The official top names of 2005

May 12th 2006

The Social Security Administration has announced the most popular American baby names of 2005. The top spots are unchanged: Emily and Jacob are still #1, followed by Emma and Michael. In fact, the top seven boys' names are exactly the same as 2004.

2005
GIRLSBOYSEmily Jacob Emma Michael Madison Joshua Abigail Matthew Olivia Ethan Isabella Andrew Hannah Daniel Samantha AnthonyAvaChristopherAshleyJoseph


For comparison, the 2004 leader board:

2004
GIRLSBOYSEmily Jacob Emma Michael Madison Joshua Olivia Matthew Hannah Ethan Abigail Andrew Isabella Daniel Ashley William SamanthaJoseph ElizabethChristopher


I'll be crunching the numbers and looking for interesting trends over the next few weeks. Look for announcements here of the NameVoyager update, and the results of the Baby Name Pool!

Comments

1
By Ellie (not verified)
May 12, 2006 4:11 PM

Laura-im sure this is exactly what youre doing but i thought id put in a request anyways...for the names that jumped the most spots (even if it was from 999 to 884) and new names to the top 1000

thanks so much-have fun!!!
~Ellie

2
By Elizabeth (not verified)
May 12, 2006 4:50 PM

Wow, big drop for my daughter's name (Dorothy), from 864th to off the charts, representing at least a 15% drop in number of babies.

3
By peter (not verified)
May 12, 2006 5:48 PM

"Wow, big drop for my daughter's name (Dorothy), from 864th to off the charts, representing at least a 15% drop in number of babies."

Well, not exactly. #864 this year is 287 births for girls, and #1000 is 241 births. So that'd be around an 8% drop (who knows, since it's off the list) in actual number of babies.

4
By Camilla (not verified)
May 12, 2006 7:29 PM

Of the names that dropped off the chart, Dorothy was the biggest surprise to me.
There were some very nice newcomers - Adelaide, Anneliese, and Anais come to mind.

5
By Lucy (not verified)
May 12, 2006 8:13 PM

I guess Dorothy wasn't ready for a comeback yet.

6
By Elizabeth (not verified)
May 12, 2006 9:40 PM

"Well, not exactly. #864 this year is 287 births for girls, and #1000 is 241 births. So that'd be around an 8% drop (who knows, since it's off the list) in actual number of babies."

There were 282 Dorothys in 2004, and some number less than 241 in 2005. By my math, 240 is 15% less than 282. Where did 8% come from?

7
By Elizabeth (different from above) (not verified)
May 12, 2006 11:49 PM

Laura, You really do have your finger on the pulse! I just checked some of the names you predicted would jump into the charts and they did. Bravo!

8
By Jan (not verified)
May 13, 2006 1:57 AM

Ooh, I've been waiting for the new names...it's like our version of NFL draft day!

9
By Lamenda (not verified)
May 13, 2006 3:44 AM

I continue to be shocked by the rise in popularity of "Nevaeh" From #104 (3,156) to # 70 (4,457). Now that it has broken the top 100, maybe, just maybe, someone will be able to tell my how to pronounce it :)

10
By Karen K (not verified)
May 13, 2006 12:56 PM

Girls names new to list:
Danica,Mikalah,Arabella,Arleth,Emery,Danika,Lyla,Jaelynn,Karma,Siena,Naima,Flor,Anneliese,Zara,Elliana,Cloe,Kinsley,Jolette,Brylee,Yuridia,Myla,Valery,Selah,
Finley,Montserrat,Lilianna,Khloe, Leyla

Fastest risers (from 2004-2005 by rank & number of births):

Ava
Ciara
Emerson
Sienna
Estrella
Natalee
Mia
Harmony
Addison
Rubi
Nevaeh
Patience
Camila
Hayden
Kimora
Litzy
Zoey
Aylin
Angelina
Scarlett
Aniyah
Abigail
Aubree
Fernanda
Brooklyn
Brooklynn
Annabelle
Sophia
Ivy
Bella
Miah
London
Valeria
Sofia
Journey
Jaylen
Haylie
Dayanara
Alondra
Aubrey
Luna
Addyson
Lily
Lorelei
Harper
Kaylen
Cali
Kyra
Dakota
Danna

11
By Christina (not verified)
May 13, 2006 4:38 PM

One one forum, somebody already calculated what the true top 25 names are for boys by adding together all the spellings, and some unsuprising results were--
Eight spellings of Aiden.
Nine spellings of Jaden.
Nine spellings of Caden.

So much for those names' "uniqueness."

12
By Patricia (not verified)
May 13, 2006 6:10 PM

Christina's post about combining spellings is interesting. But when a vowel is changed, is the name really the same? For example, Aidan and Aiden technically would not be pronounced the same, nor would Jadon and Jaden. It seems to me that all spellings of a name that lead to the same pronunciaton could be combined as the same name, but differences in vowels can make the names different. Thus, Emily and Emilee are the same name, while Madison and Madisyn are not the same.

I can understand why the SSA doesn't try to combine similar names with different spellings. And I'm glad they don't because I personally think the standard spellings are best.

13
By Kelly (not verified)
May 13, 2006 7:03 PM

But Patricia, everyday pronouncians are rarely "technically" correct. Most people (Americans, anyway) are going to pronounce Aidan/Aiden, Jadon/Jaden and Madison/Madisyn exactly the same. Although I am also still glad the SSA separates them, and equally glad other sites count up the sound alikes, because I think both methods of counting give interesting insights into the world of baby nameing.

14
By Kelly (not verified)
May 13, 2006 7:09 PM

Laura, I know you'll be busy for awhile with the new SSA list, but sometime I'd love to see a column on names which sound very similar to popular names, but are not popular themselves. Sylvia, which sounds very similar to #11 Sophia and #5 Olivia, is only #528. Ava is out of control, while Ada is unheard of. Isabella has been in the top 20 for 5 years, but Arabella and Isadora barely register. What gives?

(LOVE you site, you're by far the best at the baby name game. Keep up the good work!)

15
By Patricia (not verified)
May 14, 2006 3:16 PM

Nevaeh is pronounced "nehv-ah" and is the word 'heaven' spelled backwards. It MIGHT have been 'cute' the first time it was used (wonder who gets 'credit' for this???), but how cute is a word spelled backwards when over 4000 baby girls were given that name in 2005? My 3-year-old twin grandsons pronounce the word 'never' exactly the way this name is pronounced. Thus, Nevaeh? Nehvah!

16
By Kelly (not verified)
May 14, 2006 3:38 PM

I've also seen it claimed that Nevaeh is pronounced "Neh-vay-uh." But I've never met one in real life.

17
By Patricia (not verified)
May 14, 2006 5:29 PM

Over the years I've found it interesting to compare the top names in the USA with the top names in the UK, particulary in England, since many names used in America originated in England or are the English version of a name (e.g. William--from Wilhelm). It has been my observation that many names in the top 10 in England but much less popular in America, eventually rise
to the top 10 here as well.

My daughter chose the name 'Emma' in 1989 and 'Sophie' (given name Sophia) in 1995. Neither name was very popular in the US during those years, but each name was in the top 10 in England when Emma and Sophie were born. Today 'Emma' continues as the #2 girl's name in the US, with 'Sophia' #11 and climbing up the charts.

Comparing the top 10 names in England on 2005 with the same names' popularity in the USA in 2005, 8 of the 10 boys' names are in the top 40 USA, while only 4 of the top girls' names are equally popular. But who knows, 10-15 years from now Harry, Oliver, Charlotte or Lucy may be in the top 10 here.

18
By Patricia (not verified)
May 14, 2006 5:36 PM

Top 10 names in the England & Wales in 2005 (with their standing in the USA):

Boys:
1. Jack (34)
2. Joshua (3)
3. Thomas (40)
4. James (17)
5. Oliver (NA)
6. Daniel (7)
7. Samuel (21)
8. William (11)
9. Harry (526)
10. Joseph (10)

Girls:
1. Jessica (27)
2. Emily (1)
3. Sophie (134)
4. Olivia (5)
5. Chloe (19)
6. Ellie (183)
7. Grace (14)
8. Lucy (174)
9. Charlotte (135)
10. Katie (100)

19
By Elizabeth (not verified)
May 14, 2006 11:26 PM

I noticed that Heaven is also rising sharply on the charts. Can it be long before someone names twin daughters both Heaven and Nevaeh? :),

20
By Christina (not verified)
May 15, 2006 4:35 AM

When I first saw Patricia's comment, I couldn't believe that Oliver wasn't even on the U.S. list. But when I checked, I found it to be #209.

On the other hand, it's hard to believe that Jessica is in the #1 slot over there. I mean, it's a lovely name, but shouldn't it be past its heyday by now?

21
By Jen (not verified)
May 15, 2006 1:12 PM

Interesting to see the top UK names with the US rankings next to them. I'm a UK vistor and I had not realised how unpopular Harry and Oliver are in the States. Over here there's hundreds of them! Likewise, Sophies, Lucys and Charlottes.

All lovely names, but too popular for me now ;-). I've been searching Stateside for inspiration but it seems that following Patricia's post, the US often follows us on name trends.

Time for column on this observation, Laura?!

22
By Patricia (not verified)
May 15, 2006 2:31 PM

Thanks for the correction on the placement of 'Oliver' on the SSA list. (I think I typed it in as 'Olivier'--I looked up the names in a hurry...)

I'd also like to suggest a column on Irish/Gaelic names used in Northern Ireland and Ireland, compared with those Irish/Gaelic names which have become so popular in the USA and also the Irish/Gaelic surnames being used, especially for girls ('Kennedy' comes to mind). Are the Irish giving their children--especially daughters-- Irish/Gaelic surnames as first names too?

Top 20 baby names in N. Ireland in 2005
Girls:
1. Katie
2. Emma
3. Ellie
4. Sophie
5. Niamh
6. Hannah
7. Amy
8. Sarah
9. Anna
10. Leah
11. Lucy
12. Chloe
13. Caitlin
14. Rachel
15. Aoife
16. Rebecca
17. Erin
18. Aimee
19. Jessica
20. Megan

Boys:
1. Jack
2. Matthew
3. James
4. Adam
5. Ryan
6. Daniel
7. Jamie
8. Joshua
9. Ben
10. Conor
11. Ethan
12. Luke
13. Thomas
14. Aaron
15. Dylan
16. Jake
17. Callum
18. Michael
19. Sean
20. Lewis

23
By Patricia (not verified)
May 15, 2006 2:41 PM

Aother possible topic for research and a column: is the current USA naming fad of giving baby girls surnames, nongender names, and/or formerly male names taking place in other English speaking countries too? I would guess this might be so in Canada and Australia, but probably far less so in the UK.

(Perhaps UK visitor Jen could share her observations on this too.)

Everytime we take our twin grandsons to McDonalds playland (when it's too cold to go to a park), I hear more and more little girls being called by nongender, etc., names. Recently: Ireland, Dayton, Kendall, Sydney (surname to male name to mostly given to girls), Taylor (same), Jordan (same), etc.

IMHO, with such a wide variety of female names to chose from, why give a daughter a male-sounding name?

24
By Kristin (not verified)
May 15, 2006 2:59 PM

I love the names Charlotte, Lucy and Sophie for girls. It makes me sad to think of them becoming ridiculously popular and overplayed in the U.S. in the next few years.

25
By Richard (#93) Kuhlenschmidt (not verified)
May 16, 2006 2:55 AM

I love your site, and have recommended it to several friends. I wonder though, how a site like yours could ultimately effect the popularity of names.

26
By Jen (not verified)
May 16, 2006 11:37 AM

re: Charlotte and Sophie becoming overplayed

Aren't they already? Sophie's been terribly popular (to my disappointment) for years around here, and I know a ton of baby Charlottes ...

27
By UK Jen! (not verified)
May 16, 2006 11:51 AM

Hmmm, last names as girl's first names in the UK.

Well, Madison and Morgan feature in the top 100 names for 2005 over here. Shannon and Courtney also feature (not sure if these are last names, they sound like it) In previous years Paige has been a top 100 name.

But no, last names as girls' names are not nearly as popular in the UK.

28
By UK Jen! (not verified)
May 16, 2006 11:54 AM

Oooh, and Jordan! That was popular for girls for several years, now out of fashion due to a crass glamour model of the same name over here!

29
By Christina (not verified)
May 16, 2006 6:20 PM

I'm sure that they don't use Irish surnames on kids over in Ireland as much as they do here--they seem to use mostly English names, and more authentic Irish names. After all, they don't have to pretend to be Irish, or try to sound like it...they already are.

30
By Patricia (not verified)
May 16, 2006 11:32 PM

And then there's #48 for girls: Trinity. It seems rather blasphemous to me to name one's child a word signifying "God in 3 persons: the father, son and holy ghost". Of course, it may be that at least some of those who have chosen the word Trinity for their daughter's name may not realize the Christian meaning of the word. And yet, there are many churches named Trinity or Holy Trinity, which might give one a 'clue', even the non-religious.

The first time I heard the word Trinity as a first name was a couple of years ago in reference to a young man from a lower socioeconomic background. I was very surprised that someone had named their child Trinity. Now it's among the top 50 names for American girls, and I wonder who is choosing this word/name.

There really is a 'sociology' of naming.

31
By Patricia (not verified)
May 16, 2006 11:43 PM

UK Jen!: is there a website for popular baby names in England and/or the entire UK through the years, similar to the US SSA website?

32
By Patricia (not verified)
May 17, 2006 1:16 AM

Comparing the top 100 baby names for girls in 2005 in the US with the top 100 in 2005 in England & Wales, I found 38 names which are on both lists (in rank order from the SSA list):
Emily
Emma
Madison
Abigail
Olivia
Isabella
Hannah
Ava
Sophia
Elizabeth
Grace
Sarah
Mia
Chloe
Lauren
Ella
Anna
Jessica
Jasmine
Morgan
Rachel
Lily
Megan
Brooke
Faith
Sofia
Nicole
Zoe
Paige
Leah
Maya
Rebecca
Amelia
Isabel
Gracie
Isabelle
Molly
Katie

Top 50 names in the US not in the top 50 in England/Wales:
Samantha
Ashley
Alexis
Alyssa
Natalie
Brianna
Taylor
Kayla
Hailey
Victoria
Sydney
Julia
Destiny
Kaitlyn
Savannah
Katherine
Alexandra
Kaylee
Jennifer
Angelina
Makayla
Allison
Maria
Trinity
Lillian
Mackenzie

Top 50 names in England/Wales not in the US top 50 (rank order UK list):
Sophie
Ellie
Lucy
Charlotte
Ruby
Amy
Millie
Holly
Caitlin
Daisy
Evie
Freya
Erin
Georgia
Phoebe
Amber
Keira
Poppy
Bethany
Eleanor
Alice
Scarlett
Libby
Aimee
Niamh

33
By Tansey (not verified)
May 17, 2006 3:03 AM

I found it interesting that Charlotte, Lucy and Sophie are names considered on the rise in the US. My daughter Laura is 26 and her two best friends are Lucy and Charlotte! This is repeated pretty much for women from the late 40's down to birth.
Apart from some of the made-up names I haven't generally seen a significant change in name popularity since the late 60's. After the Mary/Christine/Susan phase finally was through we went straight to the Emma, Sarah, Anna style of names and really, they have simply continued.
BTW Trinity is straight from the film industry - I doubt religion is any sort of factor.

34
By Patricia (not verified)
May 17, 2006 11:28 AM

Yes, the popularity of Trinity as a first name is thanks to the film industry. But long before the word Trinity was used as a first name by Hollywood, Trinity was widely used--and continues to be--in reference to God the father, the son and the holy ghost. My point was not that parents choose the name because they're religious, but that many may choose the name not realizing its Christian meaning and significance.

One of my sons mentioned Trinity as a possible name for the baby he and his wife were expecting. My immediate response: Do you know what Trinity means? Don't you remember your confirmation classes? Trinity was no longer considered as a name for their child.

To many people, Trinity is a sacred word, just as God and Jesus are. Although Spanish speakers do name their sons 'Jesus', that has never been a common practice among English speakers. God is another 'name' that is not used as a name for a human being. Since Trinity means both God and Jesus, is it an appropriate name for a human being?

35
By Patricia (not verified)
May 17, 2006 11:54 AM

Correction for an earlier post: Discussing popular girls' names in 2005 in the US and UK, I listed the names in the top 50 in the US not in the "top 50" in the UK and vice versa. That should have been in the top 50 in the US not in the "top 100" in the UK and vice versa.

I compared the lists to see what names--and kind of names--were popular in the US and not in the UK and vice versa.

The UK top 100 includes 13 names that are not on the SSA list at all (not in the top 1000):
Millie (UK 20)
Evie (29)
Freya (31)
Poppy (39)
Niamh (50)
Isobel (51)
Maisie (55)
Rosie (61)
Imogen (64)
Harriet (77)
Eloise (86)
Matilda (88)
Tilly (95)

Most of these names would be considered old-fashioned in the US.

There are 11 names in the UK top 100 which are currently not in the US top 100, but have been so during the last 15 years:
Amy (UK 17)
Holly (23)
Caitlin (27)
Erin (31)
Amber (36)
Shannon (59)
Courtney (60)
Alicia (72)
Alexandria (83)
Laura (92)
Melissa (98)

36
By Julie (not verified)
May 17, 2006 12:20 PM

It seems to me that the list of names popular in the UK that aren't so popular in the US include a number of names that are considered diminuatives in the US. For instance, we might call a child Sophie or Ellie or Amy or Millie, but the given name is more likely to be Sophia, Elizabeth, or Amelia.

37
By Patricia (not verified)
May 17, 2006 12:38 PM

Some of the names in the US top 100 not in the UK top 100:

Ashley
Taylor
Hailey
Sydney
Mackenzie
Riley
Haley
Jordan

Destiny
Trinity
Nevaeh

Kayla
Kaylee
Makayla
Kylie

Kaitlyn
Katelyn

Savannah
Brooklyn

38
By Cathie (not verified)
May 17, 2006 7:03 PM

To the British person who is surprised there aren't more boys named "Harry" in the U.S. With our accent the words "Hairy" and "Harry" sound exactly the same. Hard name to give a kid ('though Harry Potter may change some of that).

I'm surprised Charlotte isn't in the fast rising names. It seems like every 2nd baby has that name around here these days!

39
By Patricia (not verified)
May 17, 2006 8:44 PM

Comparing the 2005 top 100 names for boys in the US with the top 100 boys' names in England and Wales, I found (as I expected) greater agreement--48 names on both lists--than among girls' names--38 on both lists.

Names in the top 100 boys' names in both US and UK, per US ranking order,:
Jacob
Michael
Joshua
Matthew
Ethan
Andrew
Daniel
Christopher
Joseph
William
Alexander
Ryan
David
Tyler
James
John
Jonathan
Nathan
Samuel
Noah
Dylan
Benjamin
Logan
Brandon
Gabriel
Zachary
Jack
Evan
Robert
Thomas
Luke
Mason
Aidan
Connor
Isaac
Cameron
Jayden
Charles
Aaron
Lucas
Owen
Adam
Kyle
Alex
Sean
Hayden
Dominic
Sebastian

Reflecting a growing latino population, the US top 100 includes 10 Spanish names not found on the UK list:
Jose
Angel
Juan
Luis
Diego
Carlos
Jesus
Antonio
Miguel
Alejandro.

On the other hand, the British list reflects it's large Muslim population with three spellings of Mohammed in the top 100:
Mohammed (#23)
Muhammed (56)
Mohammad (70)

40
By Patricia (not verified)
May 17, 2006 9:06 PM

Boys' names in the top 50 for the UK which are not in the top 100 for the US are:
Oliver
Harry
Charlie
Callum
Jake
George
Lewis
Alfie
Mohammed
Harvey
Liam
Max
Ben
Jamie
Leo
Archie
Bradley
Harrison
Louis
Henry
Edward
Aaron
Toby
Kieran

As was observed for UK top 100 girls names, diminutives appear to be popular as given names for boys too. Among the top 100 boys' names are: Harry, Charlie, Alfie, Harvey, Max, Ben, Jamie, Archie, Toby, Joe, Sam, Billy, Harley, Jay, Freddie and Zak.

Whereas there were 11 names on the girls' top 100 list that aren't on the SSA list at all, there are only 7 names form the boys' top 100 that aren't on the SSA list:
Callum (UK 15)
Alfie (22)
Archie (38)
Finlay (57)
Finley (66)
Ewan (89)
Zak (99)
(Finley IS on the SSA list--at #981 for girls.)

Several names unique to the UK top 100 reflect the Welsh and Gaelic heritage of the UK:
Callum
Liam
Kieran
Rhys, Reece
Finlay, Finley
Kian
Morgan
Ewan

41
By Heather (not verified)
May 17, 2006 9:18 PM

Patricia, I think the point is more people don't really care that "Trinity" has a meaning to Christians (especially if they were inspired by The Matrix!). Most people name children without concern for the name's meaning, I don't know that Trinity is any different in that respect. I guess it isn't "appropriate" per se, though I have always wondered that Jesus isn't a more common English name--what better role model?

42
By Patricia (not verified)
May 17, 2006 9:26 PM

The UK top 100 boys' names for 2005 includes several names which are not presently in the US top 100, but were so during the last 15 years:
Jake, George, Bradley, Edward, Joel, Riley, Taylor, Corey, Patrick, and Scott.

The majority of boys' names in the 2005 US top 50 are also in the UK top 100 list. Those US favorites not found in the UK top 100 list include:
Anthony
Nicholas
Christian
Jose
Elijah
Angel
Kevin
Caleb
Justin
Austin
Jackson
Isaiah
Jordan
Gavin
Aiden

Looking at all the names in the US top 100 which aren't in the UK top 100, besides the Spanish names, there is another sizeable group of names popular in the US but not in the UK--Biblical names:
Elijah
Caleb
Isaiah
Nathaniel
Jeremiah
Timothy
Jesse
Seth

43
By Patricia (not verified)
May 17, 2006 9:43 PM

Heather, I agree that most Americans don't have much concern or interest in the meaning of a name they like for their child. But when a name is also a common word, it would be nice to think that parents who choose that word/name are at least aware of the word's usual meaning.

Certainly the word/name "Trinity" has a nice sound to it and apparently positive associations for Matrix fans. So most likely, Trinity as a name for baby girls will be with us for some time.

But I do think there may be some 'class' divisions with this name. For example, might a college professor chose this name--or a factory worker?

44
By Laurie (not verified)
May 17, 2006 9:53 PM

I would disagree with the comment by Cathy that people in the US pronounce Harry as "Hairy". Maybe in certain regions, but not all. I'm in the Northeast and I've only ever heard it pronounced as Harry the way the English pronounce it.

45
By Laurie (not verified)
May 17, 2006 9:56 PM

In regards to Heather's comment about why Jesus isn't a popular name in the English speaking world, I would say that to most Christians the name is too sacred. However he is honored in many names beginning with Christ, such as Christopher, Christine, Kristin, etc. In fact my neighbor's daughter is Christa!

46
By Elizabeth (not verified)
May 18, 2006 12:43 PM

I think you're all wrong about who is naming their babies Trinity. My bet is that the same group of people naming their daughters Heaven and Nevaeh (evangelicals) like the name Trinity because to them it represents bringing the sacred into their daily lives. Rather than seeing the name as sacriligeous--because what fallible human being could live up to that?--my guess is that girls named Trinity werre given the name as a reminder of the centrality of religion in their lives. Their sisters are probably Heaven, Faith, and Grace.

I have no doubt, though, that there are some families with children named Neo and Trinity!

47
By Sarah (not verified)
May 18, 2006 1:31 PM

I am suprised that Thomas is not more popular in the states. It is such a hit in the UK but it fell to number 40 in the US this year. I wonder why?

48
By Jennifer (again!) (not verified)
May 18, 2006 7:59 PM

Related to the Trinity comments, what are your thoughts on other random-word names?

Chance - isn't this a common dog name?
Chase - what, exactly, is he chasing?
Gage - don't people know what a gauge is?
Cale - Mmm. Green, leafy vegetables are the epitome of manliness.
Hunter, Gunner (it's Gunnar!!), Taylor, etc. What's next? Killer? Machete? Ditch Digger?

I've also seen Blaydon, Mayden,

49
By lrs (not verified)
May 19, 2006 3:05 PM

Lamenda, look at today's (May 19th)New York Times - there is an article on the rise of Neveah - pronounced rather like the skin cream Nivea.

50
By yunilsa (not verified)
May 22, 2006 11:35 PM

i think that u should get my name there too