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Social Security's list of most popular baby names

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Released by the Social Security Administration:

There's a new queen of baby names. Isabella took the crown from last year's winner, Emma, to claim the top girl baby name of 2009. Jacob continued his remarkable run by holding onto the top boy name for the 11th year in a row over a new number two for boys, Ethan. New to the top 10 this year for boys are Jayden and Noah, and for girls, Mia.

To see all the top baby names for 2009, go to Social Security's website www.socialsecurity.gov. Here are the top 10 boys and girls names for 2009:

 

Boys

Girls

1)

Jacob

Isabella

2)

Ethan

Emma

3)

Michael

Olivia

4)

Alexander

Sophia

5)

William

Ava

6)

Joshua

Emily

7)

Daniel

Madison

8)

Jayden

Abigail

9)

Noah

Chloe

10)

Anthony

Mia


Baby Jacob and Baby Isabella issued a joint statement thanking Americans for "their support and good taste." They also urged fans to "check out www.socialsecurity.gov to learn about a new ‘twist' in the law that may help an older relative or neighbor get an average of almost $4,000 of extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs."

A favorite feature of Social Security's baby names website is the "Change in Name Popularity" page. This year's winner for the biggest jump is Maliyah, which undoubtedly is related to the popularity of the First Family. Malia (the spelling used by the First Daughter), also is one of the top 10 fastest risers among girls names. Isla, the name of popular actress Isla Fisher (and wife of Sacha Baron Cohen -- aka Borat, which thankfully has yet to make the list) was the second fastest riser among girls. On the boy's side, Cullen had the biggest increase, likely attributable to the popular character Edward Cullen in the "Twilight" novels and movies. King came in as the number three top mover for boys, but more on Elvis later.

The girl's name Marely, which interestingly had the third largest increase last year, had the biggest drop this year from number 334 to 851. Mylee had the second biggest drop; Miley (as in Cyrus) also dropped in popularity. In the wake of controversies surrounding Lindsay Lohan, Lindsay dropped from number 381 to 524. Brett, Jonas and Alvin are among the boy's names with the largest decreases. With Brett, Social Security wonders if Americans are ready to retire the name (sorry Vikings' fans, we mean Jets' fans, um Packers' fans). And despite the soaring popularity of singing trios -- whether human brothers or the chipmunk variety -- fewer people apparently are willing to name their sons Jonas or Alvin.

With 69 baby Baracks born in 2009, Barack continues to move up the list to number 1,993 from 2,424 in 2008, and 12,535 in 2007, but still lags well behind First Dog Bo at 782. 

Many patterns of recent years continued. Religious names continue to be very popular, including the girl names Heaven at number 275 and Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backwards) at 34. Messiah was number 663 for boys. An extraordinary 3.7 percent of the Top 1000 boy names rhymed with the word "maiden" and names associated with cities, states, or countries were popular, particularly for girls.

And for all of you Elvis fans out there, here's the annual update from Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue: Elvis slipped from number 713 in 2008 to 858 in 2009. Unconfirmed reports indicate he was "all shook up" by his 2009 rank, but pleased that Presley is number 268 for girls, and that King and Memphis landed at 462 and 605 for boys.

As the federal government's leading expert on baby names, Commissioner Astrue commented "I have no idea what any of this means, but nonetheless urge you to go to our website www.socialsecurity.gov to have a little fun with baby names and to see if you can help an older relative or friend qualify for $4,000 of extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs."

The Social Security website offers lists of baby names for each year since 1880.  Social Security started compiling baby name lists in 1997.

Be sure to check out www.socialsecurity.gov on May 14 to see the most popular baby names for each state, as well as an exclusive video of Chubby Checker counting down the most popular names of the past decade.

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