New York Baby Names

Having a baby in New York City is different from having one anywhere else, and that includes choosing a name.

The most popular New York baby names are a departure from the popular names in the rest of the country, for one thing. Daniel tops the boys’ chart for the very first time in the 2007 New York City name popularity statistics, with Jayden rising to number two. Sorry, Mayor Bloomberg, but Michael has now fallen from the top spot to number 3 for the first time in 50 years. Isabella and Sophia tied for number one for girls, unseating Ashley and Emily.

Other names that are higher on the New York popularity list than they are in the rest of the country include, for girls: Rachel, Chloe, Angelina, and Esther, and for boys, Justin, Sebastian, and David.

The reason? The diverse ethnic population accounts for much of the unique mix of New York baby names. One of the few locales that breaks down name popularity by ethnicity, names high on the list for Hispanic babies born in New York City include Angel, Luis, and Jose for boys; Mia, Angelina, and Sofia for girls.

African-American parents differed from those of other ethnic backgrounds in favoring names of black celebrities. Jada, Imani and Aaliyah were high on the girls’ popularity list, while Elijah and Isaiah were popular for boys.

The Asian popularity list featured some counterintuitive ethnic favorites. The number one name for Asian baby boys is Ryan, for example, with Kevin, Vincent, and Ivan also ranking high. For girls, Tiffany, Fiona, and Winnie, a name that doesn’t even break the national top 1000, are popular.

And then there are names on the New York City list popular among Hasidic Jewish parents that are virtually unheard of elsewhere in the country: Malky, Raizy, and Shira for girls; Moishe, Chaim, and Menacham for boys. Plus ethnic choices such as Fatoumata, Xin, Tatiana, and Mohamed that reflect New York’s special mix.

But New York wouldn’t truly be New York without a range of sophisticated names as well. Names favored by New York parents and found here more often than in other parts of the country include such refined choices as Sebastian, Julian, and Henry for boys, and Alexandra, Charlotte, and Alice for girls. Maximus and Giuliana (yes, Giuliana) have an only-in-New York quality, though Rudy was not to be found.

Of course, beyond the most popular list, there are names that are trendy in hip New York that are still rarely heard in most parts of the country. Oscar, Ruby, Atticus, and Isla may be bordering on overexposed in Tribeca and Park Slope, but might still be radical choices west of the Hudson River.

New Yorkers chose a range of place names for their children, including Dakota, Sierra, Asia and Paris. But in an ironic twist, Brooklyn, number 57 nationwide, is nowhere among them.

Chelsea is one New York neighborhood name that does show up on the popularity list, just outside the Top 100. New York parents — or fans of the city — in search of more original local choices might want to consult the list of New York baby names based on the city neighborhoods.

This post appears in somewhat different form in the current issue of Big Apple Parent and can be found online at

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3 Responses to “New York Baby Names”

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susan Says:

January 13th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

If you’re from California, and you want to pick an original name, just go to ssa gov names and look up top 100 names in states like New York. Then look up top California names. Pick a name that’s popular back east, but not popular in California, for example Sebastian, Henry, Lucy, Charlotte, and Amelia are not that popular here in L.A. Then you only have to worry about the names being too popular if your kid goes back east to college. My favorite states top 100 lists are from Vermont, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. I’m glad I get to live in L.A. though, because I just love it!

Hoboken Metro Mom » What’s in a Name??? Says:

May 11th, 2009 at 7:42 am

[…] you might also want to take a quick look at this article on the most popular New York baby names from […]

Charlotte Vera Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 2:35 am

Names like Vincent, Ivan, Kelvin, and Winnie are popular in Asian-American/Canadian communities (particularly Chinese) because they all have syllables in them that sound akin to the word “win”. Since Chinese [and other Asian] cultures place a great emphasis on good fortune and success, it is believed to be a good practice to give your kid a head start when choosing their names.

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