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Press Release

Press Release # 076-09
Wednesday, December 2, 2009

MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Jessica Scaperotti/Zoe Tobin:

Health Department Announces New York City’s Favorite Baby Names for 2008

Sophia surpasses Isabella as top choice for girls; Jayden and Daniel remain favorites for boys

December 2, 2009 – Sophia and Jayden have emerged as the top baby names in New York City for 2008, edging out Isabella and Daniel for the top spots. The Health Department announced today that 1,383 New York City newborns were named Sophia or Jayden last year, compared to 1,385 in 2007. There were no dark horses among this year’s winners; four of the top five girls’ names were on last year’s list (Olivia eclipsed Kayla this year) – as were four of the top five boys’ names (David replaced Justin). Yet innovation continues to thrive at the fringe. While grinding out Michaels, Matthews and Sarahs last year, New York City also gave the world more than a dozen Keons and Clementines.

Rank Girls Boys
1 Sophia Jayden
2 Isabella Daniel
3 Emily Michael
4 Olivia Matthew
5 Sarah David
6 Madison Joshua
7 Ashley Justin
8 Mia Anthony
9 Samantha Christopher
10 Emma Ethan/Ryan
Total 62,070 65,610
Most Popular Baby Names by Race/Ethnicity

Preferences vary widely by racial and ethnic group. Ashley was the most popular girl’s name for Hispanic families, while Madison became a new favorite with black families. Sophia, the top pick for Asian girls in 2007, stayed on top in 2008. White parents favored Olivia. Among boys, Hispanic and black families embraced the ever-popular Jayden, while Asian families favored Ryan and white families stuck with Daniel.

A detailed list of the most popular baby names for 2008, broken down by race/ethnicity and sex, is available online (PDF), along with information on historical trends.

Seeing Stars

New Yorkers continue to take cues from Hollywood as they search for the perfect name. Actresses Angelina (#22) and Keira (#105), singers Mariah (#88) and Rihanna (#100), model Giselle (#106) and actor Orlando (#162) all made the list. Suri (#133) and Jayden (#1) – names chosen by celebrity parents Katie Holmes and Will Smith – were again a common source of inspiration for parents.

Biblical Names

Names with religious significance were another common trend. Holy names for girls included Esther (#17) and Genesis (#52). Joshua (#6), Elijah (#23), Angel (#26), and Jeremiah (#34) were among the biblical names boys inherited.

Unique Names

Among the rarest names chosen for girls (as few as 10) were Armani and Clementine. The most uncommon boy names included Jeter, Milan, Drake, and Keon.

Top Ten Names by Race/Ethnicity

Rank Hispanic Black White Asian & Pacific Islander
1 Ashley Madison Olivia Sophia
2 Isabella Kayla Esther Chloe
3 Emily Makayla Sarah Emily
4 Brianna Nevaeh Sophia Tiffany
5 Mia Jada Rachel Fiona
6 Samantha Brianna Emma Isabella
7 Sophia Chloe Chaya Olivia
8 Melanie Destiny Ava Sarah
9 Genesis Alyssa Leah Angela/Vivian
10 Kimberly Gabrielle/Imani Miriam Nicole/Rachel

Rank Hispanic Black White Asian & Pacific Islander
1 Jayden Jayden Daniel Ryan
2 Justin Joshua Joseph Eric
3 Angel Elijah Michael Jason/Matthew
4 Anthony Jeremiah David Daniel
5 Christopher Christian Matthew Ethan
6 Daniel Michael Alexander Kevin
7 Joshua Justin Jacob Justin
8 Kevin Daniel Nicholas Ivan
9 Brandon/David Ethan/Tyler Jack Vincent
10 Matthew Christopher/Isaiah Samuel Kyle

Keeping Babies Safe and Healthy

Names may bring good luck, but good health takes some planning and effort. Here are some tips for keeping Jayden and Sophia healthy and safe.

Plan Your Pregnancy

  • Use birth control until you are ready to get pregnant. Many safe and effective methods are available. Call 311 to find out where you can go for free or low-cost birth control.
  • Attend to your own health before you conceive. Maintain a healthy weight, do not smoke, use drugs or drink excessively, and see a doctor before you become pregnant. Alcohol and other drugs cause miscarriages, birth defects, and developmental and other serious problems.
  • See your doctor as soon as you think you are pregnant. Regular prenatal care early in pregnancy can help prevent complications.
  • If you smoke or use drugs or alcohol, quit now to protect your baby. Your health care provider can recommend programs to help you quit.
  • To prevent birth defects, take a daily multi-vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.

After Your Baby Is Born

  • Breastfeed your baby, unless you are HIV-positive. Breastfeeding offers many health benefits for both mothers and babies. If you can, you should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of your baby’s life.
  • Reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and accidental suffocation by providing a safe sleep surface for napping and sleeping. Babies should sleep on their backs, alone and on a firm surface without pillows, toys, or loose blankets.
  • Make sure your child is tested for lead poisoning at one and two years of age, as the law requires.
  • Make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date. Keep a record, and bring it every time you go to the doctor or clinic.
  • Make sure your home has properly-installed window guards. The law requires your building owner to install them in the home of any family where a child younger than eleven years of age lives.
  • It is normal to feel a mix of emotions after childbirth, including joy, anxiety, and sadness. Sometimes women get “the baby blues,” these reactions often begin a few days after delivery and usually go away in a few weeks.  If you feel your reactions are lasting too long, or getting worse instead of better, you may be suffering from “postpartum depression.” To get help, speak to your health care provider or call 1-800-LIFENET.
  • If your partner or anyone is hurting you or your children, call the city’s toll-free, confidential Domestic Violence Hotline at 311. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to provide immediate assistance.

The Health Department’s Bureau of Vital Statistics compiles baby name lists from birth certificates. Each year, the list of most popular baby names is published in the agency’s Annual Summary of Vital Statistics. For more information on baby names and New York City’s vital statistics, visit For information on obtaining a birth certificate, visit