The latest Social Security data is in, and Noah has unseated Jacob to become the new Number 1 name for boys –- the first new top boys’ choice of the 21st century.
The boys’ side of the list claims all the hottest news, in a turnaround from the usual pattern in which girls' names dominate the trend shifts. Liam leapfrogs up to second place in only his second year on the Top 10, above father name William. And the boys' roster includes the only new entrant to the Top 10, longtime favorite Daniel, elbowing aside the trendier Aiden.
The girls’ Top 10 is comparatively stable, with Sophia and Emma maintaining their status of Number 1 and Number 2. Olivia and Isabella switched places at 3 and 4, while Mia moved up and the traditional Emily and Abigail slid down.
The focus on fashion changes for boys’ names with relative stability for girls is evidence of a larger shift in baby name style for both genders. Boys are less often named for fathers and other family members and more often given names influenced by current styles and culture, while girls’ names are becoming more serious and more deeply rooted in tradition. The result: Greater gender equality in baby names.
Here are the 2013 U.S. Top 10 baby names -- girls' names first, boys' second:
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Noah becomes only the seventh name to EVER make Number 1 for boys, and only the third name at the top of the boys’ list in 60 years. Michael held the top spot for boys from 1954 until 1999, when Jacob took over.
Noah is the well-known appellation of the popular biblical figure who built the ark and saved the animals -– and was also played by Russell Crowe in his own movie this year, which may have influenced the name’s rise to stardom.
Liam, an Irish short form of William, entered the Top 10 for the first time last year. Liam’s popularity has largely been fueled by actor Liam Neeson.
Sophia stands at Number 1 for the third year in a row. A Greek name meaning wisdom, Sophia’s antecedents include a goddess, a saint, several royals, and a film legend. The name is also popular via its Latin Sofia spelling.
One pattern evident in this year’s Top 10 is the popularity of names that have both deep roots and a sleek modern feel. Noah, Liam, Emma, Ava, and Mia all share these appealing qualities.
Both Sophia and Noah appeal to a wide range of parents from different regions of the country, different ethnic groups, a variety of education and economic levels. That’s what it takes to be the top name!
Noah, which entered the Top 100 in 1996 and the Top 10 only in 2009, is a Hebrew name that means both rest and wandering. An international star, Noah is also popular in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands. In Israel, the unrelated homonym Noa is the Number 1 name for girls, while the also-unrelated Noam is Number 1 for boys.
Daniel, which bumped Aiden, has actually been a frequent visitor to the Top 10 since the 1970s.
Pop culture continues to influence the Top 10 baby names. Alexander may have hopped one rung up the ladder thanks to its use as a middle name for Britain’s young Prince George. And Mia, which jumped two places, was the choice of another British royal, Zara Phillips.
Mason, in the spotlight thanks to Kourtney Kardashian’s young son, slipped from Number 2 to fourth place.