The answer to the question is; well, it depends on who you ask and where you live. In the good old US of A, at the time of writing (February 2006), the official figures were not yet published. It therefore remains to be seen whether the top two names of 2004, Jacob and Emily, will retain their positions as the top baby names of 2005.
Americans retain a very traditional attitude to naming their children and those two names have actually been at the top of the official list since 1999, the first year that Jacob beat Michael to the number one spot. Emily has been the most popular baby girl name every year since 1996!
In fact, the top 10 most popular baby names have hardly changed since the beginning of the decade. The full lists for 2004 were:
Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Ethan, Andrew, Daniel, William, Joseph, Christopher.
Emily, Emma, Madison, Olivia, Hannah, Abigail, Isabella, Ashley, Samantha, Elizabeth.
As you can see, these are 2 lists of very traditional names and very much based around biblical names – particularly in the case of the boys’ names.
So what can we expect for 2005? Well, in the absence of official figures, one indicator comes from a very popular baby name website that has conducted a poll which suggests that in 2005, Jacob and Emily will be beaten into second place by Aidan and Emma. Whilst Emma has been fighting with Emily for top spot for the last 3 years (and even sounds very similar), the sudden popularity of Aidan is much more surprising, since it was at number 40 in the official 2004 list. However, perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into this, since Aidan was at number 2 in the website’s list of the same year. Obviously that website’s member’s have a particular liking for Aidan!
It will be interesting to see how this site’s top ten lists compare with the official 2005 lists:
The site’s top ten lists for 2005 were as follows:
Boys: Aidan, Jacob, Ethan, Nicholas, Matthew, Ryan, Tyler, Jack, Joshua , Andrew.
Girls: Emma, Emily, Madison, Kaitlyn, Sophia, Isabella, Olivia, Hannah, Makayla, Ava.
While we wait, let’s see what the most popular 2005 baby names were in the UK.
Looking at the 2005 official girls’ names list, we see that Emily, which was the most popular name in the UK as well as the US in 2003 and 2004, was replaced in 2005 by Jessica – a name which has been steadily increasing in popularity in the UK since the beginning of the century. However, in the boys’ list, the name Jack firmly held onto the top place it has held for the whole of the last 11 years.
The full top ten lists in the UK for 2005 were:
Jack, Joshua, Thomas, James, Oliver, Daniel, Samuel, William, Harry, Joseph
Jessica, Emily, Sophie, Olivia, Chloe, Ellie, Grace, Lucy, Charlotte, Katie.
Reflecting the general trends for more adventurous naming of baby girls, rather than baby boys, it seems that Jack reigns supreme, while there has been yet another change at the top of the girls’ list. However, the indications are that the popularity of Jack is decreasing and it is a fair bet that it will lose its top spot in 2006.
In the meantime, any bets on the most popular US baby names for 2005? It’s fun to follow the trends and changes, but if you are looking for a name for a soon-to-be or new baby, just remember that you don’t have to be a slave to tradition, or popularity. Why not strike a blow for individuality – as long as you child won’t find it embarrassing in later life…
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