Popular Baby Names for Girls

Expectant parents may want the latest news on baby-naming trends to ensure their little girl fits right in with popular culture of the day. On the other hand, parents looking for an unusual name may want to look at popularity statistics for exactly the opposite reason: They want to avoid having their little girl walk into kindergarten to find herself among six other Isabellas, for example — the most poplar name for baby girls in 2009.


Celebrity-Inspired Names

Naming baby girls after celebrities or girls and women in the news is a long-time trend. The child star Shirley Temple inspired a decade of little Shirleys. Names like Britney, Lindsay and Hilary as in pop stars or Malia, or Sasha and Chelsey as in president’s daughters show up as popular names. Baby Hold reports that the names celebrities choose for their own little girls capture the public’s fascination, so that Ava, Ella, Esme, Isabelle, Lily, Sophie, Stella and Zoe, current popular names of celebrities’ daughters become favorites.

Geographically Inspired Names

A report from PBS on baby-naming trends includes the popularity of world-reaching geographic names, such as Brooklyn, Sydney, London, Dakota and Paris. Baby Name Guide lists popular names from America’s South; these include Atlanta, Dixie, Florida and Georgia. International influences also appear popular, with the names of countries including Holland, China, India, Ireland and Kenya showing up repeatedly as little girls’ names.

Last Name Popularity

Little girls named with what were traditionally last names have become extremely popular. These names include Madison, Addison, Mackenzie, Bailey, Paige and Taylor. Out of popularity for decades, a recently revived trend is the idea of using a family name, such as the mother’s maiden name or a grandmother’s maiden name as either the first or middle name for a little girl.

Old-Fashioned Names

According to the Social Security Administration, among the top 20 names for girls born in the United States during the first decade of the 21st century, half are names that could be considered old-fashioned. These names, which were also popular in the early 1900s, include Emily, Emma, Olivia, Hannah, Abigail, Isabella, Elizabeth, Sara, Grace and Ava.

Names Ranked by Popularity

Between 1995 and 2010, more girls in the United States were named Emily than any other name, closely followed by Isabella, Madison, Hannah and Emma. The overall popularity ranking, tracked by the Social Security Administration since 1910, gives Mary as the most popular, more than doubling Patricia, which is next in line. Jennifer, Elizabeth and Linda round out the top 5.

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