What's in a Name?

May 13, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Emily's had a great run - but her time at the top of the most popular baby names is over, at least for the moment.

According to the Social Security Administration, after a 12-year reign as the most popular baby name, Emily has slipped to third on the list.   Emma is now the nation’s most popular name for girls, followed by Isabella.

The most popular boy’s name, Jacob, remained the same for the 10th year in a row (see  Jacob, Emily Most Popular Baby Names – Again ).

A brand new feature on the Social Security website this year is the “Change in Name Popularity” page – and this year’s winner for the biggest jump is…Khloe.   The folks at SSA think that is “undoubtedly related to the popularity of Khloe Kardashian from the show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”   Indeed, Khloe with a K increased 469 spots to number 196 in 2008, up from 665 in 2007 and 960 in 2006 (her first year on the list).   On the other hand, Chloe with a C is in the Top 10 for the first time ever.

Miley Marker?

Another fast riser; Miley, moving up 152 spots to number 127 for 2008, a rather impressive increase given this is only her second year on the list (and I’m sure we can guess who gets credit for that).   On the downside for fans of Miley Cyrus’ fictional character, the name Hannah fell out of the Top 10 and landed down at number 17.  

As for boys, Jacoby had the biggest increase for the boys, moving up 200 spots to number 423 (apparently Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue, a die-hard Red Sox fan, attributed the rise of Jacoby to the appeal of last year’s star rookie centerfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury).

Barack did not make this year’s top 1,000 boy’s list – but, according to the Social Security Administration, it did set what is believed to be a record by skyrocketing more than 10,000 spots in rising from number 12,535 in 2007 to 2,409 in 2008.   “Social Security’s sophisticated predictive models are forecasting an increase well into the top 1,000 for Barack for 2009,” according to the press release.

Those interested in names that are a bit off the beaten path, these girls names debuted on the top 1,000 list this year:

  • Isla (623),
  • Mareli (718),
  • Dayami (750),
  • Nylah (821) and
  • Jazlene (831)

Among boys:

  • Aaden (No. 343),
  • Chace (655),
  • Marley (764) (oh, great - named after a dog!),
  • Kash (779),
  • Kymani (836),
  • Ishaan (851),
  • Jadiel (874) and
  • Urijah (889).  

Beckham also made the list for the first time, coming in at number 893. 

Jacob and Joshua are the most popular twins' names.

And for all of you Elvis fans out there (there must be some);  Elvis is still "in the building " - at number 713, but fell on the charts from 673 in 2007.

Top 10 Names for 2008
RankMale nameFemale name
Note: Rank 1 is the most popular, rank 2 is the next most popular, and so forth.

Popular names by State

Popular names by decade

Statistics on popularity change