While “Jacob” remains the most popular name to plant on newborn boys in the United States, “Mason” moved from 11th place to first in Washington state in 2011.
Girl babies were most often named “Sophia” in Washington last year, and “Isabella” in the U.S., although Sophia does come in at No. 2 across the country, according to the state’s Department of Heath press release.
Parents are choosing more unique and creative names than they did 30 years ago, officials said. Now less than half of names for baby boys come from the top 100 list and only about a third of names for baby girls are among the most favored.
In 1980, 73 percent of all baby boys had names from the top 100 list — Michael, Christopher and Joshua were the three most popular that year — and more than half the girls born were named from the list that started with Jennifer, Sarah and Jessica and ended with Meghan, Sandra and Stacey.
At the beginning of this century, more infant girls in Washington state were named Emily, followed by Hannah and Madison. Boy names remained more consistent, with the top three names in 2000 being Jacob, Joshua and Michael. Derek, Hayden and Joel were the bottom three boy names from the top 100 list that year.
Also popular in Washington for girls born in 2011 were Olivia, Emma, Chloe, Elizabeth and Ava. Boy names from the same list year included Liam, Noah, William, Alexander and Benjamin.
Among other information gathered for 2011, there were fewer tobacco smokers — just under nine percent — among women who gave birth that year.
Babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy declined from 10.5 percent in 2006 to nine and one-half percent in 2011, but gestational diabetes among pregnant women increased to just over six percent. In 2003, four percent of pregnant women had gestational diabetes.
There were 107,562 pregnancies and 86,929 babies born in Washington state in 2011 — 42,325 girls and 44,604 boys. A steady decline in pregnancies and births coincides with the slow economy, according to the DOH.
There were 1,519 teens who gave birth in 2011, down from 2,131 in 2008.
Birth tables for 2011 and prior years, along with popular baby names for several years are available at www.doh.wa.gov.
Sheila Hagar can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8322.