2009's Hottest and Nottest Baby Names, Part 1: The Risers

May 7th 2010

Back in 2006, I wrote, "If there were a baby naming hall of fame Angelina Jolie would be a charter member." Names like Maddox and Shiloh had established her as America's most influential name style-setter. This year's top-rising baby names prove that Ms. Jolie still holds the title. The names of her young twins, Vivienne and Knox, both shot up into the U.S. top 1000 this year. Vivienne was the #2 hottest rising girl's name in the country, while Knox ranked #6 for boys.

But Angie now has some competition.

The #4 rising girl's name: Maliyah. #9: Malia. And Sasha's no slouch, checking in at #51. That makes the Obamas the most influential baby namers in American politics since President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland. (Did you know that Ruth and Esther, the Clevelands' daughters, were the hot celebrity baby names of the 1890s?)

The full hottest names countdown:


#5 Caylee
Last year I contrasted the news coverage of the name Barack vs. the name Caylee. Caylee continued its rise this year, and Barack remained, as always, outside the top 1000 names.

#4 Maliyah

#3 Khloe
Another holdover from last year's hot rising list, which was packed with unconventionally-spelled tv personalities.

#2 Vivienne

#1 Analía

Yes, Analía is the name that absolutely blew away all competition to be the hottest rising name in America. Didn't see that coming? Tsk, tsk. Telenovelas are practically the doppler radar of short-term name forcasting, and "El Rostro de Analía" premiered on October 20, 2008. The name is a natural, unfamiliar yet effortlessly fashionable. the "anal" spelling may make some parents nervous, though, so don't be surprised to see names like Annaleah down the road.


#5 Liam
You named your first son Aidan: short, simple, and Irish, with long vowel sounds and no pesky consonant clusters. Now you're expecting another boy, what do you do?

#4 Bentley
With most classic "fancy lad" -y surnames -- Courtney, Aubrey -- turning to the girls' side, along comes Bentley. It seems to be taking over Royce's longtime role as the luxury-cruising name for boys.

#3 Archer

A long-time entry on my "Why Not?" list, Archer finally hits the top 1000. Think Carter and Tanner, run through an Edith Wharton filter.

#2 Kellan
Twilight alert: vampire Emmett Cullen is played in the movies by actor Kellan Lutz. Mr. Lutz has also signed on as a Calvin Klein underwear model. Need I say more? OK, I will. Emmett is #7 on the rising boys list.

#1 Maximiliano

Sure, there was some celebrity action on this name. A little telenovela exposure, and a handsome Argentinian polo player who got a lot of attention on "The Real Housewives of New York City." But as a baby name platform, they're no Angelina Jolie. So this had to be a name that just struck the right style chord...I guess.

UPDATE: I've posted a follow-up explaining the Maximiliano mystery. It turns out that the Social Security Administration failed to count any Maximilianos before this year! So the true Hottest Boy's Name of 2009 is Kellan.




Briefly Noted: Isabella, and Popularity Change

May 7th 2010

The Name Lady has weighed in on the remarkable rise of Isabella: http://bit.ly/bZHY57

This year, the Social Security Administration has published a list of the names with the greatest popularity change from 2008. You'd best ignore it -- it appears they forgot to count any name that was outside the top 1000 in 2008. (Oops.) That means they missed the biggest stories...more on that coming up!


Most Popular Baby Names of 2009

May 7th 2010

The Social Security Administration has just released the official figures on the most popular baby names in America for 2009. Here is the new top 10:

1 Jacob Isabella
2 Ethan Emma
3 Michael Olivia
4 Alexander Sophia
5 William Ava
6 Joshua Emily
7 Daniel Madison
8 Jayden Abigail
9 Noah Chloe
10 Anthony Mia

I had predicted Isabella's rise to #1, and as it turns out the race wasn't even close. You can review the full top 1000 baby names, including usage frequencies. Much more analysis to come!