Have you noticed an increase in girls named Bella on playgrounds and in preschools? Met any boys named Jasper or Emmett recently? "Twilight" may be the reason.
Yes, not everyone who's given such a name to their child is a movie fan. My grandmother, who bestowed the name "Edward" on my dad, died 30 years before Stephenie Meyer chose it for a certain sparkling vampire. But certainly in some cases there's an influence, much in the way that 1965's "Doctor Zhivago" inspired parents to choose "Lara" for girls, or 1970's "Love Story" gave the name "Jennifer" a boost.
The name "Bella" may be benefiting the most from the books and movies. In 2000, Bella ranked 749th on the Social Security name index. It's been climbing ever since, and in 2010, was the 48th most popular girl's name. Alice and Rosalie, fellow "Twilight" characters, are also climbing the charts, and even Esme, the name of Edward's adopted mother, cracked the top 1000 in 2010.Story: 'Old-fashioned' Edward carries Bella over threshold
"Edward" has always been a solid name, and "Twilight" doesn't seem to have done much for it either way. It was No. 108 on the list in 2000 and it's actually gone down a little and is now at No. 136. "Jacob," the name of the hunky shape-shifting wolf who competes for Bella's affections, doesn't need any help. It was the most popular boy's name in 2000 and has remained there, never dropping out of the top spot.
A rising tide doesn't lift all "Twilight" names. "Carlisle," Edward's adopted dad, hasn't cracked the top 1000. But vampire Emmett's name is on the rise and so is Jasper. And even "Cullen," the clan's last name, is slowly rising as a first-name choice.Story: Edward and Bella spent hot honeymoon in Brazil
A fun slideshow on iVillage Canada looks at "Twilight" baby names, and another at "Harry Potter" names. Apparently American parents aren't as wild about "Harry" names as parents are in other countries. iVillage points out that despite the popularity of both "Harry Potter" and Prince Harry, as a baby name, Harry charts far higher in the U.K. than in the U.S.
The new "Twilight" movie, "Breaking Dawn Part 1," hits theaters Nov. 18. The movie will see the birth of Edward and Bella's daughter, Renesmee, whose name is derived from Bella's mother's name, Renee, and the name of Edward's mother Esme. (Her middle name, "Carlie," combines her grandfathers' names, Charlie and Carlisle.) Now if that name starts being seen on birth certificates and personalized lunchboxes, we'll know the "Twilight" names have really arrived.
Know any baby Bellas or Cullens? What's your favorite baby name trend? What's going to be the "Jennifer" or "Lisa" of the future, the name every kid has? Tell us on Facebook.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is TODAY.com's movies editor.
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