Most Popular New York Baby Names: Jayden, Isabella Lead the List

Filed under: In The News, Baby Names

most popular baby names picture

Jayden is the top moniker for boys. Credit: Getty Images

What's in a baby's name?

Well, if soap opera characters are passé and you're all about taking the lead through the lens of diversity, likeability and culture, then Jayden (spelled that way) and Isabella should top your list. They're the top picks among New Yorkers, according to the health department's annual tally of birth certificates, according to a press release issued today.

The just-in results show that Isabella edged out Sophia in 2009 as the most popular name for baby girls, while Jayden held steady at number one for boys, according to the release.

Some 1,424 newborn New Yorkers were dubbed Isabella or Jayden last year, up from 1,364 in 2008.

Top 10 Girls' Names:

1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Mia
4. Emily
5. Olivia
6. Madison
7. Sarah
8. Ashley
9. Leah
10. Emma

Top 10 Boys' Names:

1. Jayden
2. Daniel
3. Ethan
4. Michael
5. David
6. Justin
7. Matthew
8. Joshua
9. Alexander
10. Christopher

What does this name ranking mean?

"It means that in these times of rapid change in our world, ethnic-cross over names are the most popular," says Laura Wattenberg, author of "The Baby Name Wizard" (Crown Archetype, 2009) and creator of as well as ParentDish's "Ask the Name Lady" column. "New York exemplifies the city of diversity and that's the inspiration for these popular names."

"These are names everyone likes across cultures and ethnicities," Wattenberg tells ParentDish. "They're powerhouse names because they appeal across every culture. What parents are really looking for are names that everybody agrees on."

Isabella, for example, epitomizes the cross-cultural appeal, says Wattenberg. It's an Italian name that also is the Spanish version of Elizabeth. And Jayden, though the New York Health Department points to Will Smith and Jada Pinkett's son as inspiration, Wattenberg says that is incorrect. "Their son's name is spelled Jaden," says Wattenberg. "Britney Spears' son Jayden James is actually the inspiration.

Nine of the top 10 girls' names for 2009 were holdovers from 2008, according to the release, but newcomer Leah (ninth place) ousted Samantha, who fell to 14th. Among boys, Alexander made it into the top 10 for the first time on record, edging out Ryan.

Among the rarest names chosen for girls (as few as 10) were Nava and Zeldy. The most uncommon boy names included Drake, Orion and Pinchus, according to the release.

But Wattenberg cautions, New Yorkers "tend to be fairly conservative on the baby-naming front."

Parents looking for edgy and creative names should take their inspiration from their peers in Utah, says Wattenberg. "Utah parents are legendary for their creativity in baby naming."

Think "Bryleigh, or various spelling renditions of that, "as the latest creative name to emerge from the Southwest, says Wattenberg.

These creative twists speak volumes to the fact that parents have come a long way in naming baby. A list of 1905 Utah names ranks Mary and John at the top followed by: Ruth, Alice, Thelma and Helen for girls and William, George, James and Joseph for little guys.

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