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Popular baby names for 2011 revealed

WORTHINGTON -- While a new popular baby name for girls -- Sophia -- rose to the top of the 2011 list of popular baby names in America, Jacob has remained the top name for boys for 13 years in a row.

The top 10 names for boys and girls for 2011, according to the list released by the Social Security Administration, are listed in order from No.1 to 10.


Jacob, Mason, William, Jayden, Noah, Michael, Ethan, Alexander, Aiden, Daniel.


Sophia, Isabella, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Madison, Mia, Chloe.

Sophia replaced Isabella which had been the top girl's name for two years. The name Mason, which never made the top 25 until 2010, reached second place in 2011.

The Associated Press reported Social Security counts names with different spellings separately. For example, Aiden was No. 9 among boys, while Aidan was No. 107 and Aaden was No. 797. Among the girls, Sophia was No. 1 while Sofia was No. 19.

Social Security provides lists of baby names dating to 1880 on its website. The top two names that year were John and Mary.

Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue said top girl names tend to be more volatile -- changing from year to year -- while the top boy names are more stable. William, for example, has been a popular boy's name for more than 100 years, never falling out of the top 20.

The 2011 trend for popular girl names was slightly different in Sanford Worthington Medical Center. Among the 384 babies born in 2011 at the hospital, one baby girl was named Isabella.

Nine girls' names were tied at the No.1 spot in Sanford Worthington: Aria, Aurora, Cecilia, Hannah, Holly, Kaylee, Khloe, Lily, and Olivia.

On the boys' side, Jacob and Daniel tied for the most popular name at Sanford, followed closely by Aiden, Anthony, Carter and Liam.

Social Security also tracks which names increase in popularity and which ones drop.

The fastest rising name for girls: Briella, which jumped 394 spots, to No. 497.

Brantley was the fastest rising name for boys, jumping 416 spots to No. 320.

Americans get baby names from a lot of places -- religion, relatives and, yes, popular culture, said Laura Wattenberg, creator of the website She likened baby naming trends to "a fossil record of our culture."

Parents tend to shy away from names that conjure up negative emotions -- Adolf fell off the list for good in 1929. But, Wattenberg said, parents aren't necessarily paying homage to celebrities when they give their children the same name. In many cases, they are simply using a name they might not have heard otherwise.

"Celebrity naming is just about the exposure and about everybody hearing that name at the same time," Wattenberg said. "It's not about the fame, it's about the name."

Holly Sieve, marketing coordinator for Sanford Worthington, said she has noticed a trend of more unique names within the community.

"It depends on the community and the population," she added. "We have such a diverse population."

Religion continues to have a big influence on baby names, but with a twist.

"The traditional biblical names were New Testament names -- John, James and Mary and Elizabeth," Wattenberg said. "Today, the hot names are all names from the Old testament precisely because they were neglected for so many generations."

In addition to Jacob and Noah, Elijah at No. 13 and Joshua at No. 14 are all from the Old Testament.

Among the names that fell in popularity, Brisa dropped more spots than any other -- 343 places, to No. 807. Dana, Desiree and Denise also plummeted.

Brett dropped more than any other name for boys, 119 spots, to No. 508. Jamarion, Shaun and Jaydon also dropped.

The Associate Press contributed to this article.