Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Consideration and Deliberation of 2011's Most Popular Baby Names

Today's post title is hardcore (read: long).  If you've read prior baby name posts on NSB you've come to know that I get hardcore about the subject.

For starters, thanks to fabulous comment from Amy in a post from last week (here), I now know that the Social Security Administration posts the most popular baby names from the prior year on the Friday before Mother's Day.  I knew it was an annual occurrence, but I didn't know there was a precise date.  I had thought it was just a random day in May.  Not so.  There is a sentimental method to the madness.

Next, let's get down to business and discuss 2011's most popular baby names.  I'll start with some interesting notes on specific names, girls first.
  • Aubrey/Aubree - Both versions of this girl name gained noteworthy popularity last year.  Aubrey broke into the Top 20 and Aubree jumped from 223 to 99.
  • Avery - As I predicted (more on that later in the week), the popularity of Avery continues to rise.  She jumped 5 significant spots from 23 to 18.
  • Briella - This name jumped 394 spots from 2010 (#891) to 2011 (#497).  Not only that, but 2010 was the first time Briella was even in the Top 1,000.  She jolted from not listed to Top 500 in 2 years flat.  Impressive.  My previous (here) and current theory on the sudden popularity of Briella is also known as the Jersylicious Effect.  Jerseylicious is another trashy, fabulous reality TV show that stars, amongst many, Briella Calafiore.  Ms. Calafiore's mom must feel like an innovator.
  • Brisa - She fell the most spots of any girl name, sliding from 464 to 807.  It's a relatively common name amongst Latino families, but can't seem to hit it's stride in the US of A. 
  • Sophia/Sofia - As if Sophia overtaking Isabella for the #1 spot wasn't enough, Sophia's less popular twin sister (Sofia) broke into the Top 20.  I don't think this name (either version) is going anywhere anytime soon.

Briella Calafiore.  Jerseylicious.

Now the boys.

  • Benjamin - It may be hard to believe, but this boy name has never been this popular.  It broke into the Top 20 for the first time. 
  • Brett - Bye, bye Brett.  Much like the career of Brett Favre, this name's hay day has passed.  It went down a whopping 119 spots in a year from 389 (2010) to 508 (2011).
  • Joseph - Perhaps one of the most significant changes to the Top 1,000 boy name list was the movement of Joseph.  He is officially out of the Top 20 for the first time in the history of the SSA keeping tabs on this stuff. 
  • Liam - It's the shorter (if we're counting letters), Irish brother of William and it's yet another name that broke into the Top 20 for the first time in 2011.  Liam has been on the rise since the mid 1990s and after becoming a popular choice for celeb baby boys (i.e. Liam McDermott, Liam Costner, Liam Stewart), I imagine it will maintain it's stronghold for years to come. 
  • Mason - Well hello there fella.  A mere 15 years prior, Mason hadn't even broken the Top 100 and now he's Number 2.  Nearly 1% of all little boys were named Mason in 2011.  Can we blame credit Kourtney Kardashian for this trend?
  • Brantley - This is the biggest mover and shaker of the 2011 boy names list.  Brantley jumped from 736 in 2010 to 320 in 2011 (that's 416 spots).  Brantley Gilbert could be the reason...possibly, maybe.  He's a country music singer/songwriter who released his first songs and music videos in 2010 and also made headlines for surviving a messy DUI.

Brantley Gilbert.  Countrylicious.

When it comes to girls versus boys, there isn't much to report.  The characteristic differences between these groups seem to have held true in the last year.  For example, in 2011, like every year prior that I cared to run the math on, a significantly larger percentage of boys (% 43.77) were given a Top 100 boy names than were girls (% 31.12) given a Top 100 girl name.  This means that it is (and has always been) more likely that your son will share the same name as his bestie than will your daughter.  On the other hand, the Top 5 girl names held strong with only slight jockeying between the ranks while the Top 5 boy names lost Ethan and Michael and gained Noah and Mason.     

Did you have a chance to peruse the SSA website and see if you're favorite baby name(s) were on any of the Top lists?  Any trends that you're seeing so far in 2012?  Do you get as excited over baby names as I do?


The Mrs./The Mom said...

I feel some kinda way about the popularity of naming children after television personalities- even if you don't think you are, you just "like the name". I don't konw why- it's just bothersome to me.

Amy said...

No prob on the SSA name info! I actually just learned that too, so I am happy to share the knowledge, haha.

My best friend just named her baby girl Sophia a week before the top names were released. I had NO idea that name was so popular!