Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Jacob and Sophia are repeat champions as America’s most popular baby names for 2012. This is the 14th year in a row Jacob tops the list for boys and the second year for Sophia. There is a new couple in the top 10 this year--Elizabeth and Liam replace Chloe and Daniel. Elizabeth has been here before, but this is the first time Liam breaks into the top 10. Perhaps Liam’s new-found success can be attributed to Liam Neeson’s recent major roles in “Battleship” and the popular “Taken,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and “Clash of the Titans” franchises.
For all the top baby names of 2012, go to www.social
security.gov. Many pop-culture naming trends appear in a popular feature of Social Security’s baby names website — the “change in popularity” page. This year’s winners for biggest jump in popularity in the Top 500 are Major and Arya.
The fastest riser on the girls’ list 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, parents may associate Major with the military title. Arguably Major’s rising popularity as a boy’s name is in tribute to the brave members of the U.S. military. You also might trace Major’s increase in popularity to a cable TV show. “Home by Novogratz” is a popular home design show featuring Major Novogratz, the youngest son of designers Robert and Cortney.
The second-fastest riser for boys was Gael, and for girls, Perla. Both names most likely are on the rise due to the increase in the Spanish-speaking population in the United States. Perla is the Latinized version of Pearl and is popular among Hispanic-Americans. Gael’s popularity could be tied to Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal.
Social Security started compiling baby name lists in 1997, and the agency’s website 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.
For more information about baby names including popular names by state (Liam and Emma were the most popular names in Indiana in 2012), check out www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/babynames.
Brian L. Hewitt is district manager at the Social Security Administration at 222 Cherry St. in Terre Haute.
Here are the top 10 boys and girls names for 2012: