New York City Baby Names: 2009′s Most Popular List

In honor of the release of the 2009 list of most popular New York City baby names, Nameberry’s newest intern, Deanna Cullen, presents to you some surprising top contenders that owe their ascension in the ranks to some serious star power.

New York City baby names are not so different from those in the rest of the United States, but more celebrity names reach the top spots, according to the newly-released 2009 popularity list.

The most popular New York City baby names for girls for 2009 were:

  1. Isabella
  2. Sophia
  3. Mia
  4. Emily
  5. Olivia
  6. Madison
  7. Sarah
  8. Ashley
  9. Leah
  10. Emma

Those that did not break the national top ten – Sarah (#21), Ashley (#20), and Leah (#28) – still came awfully close.

Same went for the boys.

The most popular New York City baby names for boys in 2009 were:

  1. Jayden
  2. Daniel
  3. Ethan
  4. Michael
  5. David
  6. Justin
  7. Matthew
  8. Joshua
  9. Alexander
  10. Christopher

Those that did not break the national top ten, such as David (#14) and Matthew (#13), again came close, with only the third, Justin (#46), coming from behind.

Jayden, a name that was virtually unknown as of the 1990 Census and #194 in 2000, now ranks #1 in New York City and #8 in the nation. Although there is a Biblical Jadon, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith brought the name to national attention when they named their son Jaden.
Another famous Jayden is Britney Spears’ son, born in 2006. What more coverage can a kid – and a name – get than having Britney Spears as your mother?

Celebrities’ impact on naming trends is clear on the 2009 New York City baby names popularity list, which includes such names as:

New York City is one of the few locales that tallies baby name statistics by ethnicity, yielding some interesting results.

The Top Ten names for blacks is totally different, for girls, than it is for the overall Top Ten, reflecting the popularity of several African-American celebrities. That list:

  1. Madison
  2. Kayla
  3. Nevaeh
  4. Jada (Pinkett Smith)
  5. Malia (Obama)
  6. Makayla
  7. Aaliyah (the singer)
  8. London
  9. Arianna/Brianna
  10. Destiny

The African-American boys’ list more closely resembled the overall list, with Jayden remaining in number one place. The names that are different on the list for black boys: Elijah, Jeremiah, Christian, Josiah.

Other names in the top ten that broke rank by ethnicity include, for Hispanics, Melanie and Genesis for girls and Angel for boys; for Asian-Americans, Tiffany, Fiona, and Vivian for girls and Ryan, Eric, and Kevin for boys; and for whites, Rachel, Leah, Esther, and Chaya for girls, Benjamin and Samuel for boys.

Deanna Cullen is a recent graduate of Fairfield University with a degree in English/Creative Writing. She currently works as copy editor for The Hudson Reporter, and is a freelance contributing writer for The Hoboken Reporter, International Watch Magazine, and, along with interning for nameberry.

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7 Responses to “New York City Baby Names: 2009′s Most Popular List”

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speakeasy Says:

October 21st, 2010 at 8:21 am

When providing “the names that are different for black boys,” you did not give the entire picture. I’m interested in the top 10, and I don’t know which names “Elijah,” “Jeremiah,” “Christian,” and “Josiah” replaced on the boy listing provided. Is the original listing devoid of ethnic names? If so, am I to assume this listing reflects names for white boys only?

Steph Says:

October 21st, 2010 at 8:54 am

These names don’t seem very different from what is popular in my area. I’m actually surprised that they aren’t MORE “avant-garde” in NYC. Jayden/Jaden, etc are a dime a dozen where I live, as are Isabellas and Sophias.

Andrea Says:

October 21st, 2010 at 9:33 am

The ethnicity breakdowns are interesting. The number of Orthodox Jews in New York City shows up very clearly in the list of white boys, with Moshe in the top 10 for boys and Sarah/Sara, Rachel, Leah, Esther, Chaya and Chana all in the top 10 for girls. The Yiddish names further down on the list for both boys and girls are really fun to see too. The Asian/Pacific Islander list must also include a number of people from Pakistan and other countries in that region alongside the Filipinos and Chinese. That’s a pretty diverse list and it would be fun to see it broken down further. The Hispanic list also must include a number of different countries. Valentina and Camila, both pretty high up on the Mexican list, are just outside the top 10 in New York City. And the black list also includes a fair number of immigrants from Africa, with names like Aminata included.

n Says:

October 21st, 2010 at 11:26 am

NO offense but this post left out a lot of interesting information. I would like to see the full list for Asian, HIspanic and whites and see how they are different. The little summary at the end seemed rather rushed…more please.

andreachristine Says:

October 21st, 2010 at 2:03 pm

n – if you click the links she provided in the blog post you will find more information and the full lists for the different ethnicities

pam Says:

October 21st, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Yes, everyone — sorry, we did this late last night and we tried to provide links for more information. The overall top ten includes all ethnicities. We’re planning a future post on the ethnic breakdown here and in other localities that provide it. There’s a lot of detail and this is meant to be a basic news story.

Kathy Says:

October 21st, 2010 at 7:56 pm

So interesting to see the cultural differences in baby naming. Thanks!

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