A hundred years ago, the most popular baby names were John and Mary, both of which dominated birth certificates for more than 60 years. The Social Security Administration has published its list of the top 1,000 most popular baby names for 2011, and times have definitely changed.
Number one for girls is Sophia, a name with history, religion, and great beauties on its side. The number one name for boys is Jacob, a dramatic figure in Biblical history and, arguably, the hotter of the two Twilight heroes.
Mason, the #2 boy name, was #12 on the 2010 list. The Social Security Administration speculates that Mason's meteoric rise is a result of Kourtney Kardashian naming her baby Mason, and the enduring athletic talent of Green Bay Packer Mason Crosby. But according to "Baby Name Guesser," Mason is more likely to be a girl! Oops.
Traditional Biblical boy names Noah, Michael and Daniel also appear in the top 10, along with Jayden (Will Smith's son), William (not Will.i.am), Ethan, Alexander and Aiden. A lot of the little girls born last year seem to be named out of a Jane Austen novel: in addition to Sophia, Isabella, Emma, Emily, Olivia, and Abigail all appear on the list. As to where "Emma" comes from, I'm betting some parents were inspired by Emma Watson, AKA Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films.
The Christian Science Monitor gave the SSA props for creating one of the most entertaining government press releases seen in years, and I agree. Read it for fun and you'll learn that the #1 trending girl name last year was Briella, likely inspired by "Jerseylicious" hairdresser Briella Calafiore. The fastest-rising name for boys is Brantley, inspired by singer Brantley Gilbert and Florida quarterback John Brantley.
The baby name news that's leaving everyone all shook up is that, after disappearing from the baby name top 1,000 in 2010, Elvis is back in the building at #904! Baby names are only listed by the SSA if at least 5 babies have the same name, so all those celebrity babies with horrible names like Pilot Inspektor and Moxie Crimefighter will never be listed by the SSA.