America's Most Popular Baby Names are Sophia and Jacob

Family Matters on 05.14.12
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One of the first and most daunting tasks of parenting is choosing a name for your new bundle of joy. Some people choose family names while others want a name that really stands out. Some people agonize over a name whereas for some it comes to them immediately. But there is no doubt that choosing a moniker for this unique person is an important job. And each year the Social Security Administration (SSA) releases the most popular names chosen for babies in the United States. And while we've seen reports of more unusual names trending for 2012, with the SSA reporting that the top names of 2011 were Jacob for boys and Sophia for girls, it appears not all traditions have gone by the wayside.

Top 10 Boys Names of 2011:
1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. William
4. Jayden
5. Noah
6. Michael
7. Ethan
8. Alexander
9. Aiden
10. Daniel

Top 10 Girls Names of 2011:
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Abigail
8. Madison
9. Mia
10. Chloe

That being said, the SSA also reports that there are definitely some more unusual names on the rise. Brantley and Briella were the names that made the biggest jump in spots on the names list with both cracking the top 500. Iker and Angelique were the names with the second biggest jump. They attribute the rise in these names to that of popular figures in sports and television. We might caution against naming your baby after reality television stars.

So, what's an expectant parent to do with all of this information? It depends.  If you want your child to bond with their peers over sharing a common name or want to ensure that lots of people are going to love their name, then begin your baby name search with this list. Or if you want to make sure that your baby's name stands out from the rest, check this list to make sure your preferred name isn't on it.

The SSA also has a great Popular Baby Names tool that allows you to enter the name you're interested in and see its popularity rank for the past several decades. Other useful information on the site includes the most popular names for twins sorted by girl/girl (Olivia and Sophia), girl/boy (Madison and Mason), and boy/boy (Daniel and David) sets. Did you know Americans really like to use the same first letter for each of their babies' names when they have boy/girl twins? The top 16 name combinations fall into that category. You can also search the top names by state and decade. One this is for sure, there is a lot of data on the history of baby names in the United States at your fingertips!

Which do you prefer, popular or unique baby names?

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Find Out if Your Kid has One of the Most Hated Names in America
3 Tips to Ensure You Don't Regret Your Choice for Baby's Name