Here’s a not-so-shocking newsflash: Marlys was not in the top 10 most popular girls’ names for 2012, according to a recently released "most popular names list" from Social Security.
In fact, I doubt Marlys was even in the top 1,000 or that it’s ever been a name given to more than maybe me and the approximately five other Marlyses I know. Oh well.
Even though my name has never been one to win a popularity contest, I still find it interesting to review top names each year – to see which kids will be one of 10 or more same-names kids in their class as they go through school.
For 2012, the top boys’ name in the country was a 14-time repeat! That’s right, for the 14th year in a row, Jacob topped the Social Security-compiled list of boys’ names. I’m sure all the young Jacobs, or Jakes as some of them may be called, who are 14 years old or younger, are probably getting used to the fact that there are lots of them around.
It was the second year in a row that Sophia came in as the top girls’ name. It’s certainly a pretty and distinguished-sounding name. When I hear it, I think, of course, of the beautiful actress Sophia Loren.
A couple names were new to the top 10 this past year. For boys, there was Liam, which bumped the name Daniel from the list and finished as the sixth most popular name in the country for 2012. A press release from Social Security says that perhaps the success of Liam can be linked to actor Liam Neeson’s recent major roles in "Battleship" and the popular "Taken," "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Clash of the Titans" franchises.
In the girls’ names, Elizabeth returned to the top 10 in 2012 after not being there recently. It came in at the No. 10 spot and bumped out a top-10 name from last year – Chloe.
If you’re interested like me, here are the top 10 boys’ names given in 2012: 1) Jacob; 2) Mason; 3) Ethan; 4) Noah; 5) William; 6) Liam; 7) Jayden; 8) Michael; 9) Alexander and 10) Aiden. If you named your son one of these names last year, he will be among many!
And for the girls, here’s the top 10: 1) Sophia; 2) Emma; 3) Isabella; 4) Olivia; 5) Ava; 6) Emily; 7) Abigail; 8) Mia; 9) Madison and 10) Elizabeth.
When it comes to the top 500 names, the Social Security’s "change in popularity" page, finds that the biggest jump in popularity for names were Major, for boys, and Arya, for girls.
The fastest riser on the girls’ list, SS says, may have been influenced by the popular cable TV series, "Game of Thrones." Arya is the daughter of a leader of one of the Seven Kingdoms.
For the boys’ name, Major, SS finds that parents may be associating the name with the military title, as a tribute to brave members of the country’s military forces. In fact, the SS press release says, it is predicted that Major may prompt the naming of more boys as General in the future. And I say, it may not stop there. I’ll enter my own prediction that we’ll have some Sergeants and Lieutenants hitting the SS list of boys’ names soon.
The SS also keeps track of the fastest rising names among our Spanish speaking population, and that name for boys in 2012 was Gael and for girls, Perla.
Social Security started compiling baby name lists in 1997, and the agency’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov, offers lists of baby names for each year since 1880. Social Security is America’s source for most popular baby names because parents supply this information to the agency when applying for a child’s Social Security number at the time of the child’s birth.
(Marlys Barker is editor of the Nevada Journal and Tri-County Times.)