Oh baby! It's not every year that a set of steamy novels, a buttoned-up British miniseries, and the iPhone influence America's birth certificates. According to BabyCenter, parents looked near and far for names in 2012. The leading online pregnancy and parenting resource released its annual list of top 100 baby names and hottest naming trends Thursday.
Sophia and Aiden held on to their reigning number 1 spots in BabyCenter's annual list. But newcomers inspired by the racy 50 Shades trilogy are on the rise, including Grey (which gained 155 spots), Anastasia (up 43 spots), and Elliot (up 14 percent). Parents also plucked names from the Masterpiece Classic hit Downton Abbey -- including Branson, Edith, Sybil, and Violet. Parents like the sound of Siri, Apple's voice-enabled personal assistant: The name climbed 5 percent on the list of girls' names.
Top 10 girls' names of 2012
> See the top 100 girls' names
Top 10 boys' names of 2012
> See the top 100 boys' names
BabyCenter's unique list draws from the names of 450,000 babies born to parents registered on the site in 2012. To measure true popularity in its rankings, BabyCenter combines names that sound the same but have different spellings (such as Sophia and Sofia).
The hottest baby name trends of 2012
New parents looked near and far for baby names in 2012 -- from their iPhone to a set of sexy novels to a deliciously proper British show. Here's a look at the hottest baby name trends of the year.
50 shades of baby names
The erotic adventures of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele sparked a flurry of baby-making in 2012 -- and gave parents baby-naming ideas to boot. The name Grey rose 155 spots for boys -- an 18 percent gain. Anastasia skipped up 43 spots (a 10 percent increase) and the nickname Ana gained 15 percent. Elliot (Christian's brother) jumped 14 percent for boys. It'll be interesting in a few years when all those little Anas and Elliots ask where their names came from!
Up with Downton (Abbey)
Plenty of parents plucked their baby's name from the wildly popular British miniseries -- and names of the household staff proved just as popular as those of the lords and ladies upstairs. Handsome chauffeur Branson, dignified butler Mr. (Charlie) Carson, humble head housekeeper Mrs. (Elsie) Hughes, and meek kitchen maid Daisy saw the largest percentage gains of any Downton-related names. (A significant 32, 23, 29, and 27 percent respectively.)
The aristocratic Crawleys did well, too: Edith, Sybil, Robert, Cora, and Isobel waltzed up the popularity list, as did Violet -- the first name of the acid-tongued dowager countess. The names of romantic leads Matthew and Mary dropped, however. Perhaps the star-crossed lovers were just too sad to inspire a bevy of baby names.
Smartphones are the best parenting tool since diapers, and it seems some moms and dads really, really love one company in particular. The moniker Apple -- though still an unusual choice -- rose 15 percent for girls, vaulting a whopping 585 spots to slot 3204. For boys, the name Mac jumped 12 percent to slot 624. Siri, Apple's voice-enabled personal assistant climbed 5 percent on the list of girls' names to land at position 1427.
Little Girl Blue
Blue Ivy Carter is already a star, like her music mogul parents Beyoncé and Jay-Z. So it's no wonder the name Blue shot up 51 percent for girls, gaining an astounding 2,571 places on our top baby names list. It's still a rare pick, however -- nowhere near the top 100 or even top 1,000 baby names. Ivy, on the other hand, has broader appeal: It's up 27 percent and 57 places, landing at spot 157 on our list of top girls' names.
> See the 10 hottest naming trends of the year
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