May 6, 2011 in Nation/World

Jacob, Isabella top baby names

Stephen Ohlemacher Associated Press
 
Top five

Boys: Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Jayden, William

Girls: Isabella, Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava

WASHINGTON – Elvis has left the list.

Ending a run that started in 1955, Elvis did not make the list of 1,000 most popular baby names compiled by the Social Security Administration. The name never topped the charts, peaking at No. 312 in 1957 and making a slight comeback after Elvis Presley died in 1977. But The King’s first name was in the top 1,000 for 55 straight years, something that cannot be said for, say, Barack, which has never cracked the list.

“I was all shook up,” Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said. “It’s been a tradition tracking his ups and downs, and to see him drop off the top 1,000, I have to be honest, we took that very hard at Social Security.”

Jacob continued a 12-year run as the most popular name for boys in 2010, according to the list released Thursday. Isabella was the most popular name for girls for a second year at the top.

Nearly 22,000 boys were named Jacob in 2010, followed by Ethan, Michael, Jayden and William. Nearly 23,000 girls were named Isabella, followed by Sophia, Emma, Olivia and Ava.

Names with different spellings were counted separately.

The fastest-rising names for both girls and boys came from a pair of reality TV shows called “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.” Maci was the biggest riser among girls, jumping 423 spots to No. 232. Among boys, Bentley shot up 414 spots to No. 101.

Maci Bookout has starred as a teen mother on the MTV shows. Her baby’s name is Bentley.

“It certainly tends to say this is what people are watching and what they are connecting with,” Astrue said. “I’ll leave it to others to explain the phenomenon.”

Laura Wattenberg, author of “The Baby Name Wizard,” said baby names are getting more diverse. Three decades ago, a third of all babies had names that were in the top 20. Last year, only 14 percent of babies had names from the top 20.

Religious names have endured – and even received a new twist.

Nevaeh, which is “heaven” spelled backward, debuted in 2001 at No. 266. It is now more popular than ever, reaching No. 25 in 2010. Heaven, by the way, dropped 52 spots to No. 324.

Popularity can be fleeting; just ask the first family. Both Malia and Sasha – the names of the Obamas’ daughters – were fast risers in 2009, the year President Barack Obama took office. Both names, however, plunged in 2010, with Malia dropping 111 spots, to No. 302, and Sasha dropping 84 places, to No. 344.

Wattenberg, however, said it is typical for names that quickly gain popularity to lose it just as quickly.

The Social Security Administration provides lists of baby names on its website dating to 1880. The list, which includes top baby names by state, draws millions of people. The agency hopes that people go to the website to see the names and stay to learn about other services, Astrue said.

© Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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