News / USA

Popular Culture Inspires Top US Baby Names

Hot book and film characters are popular

The lead characters in the "Twilight Saga," (from left) Edward, Bella and Jacob.
The lead characters in the "Twilight Saga," (from left) Edward, Bella and Jacob.

Multimedia

Audio
Ted Landphair

There’s a better-than-random chance that babies born in the United States last year, 2010, were named “Bella” or “Edward.”

Those were among the 10 most popular girls’ and boys’ names, respectively, and it was more than a coincidence that they are also leading characters in the wildly popular “Twilight” series of young adult novels and films about vampires.

The choice of baby names, you see, can be somewhat faddish.

Certain ones, such as “Tiffany” and “Justin,” which were popular in the 1980s, become the rage, then fall from fashion.

TOP 10 US BABY NAMES

    GIRLS
    1. Sophia
    2. Emma
    3. Isabella
    4. Olivia
    5. Ava
    6. Lily
    7. Chloe
    8. Madison
    9. Emily
    10. Abigail

    BOYS
    1. Aiden
    2. Jackson
    3. Mason
    4. Liam
    5. Jacob
    6. Jayden
    7. Ethan
    8. Noah
    9. Lucas
    10. Logan

The other day, a VOA staffer met a little boy, age two, named “Aiden.”  Our colleague had never heard that name. Turns out, Aiden is the most popular boy baby’s name this year, as reported by the website BabyCenter.com. For what it’s worth, Aiden was a leading character on the highly-rated TV show “Sex and the City.”

It certainly does appear that pop culture influences Americans’ choice of baby names.  Isabella, the third-most-popular girl’s name, for instance, may be an adaptation of Bella, the vampire lover in the "Twilight" movies. “Jacob” is in the top 10, too. That’s the good-looking shape-shifter who phases into a wolf in the same series.

Sophia Loren in the movie, “Five Miles to Midnight,” in 1962.
Sophia Loren in the movie, “Five Miles to Midnight,” in 1962.

Curiously, “Sophia” ranks first among this year’s girl-baby names, and “Ava” is fifth. Sophia Loren and Ava Gardner were glamorous actresses on the silver screen half a century ago.

But, as another colleague, who follows romance novels, told us, “Old-fashioned names, especially for girls, are big.”

We should point out that the top-10 list of boy and girl names refers almost exclusively to white, non-Hispanic babies. You won’t find many “Aidens” or “Masons” on the African-American and Latino baby-name lists.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid