Most Popular Baby Names of 2011 Arrive to Scramble Parents' Minds


OliviaBaby names: We're obsessed with them. When I was naming my daughter, I spent hours combing through baby naming sites (especially the Social Security Administration's popular baby names site), carefully making, pruning, adding to, and reordering my list. This name was too popular. That one not popular enough. You get the idea.

BabyCenter has just released its annual list of the 100 most popular baby names of 2011, which it compiles based on responses from its readers. The top 10 names for each gender won't surprise many of us: Many of them also made the list last year. They are ...

Girls' Names
  1.    Sophia
  2.    Emma
  3.    Isabella
  4.    Olivia
  5.    Ava
  6.    Lily
  7.    Chloe
  8.    Madison
  9.    Emily
10.    Abigail

Boys' Names
  1.    Aiden
  2.    Jackson
  3.    Mason
  4.    Liam
  5.    Jacob
  6.    Jayden
  7.    Ethan
  8.    Noah
  9.    Lucas
10.    Logan

Aiden and Sophia continue their reign. Mason and Liam and Emily are on the rise. But lists like these should also come with a warning to parents: Don't get too hung up on popularity when it comes to choosing your kid's name. Whether your daughter is the only Olivia in the sandbox or your Jacob has to go through elementary school, like I did, with the initial of his last name tacked on as an additional identifier -- it hardly matters, especially not in the long run. What matters is that you pick a name you love and maybe one that has meaning to you. A name you can live with long term.

My husband and I ended up forgoing our original choice for our daughter because it ranked too high on the Social Security Administration's lists of popular baby names. We went with a name that was less common -- a name, ultimately, we came to love much more. I don't regret making the change. Not even a little. The name we picked belongs to our daughter so clearly and so dearly. But I do wonder if I could have better spent all those hours I frittered away fretting about it. At the very least, I could have read up on the finer points of diaper changing ...

Are you worried about your baby's name being too popular -- or not popular enough?


Image via bubblecakesbabyblankets/Flickr

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Lucre... LucretiaMcEvil

I had a few criteria for baby names when I was deciding on my boy's name last year.

1) I didn't want to personally know anyone with that name. You never realize how many people you know until you try this.

2) It had to be a "real", classic name with only one spelling.

3) No "-den" names. No Aiden, Jaden, Caden, Brayden, Hayden...

4) It couldn't be used as a last name.

5) There can't be any nick-names made out of it.

With all of those preferences, I came up with an awesome first name, and my husband came up with an awesome middle name.

Cathy_A Cathy_A

When we were naming our baby, we used those lists in order to know what NOT to call our child! 

It's a personal issue with me.  I always suffered with having other girls with my name in class.



nonmember avatar Liz

I'm pretty sure you can make a nickname out of any name. I went to high school with a girl named Amy and her friends called her Ames. People will make up nicknames for your kids, whether you like them or not.

Melis... Melissa042807

We thought about it but not a whole lot. I don't know why our son's name isn't on the boy list - every time I turn around I encounter another little boy with the same name! And both the names we like for the baby I'm pregnant with are not on either list. So at least I don't have to think about it this time. :-) 

Short... ShortKakes

I do not have children of my own yet but I often think of possible baby names for my future children. I agree with Lucretia that I don't want a name that comes with a given nickname (I think that's what she meant, Liz). Like David is usually Dave, Michael is usually Mike or Mikey, and Jennifer is usually Jen, etc. In my mind, why pick a name when you know you are hardly ever going to call him/her that name? 

I also don't like names that end in "den" either. I don't like weird spellings when people change vowels to "y" for no reason at all like Bradyn or Camdyn. I want to pick names that are unique but also not strange and difficult to spell or pronounce. I have names in mind but I don't share them with anyone because I don't want them to steal them or talk me out of it LOL. 

angev... angevil53

i just went with names i liked, my son's name is ethan and i had never met an ethan until he was born. now there's four or five at every park we go to. my daughter was named after my favorite uncle and my father, it is a perfect fit for her and not on a list...yet.

Lynette Lynette

I like names that are not too popular.  I also use the popular name list to know which names to avoid. 

smtxc... smtxcowgirl

I used to work in a church nursery and one Sunday morning, I had a Braden, Aiden, Jayden, Jaylynn, Bailey and Braylynn.  It was a very interesting morning, to say the least.

LikeA... LikeAVirgin

My kids names aren't popular at all, thank God.

LovinLiv LovinLiv

My daughter is named Olivia. I had no idea it was popular when I named her that but it doesn't matter, I named her in honor of a very good late friend of mine and nothing anyone can say about her name being too common is going to take away the meaning behind her name. And honestly in my area it is not as common as some, I have met one person since I had her (she's 3 1/2) who has a daughter named Olivia and it always surprises me when I see it on the top baby name lists. But whatever it doesn't matter to me :) All my baby names will have meaning behind it and a story to it, this baby I'm expecting in March does not have a popular name at all but it has a meaning. You are right very right in saying it's good not to get too caught up in popularity. If it's a name that you adore or has a meaning to you then does it really matter?

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