May 16, 2006

It's Ava vs. Sophia In SocSec Smackdown

The Social Security Administration's most popular baby names of 2005 ranking are out, and while the Bible-happy boys' list seems the same as it ever was [same as they ever was, same as it ever was, same as it--oh, sorry. Flashback.], the girls' list had an upset.

Ava came from out of nowhere [or anyway, #25 in 2004] to muscle her way into the top ten, landing at the #9 spot. And why was this an upset? Because Sophia's been working hard for years to make it into Isabella and Hannah territory, and then--BAM!-- Ava jumps ahead of her. Sophia's ranking in 2005: #11.

All's I know is, Ava'd better watch her back.

RankMale nameFemale name
1 Jacob Emily
2 Michael Emma
3 Joshua Madison
4 Matthew Abigail
5 Ethan Olivia
6 Andrew Isabella
7 Daniel Hannah
8Anthony Samantha
9 Christopher Ava
10 Joseph Ashley

Popular Baby Names for 2005 [ via dt reader louise]


I think the per-state lists are even more interesting. That link is an overview of the top 5 by state -- for detailed research into the Sophia vs. Ava electoral college battle, you could dig into the top 100 by state list, too.

Ava's #1 in Minnesota; Sophia, #1 in DC.

I was shocked by that too but then noticed that if you combine the spellings Sophia and Sofia the name comes in at #4. With combined spellings the list is pretty drastically different overall and Ava doesn't make the top 10. I saw a post about it somewhere. If I find it I'll post a link.

[good point. But by that methodology, I think the 10,000 spellings of Caitlin will still beat everything. -ed.]

Okay, if anyone cares here are the top names adjusted to include alternate spellings as compiled by one of the posters at

1. Emely/Emilee/Emilie/Emily/Emmalee (Emily)
2. Maddison/Madison/Madisyn/Madyson (Emma)
3. Emma (Madison)
4.Hailee/Hailey/Hailie/Haleigh/Haley/Halie/Haylee/Hayleigh/Hayley/Haylie (Abigail)
5.Caitlin/Caitlyn/Kaitlin/Kaitlyn/Kaitlynn/Katelin/Katelyn/Katelynn/Katlyn (Olivia)
6. Sofia/Sophia (Isabella)
7. Abagail/Abbigail/Abigail/Abigale/Abigayle (Hannah)
8. Olivia/Alivia (Samantha)
9. Hana/Hanna/Hannah (Ava)
10. Isabela/Isabella/Izabella (Ashley)
11. Sara/Sarah (Sophia)
12. Breana/Breanna/Briana/Brianna/Bryanna (Elizabeth)
13. Ashlee/Ashleigh/Ashley/Ashly (Alexis)
14. Jasmin/Jasmine/Jasmyn/Jazmin/Jazmine/Jazmyn (Grace)
15. Samantha (Sarah)
16. Ava (Alyssa)

1. Jacob/Jakob (Jacob)
2. Michael/Micheal (Michael)
3. Aden/Adin/Aedan/Aidan/Aiden/Ayden/Aydin/Aydan (Joshua)
4. Joshua (Matthew)
5. Mathew/Matthew (Ethan)
6. Nicholas/Nickolas/Nicolas/Nikolas (Andrew)
7. Ethan/Ethen (Daniel)
8. Andrew (Anthony)
9. Christopher/Cristofer/Cristopher/Kristopher (Christopher)
10. Daniel (Joseph)

[wow, thanks. now if they'd just offer level II trading, I'd move my portfolio to them in a minute. -ed.]

Personal trivia: the year I was born (1962) there were only 509 other Justins birthed (0.0243%!!), which explains why I kept having to tell people "No, JUSTIN, not JOSEPH" for the first 15 years of my life.
This year? 10,345. Those little pipsqueaks have it easy.....

I entered our daughter's name (real name, real spelling, not a made up name), and got:

A problem was encountered while processing your request.
is not in the top 1000 names for any year.
Please try again.

I'm thinking that's good..?

[If that's the way you like it, sure. Our daughter's name climbed 50 spots this year. Barely on the charts, but still. -ed.]

Hey, JUSTIN (Not JOSEPH) at least you didn't have to suffer through, "Hey! Soybean!" (Not seeing Siobhan on there. Shocker!)

No surprise my sons Bodie, Tuck (Currituck), and Tybee haven't made the top 1000 in the past 30 years. But at least they're named after places we have been to (sorry Modest Mouse)

Yes, we considered some of the more obscure gaelic names for our little girls, like Aoife (pronounced EE-fah )or Fionnuala (fi-NOO-la) but didn't want to inflict too much psychic pain on them.
My wife was concerned that they would already hate her enough during their teenage years, (in the normal course of mother-daughter relationships) without adding the name thing on top of it.

[and then their full name is effectively, "EE-fah, it's Gaelic. A-O-I-F-E. No, I've never asked, but I think my mom liked Riverdance when I was born. " -ed.]

Hrm, Thing2's name got the same "is not in the top 1000 names for any year" which I was very surprised at. It has been in the top 50 in the UK for years. It's not even gaelic, weird or pronounced "my name is *blah* spelled...."

If you like to nerd out on name stats, I really recommend the name wizard blog.

She's got a super academic approach, comes up with some pretty interesting analysis.

Since so many names are tired to celebrities and their baby names or other pop culture events (friends, where rachel named her baby Emma), the popularity of Ava (I think) is probably due to Reese Witherspoon naming her little girl Ava. We loved that name and were heavily considering it (if we had a girl). But then when we saw that it got so popular we veered away. Plus we had a boy, so we were safe.

Why didn't you name the boy Ava? You love the name, and it certainly isn't one of the most popular boy's names...

[quiet, you -ed.]

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