Babies

Top baby names of 2012: Aiden, Sophia get competition from Betty White and 'Fifty Shades'

Nov. 29, 2012 at 10:28 AM ET

Hello there, little Baby Aiden and Baby Sophia. Yes, there will be many of you scampering around the playground in a few years, but make way for the new Bettys, Harrys and Greys of the world.

BabyCenter released its annual list of top 100 baby names for 2012 today, with Aiden capturing the top boys' spot for the eighth consecutive year while Sophia is enjoying her reign for the third year in a row.

Making their debut on the top 10 list this year are Mia and Jack.

Rounding out the top ten 10 girls list are Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Ava, Lily, Zoe, Chloe and Madison.

“Moms really like feminine names and we see a lot of crossover,” BabyCenter’s global editor in chief Linda Murray said on TODAY Thursday. “These names work for a lot of ethnicities, so I think that’s why they’re in the top ten.”

After Aiden on the boy’s most popular list came Jackson, Ethan, Liam, Mason, Noah, Lucas, Jacob, Jayden and Jack.

“Part of the reason it stays No. 1 is you can spell it in 45 different way,” Murray said of Aiden. “Moms love it.”

Oh baby! Do you really want to explain one day that her name was inspired by an erotic S&M novel? Better invent a great-great-grandma named Anastasia....
Onebluelight / Getty Images stock
Oh baby! Do you really want to explain one day that her name was inspired by an erotic S&M novel? Better invent a great-great-grandma named Anastasia....

BabyCenter's name list is based on the names of 450,000 babies born this year to mothers registered with the BabyCenter website.

Outside of the top 10, BabyCenter found trends for 2012 came from the racy best-seller “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the boy band One Direction, famous funnywomen like Betty White, technology and the United Kingdom.

Several character names from “Fifty Shades” are up this year. Grey rose nearly 20 percent, with Anastasia rising by 10 percent and Ana moving up 35 spots. Bucking the trend, the name Christian declined in popularity.

“Earlier this year we heard moms telling us... this book is an aphrodisiac and it’s helping them get pregnant,” Murray said. “So it was not a surprise to see these names coming up the list. 

“I’m wondering how the moms are going to explain the inspiration for these names in a few years,” Murray added.

The United Kingdom has been a strong influence on names in America. The names of four of the five young mates from One Direction are up this year, with Liam ranking number four for the second year in a row. Harry (of both royal and One Direction fame) is up 57 percent from the 2011 list, and Pippa, the now famous sister of Kate, increased by 35 percent.

“People love Harry and Pippa,” Murray said. “They’re less in the spotlight than Will and Kate.”

And mentioning One Direction’s Harry Styles, she said: “We’ve got a lot of cool Harrys out there.”

The women of comedy are also making their mark. The survey found that the first names of comediennes Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Chelsea Handler, and Kristen Wiig are all on the rise, with Amy up 41 percent, Maya up nearly 25 percent and Chelsea up almost 10 percent. But the biggest gain of all the funnyladies was Betty, up 54 percent this year. Betty's upward trend has been building for a while, thanks to Betty Draper's character on "Mad Men" and the growing popularity of old-fashioned names -- but it's nice to think that pregnant ladies love their nonagenarian Betty White.

BabyCenter says that some iPhone-loving parents are honoring its maker. Apple, the name of Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter, rose 15 percent for girls, while Mac is up 12 percent. Siri, the name of Apple’s talking personal assistant, jumped 5 percent on the girls list.

“This was a surprise to us this year,” Murray said. “We hadn’t seen Apple rise when Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter, but people love their technology.”

Political names can be popular too, but the contentious election season did nothing to boost the names Barack, Mitt, Joe or Paul. Instead, presidential names from the past saw a rise, with Reagan, a popular girl’s name, jumping 46 percent. Kennedy, Carter, Lincoln and Nixon all climbed in the rankings.

Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Her name is No. 479 on BabyCenter's popularity list.

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