Having a baby in New York City is different from having one anywhere else, and that includes choosing a name.
For one thing, the names that are most popular in the Big Apple are not the same ones you hear in the rest of the country. Daniel tops the boys' chart for the very first time in the just released 2007 New York City name popularity statistics, with Jayden rising to number two. Sorry, Mr. Mayor, but Michael has fallen from the top spot to number three for the first time in 50 years. Isabella and Sophia tied for the number one name for girls, unseating Ashley and Emily. Other names that are higher on the New York popularity list than they are in the rest of the country include, for girls, Rachel, Chloe, Angelina, and Esther, and for boys, Justin, Sebastian, and David.
The reason? New York's diverse ethnic population accounts for much of its unique mix of baby names. One of the few locales that break down name popularity by ethnicity, the city finds names high on the list for Hispanic babies include Angel, Luis, and Jose for boys; Mia, Angelina, and Sofia for girls.
African-American parents differed from those of other ethnic backgrounds in favoring names of black celebrities. Jada, Imani and Aaliyah ranked high on the girls' popularity list, while Elijah and Isaiah were popular for boys.
The Asian popularity list featured some counterintuitive favorites. The number one name for Asian baby boys is Ryan, for example, with Kevin, Vincent, and Ivan also ranking high. For girls, Tiffany, Fiona, and Winnie, a name that doesn't even break the national top 1,000, are popular.
And then there are names on the New York City list popular among Hasidic Jewish parents that are virtually unheard of elsewhere in the country: Malky, Raizy, and Shira for girls; Moishe, Chaim, and Menacham for boys. Plus there are ethnic choices such as Fatoumata, Xin, Tatiana, and Mohamed that reflect New York's special mix.
But New York wouldn't truly be New York without a range of sophisticated names as well. Names favored by New York parents and found here more often than in other parts of the country include such refined choices as Sebastian, Julian, and Henry for boys, and Alexandra, Charlotte, and Alice for girls. Maximus and Giuliana (yes, Giuliana) have an only-in-New York quality, though Rudy was not to be found.
New Yorkers chose a range of place names for their children, including Dakota, Sierra, Asia and Paris. But in an ironic twist, Brooklyn, number 57 nationwide, is nowhere among them.
Chelsea is one New York neighborhood name that does show up on the popularity list, just outside the Top 100. New York parents in search of more original local choices might want to consult the list of New York neighborhood names at nameberry.com (http://nameberry.com/list/138/New-York-Neighborhood-Names). A few specific ideas: Astoria, Harlem, and Tribeca. The Bronx, however, doesn't make the list.PAMELA REDMOND SATRAN is the coauthor of nine bestselling baby name guides including The Baby Name Bible, and a developer of the new baby-naming website nameberry (http://nameberry.com).