Subscribe to this Blog
Today's Blogs
    The Checkup:

The 2008 Top Baby Names Are...

The Social Security Administration's list of the top baby names of 2008 has been released. And, once again, topping the list are ... drumroll, please ... Jacob and Emma. Do those names sound awfully familiar? That may be because Jacob has topped the list for a decade and Emma was third last year, behind Emily and Isabella. Isabella, by the way, is second again this year and Emily is third. Emily had led the list of girls' names for 12 years before getting the bump.

So, what's it going to take to dethrone all those Jacobs? Maybe Michaels or Ethans would know. They're in second and third place for 2008. Michael, by the way, was the previous reigning king of names before Jacob bumped his way to the top spot, having ranked No. 1 from 1961 to 1998.

Fast-moving risers in the name game, Social Security says are Chloe (10) and Khloe (up to 196 in 2008 from 665 in 2007), Miley (yes, we can thank Miley Cyrus for that one) and Jacoby. Barack managed not to make the list, though it did skyrocket from 12,535 in 2007 to 2,409 in 2008.

New to the list of 1,000 names this year are the girls' names Isla, Mareli, Dayami, Nylah and Jazlene to name a few. Some new boys' names are Aaden, Beckham, Chace, Marley, Kash, Kymani, Ishaan, Jadiel and Urijah.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  May 8, 2009; 10:56 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
Previous: The Art of the Juggle | Next: Mom the Moron


Could you please provide the full top 10 list, or at least a link to it??

Posted by: mc2c | May 8, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: lisity17 | May 8, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

One of my sons is in a preschool class with five other boys: Zachary (mine), Anthony, Tyler, Jake, Jake, and Jacob. I kid you not.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 8, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

This is great! Now I know what NOT to name my baby. I'm just glad most of the trailer-park names have fallen off the list.

Posted by: JMGinPDX | May 8, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

wish we had looked more closely at the list. We picked a name we thought wasn't too popular, but it ended up in the top 10 the year son #1 was born. Oh, well. Second son's name is completely not a popular name, I bet it wouldn't be in the top 10,000 names, in any event.
WOW amazed by one of the names up there, cause, well, i won't say.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | May 8, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Older son was named for a dear friend, and his name doesn't ever make it into the top 1000.

Younger son has a name in the top ten. But since it's multi-sylables there are a lot of options for short nick names, and we gave him one of the rarest-used of the nick names for everyday use.

Posted by: SueMc | May 8, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Argh. We picked a boy name not realizing it was way high up on the list. Oh well. But we also intentionally picked an unusual middle name. Figure if he gets tired of having the same name as so many other kids, he can just start going by his middle names or initials.

Posted by: laura33 | May 8, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

We deliberately stayed away from names in the top 100, and have been lucky so far. Very few kids around share a name with my girls'.

Posted by: newsahm | May 8, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

What is the big deal about not wanting a popular name for your child? I think it's silly to look for a popular name or to avoid one. Decide on your criteria for a name and work from there.

In our case, we had to pick two names at once (twins). We knew they were boys (you have a LOT of ultrasounds with twins). In our case, both of the grandfathers had the same given name and we liked it. So, Twin A was Thomas. One middle name was traditional in my wife's family and my father and I share the same middle name. So, those were set. We talked about names for the second boy and both liked the name Zachary. So, Tom and Zach it is.

We never even thought of checking out popularity lists, for better or worse. Judging a child's name says more about the judge than the judged.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 8, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The fastest risers (on a percentage basis) were actually Peyton (that's a girl's name) and Aiden. Sigh.

The trend toward uniqueness continues as the most popular names capture a continuing to decline portion of total names.

To browse the trends for yourself, check out:

Posted by: jimd74 | May 9, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

In my neck of the woods it seems like are going out of their way to pick "unique" names and I almost miss the hearing names like Emma...

Posted by: sunflower571 | May 9, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

We chose the names for our two daughters partly based on family names and partly based on their meanings (we believe that the meaning of a person's name helps shape who they are and the impact they will have on the world, to say nothing of how their life will turn out). Our older daughter was named after her maternal great-grandfather and paternal great-grandmother (my grandfather had a name that was easy to convert to a girl's name), and the meaning of her name when added to our last name (also a boy's first name) means "Brave and powerful maiden who is victor of the people." Her first name is also unusual, and a guarantee that she won't be sharing her name with several other people in her school classes!

For our younger daughter we chose a name based on the meaning again and in this case also picked a first and middle name that we liked (we couldn't agree on any family names, but by a fortuitous twist, her middle name is also a family name on my side). The only difference this time is my husband picked her first name and I picked her middle one, in reverse of what we did for her big sister. Her name's meaning is "One who is wise, brave, and powerful through knowledge gained by ancient wisdom." Quite a lot to live up to, but she is worthy.

And to those who naysay the idea of straying off the popularity path and going with something unique, I can tell you from experience that having a popular name is a PAIN. I've gone through life having to share it with more than one classmate, and it gets annoying in a hurry when you hear your name being called and the person wants the attention of the other girl with the same name. In college, it was even crazier-when there's THREE of you living in your college dorm (one of whom is also on your FLOOR), the situation can get out of hand in no time flat! No way did I want that for my kids. Their names work well, and we like them. Our girls can be proud of their names and their meanings.

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | May 9, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Dragon dancer - Interesting comment. I'm a Paul (-ed, rim shot), so it's in the range of not common, but not uncommon. I was once in a situation where I was working in a lab with two other Pauls. It was amusing to me, though it was only for a few weeks and so didn't have a chance to get annoying.

I think every parent picks names for their own reasons. I don't think people choose a name because it's popular, but probably do avoid popular names. Not too bad as it does mean there will be a constant churning of names. As for putting expectations on a child because of their name, that's reading way too much into it. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. [Or put more lyrically, a rose would smell as sweet...]


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 9, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

One thing to note about the SSA list it is not quantified by different spellings. So take a name like Caitlin which has many different spellings. It may be list as say 34 but if you total up all the different spellings, it is actually much higher. So I think most people think of Kaitlyn and Caitlin as really being the same name. So your child's name may be more popular than what the actual list says.

BTW, everyone told us that our daughter's name was sooo popular but we have yet to meet a child her age with the same name. Her name was pretty popular in the 90s but by the time we used it, the popularity had waned.

Also son has a very popular name. But we choose it because we love the name and it is a classic.

So I would not worry too much about the popularity of the name. I have a unique name and find it difficult and my kids have fairly popular names. I think your name can be a blessing or a curse regardless.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 11, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

My name is in the top 100 but my mother chose an alternate spelling. I have never, ever met someone with their name spelled like mine. I just looked it up and it never made it into the top 1000 according SSA.

Please don't do this to your child unless you always want them to be spelling their name or resigned to the fact that their name will ALWAYS be spelled wrong. People look RIGHT AT MY NAME and still copy it incorrectly to official documents. For example, the car loan apparently belongs to someone else because that isn't my name on it.

Posted by: Billie_R | May 11, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

My colleague posted this blog comment deflating some of the Barack baby name hoopla:

Posted by: BobbyV1 | May 12, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company