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Most popular names of 2013

May 10, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
The Social Security Administration released its list of the most popular names given to babies last year on Friday.

The top names probably won't surprise anyone who's met a little kid lately. Top names for boys in the country are Noah, Liam, Jacob, Mason, William, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, Jayden and Daniel. For girls, the top names in the U.S. are Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Ava, Mia, Emily, Abigail, Madison and Elizabeth. The most popular names in the 50 states will be released next week, so those who are interested will be able to find out if North Dakota is any different than the rest of the country.

As an English lit major and writer, I've always found different names and why certain names become more popular than others pretty interesting. The Social Security Administration also includes a list of every name used five or more times on its site, along with some of the names that have become popular the fastest in the last year. One particular name, Daleyza, seems to be inspired by a cute little girl on a Spanish-language reality show I've never seen. Another fast rising name is Jayceon, which is the name of a rapper I've also never heard of. Names of children of reality stars also seem to be popular. Mason, the son of Kourtney Kardashian, is a top 10 name for boys and Penelope, the name of Mason's little sister, is becoming extremely popular, with 4,258 girls given the name in 2013. Khloe, the name of one of the Kardashian sisters, is also fairly popular, with 3,654 girls given that spelling of the popular name Chloe last year. There are limits to imitating celebrities, though. No one else seems to have been foolish enough to name a daughter North, as in the daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

Parents who are science fiction fans really seem to love the show "Game of Thrones." The name Arya, the name of the one of the characters on the show, was given to 1,135 girls last year. One of my Facebook friends named her daughter Aria last year, which looks like a spelling variant. I haven't asked if she's a Game of Thrones fan but maybe she just likes the sound of the name. Khaleesi, a title that another popular heroine on the show is called, was given to 241 girls born last year. The character's actual name, Daenerys, was given to 67 little girls last year. The Social Security Administration notes that one of its fastest rising names is Marjorie, which was given to 279 girls in 2013. I guarantee that not all of those little girls were named after grandmothers named Marjorie. There is an attractive young character by that name (albeit spelled differently) on "Game of Thrones." Other obvious Game of Thrones-inspired names on the list are Tyrion (used 43 times) and Sansa (used 11 times).

Star Wars continues to inspire parents too, though I've always wondered why people name their sons after Darth Vader. There were 143 boys named Anakin last year and eight girls named Padme, as in his wife Padme Amidala. There were 502 little girls called Leia, but that could just as easily be a spelling variant of Leah. Lord of the Rings names are still in evidence too. There were 103 girls named Arwen and 71 girls named Eowyn. No Frodos or Gandalfs though. The vampire series "Twilight" also has inspired some names too. The most obvious one is Renesmee, the name of the half vampire, half human baby in the books and movies. There were 135 little girls called Renesmee last year in the United States and 17 called Renesme. Everyone will always know that their mothers had a real affection for vampires.

And can anyone tell me why the name Paisley is so popular for little girls? Are all of them Brad Paisley fans? Surely not. There were 3,584 girls given the name in 2013.

The complete list can be found at


For those who are interested, the most popular names in North Dakota for 2013 were Mason, Liam, William, Jack, Easton, Eli, Wyatt, Jackson, Ethan and Noah for boys and, for girls, Emma, Olivia, Harper, Sophia, Ava, Avery, Abigail, Ella, Addison and Isabella.


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