Are your kids' names on the most-popular list?Jacob and Sophia were the most popular names for babies born in 2011, the Social Security Administration revealed on Monday. The annual list was peppered with names from the Bible and from pop culture, with a surprising amount of influence from Reality TV.
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Jacob topped the list for boys' names for the 13th year in a row, but there were a few surprises in the Top 10: For the first time since 1948, Michael is no longer in the top five and Anthony (a Top 10 favorite in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010) has dropped off the list. But Mason made its Top 10 debut as the second most-popular boy's name in 2011 -- and yes, that's the name of Kourtney Kardashian's first-born child. Coincidence?
"It shows what we're paying attention to, what we're thinking about," Laura Wattenberg, creator of the babynamewizard.com, told The Associated Press. "Today, you can't walk through a supermarket without learning more than you hoped to know about the Kardashian family. That's just reality."
"Celebrity naming is just about the exposure, and about everybody hearing that name at the same time," she added. "It's not about the fame, it's about the name."
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The names on the boys' list tend to stay the same from year to year -- Michael, David, John, James, William, Matthew, and Robert have been favorites for generations -- which is what makes Mason's leap from number 12 to number 2 so remarkable. The girls' list gets reorganized more often. In the past five years, four names have held the top girls' spot -- Emily was the number 1 name from 1996 to 2007, but since then Emma, Isabella, and now Sophia have been the most popular. (Though it may seem like you know a million Jennifers, that name hasn't been in the top five since 1988.)
While some names are perennially popular, other tend to rocket their way up the list. According to the Social Security Administration, the fastest riser on the girls' list is Briella -- possibly thanks to Briella Calafiore, the blonde hairdresser of "Jerseylicious" and "Glam Fairy" fame. On the boys' side, it's Brantley, though it's not known whether the spike is thanks to country music star Brantley Gilbert or University of Florida quarterback John Brantley.
The Social Security Administration compiles its annual lists using data supplied by parents when they apply for their newborn's Social Security number. The agency has tracked baby names every year since 1880 -- that year, the most popular names were John and Mary; in 2012, neither of those names even made the top 10. Here are the ones that did:
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