WASHINGTON — Reality TV is giving birth to some of the most popular baby names. No, not Snooki. But Mason, as in Kourtney Kardashian’s son, jumped 10 spots to become the second-most-popular name for newborn boys in 2011.
The more traditional Sophia is the new top name for girls, while Jacob is No. 1 for boys for the 13th straight year, according to the list released Monday by the Social Security Administration.
Kardashian, the reality TV star, gave birth to Mason in December 2009 following a heavily publicized pregnancy. In 2010, Mason jumped from No. 34 to No. 12. Last year, 19,393 baby boys were named Mason, an increase of nearly 4,600, by far the biggest jump for any name.
“It shows what we’re paying attention to, what we’re thinking about,” said Laura Wattenberg, creator of the website babynamewizard.com. “Today, you can’t walk through a supermarket without learning more than you hoped to know about the Kardashian family. That’s just reality.”
Rounding out the top five for boys: William, Jayden and Noah. Michael came in sixth, the lowest ranking since 1948.
Isabella, which had been the top girl’s name for two years, dropped to second place in 2011. Emma, Olivia and Ava rounded out the top five.
The Social Security Administration provides lists of baby names dating to 1880 on its website. The top two names that year were John and Mary. John is now No. 27 and Mary has fallen to No. 112 —the lowest for both names.
The list, which includes top baby names by state, draws millions of viewers. The agency hopes people go to the website to see baby names and stay to learn about other services, said Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue.
Top girl names tend to be more volatile — changing from year to year — while the top boy names are more stable, Astrue said. William, for example, has been a popular boy’s name for more than 100 years, never falling out of the top 20. Mason is the exception, entering the top 100 for the first time in 1997. On the girls’ side, Sophia first cracked the top 100 in 1997. Isabella dropped off the list altogether from 1949 to 1990.
Social Security also tracks which names increase in popularity and which ones drop.
The fastest rising name for girls: Briella, which jumped 394 spots, to No. 497. Briella Calafiore stars in “Jerseylicious,” a reality TV show about battling stylists at a beauty salon in Green Brook, N.J. She’s also in a spinoff called “Glam Fairy.”
Religion continues to have a big influence on baby names, but with a twist.
“The traditional biblical names were New Testament names — John, James and Mary and Elizabeth,” Wattenberg said. “Today, the hot names are all names from the Old testament precisely because they were neglected for so many generations.” In addition to Jacob and Noah, Elijah at No. 13 and Joshua at No. 14 are all from the Old Testament.