Americans seem to be naming their kids two-by-two these days.
Puns aside, the name “Noah” has clinched the top spot as the most popular baby name of 2013, according to the Social Security Administration. It unseats “Jacob,” which has ruled the baby-naming world for 14 years and slipped down to the No. 3 slot behind “Liam,” The Associated Press reported.
"Parents are choosing softer names because the image of what they want in a son is a kinder, gentler, more considerate and more empathetic son. They're thinking soft and sensitive rather than hard and hyper-masculine," said Bruce Lansky, an author of baby name books, to USA Today. "Not that Jacob is macho, but Jacob shortens to Jake, which is a macho name. Michael could be Mike."
There’s also a biblical reason. Biblical names have been popular throughout history, USA Today reported, mostly because they promote good values and morals for young kids.
But Noah isn’t expected to stay at the top spot, according to Jennifer Moss of babynames.com. She told USA Today, however, that the name isn’t likely to go away quickly.
"Because of the Internet, I think names are trending faster than 20 or 40 years ago,” she said. “There was a time when Mary was the No. 1 name for like 40 years. Now, by the time it's hit the top of the popularity charts, it's not popular anymore."
This shows the continuing trend of shifting baby names. Just a couple of weeks ago, the name “Khaleesi” — based off a character from the “Game of Thrones” book and TV series — became a more popular name than “Besty,” Vox reported. In fact, fantasy fiction character names are becoming evermore popular for parents, according to Jezebel.
“In addition, babies named after ‘Harry Potter’ characters are on the rise — and in 2012, there were more baby girls named Katniss than Maude,” wrote Dodai Stewart for Jezebel. “Of course, names fall in and out of fashion, and today's Arya, Khaleesi and Daenerys might be tomorrow's Peggy, Loretta or Ida, and feel dated.”
But these female names have a long way to go to reach the top spot. NPR’s Bill Chappell reported that Sophia took the top spot for girl names. Names like “Marjorie,” “Jayceon” and “Daleyza” also saw quick climbs up the charts, though they are no “Emma,” “Olivia” or “Isabella,” which stand right behind “Sophia” for the top spot.
"Reality TV is one of the biggest style-makers today,” Wattenberg said, “because it gives us a constant new stream of names from all over the place."