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Fri, Sept. 18

Top baby names in Arizona released

photo/Adobe stock/Africa Studio

photo/Adobe stock/Africa Studio

PHOENIX — Where have all the Jennifers gone?

Or, for that matter, the Jessicas, the Melissas and the Sarahs?

They’ve been replaced, at least in Arizona, by little girls bearing such names as Olivia, Emma and Isabella. Those were the most popular names for girls born this year in Arizona, according to the state Department of Health Services.

That means all those women born 20 and 30 years ago -- when those other names were topping the charts – are now making decidedly different choices for their own daughters.

So, hello, Sophia, Mia and Luna. And, goodbye, Michelle, Heather and Christina.

How radical has been the change?

Of the Top 10 names for girls three decades ago, only one is among the Top 100 for 2019.

That’s Sarah. But the No. 7 name in 1989 is now just 63rd on the list.

When it comes to rankings, spelling matters.

The health department tracks the names based on what parents put on the birth certificate. That means Sophia (fourth in popularity) and Sofia (No. 18) are logged as separate entries.

But if you combine the number of newborn girls named one or the other, it would top the list, jumping ahead of Olivia.

For newborn boys, the changes over the decades are nowhere near as revolutionary.

Yes, Michael, the top name for boys in 1989 – and even a decade before that – has been replaced by Liam.

But there are still enough parents choosing that name for their newborns now to keep it on the Top 20 list.

Other names with Biblical roots, whether as saints, angels, kings or other figures from the Good Book always remain relatively popular, like Joseph, James and, to a lesser extent, Matthew and Christopher.

More recently other biblical names have moved up in the rankings, like Daniel, Elijah and Noah.

Yet some other names have managed to muscle their way up the list.

Notable among that is Liam which has been at or near the top now for a decade.

Logan also is a relative newcomer to the Top 20 list.

There are some marked differences between the most popular names in Arizona and those in the rest of the country. Write that off to demographics.

Nationally, Muhammed has cracked the Top 10 in most popular names for boys. It is nowhere on Arizona’s Top 100 list.

Among girls, Aaliyah hit No. 10 nationally, a name with both Arabic and Hebrew roots. In Arizona it did no better than No. 50.

Conversely, there were 281 sets of parents in Arizona who chose the name Mateo for newborn boys, enough to move it up one notch from last year, to No. 6 this year. Two years ago it was No. 15 in the state.

But it remains far from the Top 20 nationally, with the most recent data putting it at No. 37.

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