Interactive: The Most Popular Baby Names in New York City Since 1898

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On Tuesday, the New York City Department of Health released its annual ranking of baby names, and for the third straight year, the winners remained unchanged: Liam and Emma, with 764 and 497 babies-named, respectively. The data comes from the 114,296 births in the city during 2019 (that’s 56,516 boys and 53,927 girls, down about 3% from the prior year).

Curious how these rankings had changed over time, we asked the DOH to provide more information, and they pointed us to the annual Vital Statistics Summary, which includes a summary of names in selected years. Together with their press releases for the last three years, that allowed us to create the following bump charts, showing the top ten names going back to 1898. In these charts, the number one name is at the top, and lines show a name that appeared in the top ten in more than one year. You can select a name using the legend to highlight it. First, the boys:

(Click here for a larger version of the chart)

You can see the stark ascent of Liam beginning in 2013, with Noah climbing to second place during the same period, displacing Ethan, which had the number one spot in 2014 and 2015, as well as Jacob, a great name that rose as high as #2 in 2014 and 2016. Some names, like Michael, appear to have enduring popularity, appearing in the data every year going back to 1948, while others, like Dylan, Nicholas, or Kevin, appear to be shooting stars, appearing for a single year before disappearing.

The girls name data is a little more variable:

(Click here for a larger version of the chart)

Here you can see the ascent of Emma beginning in 2010, reaching its current #1 spot in 2017, knocking out Olivia and Sophia, which had each held the top spot for a couple of years. Mia and Isabella round out the recent top five. Sarah, a popular name going back to 1898, disappeared from the top ten in 2018, while Chloe, Amelia, and Charlotte became more popular. The girls list contains more “one year wonders,” like Abigail, Rachel, Tiffany, and Nancy.

Beyond providing an interesting look at naming trends, this annual release gives the Department of Health an opportunity to remind New Yorkers about the pregnancy and new baby information they provide online: useful information if you are expecting!

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