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Category: popular names list

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Popular baby names go through cycles: They rise to the top, but then in a year or a decade, most fall away to be replaced by….

Well, by new names that are often pretty darn similar to the old ones.  In the 80s, Jennifer was number one, until it was replaced by JessicaEmily held the top spot for several years, and then was supplanted by Emma.

The reason for this same-but-different pattern is so simple and logical it hardly bears stating — but we’ll do so anyway.  Popular baby names, by definition, are those that are favored by a wide range of people.  Except once they become too popular for too long, parents don’t want to choose them, no matter how much they may still like them.

So they look for names that are the same, but different.  That have some twist that makes them new, while retaining the appeal of the originals.

Many of the most popular baby names today have close cousins waiting in the wings, ready to move up and replace the well-liked but overused favorites of today.

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Top Baby Names 2009

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The top baby names 2009 were announced yesterday by the Social Security Administration, and the big news is that Isabella unseated Emma as the top girls’ name. Jacob remains for its 11th year atop the boys’ list.

Emma claimed the top spot for just one year before she was unseated by Isabella, the Spanish and Italian variation of Elizabeth that’s motored from the bottom of the top 1000 to Number 1 in the past two decades. Elizabeth itself has just fallen off the list, while Mia moved on.

Olivia and Sophia, which might be thought of as sister names to Isabella, also moved up.

Ethan is the new number 2 for boys, with Jayden, as in the name of Britney Spears’ son, and Noah newcomers to the Top 10, with longtime favorites Christopher and Matthew falling off.

Maliyah, along with Malia, was the fastest rising name for girls, inspired by the First Daughter. Cullen, surname of the Twilight hero, was the fastest rising boys’ name, with number 1 Jacob and Bella, as in Isabella, also claiming a Twilight connection.

Other pop culture-influenced names on the rise include Isla, Khloe, Scarlett, Violet, and Valentina for girls, with Jett, Romeo, and Maddox for boys. Moving down are Lindsay, Rihanna, and Tori.

We’ll be blogging lots more on the Top Baby Names 2009 over the coming days and weeks.

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Popular Baby Names: The Top of the Top

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Popular baby names get that way for a reason: Most offer a lot to like to a wide range of parents.  The upshot: the list of 100 Most Popular Baby Names is studded with great names.  While many parents have a horror of choosing a name that’s overexposed, some of the most popular choices are simply too wonderful to resist.

If you love one of these popular baby names, you might feel better about using it when you learn that many fewer babies receive one of the top names now than ever before.  So even though there are certainly a lot of Emmas and Jacobs around, there are many fewer than there were Jennifers or Michaels, Marys or Johns, or any of the other top names of the past.

Here, what we consider the ten best names for girls and boys from the Top 100.

AUDREYAudrey has been rising surely and steadily since the early 1970s, achieving a new fashion status in the past decade, since the death of the incandescent actress Audrey Hepburn.  An ancient saint’s name, it means “noble strength” and also has the stylish A initial.

CHARLOTTE – Is there another classic name more luscious than Charlotte? Like many of our top popular girls’ names, Charlotte combines strength with prettiness.

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