With the 2009 data in we can close the book on the naming decade of the 2000s. The Social Security Administration plans to release their list on the 14th, but who can wait? The official data's in hand, so I've run the numbers myself.
In December, I told you in advance who the decade's champions would be: Emily and Jacob, with 2nd place honors to Madison and Michael. Those races weren't even close enough for the 2009 data to matter. (It's worth looking at that old blog to see why Madison, which only ranked in the top 2 for 2 years, trounced Emma, which had 6 top-2 showings.)
Beyond the top 2, though, there are plenty of stories. Take a look at the top 10 regardless of sex:
Just 1 girl's name makes the cut. That really drives home how remarkable it was that Isabella was America's #1 name by a large margin last year. Until the 1930s, Mary and John routinely ran neck-and-neck for the overall title. But it's been 60 years since a girl's name was #1.
Explore the decade yourself: I've posted the top 2,500 names for boys and girls. Going that deep lets you see the dramatic shape of modern style, with more girls named Skyy and Alexzandria than Marcia.
Falling names are devilishly hard to predict. The question "what do I keep hearing about" is so much more natural than "what do I keep NOT hearing about?" This year, though, we all had a fighting chance. In fact, we had a crib sheet: the fastest rising names of 2007 and 2008. For girls' names in particular, this was a year of easy come, easy go. Counting down the top 5 fastest falling names of the year:
OK, this name doesn't quite fit the theme. Hillary traveled a classic 40-year fashion arc, appearing in 1963, rising high in the '70s-'90s, then disappearing in 2003. But Hillary Clinton's growing political clout gave the name a brief second wind that has now passed.
Now we're talking. The top riser of 2007, and top-10 again in 2008, Miley hit the wall in 2009.
Remember Jaslene Gonzalez, who powered the 5th hottest name of 2007? If not, that would explain this year's tumble.
The 3rd hottest name of 2007 walks hand in hand with her twin Miley.
A top-10 riser last year, thanks to a hot telenovela.
Ah, fickle fame. The boys' fastest falling names are a bit more varied lot:
Still a top-100 name (barely), Sean has finally hit the steep part of the inevitable fashion slide.
The real story here is that Cordell made the top 1000 the year before at all. Check out the NameVoyager graph: any ideas what that was about?
The continuing name fallout from the injury that put Patriots quarterback Tom Brady out of commission for the 2008-2009 season.
Call it the male version of the Miley phenomenon.
Nope, this doesn't mean the "Age of Aidans" is over. The more common spelling Aiden actually rose in 2009. I suspect that the specific decline of this one, most traditional spelling means that the parents who thought of Aidan as an old Irish saint's name are giving up on it because of the flood of Aidyns, Aydens, Aedans et al.
The new data's up, have fun exploring in the NameVoyager!
If you've visited the NameVoyager recently, you might have to clear your browser cache to make sure you see the updated version. A simple test: if the name Knox appears (as a vertical blue sliver on the right), you're looking at the new data.