The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

May 10, 2014

Noah, Sophia ascend to peak of popularity for baby names

Noah is more than the name of a popular movie. It is the top name for baby boys born in 2013 in the United States, the Social Security Administration announced Friday.

Sophia scored the three-peat for girls’ names, being chosen as the top name for the third consecutive year, the agency announced.

Noah replaced an even more revered Old Testament name, Jacob, for the top spot. Jacob reigned for 13 years - coincidentally the same number of children the biblical Jacob was said to have fathered. His 12 boys evolve into the tribes of Israel; Jacob also had at least one daughter.

Among girls, Emma and Olivia ranked second and third, respectively.

The list is released every year before Mother’s Day. It is based on the names parents supply to the agency when they apply for Social Security cards on behalf of their children.

New parents in 2013 applied for a Social Security number for 4 million babies. Social Security started compiling baby name lists in 1997, and the agency’s website offers lists of baby names going back at least a century.

But as in real estate, baby names around the world depend on location, location, location.

For example, Mohamed tends to be the most popular male name in the Arab world, according to unofficial lists on Wikipedia. Aarav ranks highest among male baby names in the Hindu world. Jewish Israel tends to Noam for new boys (and for many girls as well), while Muslim Israel goes with Mohammad and Christian Israel prefers George.

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