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Category: top baby names


One thing we’re finding really mesmerizing about our gorgeous new Top 1000 U.S. names page is how easy it is to read across each line and compare the names of each gender that have the same rank.  Some of the pairs seems perfectly matched — Sarah and Henry at Number 43, for instance, or Cadence and Skyler at Number 290 — whereas other equally-ranked pairs feel discordant.

We can’t help thinking, as we survey the list, which pair we’d pick if we had a baby girl and a baby boy and had to choose their names from the same line.

Annabella and Lorenzo sound pretty great together, we think.   Or maybe Lilah and Beau, or Camilla and Zachariah.

But we’re really more interested in finding out which pair you’d pick, if you had to choose names for your only daughter and only son from the same popularity rank?  And why?  Do you really like both names equally, or do you simply think they make the most balanced set?

Here’s the link again to the new Top 1000 page:

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What name do you hear waaaaaay too often?


I love the name Henry.

If our first child had been a boy, she would have been named Henry.

Then, by the time we did have a boy, I decided I really wanted to use a family name — Joseph, if you’re curious — instead.

And when we had our third child and second son, it seemed I knew too many Henrys.

There’s a Henry my youngest son’s age who lives across the street from us.  One a little older down the street.  And one a bit younger, a friend of my son’s, around the corner.

I still love the name, a strong yet stylish classic.  And yet while I feel that it’s a favorite that got away, I wouldn’t use it for a baby now because it seems there are too many Henrys in my neighborhood, my town, my life.

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Blue Jean Baby Names


by Pamela Redmond Satran

Maybe it’s because I used to be a fashion editor, but I’ve often thought that names were like clothes: coming into and going out of style, some choices enduring through the ages while others are momentary trends, everywhere for a season and then sinking from sight.

But the other day I started thinking that names are like clothes in a different way.  Some names, I decided, are like magnificent couture ballgowns – gorgeous, luxurious, distinctive, dramatic, but a bit grand for everyday use.  This may be the factor that keeps parents from choosing names like Raffaela and Orlando, Atticus and Anastasia, lovely as they may be.

More comfy and cozy, better suited to real modern life, may be the blue jean baby names.  Down-to-earth and easy to wear, these blue jean names are popular but not trendy, attractive but never showy.  With these names, you register the person first and the name second….or maybe fifth.

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photo by Elena Kalis

The big news in baby names this week has been the Most Popular Names 2012: Top 1, Top 10, Top 100, Top 1000.

But swimming just below the surface — not quite on the radar but not truly off, either — are dozens of more unusual baby names poised to find wider favor….or dropping from view.

Many Nameberry favorites exist in this limbo of baby names, including choices such as Aurelia and Wren for girls that missed making it into the Top 1000 by a single point.

Of course, that may bring relief rather than disappointment to many parents.  If you want to name your baby Magnolia or Clementine, Bishop or Langston — or already have — you may tremble on surveying the new Top 1000, hoping your favorites stay off the list.

We looked below the Top 1000 for girls and boys and found those names within 50 points of the cutoff that we felt were heading back into style, along with those sailing off into the sunset.

In raw numbers, 251 girls received the Number 1000 name Katalina while 197 boys were named Number 1000 boys’ name Dangelo.  The numbers after each name below represent the number of children given that name in 2012.

One note on the names we say are Heading Out: Some of these may appeal to parents in search of a name with Geek Chic or an unusual classic.  Hello, baby Ralph!  Or….dare I suggest….baby Pamela?

Here, the names just under the Top 1000 coming into style and heading out:

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posted by: NameFreak! View all posts by this author

Kelli Brady, creator of NameFreak!, combined spelling variations to come up with the real top 50 names on the new US popularity list. Her results show some names vastly more popular than it seems and a new Number 1 and Number 2 for boys.

Some names might actually be more popular than the SSA list shows because it ranks each spelling of a name separately, rather than counting all spelling variations — Sophia and Sofia, for example — together. To see how popular a name actually is, I have gathered the various spellings of each name in the 2012 Top 1000 and come up with a new Top 50 for each gender!

Why do I call this the Playground Analysis? Well, when you are on the playground with your kids and you hear a name, you don’t know how it is spelled, but you do know how often you hear it.

For girls, the top 5 do not drastically change, but Zoey jumps from #20 to #7. Adalyn, Elena, Kaitlyn and Madelyn make huge gains after adding all of their various spellings.

Note: The main name listed is the spelling given to the most babies in 2012 (SSA Rank is in parentheses). The others are in alphabetical order. Opinions vary on how different spellings are pronounced. I went with my best judgment.


1. Sophia (1) – Sofia
2. Isabella (3) – Isabela, Izabella
3. Emma (2)
4. Olivia (4) – Alivia, Alyvia
5. Ava (5) – Avah
6. Emily (6) – Emely, Emilee, Emilie, Emmalee
7. Zoey (20) – Zoe, Zoie
8. Chloe (11) – Khloe
9. Madison (9) – Maddison, Madisyn, Madyson
10. Aubrey (15) – Aubree, Aubri, Aubrie
11. Abigail (7) – Abbigail
12. Mia (8) – Miah
13. Madelyn (67) – Madalyn, Madalynn, Madeleine, Madeline, Madelynn, Madilyn, Madilynn
14. Lily (16) – Lillie, Lilly
15. Layla (31) – Laila, Lailah, Laylah, Leila, Leyla
16. Hailey (32) – Hailee, Haley, Haylee, Hayleigh, Hayley, Haylie
17. Addison (14) – Addisyn, Addyson
18. Riley (47) – Rylee, Ryleigh, Rylie
19. Elizabeth (10) – Elisabeth
20. Natalie (17) – Natalee, Nataly, Nathalie, Nathaly
21. Aaliyah (36) – Aleah, Aleigha, Alia, Aliya, Aliyah
22. Avery (13) – Averi, Averie
23. Kaylee (34) – Caylee, Kailee, Kailey, Kayleigh, Kaylie
24. Arianna (49) – Ariana, Aryana, Aryanna
25. Ella (12)
26. Brooklyn (29) – Brooklynn
27. Amelia (23) – Emelia, Emilia
28. Allison (38) – Alison, Alisson, Allyson, Alyson
29. Hannah (22) – Hana, Hanna
30. Kaitlyn (118) – Caitlin, Caitlyn, Kaitlin, Kaitlynn, Katelyn, Katelynn
31. Mackenzie (71) – Makenzie, Mckenzie
32. Kylie (59) – Kiley, Kylee, Kyleigh
33. Peyton (53) – Paityn, Payton
34. Lillian (25) – Lilian
35. Evelyn (27) – Evalyn, Evelynn
36. Leah (33) – Lea, Leia, Lia
37. Charlotte (19)
38. Sarah (43) – Sara
39. Grace (21)
40. Harper (24)
41. Katherine (64) – Catherine, Kathryn
42. Gabriella (37) – Gabriela
43. Anna (35) – Ana
44. Samantha (26)
45. Alyssa (44) – Alisa, Alissa, Elisa, Elissa
46. Brianna (51) – Breanna, Briana, Bryanna
47. Victoria (28)
48. Makayla (69) – Mckayla, Michaela, Mikaela, Mikayla
49. Adalyn (198) – Adalynn, Addilyn, Adeline, Adelyn, Adelynn
50. Elena (139) – Alaina, Alayna, Elaina

For boys, Aiden and its various spellings (there are NINE) take the top spot away from Jacob, and Jackson jumps from #22 to #2! Jacob doesn’t show up until #4 after all the spellings of Jayden. And Kayden and Dominic look like the names with the biggest gain.


1. Aiden (10) – Aaden, Adan, Aden, Aidan, Aidyn, Aydan, Ayden, Aydin
2. Jackson (22) – Jaxen, Jaxson, Jaxon
3. Jayden (7) – Jaden, Jadon, Jaeden, Jaiden, Jaidyn, Jaydon
4. Jacob (1) – Jakob, Jaycob
5. Mason (2) – Maison, Masen, Mayson
6. Ethan (3)
7. Noah (4)
8. William (5)
9. Liam (6)
10. Michael (8) – Micheal
11. Kayden (99) – Caden, Caiden, Cayden, Kaden, Kaeden, Kaiden
12. Alexander (9) – Alexzander
13. Matthew (12) – Mathew)
14. Elijah (13) – Alijah
15. Daniel (11)
16. James (14)
17. Anthony (15)
18. Caleb (32) – Kaleb
19. Benjamin (16)
20. Christopher (23) – Cristopher, Kristopher
21. Joshua (17)
22. Andrew (18)
23. David (19)
24. Joseph (20)
25. Logan (21)
26. Lucas (27) – Lukas
27. Christian (33) – Cristian, Kristian
28. Landon (34) – Landen, Landyn
29. Gabriel (24)
30. Brayden (39) – Braden, Bradyn, Braeden, Braiden, Braydon
31. Samuel (25)
32. Jonathan (35) – Johnathan, Johnathon, Jonathon
33. John (28) – Jon
34. Ryan (26)
35. Dylan (31) – Dillon
36. Nicholas (49) – Nicolas, Nickolas, Nikolas
37. Isaac (30) – Issac
38. Nathan (29)
39. Carter (36) – Karter
40. Cameron (54) – Camren, Camron, Camryn, Kameron, Kamron, Kamryn
41. Connor (59) – Conner, Conor, Konner, Konnor
42. Isaiah (42) – Isiah, Izaiah, Izayah
43. Luke (37)
44. Owen (38)
45. Gavin (40) – Gavyn
46. Dominic (70) – Dominick, Dominik, Dominique
47. Jordan (48) – Jorden, Jordyn
48. Wyatt (41)
49. Colton (65) – Colten, Kolten, Kolton
50. Henry (43)

What do you think? Does this sound about right? Are there any surprises?

Kelli Brady is a stay at home mom of two who needed an outlet for her name obsession. She found it at NameFreak!, a blog dedicated to a wide variety of name-related whims and fancies. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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