Talk about high expectations for a newborn: King and Messiah are among the fastest-rising baby names for American boys.
They’re just a little behind Major, the name that jumped the most spots on the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names.
Jacob remains the most popular for boys and Sophia is the top name for girls, according to the list released Thursday.
It was Jacob’s 14th consecutive year at the top. Next were Mason, Ethan, Noah and William. Liam cracked the top 10 for the first time, coming in at No. 6. Daniel slipped out of the top 10 for the first time since 1998, to No. 11.
It was Sophia’s second year at No. 1. Next were Emma, Isabella, Olivia and Ava.
But what about those rising boys’ names?
Typically, says Laura Wattenberg, author of “The Baby Name Wizard” and founder of Babynamewizard.com, “You don’t get a lot of Messiahs. You can have a lot more Majors.”
Americans have long given their children “aggrandizing names,” Wattenberg said, noting noted that Noble and General were popular boys names for much of the 20th century.
Jennifer Moss, author of “The One-in-a-Million Baby Name Book” and founder of Babynames.com, says she discourages “expectation names, like Justice and Chastity. … We feel that it kind of puts an undue pressure on the child when you use those kinds of grandiose or purity names,” Moss said.
Today’s top names aren’t nearly as popular as the top names were a generation ago.
For example, 18,899 babies were named Jacob last year. Twenty years ago, that wasn’t good enough to crack the top 25. In 1992, Michael was the top name for boys, with more than 54,000 boys getting the name.