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New parents still love Ava; Jacob tops Ethan in popularity

Minnesota parents still can’t get enough of Ava, which ranked No. 1 again in 2007, according to a report released today by the Social Security Administration.

Meanwhile, local parents have returned their loyalty to Jacob, which dipped to No. 2 in 2006 and 2005, having held the No. 1 spot from 1994 to 2004.

Grace, the No. 2 name in 2006, dropped in popularity, making way for Olivia to inch from No. 3 to No. 2 and Emma to climb from No. 4 to No. 3. At the same time, Benjamin dropped, allowing Samuel’s entrance into our top five. You can look here to see Minnesota’s top 100 names for boys and girls in 2007.

Most Popular Minnesota Names in 2007

Girls:
1)
Ava
2) Olivia
3) Emma
4) Addison
5) Sophia

Boys:
1) Jacob
2) Ethan
3) Logan
4) Jack
5) Samuel

Source: Social Security Administration

“All naming is local,” according to baby naming expert Laura Wattenberg, who conducted exhaustive research for her 2005 book “The Baby Name Wizard.”

“Money, geography, ethnicity and education all swirl together to form ‘microclimates’ of style, with local spikes in the use of particular names,” she writes.

That holds true when you compare top Minnesota names with top national names; some substantial discrepancies emerge. For instance, Minnesotans harbor greater love for Addison and Grace than the average American. As to boy names, we have considerably more affection for Logan, Samuel and Jack, which made our top-five list and only broke the top 40 list nationally. In Minnesota, Jack ranks No. 4. Nationally, Jackson (No. 33) beats out Jack (No. 38).

Annamarie Adkins, a St. Paul stay-at-home mother of two who’s “pretty serious about names,” read the SSA’s release with interest.

She and her husband, Jason, have kept a Word document with favorite boy and girl names since they got married.

“I’m a big name person because I was named after my great-grandma, who emigrated from Denmark, which really gave me an identity as a child,” Adkins said.

As an analytical baby-namer, she’s in good company. “I think the emphasis on names these days comes because few people have an ethnicity or culture to relate to or be about, and names fill that void for us.”

National news: Jacob and Emily defend title
The Social Security Administration released the most popular national names right before Mother’s Day. For the ninth year in a row, Jacob and Emily were the winning pair.

The obsession with boy names that rhyme with “maiden” held strong: Jayden (No. 18); Aiden (No. 27); Aidan (No. 54); Jaden (No. 76); Caden (No. 92); Kaden (No. 98); Ayden (No.102); Braden (No.156); Cayden (No.175); Jaiden (No.191); Kaiden (No. 220); Aden (No. 264); Caiden (No. 286); Braeden (No. 325); Braydon (No. 361); Jaydon (No. 415); Jadon (No. 423); Braiden (No. 529); Zayden (No. 588); Jaeden (No. 593); Aydan (No. 598); Bradyn (No. 629); Kadin (No. 657); Jadyn (No. 696); Kaeden (No. 701); Jaydin (No. 757); Braedon (No. 805); Aidyn (No. 818); Haiden (No. 820); Jaidyn (No. 841); Kadyn (No. 878); Jaydan (No. 887); Raiden (No. 931); and Adin (No. 983).   

“It’s interesting how people have had to get creative in spelling Aidan, Jaden and Kaden,” Adkins said. “All of the versions sound the same at the end of the day, so I don’t know if the variations really are going to make their child’s name unique.”

The top 10 boy and girl names for American children remained essentially the same, with some flopping of positions. Isabella climbed from No. 4 to No. 2, while Sophia ascended from No. 9 to No. 6. Matthew dropped from No. 5 to No. 9.

The influence of celebrity was evident, with Britney plummeting from No. 474 to No. 564. (The name peaked in 2000, at No. 137, and has steadily declined since.) On the other hand, the name of the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft, Raiders’ quarterback JaMarcus Russell, rose from No. 914 to No. 743.

A penchant for Old Testament biblical boy names remained, with Isaac rising from No. 48 to No. 41, and Joseph, Caleb and Isaiah experiencing slight dips. Meanwhile, parents preferred more abstract spiritual names for girls. Nevaeh (which is heaven spelled backwards), rose to No. 31, while Grace was No. 20 and Destiny was No. 41.

In no particular order, here are some other national mover and shakers from 2007:

Girls moving up


• Addison jumped from No. 28 to No. 11.
• Gabriella rose from No. 50 to No. 38.
• Aubrey climbed from No. 92 to No. 69.
• Claire climbed from No. 86 to No. 66.
• Bailey climbed from No. 112 to No. 83.

Boys on the rise


• Jayden leapt from No. 49 to No. 18.
• Xavier rose from No. 78 to No. 68.
• Liam climbed from No. 98 to No. 89.
• Cooper jumped from No. 113 to No. 95.
• Brayden climbed from No. 79 to No. 64.
• Landon moved from No. 38 to No. 32.

Presidential ups and downs


• John rose from No. 20 to No. 19.
• Cindy fell from No. 398 to No. 367.
• Barack did not register on the top 1,000 names.
• Michelle fell from No. 80 to No. 94.
• Hillary rose from No. 979 to No. 960.
• Bill (William) inched up from No. 10 to No. 8.

Lastly, Elvis rose 85 spots to No. 676. Social Security Commissioner Michael (No. 2) Astrue expressed his approval in a press release, saying, “It is further proof that Elvis is not dead.”

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