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NYC’s Most Popular Baby Names in 2012

The Health Department has announced that Jayden and Sophia were the most popular baby names in New York City in 2012. Jayden has been the number 1 boys name for the last four years, while Sophia reclaimed the number 1 spot after a three year absence. The Health Department’s birth certificate records showed that more than 760 Jaydens and more than 607 Sophias were born in the Big Apple in 2012. Overall, in 2012, 202 more babies were born in New York City as compared to 2011.

Most Popular Baby Names
New York City, 2012
1 Sophia Jayden
2 Isabella Ethan
3 Emma Jacob
4 Olivia Daniel
5 Emily Matthew
6 Mia Michael
7 Chloe Aiden
8 Madison David
9 Leah Ryan
10 Ava Alexander
NYC TOTAL BIRTHS 60,000 63,231

New York City Births by Borough of Mother’s Residence, 2012

  Count Rate per 1,000 Live Births
Manhattan 19,086 11.8
Bronx 20,044 14.2
Brooklyn 42,087 16.4
Queens 26,986 11.9
Staten Island 5,260 11.2

Name Trends
Nine of the top ten girls’ names from 2011 held their place on the 2012 list. Sofia moved to number 13 as parents favored the spelling Sophia which moved from number 2 to number 1, and Ava joined the ranks at number 10. Isabella, the most popular girl’s name for the last three years, was bumped down to number 2. Emma claimed the number 3 spot from Olivia, which moved down to number 4. Nine of the top ten boys’ names were holdovers from 2011, while Justin fell from number 7 to number 12 and Ryan joined the list at number 9. Jayden has remained number 1 for four years in a row, with Ethan and Jacob swapping spots to number 2 and number 3 respectively.

Star Power
2012’s top names reflect a star-studded influence, with parents bestowing their children with recognizable Hollywood names Angelina (#47), Scarlett (#58), Leonardo (#87), Ashton (#136), and Denzel (#156). Some Big Apple baby names may have been inspired by musicians such as Mariah (#103), Usher (#147), and Elvis (#156), as well as model Giselle (#106) and basketball player Carmelo (#152). Others may have been inspired by political icons and renowned scientists such as Kennedy (#123) and Darwin (#153). Names chosen by celebrity moms Jennifer Garner, Katie Holmes, and Angelina Jolie, Violet (#76), Suri (#37), and Maddox (#160), were also popular this year.

Religious Names
Religious figures were also a large source of inspiration for new parents. Biblical names for girls included Leah (#9), Sarah (#8), Rachel (#17), Ester (#20), Miriam (#34), and Chana (#38). For boys, holy names included Jacob (#3), Daniel (#4), Matthew (#5), Muhammed (#7) Joseph (#11), Noah (#14), Joshua (#17), Elijah (#37), and Isaac (#40).

Geographic Names
Big U.S. cities and states were also popular baby names. Austin (#71), Virginia (#139), Georgia (#141), and Phoenix (#155 for boys and #131 for girls) made the list. NYC’s own Brooklyn (#133) was also popular for girls. Some parents looked overseas for monikers, including London (#51), Sydney (#89), Paris (#101), Israel (#116), Santiago (#118), Milan (#129), and Egypt (#144).

Seasons and Months
Some parents may have been inspired by the seasons: Summer (#101), Autumn (#117), and the unique spelling of Wynter (#148). Months of the year also made the list, including April (#131) and June (#140) for girls, and August (#135) for boys.

Spelling Variations
2012’s favorite name for boys appeared most commonly as Jayden (#1), but some parents used other variations including dropping the “y” for Jaden (#71), or swapping it for an “i” for Jaiden (#119). Aiden (#6) has seven other spelling variations, including Ayden (#55), Aydin (#57), and Aidan (#77).While Sophia is the most popular name for 2012 baby girls in New York City, some parents also used an alternative spelling, Sofia (#13). Isabella (#2) is the most common variation of this year’s runner up, but some parents also chose Izabella (#131) and Isabela (#141), as well as similar names Isabel (#82) and Isabelle (#102).

Uncommon Names
Some New Yorkers bestowed their children with very uncommon names, with as few as 10 parents naming their daughters Nyah, Syeda and Zi, and sons Meyer, Oren and Zaid.

Top 10 Names by Race/Ethnicity


Rank Hispanic Black White Asian & Pacific Islander
1 Isabella Madison Emma Chloe
2 Sophia London Leah Sophia
3 Mia Taylor Sarah Olivia
4 Emily Chloe Olivia/Sophia Emily
5 Sofia Abigail Esther Emma
6 Camila Kayla Rachel Isabella
7 Ashley Serenity Chaya Angela/Ella
8 Madison Olivia Ava Grace
9 Emma Neveah Chana Hailey
10 Genesis Aaliyah Miriam Fiona/Mia


Rank Hispanic Black White Asian & Pacific Islander
1 Jayden Jayden Joseph Ryan
2 Jacob Aiden David Ethan/Jayden
3 Matthew Ethan Michael Lucas
4 Ethan Jeremiah Jacob Justin
5 Angel Joshua Moshe Eric
6 Aiden Elijah/Michael Daniel Aiden
7 Daniel Christian Alexander Muhammad
8 Justin Josiah/Mason Benjamin Jason
9 Alexander Isaiah/Noah Samuel Daniel
10 Sebastian Tyler James Kevin

“It’s important that our newest New Yorkers are born into a safe and healthy environment,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “The Health Department’s programs help women receive the necessary care and support they need to be healthy before, during and after a pregnancy. Our key initiatives include promoting hospital policies and practices that support mothers who choose to breastfeed, infant safe sleep education, providing cribs for families that cannot afford them, home-visiting during pregnancy and early childhood, and promoting women’s health throughout the lifespan, including increasing access to contraception to help women plan their pregnancies.”

Keeping Babies Safe and Healthy

Whatever their names, babies do best when they’re nurtured by healthy parents in secure surroundings. For more information, please visit:

The Health Department’s Bureau of Vital Statistics compiles baby name lists from birth certificates. Each year, the list of most popular baby names is published in the agency’s Annual Summary of Vital Statistics.

For more information on baby names, New York City’s births and pregnancies or how to obtain a birth certificate visit


Copyright 2014 The City of New York

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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