Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Liam if it's a boy, Emily if it's a girl

They were 2012's No. 1 baby names

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WHAT ever happened to baby Jane?

Or baby George, Susan, Robert, Thomas, Mary, James, Carol, Charles, Ruth?

Those names are so totally the last two centuries.

For the fourth year in a row, Liam is the most popular name for a newborn boy, and Emily is No. 1 among girls.

So says Manitoba's directorate of Vital Statistics, which has released its annual report for 2012.

One can envision a kindergarten class later this decade in which the attendance roll call produces seven hands up when the teacher calls out Liam, but nary a Bobby or a Cathy to be found.

Liam was followed among boys' names by Mason, Carter, Noah, Logan, Lucas, William -- now there's one your grandparents would recognize, though chances are he's William or Will, and never a Billy -- Benjamin, Jacob, and Hunter.

Behind Emily come nine names for girls, many of which, while they weren't all that common in the 20th century, could at least be found among entertainment stars born during that time.

No. 2 is Emma, followed by Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Lily, Chloe, Avery, Abigail and Haley.

William made quite the comeback among the boys last year, but the rest of the top 10 have been there for a while now.

A glaring omission this year is Ethan, which had been even more popular overall through the past decade than Liam.

Of the 25 names that have made the top-10 list since 2002, Jayden, Alexander, Owen, Joshua, Tyler and Ryan didn't make the cut this year.

Olivia had topped the 2011 list of girls' names, though Emily has been a frequent No. 1 choice throughout the past decade.

Spelling plays a large part. Parents favoured Sophia and Sophie in recent years, and with only the top 10 listed each year, one wonders how Hannah/Hanna or Sarah/Sara would fare if parents could agree on one spelling.

Nevertheless, the statistics show popular girls' names in the early 2000s, such as Hannah, Taylor, Madison, Brooklyn and Jessica, have fallen out of favour.

The entire report, which includes births, deaths, marriages and oodles of other vital statistics, can be found at http://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca/annual_report.html.

So, parents, do you want your kid to have the same name as half the girls in her class, or will you seek something no one else will be named?

What can you possibly name your child, a moniker that not every Tom, Dick and Harry will have?

Hey, come to think of it...

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 6, 2013 A3

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