Monday, November 13, 2006

Popular Baby Names

By Brandi M. Seals

Each year babies are born in the United States. One of the first thing new parents do is send the birth information in to the department of Social Security so that their new child can get a social security card. The government tracks that information and each year compiles a list of the most common names.

These common names really are not all that common. In fact, even the most common names of the year are usually given to less than 2 percent of the newborn babies in any given year.

Sometimes names stay popular for several years. After all Jennifer was in the top ten for so many years that it is hard to keep track. But, sometimes a unique name will catch on one year and be completely dropped from the list the next year.

The list for 2006 should be compiled within the next few months. I wonder how it will differ from the most popular names of 2005.

Top 10 Most Popular Male Names in 2005:


Jacob
Meaning: Supplanter
Origin: Hebrew
Famous Names: Jake Gyllenhaal

Michael
Meaning: Who is like God?
Origin: Hebrew
Famous Names: Michael J. Fox, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson

Joshua
Meaning: God is salvation
Origin: Hebrew
Famous Names: Josh Holloway, Josh Hartnett, Josh Duhamel

Matthew
Meaning: Gift of God
Origin: English
Famous Names: Matthew McCanaughey, Matt Damon, Matt Dillon

Ethan
Meaning: Firm, strong
Origin: Hebrew
Famous Names: Ethan Allen Hitchcock, Ethan Hawke

Andrew
Meaning: Manly
Origin: Greek
Famous Names: Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Andy Warhol

Daniel
Meaning: God is my judge
Origin: Hebrew
Famous Names: Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Dae Kim, Daniel Boone

Anthony
Meaning: Unknown
Origin: Latin
Famous Names: Anthony Edwards, Tony Danza, Anthony Quinn

Christopher
Meaning: Christ-bearer
Origin: Greek
Famous Names: Topher Grace, Chris Christopherson

Joseph
Meaning: God will increase
Origin: Hebrew
Famous Names: Joe Belushi, Joe Piscopo

Top 10 Most Popular Female Names in 2005:

Emily
Meaning: Rival
Origin: English
Famous Names: Emily Bronte, Emily Dickinson

Emma
Meaning: Entire
Origin: Latin
Famous Names: Emma Thompson

Madison
Meaning: Son of Matthew
Origin: English
Famous Names: Dolley Madison (sorry I could not come up with anyone with the first name Madison)

Abigail
Meaning: Joy of the father
Origin: English
Famous Names: Abigail Adams, Abigail Van Buren

Olivia
Meaning: Elf army (female form of Oliver)
Origin: English
Famous Names: Olivia Newton-John

Isabella
Meaning: Form of Isabel
Origin: Italian
Famous Names: Isabella Rossellini, Isabella I of Spain

Hannah
Meaning: Grace
Origin: Hebrew
Famous Names: Hanna Barbera

Samantha
Meaning: Unknown
Origin: American
Famous Names: Samantha Harris

Ava
Meaning: Like a bird
Origin: Latin
Famous Names: Ava Gardner, Ava Phillippe (Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe's daughter)

Ashley
Meaning: From the ash tree field
Origin: English
Famous Names: Ashley Judd, Ashley Oleson

I think things will be quite different on the 2006 list. I constantly read the birth announcements here in Northwest Arkansas because I have never lived in a place where people the names are so amusing. Everyone seems to try to be different and sometimes that ends up with some humorous results.

In reading the birth announcements, I have noticed some trends. I cannot say if they are universal trends, but they are definitely going strong here in Arkansas. There are names that appear over and over again, but the real trend seems to deal with spelling. People are using y's as much as possible; putting them anywhere they can think. They are also altering the spelling of traditional names to make them slightly different; for example Emily is now Emileigh. I guess the people who make programs like spell checker will be working over time to include all these new possible spellings.

Here are some of the names I see pop up at least every month or so in the birth announcements.

Male Names:

Jaxon
Meaning: Son of Jack
Origin: American

Jayce
Meaning: From Jason
Origin: American

Aidan
Meaning: Little Fire
Origin: Celtic/Gaelic

Elijah
Meaning: The lord is my God
Origin: Hebrew

Mason
Meaning: Stone Worker
Origin: French

Female Names:

Elise
Meaning: Form of Elisa
Origin: French

Brooklyn or Brook Lynn
Meaning: New York borough
Origin: American

Raine or Rayne
Meaning: Queen
Origin: French

Cadence or Kaydence
Meaning: Rhythm/ Musical
Origin: Latin/ American

Angelina
Meaning: Messenger of God
Origin: Italian

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