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Press Release

Press Release # 049-10
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Susan Craig/Zoe Tobin:

Health Department Announces New York City’s Favorite Baby Names for 2009

Isabella and Sophia swap places as top names for girls; Jayden reigns as number one pick for boys

October 19, 2010 – The results are in, and the winners are…Isabella and Jayden. The Health Department’s latest annual tally of New York City birth certificates shows that Isabella edged out Sophia in 2009 as the most popular name for baby girls, while Jayden held steady at number one for boys. Some 1,424 newborn New Yorkers were dubbed Isabella or Jayden last year, up from 1,364 in 2008.

Nine of the top 10 girls’ names for 2009 were holdovers from 2008, but newcomer Leah (ninth place) ousted Samantha, who fell to 14th. Among boys, Alexander made it into the top 10 for the first time on record, edging out Ryan. And while the city produced its usual crop of Emilys, Daniels and Michaels last year, it also gave the world two dozen more Wilmers and Adelaides.

Rank Girls Boys
1 Isabella Jayden
2 Sophia Daniel
3 Mia Ethan
4 Emily Michael
5 Olivia David
6 Madison Justin
7 Sarah Matthew
8 Ashley Joshua
9 Leah Alexander
10 Emma Christopher
NYC Total Births 61,691 65,083
Most Popular Baby Names by Race/Ethnicity

Preferences vary broadly across racial and ethnic groups. Isabella was the most popular female name for Hispanic families, while Madison remained a favorite with black parents. Sophia, the top pick for Asian girls in 2007 and 2008, retained the crown in 2009. Olivia held the lead among white families. Among boys, most Hispanic and black families again opted for the ever-popular Jayden, while Asian families stuck with Ryan and white families favored Michael.

A detailed list of the most popular baby names for 2009, broken down by race/ethnicity and sex, is available on the Health Department’s Vital Statistics Web page.

Pop Culture

New Yorkers continue to take cues from movie, music, sports and fashion icons as they search for the perfect name. Last year’s big draws included actresses Scarlett and Penelope (tied at #104), singers Usher (#158) and Rihanna (#107), athletes Peyton (#171) and Brady (#158), model Iman (#147) and fashion designers Chanel (#139) and Armani (#150). Zahara (#145) and Jayden (#1) – names chosen by celebrity parents Angelina Jolie and Will Smith – were also popular.

Biblical Names

Religious figures were an even bigger source of inspiration. Holy names for girls included Esther (#21) and Genesis (#43), while Joshua (#8), Jacob (#12), Noah (#30) and Jeremiah (#34) were often bestowed upon boys.

Unique Names

Among the rarest names chosen for girls (as few as 10) were Nava and Zeldy. The most uncommon boy names included Drake, Orion and Pinchus.

Top Ten Names by Race/Ethnicity


Rank Hispanic Black White Asian & Pacific Islander
1 Isabella Madison Olivia Sophia
2 Mia Kayla Sarah Emily
3 Ashley Nevaeh Rachel Chloe
4 Emily Jada Leah Olivia
5 Sophia Malia Esther Tiffany
6 Brianna Makayla Emma/Sophia Fiona
7 Melanie Aaliyah Chana/Chaya/ Isabella Jessica
8 Samantha London Ava Vivian
9 Genesis Arianna/Brianna Julia Isabella
10 Kayla Destiny Emily Nicole


Rank Hispanic Black White Asian & Pacific Islander
1 Jayden Jayden Michael Ryan
2 Justin Joshua David Ethan
3 Angel Elijah Daniel Eric
4 Christopher Justin Joseph Daniel
5 Matthew Michael Jacob Kevin
6 Alexander Jeremiah Moshe Justin
7 Anthony Ethan Jack Jayden
8 Daniel Christian Benjamin Lucas
9 Ethan Daniel Samuel Jason/Vincent
10 David Josiah James/Matthew Matthew

Keeping Babies Safe and Healthy

Whatever their names, babies do best when they’re nurtured by healthy parents in secure surroundings. Here are some secrets to a healthy pregnancy and healthy child.

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.
  • Make sure to see your doctor if you are planning to become pregnant and seek regular care  as soon as you think you are pregnant. Regular prenatal care early in pregnancy can help prevent complications.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – and don’t smoke, misuse drugs or drink excessively. Alcohol and other drugs cause miscarriages, birth defects and other serious problems.
  • 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 that affect the brain, take a daily multi-vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid if you are planning to become pregnant or are pregnant.
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 alone, on their backs, 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 take it with you whenever 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 any unit that houses a child younger than 11.
  • It is normal to feel a mix of emotions after childbirth, including joy, anxiety and sadness. Some women experience mild depression a few days after delivery. These “baby blues” usually subside within a few weeks. If they persist or worsen, you should seek help from a health care provider or call 1-800-LIFENET.
  • If your partner or anyone is hurting you or your children, call 311 and ask for the City’s confidential Domestic Violence Hotline. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to provide immediate help.

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, visit Vital Statistics. New Yorkers can also visit the Office of Vital Records for information on obtaining a birth certificate.