Thursday, the Social Security Administration released its annual list of most popular baby names by birth year for 2012. Last year, Sophia was the top baby girl name for the second year in a row, while Jacob continues to top the category for the 14th straight year.
Rising on the list are a couple of less traditional, but more attention-grabbing names. Messiah was the fourth fastest-growing name for boys, rising to 387th in 2012 from the 633th spot in 2011, according to the federal agency.
“This year, Sophia is the only name in America that was given to at least 1 percent of boys or girls,” Laura Wattenberg, author of “The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby” told LiveScience. “Back in the 1950s, you would have had 40 different names [each] given to 1 percent of boys or girls.”
King became the seventh fastest-growing boy’s name, reaching the 256th most popular spot in 2012, compared with 389th the year before, the agency said.
Chastity was in the top 1,000 for more than two decades before dropping off the list in 1994. Justice was on the list in 1880 but then fell off for more than 100 years. The name reappeared in 1992 and was No. 518 last year.
The SSA analysis found that Major was the fastest-rising baby name in the top 500 for boys (it now stands at No. 483), perhaps a nod to U.S. patriotism and love for military.
Top ten girl names of 2012
Top ten boy names of 2012
The Social Security Administration’s website provides lists of the top 1,000 baby names for each year, dating to 1880. The top baby names that year were John and Mary. John is now No. 28 and Mary has fallen to No. 123 – the lowest for both names.