The top 100 baby names are by far what garners the most attention throughout the year.  It’s published over and over, from Babycenter to name websites to general interest newspapers to parenting blogs.  I’ll wager that due in part to the quick dissemination of information, these rankings will become increasingly volatile.  How many parents knowingly choose the #1 name, committing their child to a lifetime known as Jake G.?  You get my drift.

The big though-not-very-new news is the upward trend of Bella.  Thank you Stephenie Meyer.  Twilight’s central character Isabella called Bella, has changed the destiny of thousands of little girls across the nation.  2009 bore 4490 Bellas, to 2768 in 2008.  That is some vampire tale.  Isabella’s numbers also jumped over 3000 births: compare 22067 in 2009 to 18520 in 2008.  For comparison, last year’s frontrunner Emma boasted a mere 18738 births.  So the Isabella leap is pure insanity.

Alternate spellings Khloe and Mya for Chloe and Mia (or is it Maya?) are new to the top 100 as well.  Eva and Levi share similar sounds, paving the way for Eve and Vivian (more on this later).  Singer Mya thrust this spelling into the spotlight, and Miss Kardashian, Mrs. Longoria-Parker, and Mr. Johnson were a driving force behind Khloe, Eva, and Levi.

The ever lovable Molly seems an apt alternative to longtime ruler Emily.  It’s been a favorite among pet owners for eons.

Does anyone have the skinny on Serenity?  It’s been rising fast, but all I can find is a Joss Whedon film from 2005 (the ship was Serenity) based on his cancelled TV show.  That and the Evangelical movement.  I would imagine the Serenity Prayer is a favorite these days.

On the boys’ side, Parker and Oliver give off an upwardly mobile vibe.  San Antonio Spur Tony Parker has been highly visible as well.  Miguel rounds out the list with immigrant families from south of the border.

More interesting is the fall of the -adens. Caden, Jaden, and Kaden ALL fell out of the top 100 in 2009.  Before you get too excited, it seems parents are favoring the -ayden spelling, a more intuitive construction of course.

Brady‘s ousting from the top 100 coincided with Tom Brady’s hiatus from the Patriots due to a torn ligament.

Ladies Megan and Jennifer have finally fallen from a nearly forty year reign, while more quiet beauties Mary, Sara, Isabel and Gracie stepped aside for newer sounding names.

The Stats:

Bella- 58 (+64)

Molly- 92 (+12)

Serenity- 94 (+17)

Khloe- 95 (+101)

Mya-98 (+3)

Eva-99 (+15)

Levi- 88 (+28)

Parker- 96 (+7)

Oliver-98 (+20)

Miguel- 99 (+2)

Auf wiedersehen: Gracie, Isabel, Jennifer, Mary, Megan, Sara and bumped from the boys’ side: Brady, Caden, Jaden, Kaden

Popularity in 2009

Rank Male name Female name
1 Jacob Isabella
2 Ethan Emma
3 Michael Olivia
4 Alexander Sophia
5 William Ava
6 Joshua Emily
7 Daniel Madison
8 Jayden Abigail
9 Noah Chloe
10 Anthony Mia
11 Christopher Elizabeth
12 Aiden Addison
13 Matthew Alexis
14 David Ella
15 Andrew Samantha
16 Joseph Natalie
17 Logan Grace
18 James Lily
19 Ryan Alyssa
20 Benjamin Ashley
21 Elijah Sarah
22 Gabriel Taylor
23 Christian Hannah
24 Nathan Brianna
25 Jackson Hailey
26 John Kaylee
27 Samuel Lillian
28 Tyler Leah
29 Dylan Anna
30 Jonathan Allison
31 Caleb Victoria
32 Nicholas Avery
33 Gavin Gabriella
34 Mason Nevaeh
35 Evan Kayla
36 Landon Sofia
37 Angel Brooklyn
38 Brandon Riley
39 Lucas Evelyn
40 Isaac Savannah
41 Isaiah Aubrey
42 Jack Alexa
43 Jose Peyton
44 Kevin Makayla
45 Jordan Layla
46 Justin Lauren
47 Brayden Zoe
48 Luke Sydney
49 Liam Audrey
50 Carter Julia
51 Owen Jasmine
52 Connor Arianna
53 Zachary Claire
54 Aaron Brooke
55 Robert Amelia
56 Hunter Morgan
57 Thomas Destiny
58 Adrian Bella
59 Cameron Madelyn
60 Wyatt Katherine
61 Chase Kylie
62 Julian Maya
63 Austin Aaliyah
64 Charles Madeline
65 Jeremiah Sophie
66 Jason Kimberly
67 Juan Kaitlyn
68 Xavier Charlotte
69 Luis Alexandra
70 Sebastian Jocelyn
71 Henry Maria
72 Aidan Valeria
73 Ian Andrea
74 Adam Trinity
75 Diego Zoey
76 Nathaniel Gianna
77 Brody Mackenzie
78 Jesus Jessica
79 Carlos Camila
80 Tristan Faith
81 Dominic Autumn
82 Cole Ariana
83 Alex Genesis
84 Cooper Payton
85 Ayden Bailey
86 Carson Angelina
87 Josiah Caroline
88 Levi Mariah
89 Blake Katelyn
90 Eli Rachel
91 Hayden Vanessa
92 Bryan Molly
93 Colton Melanie
94 Brian Serenity
95 Eric Khloe
96 Parker Gabrielle
97 Sean Paige
98 Oliver Mya
99 Miguel Eva
100 Kyle Isabelle

21 Responses to “Top 100 Baby Names 2009: New Inductees”

  1. Patricia Says:

    I’ve been wondering whether Maya or Mia is intended with Mya, thinking most likely Maya because Mya looks like the word ‘my’ + ‘a’. I’ve never heard of the singer Mya, so I looked for her online: “Named after writer Maya Angelou, Mýa Marie Harrison was one of three children born to African-American Sherman, a musician and singer, and Italian American Theresa Harrison, an accountant, in Washington, D.C.” It would seem that this Mýa is pronounced like Maya (Angelou). Has anyone heard how this singer says her name? If I were combining spellings, I’d put Mya with Maya.

  2. British American Says:

    I think my DH’s cousin’s daughter is Mya – pronounced like Maya / My-ah. She just turned 2.

    I find it strange how Khloe is in the top 100, with it being an alternative spelling and inspired by a TV personality. Are there that many parents that want their daughters to grow up to be like a reality star? Are these girls going to grow up, look up their name online and be weirded out? :P I’ve never seen the TV show, so I don’t know the appeal.

    The newest baby born at our church is Levi – so that fits in with that pattern.

    I could have had an Oliver before he hit the top 100 :P – though I’d still go for the name even though it’s top 100 now. I’m not surprised it made the top 100, being #5 in England.

  3. Victoria Says:

    I have a friend who actually used the top 100 baby names list loyally in what NOT to name her babies. I share her view that popularity is not our favorite trait for a name to have. Also hoping not to name kids in the Jake G. vein, I follow the same mantra, although I’ll settle for being below the top 50. Naming off the top 100 grid makes for a very difficult name search! I’m currently on baby number 4, what do you think of Gwen? And how would you spell Gweneth? Gwenyth? Gwyneth? We’re also thinking of Amelia, Eden, or Meredith for girls, Evan, Abel, Eli, or Ezra for a boy. We’re going for easy to spell and read, old and traditional but unique. What do you think? (Our first three are Thane, Seth, and Claire. We’re finding out that Claire is a bit too popular for our liking however, we’re meeting a lot of them!)

  4. youcantcallitit Says:

    I think a lot of people do this– focus on just the top 100. Stay tuned for names that are headed fast toward the top 100!

  5. SarahinJune Says:

    I think Joss Whedon is definitely a part of the Serenity popularity. I only even considered the name after beginning to watch the dearly-departed Firefly series. The show also interestingly boasted a man named Jayne. After a few episodes I found myself actually liking it on him.

  6. Elizabeth Says:

    So, what would the Top 10 names look like if you were in charge of the universe?

  7. CM Says:

    I found a website that adds up names based on the different spelling variations, this gives a more accurate account of what names are ranking. Here is the website link: (boys) (girls)

  8. youcantcallitit Says:

    Thanks for that CM!

  9. youcantcallitit Says:

    Very illuminating. Particularly the boys.

  10. Kate Says:

    It’s all a bit Twilight for me. Team Jacob and Team Bella at the top of the list.

    Interestingly I know of two little girls here in Oz called Alba, taken from The Times Traveller’s Wife, no doubt.

    Not many Hermoines though…..


    P.S Question, my daughter is 13 and has a boring middle name and we recently discussed changing it. The name I choose means nothing and has since become a popular, almost, sorry to be a snob de classé name. Can we change it do you think? Or at 13 are we already deeply identified with our names.

  11. youcantcallitit Says:

    Kate- If your daughter is 13, I would definitely make sure that this is what SHE wants and not coming from you. If you determine it’s 100% her idea, then give it a few years and let her choose something meaningful to her.

    That’s what I think, anyway.

  12. Kate Says:

    Agree, I will let her choose. So far she has chosen Loveday and Valentina. I just nod my head. I will let her wait for a few years and then decide. It’s her name I guess, but I feel bad I wasn’t wiser with the middle name.


  13. Sebastiane Says:

    Wow, Gianna really rose, as did other Italianate names like Sofia, Angelina, Valeria, Arianna and yes, even Isabella. Is anyone else noticing this Italian theme going on? I think I like this rising trend much better than male names on girls. More Italian names I noticed:


    Can’t say the same for the male list.

  14. youcantcallitit Says:

    If I were in charge of the universe, a lot of the top names would stay the same actually! Isabella, Sophia, Olivia, Ava, Alexander, William, Daniel– gorgeous names all. There’s a reason popular names are popular.

    My aim is to inform people and broaden the horizons a bit. Have fewer people have the most popular names.

  15. youcantcallitit Says:

    Your daughter has great taste Kate.

  16. youcantcallitit Says:

    I’ve noticed this too. Second generation families returning to their roots?

  17. Sebastiane Says:

    Possibly. I come from a very Irish and Italian neighborhood. They are mostly 3rd generation, but its interesting to note that the parents all have run of the mill English names while the children are popping up with some die hard Gaelic and Italian names. There are 3 Giovannis, 2 Giannas and 2 Francescas, 1 Aisling and 1 Grania and 1 Oisin on my block.

  18. youcantcallitit Says:

    Oh, Sebastiane, those are lovely names. Where are you? Do tell!

  19. Sebastiane Says:

    Chicago. :)

  20. Jennifer Says:

    When I hear Serenity, I associate it with Queen/Princess Serenity from Sailor Moon. That was my first exposure to the name, at any rate.

  21. youcantcallitit Says:

    Oh thank you Jennifer! I’ll have to look that up.

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