The U.S. Social Security administration (SSA) this month released its yearly lists of the most popular baby names in America. Though some mainstays dominated the lists, a few surprises are making their way from popular culture to hospital nurseries.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the fastest-growing name for females. Fantasy fans who thought themselves original may be displeased to learn that Arya has jumped from the 711th most popular female name in 2011 to the 413th in 2012. The name is a reference to Arya Stark, a favorite character of many readers of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, on which the hit HBO TV show Game of Thrones is based.
The fastest-rising male name for 2012 was Major, which the SSA attributes to its military association.
“I have no doubt Major’s rising popularity as a boy’s name is in tribute to the brave members of the U.S. military, and maybe we’ll see more boys named General in the future,” said Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner of the SSA.
As for the names that are most popular, Jacob has retained its first place status on the male list, where it has been for 14 years in a row (since 1999). Sophia has topped the girls list for the second year in a row. The names Elizabeth and Liam have popped into the top 10, pushing out Chloe and Daniel.
The top 10 male names, in order, are: Jacob, Mason, Ethan, Noah, William, Liam, Jayden, Michael, Alexander, and Aiden. The top female names are: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Mia, Madison, and Elizabeth.