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Top baby names, 2008

Emma new top baby name for 2008

In 2008, it finally happened! In data released by the U.S. Social Security Administration, the name Emily, which has been the top baby girl name for the past 12 years, was finally replaced, and the most popular girl's name in the United States is now Emma. The longstanding Emily slipped to number three, and just like last year, Isabella came in second place. The top three boys' names remain unchanged from 2007, with Jacob at number one, followed by Michael and Ethan.

The most popular boys' names showed little change overall. Joshua and Daniel held on to the # 4 and 5 spots. The biggest switch on the boy's list was the jump from # 11 to # 6 for the name Alexander. And two other hot names on the boy's list are the "aden" names: the name Jayden moved from 18 to 11, and the name Aiden from 27 to 16. Nicholas slipped from # 20 to 29; Elijah jumped from 30 to 22; and Lucas edged into the top 50 at # 46.

But the biggest news, without question, was the dethroning of Queen Emily as the top name for girls after more than a decade. Over the years, once a baby name hits the top spot, it tends to stay there for a while. Only about a dozen girls' names have occupied the top slot since records began, more than a hundred years ago. So expect to see Emma as the top girl's name for a while. (Although with only a couple of hundred births separating Emma from # 2 Isabella, there may be a surprise when the 2009 names are released).

In other news on the list of most popular girls' names, the rest of the top ten remained largely unchanged from 2007. Ava and Madison held on to # 4 and 5, although they switched positions, with Madison moving to # 4. Surprisingly, Hannah dropped from # 9 to # 17 -- a large drop that suggests the name Hannah may be headed for Siberia for a while. Chloe basically replaced Hannah, moving from # 16 to # 10. The top girls' names continue to be soft and feminine, often beginning and ending in vowels.

Moving further down the girl's list, Jasmine slipped from 32 to 43, while Jessica, a # 1 baby girl name as recently as 1995, slipped from 42 to 59. Avery jumped from 48 to 38, Payton moved into the top 100 at # 90, Genesis arrived at # 95, Madelyn moved up 41 spots to land at 63, and Leah moved from # 68 to # 41.

Some of the most fascinating changes in the most popular baby names list occur outside of the top 50 and even outside the top 100 names. Popular boys' names that are outside the top 100 but still rising quickly include Jacoby, Kane, Beckett, River, August and Paxton. And, although not even a top 1000 baby name (yet) the name Barack was very popular in 2008, and may prove even more so in 2009. Meanwhile, among the most popular girls' names, Khloe, Audrina, London, Lilah, Miley, Paisley, and various spellings of the name Marley all made big leaps in popularity.

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We strive to bring you the most authoritative meanings for the names listed. We have drawn our lists from a variety of sources.
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