The biggest news in baby names 2010 was Isabella’s rise to the top spot for girls, zooming ahead of the more sedate Emma, and representing the romantic Latinate girls’ names moving into favor: Olivia was No. 3, Sophia No. 4, and others such as Arianna, Valeria, Gianna, Liliana, Valentina, Paloma and Audrina were all on the rise.
Aiden (and Aidan, Ayden, Aadyn et al)
While Jacob held on to his No. 1 status for boys, if all the spellings of Aiden had been combined, that trendier name would have been in first place.
Mia, Jayden, and Noah
Mia entered the Top 10 for the first time, replacing the classic Elizabeth, (of which Isabella is the Spanish/Italian version), while in the boys’ column, stalwarts Christopher and Matthew dropped down to make room for Jayden and Noah.
Maliyah and Cullen
Maliyah, along with Malia, inspired by the first daughter, made the greatest gain for girls and Twilight-linked surname Cullen was the fastest rising boys’ name. Other celebrity and pop culture names on the rise included Isla, Khloe, Scarlett, Penelope, Chace, Dexter, and Jude. Moving down: Lindsay, Rihanna and Tori.
Knox and Vivienne
Celebrity children popularized their unusual names. Jolie-Pitt twin names Knox and Vivienne both entered the list for the first time, as did Harlow and Palin-influenced Bristol, while Willow and Piper also made considerable leaps up. Other starbaby names on the rise: Violet, Valentina, Romeo and Maddox.
Despite widespread conformity and a level social-media playing field, local variations were as evident as ever, with some maverick states bucking national trends. For example: Addison was No. 1 in Nebraska, Logan in Idaho and Minnesota, Jose in Texas and Wyatt in Wyoming. Also found unexpectedly in the Top 5 of various individual states: Anna, Katherine, Nevaeh, Lily, Brooklyn, Jackson, Angel, Carter, Landon, Owen, and Hunter.
Oliver, Olivia, and Mohammed
Across the pond, twins Olivia and Oliver became top choices in the U.K. Or so it seemed, until the 12 different spellings of Mohammed were tallied up to show that it beat out Oliver for first place, provoking a tsunami of headline stories. One reason: although Muslims account for about 3 percent of the British population, their birthrate is almost three times higher than that of non-Muslims, and there is a strong preference for naming their children after the prophet.
As a new entrant to the British Top 100, Stanley gets our vote for Most Unlikely New Hot Guy.
The pervasive presence of Twitter and Facebook even on baby names was seen in 2010. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted a request for suggestions for an uncommon baby name starting with "B" from his quarter million followers, finally settling on the name Bowen Christopher and, of course, announcing it on Twitter.
A Toronto couple used a Facebook poll organized by a daily deal website to name their child: 22,000 people voted, with the winning name the surprisingly pleasant Melania.
Any name but the one he wants
Dads were disgruntled to hear that a British study found that four out of 10 mothers completely disregard the father’s views when selecting a name.
Linda Rosenkrantz is a co-developer of the baby-naming site nameberry.com and co-author of 10 books on names, including Beyond Ava & Aiden.
Pamela Redmond Satran, a founder of nameberry.com, is the coauthor of eight books about names, including Beyond Ava & Aiden and Cool Names.