Half my daughter's winter basketball team consisted of girls named Emma, Olivia, Sophia and Ava. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the top four baby names in Minnesota last year were Emma, Olivia, Sophia and Ava.

The Social Security Administration on Thursday morning released the state-specific lists of most popular baby names for 2012, and on the boy side, Mason, William, Ethan and Liam were the most common.

Popularity for top 15 names in Minnesota for births in 2012
Rank Male name Number of
Female name Number of
1 Mason 363 Emma 367
2 William 350 Olivia 366
3 Ethan 330 Sophia 327
4 Liam 328 Ava 322
5 Henry 314 Avery 281
6 Owen 311 Evelyn 237
7 Benjamin 268 Ella 221
8 Noah 266 Isabella 220
9 Jackson 265 Grace 219
10 Logan 253 Abigail 216
11 Alexander 251 Harper 202
12 Jack 248 Amelia 201
13 Wyatt 240 Aubrey 187
14 Carter 236 Emily 185
15 Samuel 236 Addison 182

While Jackson remains among the 10 most popular names in Minnesota, Jaxon with an X is rising quickly -- from ranking 100th in 2010 to 57th last year. Jacob remained the most popular name in the U.S., but in Minnesota the name fell in the rankings from 3rd in 2011 to 18th in 2012. Owen, Wyatt, Oliver and Logan are all boy names that ranked in the top 20 in Minnesota, but not in the U.S.

Among girl names in 2012, Evelyn was much more popular in Minnesota than in the U.S., while the name Mia was more popular in the U.S. than in Minnesota. Chloe is losing popularity in this state, while Nora is gaining steam.

Just how good was Washington Nationals baseball star Bryce Harper in his rookie year in 2012? The name Bryce cracked the top 100 baby boy names in Minnesota for the first time last year. The name Harper was the 11th most popular girl name in the state in 2012; it only ranked 75th in 2010.

It's fascinating to see how name popularity has changed over time. Paul no longer cracks the top 100 list -- in Minnesota or the U.S. Jennifer for years was the most popular name in Minnesota; now it doesn't crack the top 100 -- despite all of those Jennifer Lawrence movies.

MN Rank 2012 2000 1990 1980 1970 1960
1 Mason Jacob Michael Michael Michael David
2 William Nicholas Andrew Matthew Jason Mark
3 Ethan Matthew Matthew Joshua David Michael
4 Liam Andrew Nicholas Ryan John John
5 Henry Samuel Jacob Jason Scott James

MN Rank 2012 2000 1990 1980 1970 1960
1 Emma Emily Ashley Jennifer Jennifer Mary
2 Olivia Hannah Amanda Jessica Lisa Susan
3 Sophia Grace Jessica Sarah Michelle Julie
4 Ava Emma Samantha Melissa Amy Lori
5 Avery Elizabeth Brittany Amanda Julie Karen


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