Top Names of 2008: Emma and Jacob Rule

baby name Emma

The day every baby name addict waits for all year is finally here, as the Social Security Administration released its list of Top 1000 Boy and Girl Names this morning. To many people’s surprise–including a sizable number of our contest entrants–Emma leapfrogged over Isabella–last year’s #2– to become the most popular girls’ name in the country for the first time. She won by a very narrow margin though–there were 18,587 baby Emmas born, and 18,377 Isabellas. The boys list saw very little change, in fact the top five names–Jacob, Michael, Ethan, Joshua and Daniel–were identical to last years.

We will be studying and analyzing the lists over the next days and weeks, but here are a few initial observations:

Chloe entered the Top 10 for the first time, displacing Hannah (as in Montana), which dropped from #9 to #15. On the other hand the name of the real Hannah Montana, Miley (a nickname invented by dad Billy Ray Cyrus) jumped 151 places. Some other girls’ names substantially on the rise: Aubrey, Brooklyn, Layla, Peyton and Payton, Genesis, Bella, Hayden, Marley, London, Piper, Lila, and the K-krazy-Kardarshian-influenced Khloe.

As for the boys, if both the Aiden and Aidan spellings were added together, that would have been the Number One name, topping Jacob. In addition, Jayden rose to just outside the Top Ten, and others on the upswing include Elijah and Eli, Brayden, Carter, Chase, Brody, Liam, Hayden (for both sexes), Colton, Levi, Oliver, Jonah, Miles, and Hudson.

You can access the entire list of 2,000 names on the Social Security site. An interesting feature they’ve added this year is the greatest changes in popularity from 2007 to 2008. (Highest for girls are Khloe, Marlee and Marely (!), and for boys, Jacoby, Kane and Beckett.)

CONTEST: We will be going through the entries over the weekend and announcing the winner on Monday.

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22 Responses to “Top Names of 2008: Emma and Jacob Rule”

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Eva Says:

May 8th, 2009 at 3:29 pm

here are some observations i have: Delilah rose over one hundred places, going from 296 in 2007 to 193 in 2008!

Gemma is new to the top 1000, ranking at 888. It surprises me she wasn’t ranked last year, she seems to fit in well with other popular names.

Also, Allisson entered the top 1000. this is a new spelling. i definitely prefer Alison/Allison. Allisson looks awkward.

Braelyn (girl) jumped from 812 in 2007 to 564 in 2008.

The spelling Rubi now ranks 576. In 2007, it ranked 714

Azul ranked 718 in 2007, in 2008 it ranked 611

Journey (girl) now ranks 594. In 2007, she ranked 692.

Isla enters the top 1000 at 623, wasnt ranked last year.

Arabella surprising loses popularity, now ranking 657. In 2007, she ranked 648. Not that big of a difference, but I though she would become way more popular.

Olive now ranks 813. She ranked 994 in 2007

Matilda wasnt ranked last year, enters the top 1000 at 829.

Sloane (girl) enters the top 1000 at 999


Verisimilitude Says:

May 8th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

I counted all the -ayden rhyming names earlier today. There’s a ton:

Jayden (11)
Aiden (16)
Brayden (51)
Aidan (59)
Hayden (76)
Jaden (88)
Ayden (91)
Caden (95)
Kaden (99)
Hayden (GIRL, 126)
Kayden (152)
Braden (156)
Jaiden (168)
Cayden (173)
Jayden (GIRL, 176)
Kaiden (190)
Caiden (250)
Aden (254)
Aaden (343)
Braeden (346)
Kayden (GIRL, 391)
Jadyn (GIRL, 396)
Jaden (472)
Zayden (488)
Braiden (494)
Jaiden (GIRL, 520)
Ayden (564)
Jaidyn (GIRL, 565)
Jaeden (610)
Bradyn (612)
Aydin (627)
Kaeden (661)
Aidyn (699)
Jaydin (745)
Haiden (773)
Raiden (780)
Jaidyn (802)
Aedan (821)
Jadyn (823)
Jaydan (886)
Zaiden (898)
Kadyn (922)

Erin Says:

May 8th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Interesting. I live in the L.A. area and have a 5 y.o. and a 2 y.o. Of the top ten girls, we do not personally know any Emmas, Emilys, Madisons or Chloes. Of boys, we don’t know any Michaels, Daniels, Anthonys, Christophers or Matthews. (I’m counting anyone we know under the age of 15, not adults.)

Shows how even the top 10 names aren’t necessarily popular in a given area. All the names are spread thinner now.

Dasha Says:

May 8th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I find the facts on Bella, Arabella and Gemma really interesting, as those are my girls’ names! Arabella is called Bella. Gemelliana is called Gemma (would have been Jemima>Jemma but her dad had a fit when she was a day old).

I get compliments on their names all the time–both girls–many when Bella was smaller; there are more of them now and it was pretty unique then–many, many now on Gemma because it’s so similar to Emma. I think we’re on the right side of the curve. By the time it breaks into the top 100, which i think it will, she’ll be close to 10 years old–the perfect spacing for coolness.

rachelmarie Says:

May 8th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

What’s interesting is some names that suddenly appeared in the top 1000, some at an especially high ranking.
For example, Aaden at number 323.
Chace at number 655.
Isla at number 623.
Also, Rory made a come back for girls, it’s at number 982, and it hasn’t been on the charts since 2003.

But, I know I already lost this contest because I looked at my answers, and I was completely wrong. Ha ha.

Wv Says:

May 8th, 2009 at 7:16 pm

I would love if you would take a look at the total number of Jacks, Jacksons, etc totaled together. Every other new boy in the last year or two seems to have that name.

Isla’s instant popularity isn’t surprising considering Isla Fischer’s fame is on the rise – and she just opened her first starring vehicle this year.

Carolyn Choate Says:

May 8th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Just thought you’d like to know that, while you have many derivations of “MacKenzie”, you don’t have it with a capital “K”. This is important because it signifies a Scottish derivative rather than an Irish one. It’s our 16 yr. old daughter’s name.

Have a great day!


Eva Says:

May 8th, 2009 at 11:48 pm

If you add the Madison and Addison’s together for girls, you get 27, 517 baby girls born with those names!

And if you add all the Jaydens, Aidens, Braydens, Aidans, Haydens, Aydens, Cadens, Jadens, and Kadens, you get 73, 490 baby boys. (if I added correctly) All those names are in the top 100. How confusing would that be in the classroom?!? Divide that by 50, and that’s about 1, 470 baby boys with one of those names per state.

Eva Says:

May 8th, 2009 at 11:49 pm

There is only about 446 baby Jacobs born in 2008 per state

Ellen Says:

May 9th, 2009 at 12:02 am

I found a few more -ayden rhyming names in the boys’ list:
Adan (299)
Braydon (325)
Jaydon (434)
Kadin (722)
Braedon (822)

These names seem to go on and on…

Eva Says:

May 9th, 2009 at 12:08 am

For the girls, add all the names that end in the “lee” sound in the top 100, and you get about 71, 894 baby girls. (Emily, Natalie, Ashley, Lily, Hailey, Kaylee, Riley, Kylie, Kimberly, and Bailey)

Add all the names that have the “ay” sound in them in the top 100, and you get 100,946 baby girls! That ay sound is sooo popular right now. (Ava, Grace, Taylor, Hailey, Kayla, Kaylee, Makayla, Avery, Kaitlyn, Layla, Peyton, Rachel, Katelyn, Bailey, Paige, Faith, Payton, and Gracie, not including Maya, because some people pronounce it differently)

Jillian Says:

May 9th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I was thinking about the “ayden” phenomenon the other day, and I was wondering if this ever happened at any other point in time. The only ending I could think of with so many rhymers was “ary” – Barry, Carrie, Larry, Sherry, Mary, Gary, Jerry, Terry….. What do you think? Probably in not as concentrated of a time frame.

Emmy Jo Says:

May 9th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Callum has just made his debut at #976. Since he has been at top 10 choice in Scotland and England, it was only a matter of time before he made it here.

I’m excited to see that he has been discovered, but a little disappointed as well — he’s such a great name that I wanted him to remain a secret for just a little longer.

Nephele Says:

May 9th, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Hi, Emmy Jo. I agree, Callum is a great name! Actually, he’s been steadily rising up the SSA list. In 2000 he was #1455 — not too far down, even back then.

— Nephele

Sally Says:

May 10th, 2009 at 10:11 am

At least Nevaeh seems to have lost a little ground.. from #31 to #34, yay!

SophieGray Says:

May 11th, 2009 at 5:22 am

Sally, that’s great about Nevaeh!

I haven’t yet had time to peruse the extensive list, but I must say that the info I’ve picked up about it so far is very intruiging. Callum, Isla, Matilda and Gemma are all Top 100 picks here (Australia), so I was surprised that they weren’t any higher in the US.

I’m still really jealous that you get a national top 1000 list. We don’t even have a national top 100, just state ones!

Alison Says:

May 12th, 2009 at 7:54 pm

I must say to my dismay, I logged on here today to see what the 2008 Names were and lo and behold, the two names my husband and I have chosen for our second baby due in August are both EMMA and JACOB. What are the odds really??? Obviously high! I guess we will have to continue our name search. Oh dear!

linda Says:

May 12th, 2009 at 7:59 pm

We offer you 50,000+ others to choose from!

Emma Says:

May 13th, 2009 at 7:49 am

hey guys!!!
this is really cool! My name is Emma, (im in 8th grade) and Im pretty sure there is no other “Emma” in my school, or none that ive met. But all the time people with little kids say “oh my daughters name is Emma, shes 4!”

Sally Says:

May 21st, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Also, Ada jumped almost 150 places from ’07 to ’08 in the US!!! Is it just me or is that a bit much?!? I guess it was only a matter of time… 🙁

Jessica Says:

September 11th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Ada is a nice name. I am glad to see old names coming back. I much would rather have a baby Myrtle than a baby Emily or Emma or Ava. Trendy, trendy, trendy.

LM Says:

September 11th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Can’t believe Genesis is in the top 100. That is a bit much. What is next Deuteronomy or Revelation. Enough already with this Emily and Emma binge. The thing is a lot of parents these days follow the trends. I see it happen every day in my office. This week two new patients Ethan and Isabella. It is a revolving door with the same names. I was pleased when one of my patients was named Josephine, she goes by Josie and her older sister is Eliza. Adorable names. The mother is going to name the boy Tyler though. So dated. Oh, well at least I don’t see too many Nevaeh. I only have one.

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