Texas News
11:02 am
Thu May 15, 2014

From Mary To Sophia (And Sofia): Texas' Most Popular Baby Names Through The Years

What are Texans naming their babies these days? And how does that compare to Lone Star babies from 50 years ago?

Sophia was the most popular baby girl name in Texas in 2013. For the boys, Jacob was No. 1 in Texas.

The Social Security Administration on Thursday released last year's most popular baby names in each state. The other popular Texas baby names in 2013? For the boys, Jayden was No. 2, while Noah, Ethan and Daniel rounded out the top 5. For the girls, Emma was No. 2, while Isabella, Mia and Olivia also made the top 5.

The most popular Texas baby names in 2013

Credit Social Security Administration

Nationally, Noah was the most popular baby boy name last year, while Sophia was No. 1 among baby girls.

SSA’s website tracks baby name popularity by state since 1960, looking at the top 100 names each year.

Dive into the data and you learn some interesting things.

The most popular Texas baby names in 1960

In 1960, David was the most popular baby boy name in Texas. Mary was the most popular baby girl name. That mirrored national data.

Credit Social Security Administration

The most popular Texas baby names in 1980

By 1980, David was still hanging in the top 5, but Michael had risen to No. 1. Meanwhile, Mary fell to No. 24.

The most popular Texas baby names in 2000

By 2000, Jose soared to No. 1, but Michael was still hanging in at No. 4. Emily was No. 1. Nationally, Jacob was No. 1.

But let’s focus on a few names in particular and see how they’ve fared through the years in Texas.

The boys

For the boys, we chose Jacob, Michael, Jose, Jayden and Ethan, looking at the top 100 names from 1960 through 2012. Take a look:

The decline of Michael and the rise of Jayden

A look at the popularity of boys' names in Texas from 1960-2012.
A look at the popularity of boys' names in Texas from 1960-2012.
Credit KERA News

Look at how Michael dominated for decades before trailing off in the early 1990s. Meanwhile, Jose made a steady climb before climbing to the No. 1 spot in 1996. It dominated the No. 1 spot until 2010. The name is still popular, with a No. 6 rank in 2012 (and again in 2013).

What name knocked Jose out of the No. 1 perch? Jacob. Jacob wasn’t even on the Texas list of the most popular 100 names in the 1960s or the early 1970s. But by the mid-1970s, Jacob appeared – and the name took off, making a steady climb for about 25 years. It's still going strong -- both in Texas and across the country.

Ethan, a more modern name, first appeared on the Texas list in the early 1990s, then disappeared from the top 100 list before reappearing in the mid-90s. Ethan was ranked No. 25 in 2000 – in 2012, it climbed to No. 3.

How about Jayden? It first appeared on the Texas list in 2003 – No. 92. In 2012, it shot up to No. 2. (It was the second most popular boy's name again in 2013.) Many say Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith get the credit for the name’s popularity. In 1998, they named their son Jaden.

Jose, Juan and Julian have been more popular in Texas compared to the rest of the country.

The girls

Now it’s time for the girls. We chose Mary, Emily, Madison, Sophia and Genesis, again looking at the top 100 names from 1960 through 2012. Take a look:

There (was) something about Mary; now, it's Sophia

A look at the popularity of girls' names in Texas from 1960-2012.
A look at the popularity of girls' names in Texas from 1960-2012.
Credit KERA News

There’s something about Mary. For decades, the name reigned supreme. In the 1960s, the name dominated in Texas. But by 1972, the name fell from the top 10. Around that time, Emily appeared on the Texas top 100 list. For 30 years, the name climbed the list, peaking in 2004. It reached the No. 1 spot in 1998, staying there until 2009, when Isabella kicked it to the No. 2 slot.

Mary placed in the top 100 list through 2003. Now the name is nowhere to be found. Poor Mary. But she sure had some staying power.

In Texas, Madison had a quick rise – and a quick fall. The name appeared on the top 100 list in the early 1990s. Madison reached the No. 2 spot in the early 2000s, but fell to No. 13 in 2012.

Sophia, however, has skyrocketed. She first appeared on the Texas list in 2000. Now, she's the most popular baby girl name in Texas. Another version -- Sofia -- is also in the top 10.

And, finally, Genesis. The name first appeared on the Texas list in 2005 – and it took off quickly. By 2012, the name ranked No. 17. (It was No. 18 last year).

Up-and-coming names

Some names that are more popular in Texas than the country: Zoe, Camila and Victoria. Genesis ranked 18th in Texas and 55th nationally. Then there’s Ximena, which ranked No. 28 in Texas last year, but 162nd nationally.

And, nationally, for the boys, Jayceon made a huge jump in last year's rankings. Other boy names making big jumps include Atlas, Duke, Deacon and Forrest. For the girls, Marjorie, Lennon, Oakley and Mabel are among the baby names that are quickly climbing the charts.

Study your name

How popular was your name when you were born? Search popular names by year -- and track the popularity of a name over time on the Social Security Administration's website. Warning: You could spend a lot of time on the site -- it's pretty interesting stuff.