Emma, Noah top list of most popular US baby names in 2014

Baby Births
FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2011, file photo, a mother holds her newborn baby at a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. Noon is the most common time of day for babies to be born without help, according to a first-of-its-kind federal report released on Friday, May 8, 2015. (Michael Zamora/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Emma and Noah were the most popular American baby names in 2014.

Among girls, Emma was followed by Olivia, Sophia, Isabella and Ava, according to the list released Friday by the federal government. For boys, Noah was followed by Liam, Mason, Jacob and William.

Noah was the top baby name for boys for the second year in a row. Emma was back on top for girls for the first time since 2008.

Pop culture and religion have long influenced baby names.

Emma’s popularity soared in 2002, the same year that Rachel, a character on the popular TV show “Friends,” named her baby Emma. Emma has been ranked among the top four baby names for girls since 2002, though it was just behind Sophia in 2013.

“In this era when trends come and go faster than ever before, that’s incredible staying power,” said Laura Wattenberg, founder of BabynameWizard.com. “Emma seems to be the only name that America has been able to agree on in recent years.”

James is also making a comeback, at No. 9. And Charlotte cracked the top 10 for the first time, at No. 10.

Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, announced Monday that they were naming their baby daughter Charlotte. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, also named her daughter Charlotte.

“Charlotte’s definitely going to hit the top three in the next three years,” said Jennifer Moss, founder and CEO of Babynames.com.

The Social Security Administration’s website provides lists of the top 1,000 baby names for each year, dating to 1880. The top baby names that year were John and Mary. John is now No. 26 and Mary has fallen to No. 120.

The U.S. government agency also charts the fastest-rising names each year. These names may not be in the top 10 or even the top 100, but they moved up more spots than any other.

For boys, the biggest riser was Bode, which jumped 645 spots to No. 783. Also among the top risers were Bodie and Bodhi. Bode Miller is an Olympic skier. Bodhi is a Buddhist term for enlightenment or awakening.

For girls, the runaway winner was Aranza, which jumped 3,625 spots to No. 607. Aranza is a popular Mexican singer. Also, there is a character named Aranza on the Mexican telenovela “Por Siempre Mi Amor,” which debuted in 2013.

“Since the Internet and since pop culture is so prevalent and in-your-face all the time now, parents are finding baby names from fiction, from television, from movies, from celebrities, most often,” Moss said. “And then secondly, friends and family and the family tree.”

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