By Linda Rosenkrantz
The biblical Noah retains the title for the second year in a row, but it’s Emma that’s the big surprise. Taking first place for the second time in seven years, this simple classic beat out all her frillier competitors—the romantic Olivia, Sophia and Isabella, who followed her at Numbers 2, 3 and 4.
Emma is a very old yet modern-feeling name with German roots and a rich royal and literary history—as in Emma Bovary and Jane Austen’s protagonist. Its current popularity has been boosted by three of today’s hottest young stars—Emmas Watson, Roberts and Stone (who was born Emily.)
In the Top 10–can it be a coincidence? –Charlotte was the one new female entrant, making it the second time that name made news this week. Among the boys, the traditional James displaced the nouveau Jayden, another indication of the increasing popularity of solid classics with deep roots and history
The new Top 10 are:
Just outside that golden circle is the girl name Harper, rising from Number 16 last year to Number 11 in 2014—a major success story. Entering the girls’ list for the first time in 2004, the name of the author of To Kill a Mockingbird has been propelled by its widespread use by a long list of celebrities and screenwriters.
Again pop culture was a prime influence, with names drawn from such sources as Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey and Frozen, as well as the names celebs gave their kids.
A major trend this year saw parents rummaging through Grandma’s attic once again to choose vintage names from the Downton Abbey and Mad Men eras. This year saw rising numbers of baby girls called Alice, Cora, Hazel, Clara, Josephine, Arabella, Adeline, Elsie, Beatrice, Frances, Ada, Gwendolyn, and Mabel, and little boys newly named Arthur, Warren, Harvey, Winston, Otto, Ezra, and Theodore.
In a year marked by an increase of previously male names used for girls, the Top 1000 saw examples such as Avery, Aubrey, Riley, Emery, Emerson, Hayden, Finley, Sawyer, Logan, Rowan, River, Remington, Monroe, and Elliott all firmly ensconced in the pink column.
The list of names that increased most in popularity from 2013 to 2014 is headed by the fairly obscure Bode—probably related to Olympic skier Bode Miller— and Aranza (featured on a Latin soap opera)–which made an amazing 3,625-spot leap.
Other of the steepest climbing girls’ names include Maisie (up 462 places), Thea (358), Freya (322), Game of Throne’s Khaleesi (265), Frozen’s Elsa (242), Lennon (228), Cordelia (205) and Everly (202 places)—a large proportion of which reflect the huge influence of celebrity culture.
The highest climbing boys included Axl (624 spots!), Royal (327), Killian (250), Langston (216), Hendrix (199), Clyde (192), Bodhi (185), the Gwen Stefani choice Apollo (169), and Kingsley (167 places).
Other girls’ names that made significant strides: Scarlett, Aria and Arya, Luna, Penelope, Piper, Paisley, Annabelle and Nora. For boys it was Atticus, Oliver, Sebastian, Grayson, Luke, Beckett, Bennett, Everett, Finn, Lucas, and Carter.
You can see the full list at the Social Security website.