Most popular baby names for 2011 show Sophia and Jacob at the head of the pack, according to a recently released report from the Social Security Administration. Jacob has seen the top spot for boy’s names for 13 consecutive years. This is the first year Sophia has been honored with the top spot after appearing in the top 100 in 1997.
Where Jacob has seen continued success at the top of the list, Sophia has peaked following a tumultuous trip through the record books. Top female names are often more volatile, falling in and out of favor occasionally. On the other hand, top names for boys tend to be more stable, Michael ( No. 6), for example, fell out of the top five in 2011 for the first time since 1948 and William has never fallen from the top 20 in over a century.
Isabella had reigned as the most popular baby name for girls for the two previous years but now has fallen to number two on the list. Rounding out the top five for the list of most popular baby names for girls are: Emma, Olivia and Ava. The top five most popular names for boys following Jacob are: Mason, William, Jayden and Noah.
Many see the significance of this year’s report as pointing to where our focus as a culture rests, specifically the rising influence of television celebrities and charismatic personalities. For instance, Mason skipped 10 spots in 2011 to take over the No. 2 spot. Mason is the name of a child born to celebrity Kourtney Kardashian in 2009. In 2010, Mason moved from No. 24 to No. 12.
The influence of pop-culture figures on the list is apparent by looking at the fastest-rising names. Brantley was the fastest-rising name for boys in a year that saw country singer Brantley Gilbert have a No.1 country hit with Country Must Be Country Wide. Brantley jumped over 400 spots to No. 320. Briella saw the greatest increase for girl’s names, jumping 394 spots before landing at No. 497. Briella Calafiore appears in two popular reality-shows, Jerseylicious and Glam Fairy.
The Social Security Administration provides the list of most popular baby names on its website where it has archived lists dating to 1880. John and Mary were the top names for that year, both now reside at their lowest spots in history, John at No. 27 and Mary at No. 112.
It is also worth noting that the Social Security Administration records names with different spellings separately. For example, Sophia is No. 1 for girls with its counterparts Sofia and Sophie resting at No.19 and No. 51, respectively.