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Isabella, Jacob are U.S. top baby names

Cullen is the fastest-rising boy’s name; ‘Twilight’ effect?



Call it the “Twilight” effect: Names from Stephenie Meyer’s series of vampire novels and their hit film spin-offs sank their teeth into the list of most popular baby names this year, with Jacob and Isabella (the long form of Bella, Meyer’s heroine) topping the respective lists for boys and girls, and Cullen rising faster than any other boy’s name.


While Jacob held sway for the 11th consecutive year as the most popular baby boy name in the U.S., Isabella edged out last year’s most popular girl name, Emma, in the list compiled annually by the Social Security Administration.


The list, released Friday, showed some movement from the 2008 list: Jayden and Noah climbed into the Top 10 for boy names, while Mia made a bow in the girl Top 10 list.


It’s not unlikely that young mothers who loved Stephenie Meyer’s series of “Twilight” books, and the subsequent film franchise, also fell in love with the names of the characters — and likely convinced dads to go along with them in naming their babies. “Twilight” features female protagonist Bella — a variation of Isabella — and the teen-to-wolf character Jacob. And perhaps not coincidentally, the fastest-rising baby boy name in 2009 is Cullen, the surname of “Twilight” vampire Edward Cullen.


While Isabella was a name most often associated with royalty in the 15th and 16th centuries, it fell out of favor for centuries. As recently as 1990, it barely cracked the Top 1,000 among baby names in the U.S. But it surprisingly re-emerged as a favored baby girl name last decade, entering the Top 10 list in 2004.


Since then, Isabella has made a steady ascent up the popularity list — Isabella ranked as the second most popular name for baby girls in 2007 and 2008.


Emma slid down one spot to No. 2, but it marks the eighth year in a row the name has landed in the Top 4 among baby girl names.


Everything’s Jake

And as for the babies named Jacob, it’s likely they will shake hands with plenty of namesakes as they grow up. Jacob ranked in the Top 100 a century ago, and has remained popular since — although the name did take a dip into the 300s during the 1960s. Jacob has been one of the U.S.’s Top 100 baby boy names for the past 36 years, and has been in the Top 10 since 1993.


The SSA clearly has fun with its annual list, compiled from the names of babies applying for Social Security numbers, which is customary these days. It reports that Baby Jacob and Baby Isabella issued a joint statement thanking parents for “their support and good taste.”


While it’s a given that baby boy name popularity tends to hold over time — Daniel and Michael continue to rank in the Top 10 — the popularity of girls’ names tends to ebb and flow. For example, Danielle was a solid Top 20 finisher from 1984 to 1994, but only ranks 170 in 2009.


Famous folks might even be able to track their own popularity by how many parents choose to name their children after them. Malia, the name of President Barack Obama’s eldest daughter, made the biggest year-to-year jump for girls, from 345th-most popular girl baby name in 2008 to 192 in 2009. But Miley Cyrus may have something to worry about — her name fell from 128 in 2008 to 189 in 2009. Interestingly, the name on Miley’s birth certificate, Destiny, ranked higher on the list — 57 in 2009.


Among the hottest new boy names, Cullen (no doubt inspired by brooding vampire Edward Cullen in the “Twilight” books and movies) was the fastest riser, leaping from 782 to 485 in the past year.

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Wasn't the US going to pass a law where you have to pass an IQ test in order to have a child? Or what that just an amazing dream I once had that will never come true?


That was definitely a dream dude! You need a license to do just about everything in the US - except procreate.

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I think the other thing that really annoys me about this is that the article is trying to say that "women that loved the books..." HOLD ON!!! The books started coming out in 2005, the people naming their children after the characters are not the literate people capable of reading, it's the people that watched the MOVIE and think if they name their inbred trailer spawn after the characters that they'll magically grow up gorgeous and have an amazing life.


Naming my child something as the same initials as KidTums suddenly seems a lot more logical!!!

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And I bet half of those parents are middle/high-schoolers that wear their Twilight shirts 24/7.


A year from now all we're going to see is episodes of "16 And Pregnant" and these will be the names. Great, even more reason for them to treat "it" like a toy...

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My parents were reeeeal original.


They reversed my father's two names.


Robert William = William Robert


Bet that took them for - e - ver, hmmm?

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And perhaps not coincidentally, the fastest-rising baby boy name in 2009 is Cullen, the surname of “Twilight” vampire Edward Cullen.

I know I'm just being silly, but I can't help but be entertained by that quote.

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My mums name is Isabella. Shes not that fond of it.


The popular baby names in Scotland are really normal in comparison. Jack and Sophie.

You do get alot of 'Chav chic' names around here though. Maybe it should be Ned chic in Scotland. I knew a girl at school called Senga Blade. Honestly. Its common to hear some overweight, badly dressed woman, with bad skin smelling of smoke, shouting "Haw, Chantelle, git yer bum o'or here!", or "Pit that doon, Chardonnay!". It sounds so very wrong.


And while Im at it, whats with the trend of sensitive vampires since that Buffy show? Vampires are meant to be scheming killers, hunters of humans. Vampires falling for human girls and turning good? Being all angsty and emo? What the hell? Thats not how it goes. That does for Vampires what Alien v Predator did for the Xenomorph. i.e. a tremendous diservice!


Anyway...yeah, some parents give kids really silly names these days. I read in a newspaper that some woman named her kid Pikachu.

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Well, it's not ENTIRELY due to Twilight:


Jacob has been one of the U.S.’s Top 100 baby boy names for the past 36 years, and has been in the Top 10 since 1993.


But it's still ridiculous.


As for our kids, the only thing we gave them from us was our middle names. Daughter has Kristi's middle name, Son has mine.

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C'mon people. F'ing Twilight?! Don't you want your kids names to be vibrant and full of life? Not one of those characters has any redeeming qualities. What do you want to tell your kid when they ask you how you came up with their name? "Oh hunny, we named you that after a clinically depressed girl who wants to be dead so badly that she dates a Vampire in hopes that she one day will become one of the undead herself. Isn't that cool?"

"Wow! Thanks Mom. I'm just gonna go upstairs, put on some Morrisey, take a hot bath, and slit my wrists before I breed your "idiot gene" into another life before I turn 16."


Be original. Alana and I spent months coming up with good, well thought out, vibrant, quality names for our children. My kids don't even have my or Alana's maiden last names. We created an entirely new last name for our family so they could have their own identities away from the oppressive expectations of overbearing ancestors.


Guy "God D@mn it! I hate Twilight!" Koepp

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What kind of a first name is Cullen anyway? I don't know much about the Twilight series, but Elissa has a point that these names are becoming increasingly popular as the movies are released. It makes this trend that much more pathetic.


Right now, I have to say I am really glad I'm just plain old Megan. And Megan spelled the simple way--without any superfluous Es, As, Gs, unnecessary Hs and whatever other letters with which people have senselessly butchered this name.

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