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What’s in a Name? Would a Rose by Any Other Name Smell any the Sweeter?

William Shakespeare knew what the heck is was talking about. What’s in a name? One of the things I find interesting is the return of names from previous generations. For a long while the name Sara or Sarah was out of vogue. Then, a few years back it was the #1 name for girls in the U.S. Michael has always been a stable for boys, or just about any biblical name. Well, not Lazarus. Well, the newest lists are out from the Social Security Administration.

For the 13th straight year Jacob was the number one name for a boy. This is part of a broader trend toward names from the Old Testament (or possibly ‘Twilight‘), with Noah snagging the fifth spot and Elijah and Joshua at 13 and 14.

But the number two boy name in America seems to draw its inspiration from a completely different kind of source. Mason, which jumped 10 spots to snag number two, started its rise up the ranks when reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian gave birth to Mason Kardashian in December of 2009.

For girls, Sophia ended Isabella’s two-year reign at the top (again with the ‘Twilight’ thing), bumping it to number two. Emma, Oliva and Ava rounded out the top five.

The biggest riser among girl names was Briella, which jumped from the 394th spot to 497. Briella Calafiore stars in the reality show ‘Jerseylicious‘ and is likely responsible for the name’s sudden popularity.

There are, however, limits on pop culture’s influence on naming. We’ve listed the top 20 names for boys and girls below, and you will notice there is no Kim or Khloe or Kourtney. (Or Lamar or Kris or Kanye or Scott, for that matter.)

1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Abigail
8. Madison
9. Mia
10. Chloe
11. Elizabeth
12. Ella
13. Addison
14. Natalie
15. Lily
16. Grace
17. Samantha
18. Avery
19. Sofia
20. Aubrey

1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. William
4. Jayden
5. Noah
6. Michael
7. Ethan
8. Alexander
9. Aiden
10. Daniel
11. Anthony
12. Matthew
13. Elijah
14. Joshua
15. Liam
16. Andrew
17. James
18. David
19. Benjamin
20. Logan


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