And now it's back — rising into the Top 10 US baby names for girls.
The Social Security Administration released its hotly anticipated list of Most Popular Baby Names of 2014 Friday, led by Emma for girls and Noah for boys. Charlotte is the only new entrant in the girls’ Top 10, along with the equally royal James on the boys’ side.
Emma reclaims the crown as No.1 girls’ name for the first time since 2008, replacing Sophia. The Biblical Noah continues the reign he started last year.
The full Top 10 for both genders are:
Classic names predominate, with only Mia and Madison on the girls’ side and Liam and Mason on the boys’ side being newer names. The rest of the Top 10 choices for both boys and girls are Biblical or classical names that have been widely used for centuries.
Celebrities and pop culture continue to have a powerful influence on the popularity of baby names. Most of the names making dramatic leaps up the charts are connected to a celebrity or a popular TV or movie character. The three hottest girls’ names — Aranza, Montserrat and spelling variation Monserrat — are all rooted in Latin soap operas. On the boys’ side, Bode, as in Olympic skier Bode Miller, was the name the rose the most spots on the list, up to No. 645.
“We are as diverse in naming our babies as we are as citizens,” says acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin. “Naming your child can be both personal based on family traditions or because your favorite actor, musician, politician or TV show has a character by that name.”
Other red-hot names include Axl, as in rocker Rose and also the baby name choice of Fergie and Josh Duhamel; Maisie, as in Maisie Williams, who plays Arya on "Game of Thrones"; and Zendaya, the one-named singer.
But sometimes, what shoots up must plummet down. Miley, Britney, and Rihanna are among the 10 girls’ names making the steepest drops. On the boys’ side, celebrity-inspired choices such as Carmelo and Channing are both dropping in popularity.
Charlotte seems to be a choice determined to reach the top of the list, especially now that it’s been given a new gloss thanks to the royals. No. 11 in 2013, the French feminine form of Charles, meaning “free man,” has been rising steadily for the past 15 years. The nickname Charlie is also popular for both girls and boys, given to nearly equal numbers of babies of each gender.
Notable Charlottes include the infant daughter of Chelsea Clinton, the Kristin Davis character on "Sex and the City" and Jane Eyre author Charlotte Bronte. Acting Commissioner Colvin speculated that another reason behind the popularity of the name may be that the Democratic National Convention was most recently held in Charlotte, North Carolina, named for the English Queen Charlotte who ruled with George III during the time of the American Revolution.
James is the English form of the Hebrew Jacob, long a top name. Both mean “supplanter.” James made recent baby name news by switching genders when celebrity couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds bestowed it on their baby girl.
The Social Security Administration began compiling baby name statistics in 1997, when actuary Michael Shackleford set out to prove to the world that there were too many Michaels. (And as Michael turned out to be the No. 1 boys’ name for nearly half a century, Shackleford may have been right.)
Statistics stretch back to 1880 and are compiled from Social Security applications made in the year of birth. The most recent statistics, detailed on the list released Friday, cover the nearly 4 million births in the U.S. in 2014.