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|Baby Sophia will be playing with a lot of other Sophias when she grows up.|
A name for a baby is really just a label, a tag to distinguish one little tyke from another. It may mean something to the parents, but the baby doesn’t know or care. That all changes as the child grows and has to live with his or her parent’s choice. So wise parents put some serious thought into their baby’s name. Other parents, not so much.
BabyCenter has released the results of its annual Baby Names Survey and the Top 100 Baby Names of 2012. The survey is based on the names of 450,000 babies born in 2012 to moms registered on the BabyCenter website.
For boys, topping the list for the eighth consecutive year, the most popular name is Aiden. For girls, the most popular name is Sophia, as it has been for three years in a row. The rest of the list isn’t as static. New among the top ten this year are Jake and Mia.
How do parents choose their child’s names? Linda Murray, BabyCenter Global Editor in Chief, answers, “A unique or unusual name remains one of the top qualities parents seek in a baby name, but it’s trending down. What’s becoming more important to new parents is finding a name with meaning. Parents are looking for more substance in baby names. They want names with more significance. Meaning can come from the name itself (for example, Sophia means ‘wisdom’ and Aiden means ‘fiery’) or because the name is associated with a loved one or other inspiring person.”
In the past, parents often drew names from the pool of family and friends. Today it seems they’re just as likely to look to entertainment and pop culture, with celebrities, politicians, athletes, and even fictional TV, movie, and book characters making the list.
UK names are hot, with the boy band One Direction providing five of the most popular names for boys, along with such notables as Pippa and Harry.
Female comedians are also a source of inspiration, providing girl’s names Amy (Poehler), Maya (Rudolph), Chelsea (Handler), Kristen (Wiig), and even Betty (White).
From the world of politics comes Reagan, Kennedy, Carter, Lincoln, and Nixon. Barack, Mitt, Joe, and Paul … not so much.
Fiction is also a rich source of inspiration. You’ve likely heard of the erotic BDSM novel, 50 Shades of Grey. It’s inspired such girl’s names as Grey, Anastasia, and Ana. Indicating that some moms can show discretion, however, the name Christian for boys has not caught on. Apparently they find the character in the book attractive, but they don’t want their sons imitating him.
The movies Brave, Snow White and the Huntsman, and the TV series Once Upon a Time have given us names like Angus, August, Finn, Graham, and Hamish for boys; and Belle, Charlize, Regina, and Ruby for girls.
Names don’t have to be inspired by other people, real or imagined. Heaven, Luna, Mars, Sky, Skylar, Star, and Stella are on the hot list. Even technology can provide baby names. Apple and Mac are now common girl’s and boy’s names respectively, while some parents have named their daughters Siri, after the iPhone’s digital voice-enabled assistant. Fortunately, few parents name their kids Windows.
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