Isabella, Jacob top ‘09 baby names

Published 10:46 am Saturday, May 8, 2010

Vampire books and the first family were behind many of 2009’s most popular baby names in the U.S.

Isabella reigns supreme for girls, while Jacob tops the list for boys, the Social Security Administration reported Friday. Isabella’s climb to the top in 2009 ends Emma’s one-year reign. Jacob is on an 11-year run at the top.

Isabella, of course, can be shortened to Bella, which is the name of the popular female lead character in the “Twilight” series of books and movies. Jacob is the name of one of the main male characters in the series.

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Another prominent “Twilight” character, Edward Cullen, seemed to make his mark as well — Edward moved up 11 spots, to No. 137 on the list, and Cullen was the biggest riser among boys’ names, up 297 spots to No. 485.

There was also a presidential push on the list — Barack didn’t crack the top 1,000 for boys, but a version of the president’s daughter’s name, Malia, was the fastest riser for girls. Maliyah moved up 342 spots, to No. 296, while Malia, which is how Obama’s daughter spells it, came in at No. 192, rising 153 spots.

Acclaim, however, can be fleeting, and several names linked to celebrities took a tumble. Miley, as in teen singer Miley Cyrus, soared up the charts in 2008 but slipped last year, dropping 61 spots to No. 189. A different version, Mylee, fell even further, dropping 420 spots to No. 853.

Jonas, as in the boy band Jonas Brothers, followed a similar path, peaking in 2008 before falling 105 spots last year, to No. 379. And people may be getting fed up with No. 4 — Brett, as in Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, joined Jonas as one of the biggest tumblers.

“Make sure the name can grow with your child and make sure they can live with it,” Jennifer Moss, author of “The One-in-a-Million Baby Name Book” and founder of, told the Associated Press. “Don’t make it too cutesy because think, can it work in the board room? Can they be a CEO?”

“Don’t make the name a burden on your child,” she added.

In Minnesota, Ethan and Ava topped the lists in 2008, the most recent year data is available. Daniel and Ethan — tied with six — along with Emma were Mower County’s most popular in 2008. The 2009 state rankings are expected out next week.

Joseph was 15th in the state in 2008, but with Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer winning a Most Valuable Player award and signing a new contract recently, that name could be one to watch.

Speaking of twins, Isabella and Sophia together were the most common names given to female twins in the country last year. That pairing happened 41 times. For male twins, Jacob and Joshua topped the list with 55, while Madison and Mason led for twins of both sexes.

Some quirky names topped the top-1,000 as well — Nevaeh, or Heaven spelled backwards, was No. 34 among girls. Elvis, King and Memphis all made the list among boys, while Presley was No. 268 among girls.

And, in case you were wondering, Austin came in 63rd among boys, which is actually down 40 spots from the beginning of the decade. Still, 7,198 newborns got the name in 2009.