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Most popular baby names 2012

3:12 PM, Nov 29, 2012   |    comments
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Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY

Retro seems to be the latest trend - at least for baby names.

Those lists of popular and oh-so-trendy names that prospective parents pore over used to be a guide for selecting just the right name. Now, though, they may be more about what not to choose.

"They don't want their child to be a cookie cutter. They want their kid to have a unique identity," says Linda Murray of BabyCenter, a San Francisco-based pregnancy and parenting website, which Thursday released its list of top names for 450,000 babies born in 2012 to moms who registered with the site.

Aiden topped the boys' list for the eighth consecutive year. Sophia was No. 1 for girls for the third straight year. But the top 10 lists also include classic names from the past, such as Ava and Lily, as well as Jack, new to the top 10 this year.

Jack was among the top 20 boys names in the 1920s and 1930s, according to the Social Security Administration, which has tracked baby names since 1880, based on applications for Social Security numbers. Its 2012 list comes out in May.

"Names from two generations back are meaningful and retro and have a cool factor," says Murray, who says the site reaches more than 12 million U.S. moms a month. About 75% are white, but more ethnic names appear lower on the list. "Since we focus on the top 100 names, they aren't typically seen here."

BabyCenter's site for Spanish speakers in the USA also has a top 100 list (out in January), which has included crossovers such as Sofia, Isabella and Olivia.

Katie Bednar, of Rochester Hills, Mich., named 19-month-old Evelyn after her grandmother, but she and her husband, Loren, 32, call the baby "Ellie." "We kept the name a secret till after the baby was born," says Bednar, 29. "My grandma was so excited."

Although Lacey Moler of Austin named her 9-month-old Olivia - which ranks third for girls on BabyCenter's list - they call her "Lo," for "Little Olivia."

"We knew when we named her Olivia we would not call her Olivia," says Moler, 30. "It was just so she could have the name to go back on if wanted to have a more professional name."

Moler is co-founder of a website launched in July called BellyBallot.com, which allows real-time reaction from friends and family to potential baby names.

She says names that get consistently high numbers include Savannah, Ava, Michael, Noah and Owen. Those that the site declares "bottomed out" include Emma and Zoe.

Parenting.com, which has compiled baby-name lists in the past, notes that Isabella and Jacob are the most-searched names in 2012. Isabella is fourth on the BabyCenter girls' list, and Jacob is eighth for boys. Four of BabyCenter's top 10 boy names start with the letter J.

Sounds and popularity are both important in name choices, says Jonah Berger of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who has studied 100 years of data on first names.

"The fact that we want to be different leads some people to avoid the most popular name, but it leads us to like similar-sounding names and pick other names with the same sound that are less popular."

BabyCenter's top 100 names for boys and girls in 2012:

Boys
1. Aiden
2. Jackson
3. Ethan
4. Liam
5. Mason
6. Noah
7. Lucas
8. Jacob
9. Jayden
10. Jack
11. Logan
12. Ryan
13. Caleb
14. Benjamin
15. William
16. Michael
17. Alexander
18. Elijah
19. Matthew
20. Dylan
21. James
22. Owen
23. Connor
24. Brayden
25. Carter
26. Landon
27. Joshua
28. Luke
29. Daniel
30. Gabriel
31. Nicholas
32. Nathan
33. Oliver
34. Henry
35. Andrew
36. Gavin
37. Cameron
38. Eli
39. Max
40. Isaac
41. Evan
42. Samuel
43. Grayson
44. Tyler
45. Zachary
46. Wyatt
47. Joseph
48. Charlie
49. Hunter
50. David
51. Anthony
52. Christian
53. Colton
54. Thomas
55. Dominic
56. Austin
57. John
58. Sebastian
59. Cooper
60. Levi
61. Parker
62. Isaiah
63. Chase
64. Blake
65. Aaron
66. Alex
67. Adam
68. Tristan
69. Julian
70. Jonathan
71. Christopher
72. Jace
73. Nolan
74. Miles
75. Jordan
76. Carson
77. Colin
78. Ian
79. Riley
80. Xavier
81. Hudson
82. Adrian
83. Cole
84. Brody
85. Leo
86. Jake
87. Bentley
88. Sean
89. Jeremiah
90. Asher
91. Nathaniel
92. Micah
93. Jason
94. Ryder
95. Declan
96. Hayden
97. Brandon
98. Easton
99. Lincoln
100. Harrison

Girls
1. Sophia
2. Emma
3. Olivia
4. Isabella
5. Ava
6. Lily
7. Zoe
8. Chloe
9. Mia
10. Madison
11. Emily
12. Ella
13. Madelyn
14. Abigail
15. Aubrey
16. Addison
17. Avery
18. Layla
19. Hailey
20. Amelia
21. Hannah
22. Charlotte
23. Kaitlyn
24. Harper
25. Kaylee
26. Sophie
27. Mackenzie
28. Peyton
29. Riley
30. Grace
31. Brooklyn
32. Sarah
33. Aaliyah
34. Anna
35. Arianna
36. Ellie
37. Natalie
38. Isabelle
39. Lillian
40. Evelyn
41. Elizabeth
42. Lyla
43. Lucy
44. Claire
45. Makayla
46. Kylie
47. Audrey
48. Maya
49. Leah
50. Gabriella
51. Annabelle
52. Savannah
53. Nora
54. Reagan
55. Scarlett
56. Samantha
57. Alyssa
58. Allison
59. Elena
60. Stella
61. Alexis
62. Victoria
63. Aria
64. Molly
65. Maria
66. Bailey
67. Sydney
68. Bella
69. Mila
70. Taylor
71. Kayla
72. Eva
73. Jasmine
74. Gianna
75. Alexandra
76. Julia
77. Eliana
78. Kennedy
79. Brianna
80. Ruby
81. Lauren
82. Alice
83. Violet
84. Kendall
85. Morgan
86. Caroline
87. Piper
88. Brooke
89. Elise
90. Alexa
91. Sienna
92. Reese
93. Clara
94. Paige
95. Kate
96. Nevaeh
97. Sadie
98. Quinn
99. Isla
100. Eleanor

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