great Name Game):

Hipster: OSCAR

Uncool: ORIN

Sweet: OZIAS, O’BRIEN, OMAR?

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Too cool: EVA

Uncool: EILEEN

Sweet: ESTELLE, EMER, EUDORA?

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Hipster: ATTICUS

Uncool: JULIUS

Sweet: CAIUS, HORATIO, TARQUIN?

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Hipster: JUNE, AUGUST

Uncool: APRIL

Sweet: MAY, MONDAY, EASTER?

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Too cool: LENNON

Uncool: STARR

Sweet: GEORGE, PAUL, ROCK?

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When it comes to calling the sweet spot, we’re not always that sure of ourselves either — or in agreement.  (After I posted this, Linda emailed me, Estelle?  Really???) We’d love to hear your ideas on which names hit the sweet spot, and why.

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