Noah and Sophia were the most popular baby names in the U.S. last year


A baby in New York last month. Look at the little bunny ears! (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

For the first time in more than 50 years, the most popular boy’s name in the United States wasn’t Michael or Jacob.

Noah supplanted those names to become the most popular name for a boy born in 2013, the Social Security Administration said Friday, making it the first year since 1960 (the year David reigned supreme) that a name other than Michael or Jacob topped the list. Jacob had held the top slot from 1999 to 2012, while Michael was the most popular name every single year from 1961 through 1998.

Meanwhile, Sophia was again the most popular name for a girl born last year, the third consecutive year that Sophia topped that list. (Sofia with an “F,” meanwhile, was the 13th-most popular name, the highest showing for that spelling of the name.) Emma was the runner-up for the second-consecutive year, followed by Olivia, Isabella and Ava.

Here’s the list of the top 10 baby names last year:


(Social Security Administration)

Even though there are some shifts — Liam made its way to No. 2 last year, its first-ever appearance on the top five — there’s a certain amount of stasis on the list of popular names each year. Some perennials maintain a high position over and over and over, which has been particularly true of the top names, as many of these tend to hang around for a while even as other fad names pop onto the list and fade away.

A name like Robert was the most popular choice every year between 1924 and 1939, for example, but even when it wasn’t No. 1 it was among the five most popular names every year from 1914 through 1971. Mary was the top choice for all but six years between 1914 (the year the Social Security Administration’s publicly-available list begins)and 1961.

Other names will come and go, having a fleeting moment in the sun: Alexander peaked at No. 4 in 2009, while Nicholas cracked the top five just once (coming in at No. 5 in 1999). Brittany — that particular spelling of the name — had a moment between 1989 and 1992, appearing in the top five all four years, before vanishing again.

Here are the top five names every year between 1993 and 2013:


(Social Security Administration)
Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He anchors Post Nation, a destination for breaking news, developing stories and quick analysis of events around the country.
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Mark Berman | May 8