Mason and Emma most popular baby names in Maine

Posted June 12, 2012, at 4:02 p.m.
Last modified June 12, 2012, at 4:55 p.m.
Mason Thayer plays during his birthday on June 9, 2012.
Nicole Thayer
Mason Thayer plays during his birthday on June 9, 2012.

Nicole Thayer and her husband, Brent, chose the name Mason for their baby son born on June 9, 2011. It was one of the few names that complemented his middle name, Maurice, in honor of his great grandfather.

Nicole Thayer soon discovered that her town of Hermon was chock full of little Masons.

“There were 19 of them when I went to get the birth certificate,” she said.

Mason was the most popular name for baby boys in the state last year, according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of top baby names. Emma was Mainers’ favorite name for little girls.

Nationally, Jacob remains the most popular name for boys for the 13th straight year. Mason jumped 10 spots to number two in the United States, knocking Michael out of the top five for the first time since 1948.

Some have attributed the name’s popularity to the high-profile pregnancy of reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian, who gave birth to a Mason in December 2009.

For girls, Emma has topped the ranks in Maine since 2003 — with the exception of 2007, the year Madison briefly broke the streak.

When Stephanie LaPrino of Bangor gave birth to her second daughter on Feb. 1, 2011, she couldn’t have known that her little Emma would join more than 100 newborns in Maine with the same first name.

Nationally, the new most popular name for baby girls is Sophia, Maine’s second-place finisher and, coincidentally, the name of Emma LaPrino’s 4-year-old big sister.

“My husband’s heritage is Italian, so with Sophia’s name we wanted something Italian but not too outrageous,” LaPrino said. “More common but modern.”

Isabella, the reigning girls’ name for two years, fell to second place nationally, with Emma, Olivia and Ava rounding out the top five.

Finishing out the top five boy’s names nationally were William, Jayden and Noah. Liam, which didn’t even crack the top 10, still managed to become the second-most popular boy’s name in Maine.

Jessica Pelkey of Millinocket and her fiance, Rick Cyr Jr., opted for the name as a twist on William, the name of their now-4-month-old son’s great grandfather.

“L-I-A-M is the last four letters of William,” Pelkey said. “That’s how we chose Liam.”

The Social Security Administration provides lists on its website of baby names dating to 1880, when John and Mary topped the ranks.

Elvis returned to the 2011 list at No. 904, after disappearing in 2010 following a run that started in 1955.

The names data is pulled from Social Security card applications for newborns in the United States in which the year of birth, sex and state are on record and the given name is at least two characters long.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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